ABC Homework #2: The Case for Self-Publishing
The following is a second reading for the upcoming October 2011 session of the Author Boot Camp seminar at Stanford. If you're in the Bay Area, the class is still enrolling here, and I hope you'll join us. If you're already enrolled, here's more food for thought regarding the current state of publishing.
In this essay from the New York Times Book Review, Neal Pollack (also here as a PDF for those adverse to signing up on NYT.com), a writer with a few titles to his name and the cred to get his opinions into the Times, makes the case for why he'll self-publish his next book, Jewball. It's definitely worth a read, both for his take on the changing face of publishing today, the necessary expenditures and freelance skill-jobs he'll need, as well as some hard numbers about the financial side including what he'll need to do to turn a profit. Most notably, there's little talk here about the stigma of self-publishing, something that writers faced writ large in the past. (see next posts regarding Barry Eisler)
What's also interesting, is that his plan involves using Kickstarter to cover up-front costs, something I thought only a few insiders had considered. Back in May when this piece came out, I was planning my own Kickstarter plan and feared that Pollack was letting a cat out of the bag. Not so. In fact, my Kickstarter campaign launched last week, reached its funding level in 25 hours and still has twenty-four days to go, allowing fans to pre-order a special edition of my next title and raising awareness about its eBook next month!
[What this means for you: we haven't reached a cultural saturation point for authors using this model. Good news!]
So my advice starts with reading this piece by Pollack. It's well-written, smart and still cutting edge, even four months after its release. Not only does Pollack explain some of the publishing methods I think can be most effective in today's market, they're the ones I'm currently using myself. Scout's honor!