May 22, 2012

The Home Stretch - Part 2

This is a multi-part series on the steps involved during the final stretch of publishing a book.

This second post is about a list of the details that I have to work through in order to actually, and successfully publish the book (in both print and digital form).

Some explanation of the follow list is in order. For marketing purposes, I wanted my own web site (separate from the site I maintain). I obtain the domain names and a while back, so I decided to use those. I also wanted a site for the book, so I just put it under the site (so the url for the book is Then, Google sent me a $100 coupon for advertising, but it had a time limit, so I decided to stand up an ability on the site to to pre-orders of the book and do some trial marketing. I think the rest of the list makes sense. The gray areas are items that are complete. Also, this does not include the minutia like figuring out actual postage costs or any of the decision making process (e.g. do I handle digital conversion myself or hire that out, do I hire a company to do social media marketing,

  • & web site
    • Home
    • Writing
    • Humanism
    • Career
    • Personal
    • Repoint  primary GoDaddy site to w/ sh as domain redirect
    • Check all links, titles, and metadata
    • Get new icon for web site
    • Setup Google Analytics
    • Copy edit
  • Propositum web site (under
    • Home
      • Polling mechanism
    • Contents
    • Sample
    • Reviews (temporary)
    • Purchase (Pre-purchase)
      • Hook up to PayPal for pre-purchase
      • Include ability to add to mailing list
    • About
    • Check all links, titles, and metadata
    • Get new icon for web site
    • Setup Google Analytics
    • Confirm prices with Wasteland and update if needed
    • Copy edit
  • Setup pre-order/trial marketing run
    • Requires and propositum sites to be completed
    • Design pre-purchase page: pre-order and add-to-mailing-list
    • Update to include reference to new book
    • Design ads (3?), post on Google, turn on conversion tracking
  • Complete book:
    • Finish revision
      • Internal reviews (family/friends & at least two writers)
    • Professional copy edit (possibly with Authoright)
    • Preface by Burton Mack or some other author/scholar
      • Multiple emails sent to HarperCollins trying to track him down
    • Validate permission to use the maps
    • Update website after book is complete (contents, sample)
  • Publish:
    • Determine publisher & package - Wasteland Press, Ultimate package
    • Format for publishers requirements (interior design) - none needed
    • Cover design - Wasteland will do this
      • Update website once cover is designed
    • Determine if using digital conversion service or doing it myself, convert if needed
      • Kindle, Nook and others - find where to post digital availability
  • Post Production paraphernalia
    • Business cards (temporary ones done; may update after cover design)
    • Book trailer?
    • Bookmarks, post cards, posters, etc.
    • Get reviewers to post review on amazon
  • Marketing/Advertising
    • Send to friends: Facebook, linked-in, Google+, others
    • Facebook ads, Google AdSense
    • Email all known contacts
    • Contact known related (US) organizations for reviews, speaking events
      • COCORE members
      • AHA member list if I can obtain it
      • AAI (or American Atheists) member list if I can find it
    • Contact old haunts (schools, cities I've lived, etc.) for speaking events
    • It's a Book mailer from RMFW
    • Hire marketing firm?
      • Authoright P.R does social media  (and other things) based on book

May 11, 2012

The Home Stretch - Part 1

This is a multi-part series on the steps involved during the final stretch of publishing a book.

In this case, the novel was completed quite a while ago and I've been in the middle of revising and improving it. In recent months, it is coming together nicely and so I have had to consider exactly how I am going to publish it. With the state the publishing industry is in and the fact that publishers don't do much to market or sell a book for a first-time novelist, I decided to self-publish.

My first (non-fiction) book was published through That worked well because I did not expect to sell a ton of books and I wanted to learn the industry, so it was acceptable to do it all myself. For this book, I want it done professionally, so I purchased The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine and researched more "robust" self-publishers. I narrowed it down to two (Aventine Press and Wasteland Press). Then I did a comparison of the features and what it would really cost me. Since Wasteland provides 500 copies with their Ultimate package (and 25 review copies), I made the assumption with all three that I would need that many to sell directly.

The table below shows the results. What is fascinating about this is that Wasteland looks the worst to start with because of the high initial costs, but because they include 500 copies, that cost is easily (well, relatively easily) recovered.

Assuming I need the list of deliverables (in purple below), the total cost with Wasteland is half what it is with Lulu and below Aventine as well. This is because I would have to buy the 500 books from the other two at the "author" price.

Assuming I can sell the 500 books directly, the choice is pretty clear (though Aventine is a close second). The only downside I see is that the author price is a little high with them. So, if I ended up selling many more than 500 directly, it may end up better (financially) to be with Aventine.

Feature Aventine Wasteland Ult Lulu Free

Initial Cost  $(399)  $(3,400)  $-  
Direct Royalty ~$15  ~$14 ~$11
Indirect Royalty ($22/book) 2.40 2.97 2.50
Hardcover   $(295) $(250)  $-  
Cover Design  $(295) incl  $(500)
Interior Design Template  Template Template
Copy Editing  $(1,000)  $(1,000)  $(1,000)
Indexing 25 words  ?  ?
Initial Paperback Copies 2 500 0
Initial Hardcover Copies 0 0 0
Review Copies 0 25 0
Retail Price $22 range, assume 22 22.24
Author Price (paperback)  $6.35  $7.50 $11
Marketing n/a Press Release n/a

Cost given deliverables of:  $(5,324)  $(4,650)  $(7,275)
initial fee


cover design

professional copy editing

500 paperbacks

0 hardbound

25 review copies

May 7, 2012

Viewing the World as a Writer

One of the things school tried to teach me was to view the world as a writer. I didn't understand that for a long time. However, as my craft grew and I began to see the nuances in writing, I also began to see them all around me.

I remember sitting at a Sting concert one evening. He was playing at the Red Rocks Amphitheater (the best venue in the world) with the London Philharmonic. I actually lost track of the music for a while as I sat pondering the words and their hidden meanings. And then, I started to see how the music presented a mood to go along with those meanings. Of course, it helps that Sting is an intelligent person and writes complex, almost 3-dimensional, music.

After that, I started paying attention to the subtleties and the art of the written word. I saw it in posters and advertisements, in lyrics and speeches, in lectures and well-done movies, and sometimes even in casual conversation.

It also completely changed how I read books and possibly not for the better. Now, I tend to notice a word here or a phrase there and how they change the feeling of the writing. Poorly written books also annoy me more than they used to. Reading as a writer is improving my writing, but I think in some ways it has lessened my pleasure in reading because now I am as much critic and student as I am reader.