Good tidings!

If you are an avid reader of this blog (and if you’re not, you should be, because my words are full of much beauty and wisdom), you will know that I have criticized e-books for their high prices, and predicted that they won’t become very popular until those prices go way down. However, I realized earlier this week that Amazon allows writers to self-publish their books on the Kindle (and other e-readers that can interface with Kindle books). It seems to me that if a writer were to price his self-published books nice and cheaply, at $1 or $2, he actually has a great opportunity to get some sales. Probably not nearly as many as he might get if he got professionally published and his book sat on physical book store shelves, but I think he’d have a much greater chance of making any money at all (since getting published in the first place is quite difficult).

So I’m quite tempted to try this out. I reckon my first novel, if I can finish it, would take years to try to convince a traditional publisher to publish it, and who knows if it’d ever get published or not? So I might just skip that step and go straight to self-publishing. There are already some print-on-demand services that allow writers to self-publish their work for free, such as Lulu and Amazon’s CreateSpace (I think it’s called), but print-on-demand books don’t attract a huge audience in and of themselves because they end up costing slightly more than regular books. With paperless e-books, readers can now try out new writers for $1 or $2 (or in some cases for free), so the risk is much lower. So I’d really like to try self-publishing on Amazon for the Kindle, and pricing my book at $1 or $2. It might allow me to get some reviews and make a little money. Most importantly, though: it would give people an easy and convenient way to access and read my work. Which is why any writer wants their work published in the first place, isn’t it? So that other people can experience it?

Of course, there’s one huge disadvantage with this self-publishing system, which is also it’s biggest advantage: anyone can do it. There’s a TON of competition, so you still might not attract any readers or make any money. But at least the opportunity is there, and to me it looks worth taking.

That said, time is of the essence here. Everyday, other writers are finishing their novels before me, and putting them up for sale. The longer it takes me to finish my novel, the more competition it will have.

I don’t want to rush, of course, that would obviously make the quality of the work suffer. But, as a commenter suggested a few posts back, I’ll have to at least try being more disciplined, and set some deadlines for myself. I won’t keep to them too strictly, since Animation Mentor is coming along, and I’ll be dedicating most of my time to that (the chance of Animation Mentor helping me find a full-time job afterwards is much greater than the prospect of being a full-time author, obviously). However, here are my suggested deadlines to myself to help myself make progress and self-publish a novel as soon as I can without sacrificing quality:

Firstly, I’d like to have the entire novel completed by Friday, September 10, 2010. (That is the day I’ll be seeing The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at Wolftrap with a live orchestra playing the score. It will be amazing. I might be crying at the end. And if I can have my first novel finished by that time, it will be even more amazing.)

Here are the novel-writing steps I decided upon earlier (again, just a guide, not an overly strict plan), now with suggested completion dates by them:

1) Clear beginning and clear ending, with character motivations and plans figured out (almost finished now) Due Monday, June 7, 2010
2) List of important scenes (this is the step I usually stop at and just start writing, but not this time, I hope) Due Monday, June 14, 2010
3) Details of how each scene begins and ends, adding connecting scenes when necessary Due with step 4
4) Purpose of each scene – make sure each scene is important and accomplishes something plot-wise and theme wise (not just one or the other (but plot-wise is more important)) Step 3 and 4 due Monday, June 21, 2010
5) Details of all scenes – details on what exactly happens between each scene’s beginning and end, including dialog (like writing each scene into a little screenplay) Due Monday, August 2, 2010

Complete rough draft due Friday, September 10, 2010

Complete final draft due Thursday, November 25, 2010 (Thanksgiving, and my birthday! Yay!)

And then it should be up on Amazon’s Kindle marketplace in no time! Yay!

OK, this probably won’t work at all; I’m bound to fail with lack of self-discipline, discover things take a lot more time than planned (especially since Animation Mentor will become my main focus), lose interest, etc., but it will be worth a try.

I think I finally have an outline for an ending though, so I need to start plotting, working backwards from the end, and forwards from the beginning. It will be fun! Especially with my new Piccadilly notebooks!

23 days left until Animation Mentor begins!


Anonymous · June 5, 2010 at 9:19 PM

That’s a very good schedule. Whenever I write, I tend to figure out the plot and steps and then just start writing. I’ll have to follow your lead sometime and set a more detailed schedule with more detailed assigments. Thanks and best of luck!

Michael N. Marcus · June 6, 2010 at 5:09 AM

>> There are already some print-on-demand services that allow writers to self-publish their work for free, such as Lulu and Amazon’s CreateSpace <>they end up costing slightly more than regular books.<<

While POD books cost more to manufacture than offset-priented books, the retail price does nto have to be higher, because there are many savings, such as no need to warehouse the books, no returns, no onsolescence, AND the self publisher can make much more from a $15.95 POD book than with a $15.95 book from a traditional publisher.

Michael N. Marcus

[spammy links censored]

S P Hannifin · June 6, 2010 at 6:32 PM

What I meant was, from a buyer’s perspective, if I want to buy just one copy of a book that has to be printed on demand after my order, it costs me more than a book at the bookstore, at least for a POD book that’s not selling very many copies.

S P Hannifin · June 6, 2010 at 6:36 PM

At least from the POD services I’ve seen… maybe it’s just a case of too much money going into the POD services’ pockets…

Daniel · July 22, 2010 at 1:55 AM

You know Christopher Paolini’s Eragon was self-published before published professionally? Yup.

S P Hannifin · July 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Yes! Although, I don’t think there’s anyway I’d have that kind of luck. And I of course haven’t followed my schedule at all…

DT · May 26, 2012 at 12:51 AM

I know this is almost 2 years later, but things have changed in 2 years and a LOT more books are POD. I was just pricing a book I’m self-publishing on CreateSpace. If I price it at 10.95, I get 1.76 per book and amazon gets 9.19. If it sells directly from the CS site(and it won’t, who buys books from CS?), I get $3.95 and CS gets $7. Similar as price goes up…I checked at $16.95. on amazon (most likely sales) I get $5.36 and amazon/CS gets $11.59. I like that they have an on-the-fly calculator. I’ll check your more recent blogs to see if you took the plunge. My Kindle ed. will be $2.99 or less.

S P Hannifin · May 26, 2012 at 1:03 AM

Never took the plunge, as I’ve yet to finish writing anything I think worth publishing… if I ever do, I’ll explore the subject again, but in 2010 it looks like I was putting the cart way before the horse…

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