Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

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How The Muppets Changed the Course of Self-Publishing

Remember Amanda Hocking, the writer who’s now the poster child for self-publishing success? Well, she might never have been spurred to publish her work at all if it not for… The Muppets. The Guardian has the scoop: To understand the vital Muppet connection we have to go back to April 2010. We find Hocking sitting in her tiny, sparsely furnished apartment in Austin, Minnesota. She is penniless and frustrated, having spent years fruitlessly trying to interest traditional publishers in her work. To make matters worse, she has just heard that an exhibition about Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, […]

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Self-publishing: A fad, or the next American Idol?

We’re delighted to present another blog post by our able editorial intern, Nicole Aber. Enjoy! With the proliferation of self-published books, especially in e-book format, the New York Times recently took a look at the pros and cons of the controversial route of getting one’s book to market. And since the practice of self-publishing has become so widespread, even the author of the article, Alina Tugend, found herself re-evaluating a publishing form she once found inferior: I’m a snob. Oh, I don’t particularly care what kind of car you drive or if you wear the latest designer fashions, but until […]

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26 years old. 100,000+ ebooks sold per month. The future of electronic publishing?

Is self-publishing really a viable option for writers? It is for Amanda Hocking. USA Today reports on the 26-year-old self-published success story: Fed up with attempts to find a traditional publisher for her young-adult paranormal novels, Hocking self-published last March and began selling her novels on online bookstores like Amazon and By May she was selling hundreds; by June, thousands. She sold 164,000 books in 2010. Most were low-priced (99 cents to $2.99) digital downloads. More astounding: This January she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles. More than 99% were e-books. Internet-fiction site Novelr analyzes how […]

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On Choosing A Font

My sister, a engineering professor, is writing a book about how to encourage women to pursue engineering. She plans to self-publish the book through Lulu, since the print on demand strategy makes perfect sense for the specialized audience for such a book. And because I’ve worked in publishing, she asks me a lot of questions about layout and format and marketing—topics that are, sadly, way out of my field of expertise. In self-publishing, everything is up to the author: the size of the book, binding type, even the font. That can make for a bewildering self-publishing experience, and the best […]

Shop Talk | – self-publishing 2.0?

With gangbusters press coverage on Monday, launched a fiction-sharing site. Co-founded by Dana Goodyear, staff writer at The New Yorker, and Jacob Lewis, a former Managing Editor at The New Yorker, the site sets up its mission like this: Figment is an online community to create, discover, and share new reading and writing. Follow your literary obsessions. Find fans for your work. Read the latest by your favorite authors. Vote up the best stories. Embrace your inner book nerd. Read. Write. Procrastinate. Repeat. Whatever you’re into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels, you can […]

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(How) Do Authors Make Money?

Tim Ferriss, author of the Kindle-published The 4-Hour Work Week, has an interesting look at the economics of how writers get paid: – For a hardcover book, authors typically receive a 10-15% royalty on cover price. This means that for a $20 cover price, the author will receive $2-3. If you have a $50,000 advance, a $20 cover price, and a 10% royalty, you therefore need to sell 25,000 copies (“earn out” the advance) before you receive your first dollar beyond the advance. This is the basic rule, but several quietly aggressive outfits — both Barnes and Noble’s in-house imprint […]

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The New Self-Publishing

Long seen as the last resort of those who couldn’t find a “real” publisher, self-publishing has undergone a dramatic change over the past few years. Now it’s often seen as a way to get the attention of those “real” publishers by getting one’s work out there. None of this is really news. But what is new is that even some established writers are self-publishing. Newsweek reports: Maybe Grisham isn’t a Lulu customer yet, but writer John Edgar Wideman (Philadelphia Fire) is. Wideman’s latest collection of short stories, Briefs, came out from Lulu this spring. In a traditional paperback publishing deal, […]

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All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my slushpile.

With self-publishing on the rise, anyone can be an author. No more slush pile! No more snooty agents and editors as gatekeepers! The public will decide which books succeed through the glories of democracy! But what happens to the readers in this scenario? That’s what Laura Miller asks on As she puts it, is the public prepared to meet the slush pile? You’ve either experienced slush or you haven’t, and the difference is not trivial. People who have never had the job of reading through the heaps of unsolicited manuscripts sent to anyone even remotely connected with publishing typically […]

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Steve Almond on Self-publishing

On The Rumpus, author Steve Almond explains why he recently decided to self-publish a book of short stories and essays, This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey–and it’s probably not for the reasons you’d think: If this were a traditional publishing endeavor, the next question would be how to get the book a “bigger platform,” meaning a place in the great Barnes-&-Noble-Amazon-Kindle-i-Pad-clusterfuckosphere. But because this is something much more personal, I decided – nah. I was cool with Harvard Bookstore selling it. But other than that, Minute, Honey is available only at readings. My reasoning is pretty simple: I want […]