In the old days, writing a book and getting it published was a crazy, frustrating, time-consuming, and often expensive proposition.
Now, much less so.
Especially if a writer comes to grips with reality (not the easiest thing to do) and gives up the fantasy of his or her work of literary art being picked up by a major publisher. Then, becoming a best seller.
The chances of that happening range between zero and next to nothing.
I know. I've had three books published. Each was better than average. None were accepted by a publisher in a traditional way.
I've become a believer in print on demand publishing -- where an author keeps as much control as possible over his book, spends a minimal amount, and accepts that online sales via Amazon, et.al. (plus his own web site) is how people will buy the book.
No, it won't be featured in a display at Borders. But it'll be available for sale anywhere in the world someone has an Internet connection.
I'm in the midst of changing how my most recent book, "Return to the One," is published. I'm canceling my agreement with Unlimited Publishing and moving to another print on demand service.
Probably Create Space. It was suggested by my book designer after I told him that I was thinking of shifting to BookSurge, another Amazon subsidiary.
Create Space is a no fee service. An author/self-publisher doesn't share a royalty with Create Space. You get what's left after subtracting the cost of printing a book and a book seller's discount (40% with Amazon, I think, but I could be wrong).
I'll earn considerably more from a sale after moving to Create Space, because I've been on a 50-50 royalty agreement with Unlimited Publishing.
Amazon is to online book selling as Microsoft is to operating systems: the big gorilla that many people love to hate. Well, personally I have much better feelings about Amazon, so I've got no problem with jumping to its Create Space service.
I suspect that Create Space books are treated a bit better on Amazon than books published via another print on demand company.
This theory is borne out by a piece by someone who, like me, moved to Create Space after having a book published elsewhere.
I remember reading an article about Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, which stated that the original name of Amazon was to be “Abracadabra”. Well I was soon about to see why. I went online and OK’d my proof at CreateSpace and as fast as you could say “Abracadabra” the Ingram/Lightning listing was gone from Amazon and replaced by the CreateSpace listing.
Poof, the listing was changed, although they left the review. They were a little overzealous with this change because they also bumped me off the site as the publisher and changed it to CreateSpace even though I was the publisher and owned the ISBN. While there is never any human contact with anyone at Amazon I complained, via email form letter on the CreateSpace website, and the publisher was corrected within a few days.
Of course I do not know this because anyone contacted me to apologize for the mistake. The computer probably couldn’t figure out which form letter response to send so it sent none. I found out by going back each day and seeing for myself.
Meanwhile, the minute I saw the listing change, I ordered another copy from Amazon just to see who printed it. I forgot to mention that the availability changed from available in 2-4 weeks to available immediately in that same split second. I was able to order with my free 2 day shipping so the book showed up not too many days after the first book I ordered.
A quick glance confirmed that the book was definitely not a Lightning produced book. In the blink of an eye, my book changed from POD non-returnable printed at Lightning Source to POD returnable printed by Book Surge. Which do you think that Amazon prefers? Should Ingram/Lightning and all the non-returnable short discount POD publishers be worried? You tell me.
After I get my book uploaded to Create Space at the end of the year I'll share how things are going. Hopefully, smoothly.