Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Self-Publishing Index - December 2010

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The SELF-PUBLISHING INDEX for author solutions services is something we have been working on for the past couple of months and June 2010 marked the first month of flotation. 

Here is the latest index for December and the final one for 2010.

(Click image to enlarge)

The most asked question we get at POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing is often along the lines of; 'What self-publishing service should I go with?'; 'Is so and so a good service to go with?'; or 'Is so and so a scam?'

In some cases, that is an easy question to answer, cut and dry, but in other circumstances, the answer is entirely arbitrary. We are not here to review and run down a company's name, nor are we here to endorse a company's services. If we were only to review author solutions services according to every point in our ideal list of what an author should get from a company offering publishing services; we would have very few reviews to share with you. In truth, no company has ever attained a 10/10, and only a few have recorded more than 08/10. In the autumn of 2010 we will be posting all our reviews with a rating, and any new reviews since February 2010 have automatically had a posted rating at the bottom of the review.

The reality is that some author solutions services begin in a blaze of glory and we might rate them favourably  at the time; others, frankly, are just poor, and yet, they improve (sometimes in response to our reviews) to offer reasonable services for authors. We are constantly updating our reviews, but this takes considerable time, and so do the initial reviews.

We get a vast amount of information from authors and the companies selling author solutions services every day - good and bad. We get a great deal of information from monitoring services week by week against the experiences of what authors report back to us. Simply put, and truthfully, we cannot reflect all of this information through the reviews. That is why the comments section under each company we review is so important. It is your recording and dealings with that specific company, and a positive or negative flag to subsequent authors considering using the same company.

So, how do we reflect the changing ups and downs with services?

We believe the SELF-PUBLISHING INDEX will help to guide authors to services on the up, and those, gradually on the down. If you like, what we are proposing is effectively, a kind of stock exchange for author solutions services.

The SELF-PUBLISHING INDEX was first launched in June 2010.  
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Monday, 29 November 2010

Or Books Founder on Mediabistro Morning Media Menu

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This morning Jason Boog caught up with Colin Robinson of Or Books.

You can hear the interview here and click the podcast link in the post.
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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Lulu Trying to Fox The Geese with Author Profiles

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Have a look at the three book covers displayed and tell me which one was self-published.

It wasn’t hard, was it?

Yes, Bachelor 101 – Cooking, Cleaning, Closing was the self-published title. But what is interesting is that the author, Jamie Reidy, published his cook book, after Hard Sell, a book that has went on to be a commercial bestseller and an acclaimed film. I welcome this kind of transition by a commercially published author and it is something we are seeing more often in the past year.

Now, first to the Lulu blog posting today about its author, Jamie Reidy.

“The industry is scared to take a chance right now” says Reidy. “Luckily, tech like Lulu lets me sell my work anyway and I can get on with my writing.”

Reidy is particularly fond of Lulu’s formatting services and the freedom of not having to go back and forth between editors, which can become very expensive and time consuming.

“With Lulu, $400 for formatting was a deal – I know I got my money’s worth,” Reidy says.

And this from Natural News about how Reidy came upon a publisher...

  • "Right, yeah, it was totally top secret. And the funny thing was, I got rejected by more than 26 agents, so I got published without an agent, which is even more miraculous. So, when I got the contract, it was March of '04, and they waited a year before the book came out. It was just incredible trying to keep my mouth shut for a year, because I'm a pretty yappy guy to begin with, and to have to keep that secret was quite a challenge."

Reidy is obviously talking about his cookbook which he could not find a commercial publisher for. But, what irks me most about the Lulu posting, is the suggestion that Reidy is a ‘Lulu author’ and that the success of his first book, Hard Sell, is somehow an endeavour of his DIY publishing exploits with Lulu’s services. This is not the case. Hard Sell was acquired by Andrew McMeel Publishing in 2005. It had nothing to do with Lulu, or their Market Place, but the insinuation is that Reilly is a Lulu author, and all his published output is through Lulu. I don’t like this kind of publicity by author solutions services, but after John Edgar Wideman, and the manner Lulu used him to promote their services, rather than the author promoting themselves.

I’ll let readers peruse the kinks, but this is a direction I personally do not want like to see Lulu following. This is more a misleading self-promotion exercise executed by vanity presses.
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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

CreateSpace Announce Improvements to Their Self-Publishing Platform

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CHARLESTON, S.C. - (Business Wire) CreateSpace, part of the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) group of companies, today announced an improved self-publishing experience that will help content creators set up, distribute and manage their titles more easily. These enhancements are a direct reflection of member feedback and innovative thinking about how to improve the overall member experience. The new experience includes features such as a streamlined Expert Setup option, enhanced Cover Creator tools for both books and discs, and the ability for authors to set their own custom trim sizes. Additionally, with the help of Bowker LLC, CreateSpace authors will now be able to purchase their own ISBN directly through CreateSpace.com. For more information about the improved title experience, visit www.createspace.com.

“We are constantly looking for ways to help our members more easily publish and distribute their work. We've listened to a lot of great member feedback about their experience with the CreateSpace platform and how to make it even easier,” said David Symonds, managing director, CreateSpace. “We are very excited to roll out these new platform enhancements to help streamline our members' self-publishing process.”

Select highlights from the improved title experience include:

•ISBN Purchase on CreateSpace: Due to an exclusive relationship with Bowker LLC, CreateSpace authors can now purchase their own ISBNs directly on the CreateSpace website without leaving the title setup process.

•Project Homepage: This new page tracks member progress, so members can easily see what they've done, what's next, manage any services that they have purchased, and be alerted to any issues throughout the process.

•Image Gallery for Cover Creator: Members using Cover Creator to design their book's cover can now access an extensive free image gallery where they can choose from a wide variety of ready-to-use professional photographs.

•Professional Services: Authors can buy and manage book editing, design and marketing services as they set up their title, allowing them to get help where and when they need it.

•Expert Setup Option: This streamlined single-page experience, now available in beta, is a great time-saver for members who are already familiar with the CreateSpace publishing process.

•Custom Trim Sizes: Members are now able to choose a customized trim size for their book, offering more flexibility in the production process.

•Cover Creator for Discs: This free cover artwork creation tool has been expanded to allow filmmakers and musicians to build professional cover and disc face artwork for their DVDs and CDs.

“As the Official ISBN Agency for the United States, Bowker is exclusively responsible for the assignment of the ISBN prefix in the U.S.,” said Beat Barblan, director of Identifier Service at Bowker. “In collaboration with CreateSpace, Bowker is excited to make it even easier for content creators to introduce their work to readers.”

To learn more about the CreateSpace platform, self-publishing and manufacturing on-demand, visit www.createspace.com.

About CreateSpace

CreateSpace is a leader in manufacture on-demand services for independent content creators, publishers, film studios and music labels. CreateSpace provides inventory-free, physical distribution of Books, CDs and DVDs on-Demand, music downloads via Amazon MP3 and video downloads via Amazon Video On Demand. CreateSpace is a brand of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).

About Amazon.com

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon's developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Kindle and Kindle DX are the revolutionary portable readers that wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle and Kindle DX utilize the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Kindle is the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, and www.amazon.cn. As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

About Bowker

Bowker is the world's leading provider of bibliographic information management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. The company is focused on developing various tools and products that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, as well as providing services to publishers that help them better understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker is a member of the ProQuest family of companies and is headquartered in New Providence, N.J., with additional operations in England and Australia. For more information, please visit www.bowker.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Amazon Acquire Toby Press Titles

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In a significant move today, Amazon announced that it had acquired the publication rights of 121 books previously published by literary and commercial fiction publisher, The Toby Press. Amazon plans to re-publish the titles using their AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing imprints. The books will be made available in both print and Kindle editions throughout the USA, and globally where authors permit in the UK and Germany.

From today's press release:

Amazon and The Toby Press today announced that Amazon plans to acquire the publication rights of up to 121 books currently published by The Toby Press. The books represent the works of 61 authors and include diverse fiction titles and works in translation.

Amazon's publishing imprints, AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing, will re-publish the works as print editions and Kindle editions in the United States and globally in cases where authors choose to make their works available. Kindle editions will be available for Kindle devices and Kindle apps, and print editions will be available on www.amazon.com and its websites worldwide, as well as in bookstores throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

"Matthew Miller and his team at The Toby Press have done a wonderful job of building a first-class list of literary fiction. We're excited to expand the audience of these titles, some of which have never been published digitally before, and introduce them to readers everywhere," said Jeff Belle, Vice President, Amazon.com Books. "We admire the great books that The Toby Press has published and are proud to now be associated with this distinguished group of authors."

The Toby Press was founded in 1999, with the purpose of publishing fine literary and commercial fiction. Toby titles span from first-time authors such as Crystal Wilkinson, Samantha Dunn, and Joshua Barkan, to celebrated translations of Anna Enquist of the Netherlands, Yasmina Khadra of Algeria, Hartmut Lange and Katharina Hacker of Germany, Haim Sabato and Shlomo DuNour of Israel and Laurent Gaudé (winner of the Prix Goncourt). Toby's crime genre features brilliant psychological thrillers from the writers of many countries, including II Magdalen (U.S.), Haim Lapid (Israel), FG Ledesma (Spain), C Gross (Germany) and others.

"As we transition our business in a new direction, we're very excited to be able to work with Amazon to make sure every one of our authors continues to receive the attention they deserve," said Matthew Miller, Founder, The Toby Press. "We support AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing's mission to bring great books to a wider audience and hope that these books continue to find interested readers."

Introduced in May 2009, AmazonEncore uses information on Amazon.com, such as customer reviews and sales data, to identify exceptional books and emerging authors. Amazon then works with the authors to introduce or re-introduce their books to readers through marketing and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers. AmazonEncore is a brand for titles published by Amazon Content Services LLC.

Introduced in May 2010, AmazonCrossing uses customer feedback and other data from Amazon sites around the world to identify exceptional foreign language books deserving of a wider, global audience. AmazonCrossing acquires the rights, commissions translations, and introduces these compelling voices to the English-speaking market through multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, and national and independent booksellers via third-party wholesalers.

For more information on AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing upcoming titles, visit www.amazon.com/encore or www.amazon.com/crossing.
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Monday, 15 November 2010

Manning Follows Marcus in Slur Campaign

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Some of you may remember me earlier this year highlighting the appalling online smear campaign prosecuted on Michael N. Marcus of Able.com and Silver Sands Books. It was a harrowing experience for Michael and his family and demonstrated how easily someone can use the Internet through services like Google Blogger, Facebook and other social networking resources to incite hatred, suggest and imply sexual and illegal impropriety, besmear, defame and ultimately attempt to destroy a person and their business solely on the basis of  a deep dislike or difference of opinion. The worse practice of this is often perpetrated by those who have no actual direct link, practical or imagined loss, to the actions of the person targeted.

The latest campaign has begun against Stephen Manning of Checkpoint Press and bears the remarkable hallmarks of the one conducted against Michael N. Marcus earlier this year; suggested impropriety against underage women, business malpractice, defamation of character; and again showing an unhealthy obsession with the person targeted. Like the Marcus case, once again, serious accusations are made without any concrete foundations being provided.

The current Facebook page making these allegations has been set up by a so-called 'private investigator', and requests information on the perpetrator to be sent to them. needless to say, it is filled with spelling and grammatical errors, legal errors, no serious professional would dare to publish.

"3 defensless[sic] woman[sic] in England"

"One of these woman[sic]"

"in actual fact Maanning[sic] himself"

"If you have had any bad experiences with Steven T Manning please feel free to share them with us here."

As I have pointed out above, the Facebook page is hardly a forum for exchange on such matters between any 'informed civilian' and a 'private detective', and in this case, Inspector Clouseau's page doesn't give us any contact link either way even if we did have information.

Much of the older themes trotted out during the run up to the Diggory Press court case in November 2009 (two of the three claimant cases were awarded against Diggory) are raised again here and were dismissed or not even entertained by the court back then.

"volition to tell there[sic] own horror stories of there[sic] misfortune."

This piece of brilliant Facebook literature was presented by 'Yeson Parker' who you will find little on if you do a search and the equally foolish, Alasia Milerson, who seems happy to like a page because one of her siblings happens to share the name 'Manning'.

I'm sure more will develop on this issue, but for anyone who wants to read the history behind this; go here.

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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Amazon bypasses publishers for agents | theBookseller.com

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Amazon bypasses publishers for agents theBookseller.com

Getting Reviews for Self-Published Books

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Getting Reviews for Self-Published Books

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Swinging the Other Way: Vanity Publisher Goes Non-Vanity

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Swinging the Other Way: Vanity Publisher Goes Non-Vanity

"From all outward signs, the new imprint, which will be called Vantage Point, will function as a genuine trade publisher. According to information seen by Writer Beware, Vantage Point will work with agents as well as acquiring 'selected' Vantage Press titles, will pay small advances ('comparable to small presses'), will provide editing and marketing, and has just inked a distribution agreement with Ingram Publisher Services."
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Sunday, 7 November 2010

This Week in the Self-Publishing Blogs, October 31 – November 6, 2010 — The Book Designer

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Joel Friedlander's look at the week in self-publishing blogs.

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