Monday, April 8, 2013


I feel compelled to make a second blog post today. Partly from something I mentioned in my last post, but largely from something that I just read in the news.

Authors are being screwed. Okay, so this is not news. Authors have always had to struggle to get their piece of the publishing pie. But things are getting worse and worse. Publishers are taking a larger and larger bite, leaving a slimmer slice for the writer.

You know, the guy (or gal) WHO ACTUALLY PRODUCES WHAT THEY SELL!?!

For some recent details, read this New York Times article.

The gist of it is, Publishers, with their (laughable) marketing departments, Photoshop Art Direction Departments, and their Mafia-like distribution fleets, are taking more and more of the cover price on your average book for themselves. The net effect is that the writers are left with the table scraps.

Does this seem wrong to ANYONE who isn’t a writer???

Here is what I am considering doing. I have the means to produce eBooks in a variety of formats, including MOBI, which is readable on the Kindle. What if I were to self-publish all of my own work, and sell it directly? Say you own a Kindle, and you want to read my latest short story. You can go to Amazon, pay $.99, and have it electronically delivered to your Kindle device. Or…

You could go to my site, pay $.99 thru PayPal, providing me with your Kindle's email address, and I could send the story in MOBI format directly to your device. For you, the difference is a slightly longer purchasing process (probably about as long as ordering a print book to be delivered). But for me, I get paid $.99 rather than $.35 for your purchase.

Additionally, I could produce it in other formats for other eReaders, or even in PDF, just to read on your computer (or print out if you are so inclined).

And then, what if my site (which could be ad-driven) was available to other authors so they can also provide their books for sale in the same manner? Honestly, I would be willing to convert the files and email them out, or send the files to the authors so they can email them out, for free. I put that Avenger collection together in about an hour, and that included using Photoshop to cobble together a decent cover. Had I had the cover art already done, the time would have been about 10 minutes, all together.

I can already see the disadvantage here. Even though “marketing” is almost non-existent by the publishing houses, it still exists to a degree. So, my biggest obstacle would be how to drive traffic to my site. Obviously search engines, sites like Goodreads, and social media. And really, would it take much more than that?

I may look into this. I would probably start it out as strictly a place to offer short stories. But that could be a niche market, no? I’m sure I am overlooking some issues. But, something needs to be done. And these are just some thoughts.

Why is this important to me, since I produce so little writing of my own? Well, because I have friends who are writers, and this new trend in “Going in dry” publishing is going to hurt them. And I don’t like people hurting my friends.


Charles Gramlich said...

I think this might well be the wave of the future, and through pay pal it could be done, I think. Certainly a promising idea.

Keith said...

I'm with you completely on this. This is the way to go. I can't see why anyone would want to go through a traditional publisher these days. I was going to do a post about publishers finally admitting ebooks weren't just as expensive as print books last week, then all the stuff with Night Shade distracted me.

I'm going to try to get some of my own stuff out there once the semester is over. It should be interesting to see what will happen.