Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Before I start the Blog, here's an update that might interest you:  I was just selected to be the host of 20 video tutorials from one of the leaders of How-To-Videos on the web: Howcast ( Howcast was named one of the top 50 websites in 2011 by Time Magazine. These are free videos, which anyone can watch. To bring up my Howcast videos on a "search," it appears that you need to use the name "Chris Hart," and not "Christopher Hart." This is something I will bring to their attention. Meanwhile, here's the link. I hope you'll check it out:

 Okay, now on to the topic:

The term "Self-Publishing" brings with it negative connotations, most notably, the practice of "Vanity Publishing," in which an aspiring writer, unable to interest a publisher in his work, decides to take matters into his own hands, and manufactures the books himself. This requires self-funding; selecting editors, art directors and other support staff; shipping associated with both sales and returns; bill and accounting; storage and promotion. Foreign sales and special sales are often beyond the scope of self-publishing.

The result is often a book that instantly looks and feels "wrong" -- homespun and amateurish. The printing, the layout, the paper and the binding simply do not have the feel of a book from a legitimate publisher. Add to that the stigma associated with self-publishing, and the fact that most book retailers will not stock them, and what you are likely to end up with is, in this author's opinion, a lot of expense, effort, few actual sales, and a garage-full of unsold books.

Of course, there are exceptions. Some self-published books have become successful. But those are rare cases. Yes, the royalties are higher, since you do not have to split them with a publisher. But receiving a greater royalty on the sale of, for example, 500 books - which is far above average for a self-published author - is still tiny. Because of the reduced outlets which accept self-published books; the number of areas of expertise required to produce, sell and promote them; the poor quality of the production,;and the associated stigma, I recommend against it.

Self-publishing - specifically a graphic novel - is a different animal, and features a business model that is much more favorable. More on that next time! Stay tuned.

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