The Importance of Cover Art

‘Never judge a book by its cover’ goes the old proverb. Which is frankly ridiculous, because how else is a book going to attract a reader?

“Oooh, shiny,” says the potential reader, his mouse cursor speeding towards the ‘Buy with 1-Click’ button.

It’s been a long-held adage in the self-publishing world–well, as long as that’s been around, so about 5 years–that having a professional-quality cover for your work is an absolute must. In case you were doubtful, this article has some industry professionals backing up that advice, along with some interesting observations on reader psychology.

I’m not sure why the title of the article says 2013, though. Did I miss the last few months of 2012 somehow?

(Via Passive Voice.)

Self-Publishing ‘Properly’, Or: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I got an email earlier from my editor, Misti, telling me that’s she’s almost finished her edit of ASCENSION POINT.


Ahem. We’re going to have a chat on Wednesday, and shortly thereafter I’ll be able to start carving up my MS into a leaner, meaner form, with an eye on publishing before the end of October.

As this milestone nears, I just wanted to post on something I’ve been thinking about, what I consider the two different approaches a writer can take to self-publishing. In essence, one’s free, and one’s not. But there’s only one which I think is doing it ‘properly’. Can you guess which?  Read more…

Paid-for Amazon Reviews? Oh Dear

Both the New York Times and the Atlantic had articles on this disturbing phenomenon in the last few days. Definitely worth reading for anyone who uses Amazon, as a producer or consumer.

I completely agree with the Atlantic’s conclusion:

“Policing reviews could take time and alienate some customers, both self-published authors and reviewers, but to let reviews continue unregulated might alienate far more of them.”

Both authors and readers–but especially readers, of course–need to have faith in the honesty of the review system, for the simple fact that it’s often the prime driver behind making a purchase.

And to offer a non-literary equivalent, how happy would you be to find out that, say, Samsung had paid ten thousand people $15 each to write a five-star review of a new TV they’d brought out?

Not happy, I’d imagine.

No (Extra) Taxes For Me!

(Warning: only interesting to writers planning to self-publish on, CreateSpace, etc. And maybe not even to them.)

A quick follow-up post to yesterday’s tax-related reblog – I can confirm the process of applying for an EIN over the phone went exactly as David laid out in his post on Catherine’s blog.

I called the number this morning, and had a very pleasant 7-minute chat with a nice IRS lady. (I couldn’t tell if she was from Philadelphia or just lives/works there, because I am the crappest at American accents.)

After a few questions very similar to those I was expecting, I became the proud owner of an Employer Identification Number (EIN). I then promptly updated my KDP, CreateSpace and Smashwords accounts, because it pays to be prepared, and I’d rather not risk giving the IRS any of my money even temporarily if I can avoid it.

Now I just need to publish and sell some books, and watch all* of the money roll trickle in!

* Instead of 70% of the money because 30% was withheld for tax reasons. Get it? Yup, I told you it wouldn’t be that interesting.


Yet More On The Death Throes of Legacy Publishing

There were a couple of great blog posts today from two of the heavyweights.

Here Joe Konrath talks about the fallacy of the slippery slope argument that Amazon is out to destroy the publishing industry, so they can then jack up prices and start ripping everyone off.

“A lot of bookstores might blame Amazon for putting them out of business, or competing unfairly. Welcome to capitalism, kids. That’s like saying, ‘My girlfriend left me for another guy who is more attractive and treats her better.'”

And here Dean Wesley Smith writes about the many myths of indie publishing versus traditional.

You are guaranteed to sell more copies through a traditional publisher. Let me just try not to choke with laughter. Folks, I have sold books to traditional publishers that sold exactly 625 copies at last royalty statement. I have had books go out of print and the publisher still hold them at less than 2,000 copies. Some of those books I got advances beyond thirty grand. Trust me, selling to a traditional publisher doesn’t mean numbers of copies.”

‘The End of The World as We Know It’

Kris Rusch gives the legacy publishing doom-mongers an absolute skewering on her blog here, using only the power of actual facts and figures.

“For many in traditional publishing, the world is ending. Their clout is vanishing and their ability to understand what is going on is vanishing with it. They’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, wondering why it has suddenly gotten so cold. Yeah, they may survive in the future, but they’ll always remember the night they hit that iceberg—and the surprise they felt.”