Can I be honest about your writing? (Part 2 – Vanity/Self-Publishing)

I believe in calling a spade “a sturdy hand shovel that can be pushed into the earth with the foot”.

Part 1 – Oh, the Vanity of it all! of this multi-post arc dealt with some folks I knew who vanity published their books back when we called vanity publishers “vanity publishers”.

Vanity publishing was great in its heyday. Heck, it still is. The vanity house had no skin in the game. You paid them to publish your book. They did their best to upsell you on marketing, cover design, hard v soft cover, an ISBN, paper quality, print quality, print size, editing, proofing, copy editing, …

Again I ask, any of this sounding familiar?

What they couldn’t do is put your book on bookstore shelves. The book industry has buyback policies that no other industry (that I know of) has; If your book doesn’t sell, the bookstore can return it to the publisher and get their money back. Such a policy requires the publisher have a staff in place to handle returns and a warehouse to house returns. Vanity publishers didn’t have that.

Umm…neither does self-publishing. That’s why you can order your self-published book at a bookstore but can’t find it on the shelves.
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Can I be honest about your writing? (Part 1 – Oh, the Vanity of it all!)

My child’s a genius. Your child’s precocious. Their child’s an obnoxious brat. – We use language to distance ourselves from uncomfortable truths

Note: this will be a multi-post arc on the theme of storycrafting versus publishing. Hope you enjoy.

Long, long ago (we’re talking late 1980s early 1990s) when we called vanity publishers “vanity publishers”, I knew a fellow who just had to get his book in print. I think the title was “The Decapitation Project”. We were in a workshop together and it didn’t matter what he submitted, everything got back to The Decapitation Project and how it was based on fact and the government had a secret lab where they were keeping heads alive.

You mean like Donovan’s Brain?

“That was a book. The Decapitation Project is real.”

A friend told me they saw him at a con with a table selling copies of his book (again, decades ago).

His self-published book.

Except back then we called it “vanity published” and it was something one only admitted to if asked.

When you had a gun pointed at your head.

If then.
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My First Book Fair/Authors’ Expo – Part 4

Do you practice writing? Practice Marketing, too.

This thread is based on my experiences, conversations with authors and several years helping companies develop and execute marketing strategies. Part 1 introduced setting reasonable goals for attending book fairs and authors’ expos, Part 2 discussed doing research to make sure a given con/fair/expo will reasonably meet your goals, and Part 3 dealt with determining what you need to achieve your goals.

This post is about practicing your goal before you get there.
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My First Book Fair/Authors’ Expo – Part 3

What do you need to help you achieve your goal?

This thread is based on my experiences, conversations with authors and several years helping companies develop and execute marketing strategies. Part 1 introduced setting reasonable goals for attending book fairs and authors’ expos, Part 2 discussed doing research to make sure a given con/fair/expo will reasonably meet your goals.

This post is about figuring out what you need to help you achieve your book fair/author expo goal.
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Dean Koontz’s “How to Write Best Selling Fiction”

Lots of reading suggestions, lots about the business of writing, but…

This book is an interesting read and dated, both in a number of ways. The two main takeaways seem to be “Publishers are Evil…but not all” and “Read! If you want to write, read!”
There’s no question that Koontz is a bestselling author so one would think he’d have a lot to offer. I didn’t find much revelatory in this book. Definitely a lack of advice re technique, character, plot, dialogue, … Definitely lots of suggestions for whom to read to learn technique, character, plot, dialogue, …
There’s a lot about the business of writing in the book, specifically how bad publishing drives out good publishing (read “lots of bad books drive out good books”) and he gives several examples of poorly written, edited, printed, …books taking up bookstore shelves so there’s less room for accomplished writers to put their wares out.
Makes one wonder what he’d have to say about the self-publishing industry.
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