Author Solutions, authors, book selling, Ebooks, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Is Traditional Publishing the New Vanity Publishing? Huffington Post says yes!

Last week, Bernard Starr, a writer for the Huffington Post, penned a somewhat controversial article that suggested that Traditional Publishing now deserved to be labeled with the term “vanity press”. The basis for his argument is the advantages of self publishing, such as creative control, speed-to-market and earnings potential far outweigh the advantages that traditional publishers now bring. He describes those as editing and bricks and mortar distribution. Editing services can certainly be outsourced to many competent people such as someone like Alan Rinzler.  That leaves print distribution, which Starr argues is not that critical in today’s digital reader world.

Here’s some of the text from his article which provides more depth to his argument.

Commentators on the current upheaval in publishing have observed that many authors desperately seek a traditional publisher when self-publishing would serve them far better. Traditional publishing has thus become, in many instances, the vanity choice. Does it make sense?

The new world of self-publishing has little in common with the old vanity publishing, but for many writers it still bears the taint of vanity. Self-publishing has not only democratized publishing, it has opened up the opportunity for authors to publish at low or no cost, own all the rights, control the pricing and timetable for publishing, and get their books listed for sale and distribution on major outlets and platforms — e.g. Amazon, kindle, nook, other e-readers, Google and more. Royalties for self-published books can range from thirty to eighty percent (depending on ancillary services that are selected) compared to the 71/2 to 15 percent in traditional publishing. And if you are adept at Internet marketing, you can reach large targeted audiences for your books.

Fact is that authors no longer need a publisher. And more and more writers are awakening to the realization that if you are not a high-profile author who can command large sales, a traditional publisher will do little for you beyond editing and printing your book. While it’s true that they will also distribute it to the waning number of brick-and-mortar bookstores — self-published books are not usually available in bookstores — the number that actually land on the shelves is surprisingly small. And the argument that self-published books are not widely reviewed in mainstream publications loses steam when you realize that only a tiny percent of traditionally published books are reviewed at all. Add to that the growing number of prestigious venues that now review self-published books.

If you want to read the full article, you can simply click on the Huff Books logo in this post.

Now whether you agree or disagree with his argument, and there are people on both sides, I think his point of view helps illustrate how much the world of publishing has changed and why authors need to make sure they stay informed of their options.  That said I do believe it is unrealistic to think that authors, no matter how they chose to publish are going to be devoid of ego so to label one method as somehow more altruistic than another is naive. The reality is if you take the time to write a manuscript and publish it you must think there is something about you and what you have to share that is important to others.  And that is OK.  That’s why I think we should just let the term vanity press be put to rest. That will be the subject of a future blog post, but in the meantime, what do you think of Starr’s post? Use the comment section to let me know.

authors, book marketing, Ebooks, helpful hints, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

4 easy ways to build content and a following on your blog

One of the best ways to build an audience for your book or books is build a following on a blog. Yet when I speak to many authors about creating a blog, they are often hesitant because of the amount of writing and work they believe is involved. While it does take some work to have a blog, there are some things you can do to make the whole process easier and enjoyable. Remember, the reason for having a blog is to build an audience for the topic you are passionate about and while you can write about it your self, there are other things you can do to gather content around the topic that will be relevant to your audience. Here are some ways to do that you may find helpful.

  1. Write a series and make a number of different posts over time. Once you find a topic that your audience is interested in, you should consider writing multiple posts about the topic. In other words, you can write the text at one time but post it in sections over time. It is a great way to get people to keep coming back for more. One example on my blog is the series I have been doing on Ten mistakes a reader will never miss. This blog series has ten parts and focuses on common errors writers make, but editors will catch
  2. Find other blogs that are similar and re-post the content. You need permission to do this and you want to give the original source credit, but you can often find kindred spirits and relevant content on blogs like yours. For example, I was recently interviewed for the Pubslush blog and re-posted their interview on my blog. By re-posting and linking back, I also helped expose my blog to their audience and vice versa.
  3. Comment on recent news releases. If you set your Google alerts for the right words, you will see when relevant news is released on the topics of interest to you. Again, cite the source, but you can re-post the release and add your comments to it. For my blog, I get any release with the words, “indie publishing” or similar phrases.
  4. Do an interview with someone who can provide expertise on a topic of interest. This is a great way to source expert content and add to your following. Recently, I had a question from an author in a comment on how to find a good editor. Rather than answer it myself, I asked Alan Rinzler for his opinion. Alan is one of the most respected consulting editors in the business. His answers were insightful and helpful

I am sure you may have other ideas on how to source good content for a blog. Feel free to share those in the comments section. I will make sure you get the appropriate credit for your suggestions. We can all learn from each other. .

authors, Editing, helpful hints, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Six tips for finding the right editor for your book.

Recently I wrote a blog post about what I heard at the San Francisco Writers Conference and one of the points I mentioned in the post is how important it is to have your manuscript edited. One of the questions that came to me in the comments section was, “Do you have any tips for finding an editor to hire?”

So I decided to ask Alan Rinzler for his opinion. Alan is one of the most well respected consulting editors in the business. You can read his bio at ( because his credentials would fill a blog post by themselves.  As usual, Alan offers six very helpful tips for how to find the best editor for your book whether you use an independent editor or work with one of the Author Solutions imprints.

Alan Rinzler shares helpful tips on finding the best editor for your book

1. A careful search. Many editors today have their own website and some have blogs, too. Look in the Acknowledgement pages of books you like and are similar to your own. Ask authors you know who they’ve worked with, or meet editors at writers conferences, workshops, and trainings. Also, be sure to understand the difference between copy editors who correct spelling and punctuation, and developmental editors who work with core issues like story, characterization, structure — the big stuff. Developmental editors are more expensive, so if you get a price of $25/hour or anything “by the word”, that’s not a professional level developmental editor.

2. Track Record. Has this editor edited books that have succeeded, you’ve read, you find on your shelf. Having worked with best-selling authors you admire is essential.

3. Accessibility. Can you get in touch with this editor easily, at a website or blog? Does he or she respond quickly or is there a long delay. Rapid response is important; delays can predict a frustrating experience down the road.

4. Compatibility. Meet in person if possible, talk on the phone, or Skype so you can get better acquainted. Find someone you respect and feel comfortable with. If this individual is over-bearing, non communicative, or an otherwise bad fit, seek elsewhere. Don’t worry too much about genre, since in my opinion, a good editor can work in nearly any category.

5. Clear financial terms and scheduling. Make sure you have an accurate estimate with a cap that can’t be exceeded, and a precise schedule for the stages and dates of the work to be done.

6. Escape clause. If it doesn’t go well after a while, part of the original agreement should provide for a fair separation with specific expectations and obligations.