Showing posts with label publisher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label publisher. Show all posts

Sunday, May 12

Beware Damnation Books

Beware Damnation Books

Tim Marquitz is a writer who published through Damnation Books and who wants to warn other writers away from the company. He writes:
After filing a justice court suit against Damnation Books on November 15, 2012 for multiple counts of breach of contract, I won a small financial judgment against the publisher on April 26, 2013. The judge, however, did not feel it was within his power to rescind the disputed contracts despite finding in my favor, referring me to a higher court. (Damnation Books On Notice!)
If you are thinking about signing with Damnation Books, read what Tim has to say about their business practices. 

I heard about Tim's plight through Passive Guy's blog post on the subject: Beware Damnation Books. There's a lot of good advice in that post about how to avoid shady publishers. For instance:

1. Google the publisher's name with words like "warning" and "beware"

2. See what the folks over at Absolute Write have to say.

Absolute Write contains a wealth of information on publishers and agents. If you have a question about a publisher, agent, editor, then head on over and search their extensive database and, if you don't find anything, post your question.

I found this over at Absolute Write in a post asking about Damnation Publishing:
Overall my experience with Damnation was quite pleasant, until we disagreed on the design of the cover. They were unwilling to negotiate, so I asked to be released from my contract. At this time, they sent me a letter charging me a $800+ “termination agreement.” This letter included an itemized list of expenses—and as a publisher myself I know how exorbitant and ridiculous these charges are.

Further, there was no mention of a termination fee in the contract I originally signed. . . . When I refused to pay the fee, Kim Gilchrist told me that unless I paid it they would go on and publish the book without my support. (Show Me)

3. Search the archives of Writer Beware to see if Victoria Strauss has blogged about the company.

Writer Beware contains a wealth of information. In fact the person who left the comment I quoted above talked to Victoria Strauss about Damnation Books and their practice of charging kill fees. She pointed him to this article: Publishers' Kill Fees, and Why They're Bad For Everyone.

Good stuff.

Have you had a bad experience with a publisher? What do you look at when deciding whether to sign with someone?

Other articles you might like:

- Where To Find Cover Artists
- 10 Tips For Proofreading Your Manuscript
- Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Smashing Sub-Genres

Photo credit: "London Calling #2" by Thomas Leuthard under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Tuesday, December 11

Guy Kawasaki Writes The Definitive Book On Self Publishing: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How To Publish A Book

Guy Kawasaki Writes The Definitive Book On Self Publishing: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How To Publish A Book

If you don't agree that Guy Kawasaki has written the definitive book on self publishing, go look at his table of contents: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book.

That's okay. I'll wait.

Back? Good. :)

I had been thinking about writing a small step-by-step guide on how to go through the nuts and bolts of the publishing process, but it looks like Guy has covered that.

Today Joe Konrath broke his month-long hiatus and published an interview with Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist of Apple. Barry Eisler, bestselling author of the John Rain thrillers, conducted the interview.

Here are a few highlights:

Barry Eisler On APE, Guy Kawasaki's New Book

I just finished Guy’s extraordinary new book ... and it’s easily the most comprehensive, best organized, nuts-and-bolts-useful work on self-publishing I’ve seen to date. I think Guy has written the bible on self-publishing, and I expect it will be recognized—and widely used—as such.

Guy Kawasaki On The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Traditional Publisher

The advantage of a traditional publisher is that it takes care of so many details for you such as content editing, copyediting, cover design, interior design, printing, sales, distribution, and returns. It also provides a large advance. The disadvantage is that it rightfully pays you a lot less and reduces your flexibility.

The Democratization of Information

The historical trend of publishing, like many other industries, is towards democratization and an open system. It used to be that only the church and royalty had scribes. This meant a lower level of literacy, and that one had to go to church to learn about God. Then Gutenberg invented the printing press, and it was possible to print many more copies of the Bible. Now people could learn about God by reading the Bible without going to church.

Fast-forward to the introduction of Macintosh, LaserWriter, and PageMaker, and now anyone with these products could print a book. The current curve doesn’t even involve printing: anyone with a computer, a word processor, and Internet access can upload a book to Amazon. Then anyone with a computer, smartphone, or tablet can read the ebook. The democratization of information is not something to get in the way of.

Physical Limits To Publishing And Gatekeepers

There were physical limits to ... how many titles a store could physically display and stock. This meant that gatekeepers—arbiters of taste—were necessary to act as filters. If Random House or Penguin published a book, it must be good. And only a Random House or Penguin could print the book on dead trees and get the dead trees to the store.

This isn’t true anymore. Do you care who published a book? Do you even look to see who the publisher is before you buy a book? I don’t. I just look at the number of stars it has on Amazon and read a few reviews and buy it.

Unbound Is Kickstarter For Writers

Unbound puts the power of publishing in the hands of authors and readers. Authors pitch their book ideas directly to you. If you back a project before it reaches its funding target, you get your name printed in the back of every copy and immediate behind-the-scenes access to the author’s shed. If any project fails to hit its funding target, you get refunded in full.

Guy's Advice For New Writers: His Views On Book Marketing

The most important thing a self-publisher has to understand is that the hard part of publishing a book is marketing it, not writing it. On the day you start writing your book, you should start building a marketing platform, too. I recommend three hours per day writing and one hour per day building a social-media presence. You cannot wait until you finish your book before you start building a marketing platform. Life for a successful author is doing things in a parallel, not serial manner.
Guy's advice turned out to be incendiary so Barry Eisler added his two bits in the comments and I think it's worth repeating. (I didn't get Barry's permission to post this portion of his comment, but it was posted in a public forum and I am confident he would not mind.)
[W]hat makes for cost-effective marketing for your first book, when no one in the world has heard of you, is likely different from what's cost-effective for your 10th, 20th, etc book, when (hopefully) you're a big bestseller. Certainly I've changed my marketing tactics as my circumstances have changed. There were things I did for my first several books that I think were well conceived and well executed at the time, and that I would never do now because my circumstances have changed and the old tactics are no longer cost-effective.
I agree. You're not going to see a bestseller like Stephen King enrolling his books in Amazon KDP Select because, regardless of how he feels about Amazon (I have no information on this) he doesn't need the publicity so the exclusivity requirement could only hurt him. On the other hand, an author with absolutely NO following has nothing to lose.

If you'd like to join the conversation over on Joe's site, click here: Comments on Interview with Guy Kawasaki.

Even if you don't agree with all Guy's opinions his book seems like a must-read for independent authors. I know I want to read it.

Other articles you might like:

- The Dark Art Of Critiquing, Part 1: What Makes A Story Good?
- The Dark Art of Critiquing, Part 2: Formulating A Critique
- 12 Tips On How To Write Antagonists Your Readers Will Love To Hate

Photo credit: "Guy Kawasaki at front of USS Nimitz" by Robert Scoble under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Sunday, June 3

TREEbook: An e-book format that allows for multiple story-lines

"TREEbook" stands for Timed Reading Experience E-book. As the name implies, this new e-book format will allow the reader to experience a story tailored to their reading pace and preferences.

This is from
Built into the code of each TREEbook™ are time triggers that are set off based on your reading habits, such as your average reading pace, which day you’re reading, or even how long you read, leading you to each successive branch within the story. With the interplay between time triggers and story branches, different readers can experience various results of pivotal moments within the same TREEbook™. If, for example, you read that the hero has ten minutes to dismantle a bomb but your real life forces you away from the TREEbook™ for fifteen minutes, you could return to the story in the aftermath of the explosion. If your friend is reading the same book, depending on her reading habits, her experience may be different. For example, the hero could save the day. The outcomes would lead you and your friend to even more diverging branches of the story.
. . . .

The story grows with you.

The very first TREEbook™ novel (release date 2013) will be The Julian Year by award-winning horror author Gregory Lamberson (The Jake Helman Files, The Frenzy Wolves Cycle). In The Julian Year, Julian Weizak, an obituary writer in New York, celebrates his birthday alone in a bar on New Year’s Eve. At the stroke of midnight, scores of homicides break out on the East Coast.

Julian discovers twenty thousand murders are committed that night in New York alone, with the epidemic spreading across the country and the world time zone by time zone. At midnight each day thereafter, millions of people become homicidal maniacs, contributing to the biggest killing spree in history. It looks as if the chaos can lead to only one end: the extinction of humankind.
- About TREEbook
I wonder how this would work for book clubs? You ask: How did you feel when the hero was blown up by the bomb? only to have everyone look at you uncomprehendingly because in their versions (they didn't have to get up to baste a chicken!) he was saved.

Although I love exploring new technologies, it seems as though this one could be frustrating. Having the action continue on even when I'm up doing something else? I don't know about you, but the day I got a Personal Video Recorder (PVR), one that allowed me to freeze whatever program I was watching so I could go off and do other things, was one of the happiest days of my life! (A fact which makes me think I've likely spent too much time watching TV.)

What do you think about this new technology? Would you buy a TREEbook?


Friday, April 13

How to self-publish on Barnes & Noble

I want to write an ebook on how to self-publish and thought I'd motivate myself by writing one section a week and posting it here. I intended to post this article Thursday, so it's a day late, but I'm a big fan of the sentiment: "Better late than never!" :-)

Eventually, I'll write articles on how to self-publish on each major platform -- Smashwords,, Apple, Sony, and so on -- but I thought I would begin with Barnes & Noble. So, here we go. As always, your feedback is appreciated!

Publishing On Barnes & Noble

What is required
Only publishers can get books into Barnes & Noble's Nook Store, so you'll need a business license. In the United States information on starting up a business can be found at BusinessUSA ( The website is chalk full of useful information and it's easy to navigate. In Canada, you'll need to go to your city or municipality's website.

Okay, so, you've got a business license and you want to publish your ebook with Barnes & Noble. What now?

First, head off to PubIt! ( and take out a free account but be warned. In order to complete registration you'll need a U.S. bank account, a U.S. credit card and a U.S. tax id number. Also, your bank account, credit card and tax id number must be tied to a U.S. address. This would seem to indicate that only US residents can get their ebooks into the Nook Store. Not so!

Getting your books into the Nook Store though Smashwords
If you can't take out an account at PubIt!, but you want to get your ebooks into the Nook Store, you can do this through Smashwords. (Thinking about it now, I should probably have written about Smashwords before Barnes & Noble! Ah well.)

Unlike at Barnes and Noble, you do not have to be a publisher to publish through Smashwords. That said, if you want to get your book into the Apple Store or the Sony Store, your book will need to have an ISBN number, and in order to buy your own ISBN number you do need to be a publisher. If that doesn't appeal to you, don't despair! Smashwords will provide you with a free ISBN if you don't want to buy your own (see below for details).

Using Smashwords to Distribute Your Ebook
If your ebook makes it into Smashwords Premium Catalog it will be sold in the following online bookstores:

Apple -- it has iBookstores in 32 countries
Barnes & Noble
WH Smith in the UK
The Diesel eBook Store
eBook Eros (operated by Diesel)
Baker & Tayler (Blio and the Axis 360 library service)

As you can see, one of the premium distribution chanells is Barnes & Noble, so by getting your ebook accepted into the premium catalog at Smashwords you will, eventually, be able to get your ebook into Barnes & Noble's Nook Store.

That's about all there is to say about that except to explain Smashwords' policy on ISBN numbers. However, rather than restate Smashwords policy, I'm just going to post an except from it.

Smashwords Distribution Information Page: How Smashwords Distributes Ebooks
Will Smashwords assign me an ISBN number?
Starting March 2010, Smashwords added support for ISBN-13 numbers with our new ISBN Manager feature. We offer three ISBN options: 1. You can attach your own ISBN number to your book; 2. You can obtain a free ISBN from Smashwords that registers Smashwords as your publisher (your book must be accepted into the Premium Catalog to be eligible to receive the free ISBN), or; 3. You can select the premium ISBN from Smashwords. The Premium ISBN service,  which registers you, the author or publisher, as the publisher in the ISBN record and lists Smashwords as the distributor, is $9.95 and is available only to residents of the United States and U.S. territories, and your book must be accepted into the Premium Catalog.  For publishers outside the United States, click here for list of international ISBN agencies.

What's the difference between the Premium ISBN and the Free ISBN?  Which is better?
We recommend the FREE ISBN because it's free.  We pay for the ISBN so you don't have to.  The Premium ISBN offers no advantage over the free ISBN.  Unless you're a publisher of multiple authors, the Premium ISBN is essentially a vanity ISBN for those who feel it's important to be listed as the "publisher" in the Bowker Books in Print Database, a database few readers will ever view (most readers search for books via title and author name searches at Google and online bookstores).  Of all the Smashwords retailers, only Sony polls Bowker for data in the ISBN record.  The FREE ISBN is available to any Smashwords author, anywhere in the world.  Although it registers Smashwords as the "publisher" in the Bowker record, we are not your publisher.  This designation is due only to the legacy limitations of Bowker's categorization options for ISBNs.  If Smashwords is listed as your publisher in the ISBN record, it in no way limits your ownership of your book, and in no way makes us your publisher.  

Can I use a Smashwords ISBN elsewhere?
We do not recommend this.  Smashwords ISBNs are provided as an exclusive service benefit for authors and publishers who utilize Smashwords' distribution services.  To use a Smashwords ISBN elsewhere, or to utilize Smashwords as a free vending machine for ISBNs, goes against the spirit of why we make this benefit available to our authors and clients.  To do so would also potentially create situations where your book is listed incorrectly.  If you plan to utilize an ISBN outside of Smashwords distribution, it's best to go to ISBN registrar and obtain your own.

Do I need an ISBN to publish on Smashwords?
No, you don't need an ISBN, though your book will be more successful if you have one because you'll enjoy broader distribution.  Why? Sony and Apple require ISBNs.
Clear as mud? Let me try to summarize.

A) If you ARE a publisher and live in the US:
- Head over to Barnes & Noble's PubIt! page and take out an account, then follow their simple and easy instructions and publish your ebook. (We'll talk about formatting your ebook for publication with PubIt@ later in this series.)

B) If you ARE a publisher but don't live in the US:
- Head over to Smashwords and publish your book through them, being careful to indicate that you want Barnes & Noble as one of your distribution channels. Eventually -- in a few weeks -- your book will show up on the Nook Store shelves.

If you are NOT a publisher:
- Same as for (B), above. If you want an ISBN number for your book, Smashwords will assign one to your book for you free of charge (see above for the details).

I hope that made some sense, there is SO much to cover in this area! Eventually I'll get through it.

Thanks for reading!

Photo Credit: techshout

Related Articles:
Publishing With Smashwords: What can Smashwords do for me as a writer?