You’re So Vain: Vanity Presses Versus Self-Publishing

writers paying for publishing euro-317927_960_720Over the years we’ve have several posts regarding companies that some call vanity presses or vanity publishers. About three years ago we had an entire series of posts about these companies, called #PublishingFoul. Five years ago there were two major players in this arena: PublishAmerica and Author Solutions with a few other smaller companies using the same business model.

The two biggies operated under a myriad of different names with foreign subsidiaries and multiple imprint names. Keeping track of them was tough. But a rule of thumb that is attributed to author James D. Macdonald that “money should always flow toward the author” was all a wannabe-published author needed to know to avoid becoming the victim of those who would prey on the less informed. But the only thing constant in the world is change, and over the last several years a lot has changed, both in this portion of the publishing industry and in how authors can protect themselves. Continue reading “You’re So Vain: Vanity Presses Versus Self-Publishing”

Big Book Data for the Little Author Guy

data for author research on google nviewer ball-457334_960_720Coming up with blanks while trying to decide what to write about this month, I went back to a list of post ideas I’d started what feels like forever ago in internet terms. I found some notes about a New York Times article The Passive Voice had excerpted that talked about Google’s Ngram Viewer. This is cool stuff. Better late than never, right?

I’m going to briefly touch on two different areas in this post. What the Ngram Viewer does, and how it might be useful to an author. Continue reading “Big Book Data for the Little Author Guy”

I’ll Show You the Money: Monetizing with Amazon

money packs-163497_960_720If I offered you a raise of between 5% and 6% for spending a trivial amount of extra time (we’re talking only seconds) you wouldn’t turn it down, would you? I didn’t think so. Yet that’s exactly what an author who isn’t setup as an Amazon Associate and using proper links when linking to their books on Amazon from their websites, Facebook pages, and elsewhere is doing. Amazon has made a few changes in the associates program over the years. Some of those changes haven’t been so good (they’ve dropped the percentage commission an associate gets) but some have been good (it’s easier than ever to get and use associate links). This post will walk you through the absolute basics, but it will increase the amount you make for every copy of your book you personally sell from your website through Amazon. If you’re going to bother putting links to your books on your website, why not grab a few percent more when they get clicked on? Continue reading “I’ll Show You the Money: Monetizing with Amazon”

But You Promised to Review My Book

sad author baby-cougar-1065101_960_720At first glance, my assignment seems straightforward. Write a post about what authors can do to not get taken advantage of by reviewers who ask for a print version of your book and then don’t come through with the promised review. The short answer is probably “not much.” But Ms. Brooks says one paragraph of seventy words won’t cut it as a “real post.” So, I’ll ramble on.

The reality is that once this has happened, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. It doesn’t matter whether the “reviewer” is a scam artist looking for inventory to sell at his or her local used bookstore, or a well-meaning reviewer who didn’t follow through. Continue reading “But You Promised to Review My Book”