Tag Archives: paperbacks

My Publishing Journey.


logo-csp-no-tmIt will probably be easier for most Indie Author-Publishers to format first for e-book, and then do a paperback, but I went first with CreateSpace. Formatting had its frustrations (mainly due to the limitations of their system), but I will use them again. I used their ISBN, and also put the book into their “expanded” distribution, which means it goes into catalogs such as Baker & Taylor and Ingram, from which libraries and other vendors order. I’d give them a 96% satisfaction and quality rating, and when I did have the rare problem, they fixed it fast.

navAmazonLogoFooter._V169459313_I refused to let CreateSpace automatically enroll my book in Kindle. I read the Kindle contract, which was nine pages long, made unreasonable demands, and I especially objected to the exclusivity. This means that Amazon gets to sell only the paperback, for which I think they have retaliated, by primarily listing an out-of-print beta edition (making it look as if my book is not available), so that shoppers have to dig for the current edition, and by printing poor-quality copies (I’ve seen one, and it’s ugly). Amazon does sell the paperback worldwide, although there have been no international sales yet.

NavFlyout_NOOK_logoI signed up individually with Barnes & Noble Nook, which at the time had a six-page, politely worded contract, and did not demand exclusivity. The Nook formatting needed substantial tweaking before I was satisfied. When in a brick-and-mortar B&N, it’s fun to go to a Nook display, dial up your own book on all the floor samples, and then go on with your shopping. The store should have no trouble ordering a paperback. Online, B&N offers the paperbacks for sale, from CreateSpace. They also list third-party “Marketplace” vendors who claim to have “new” and “like new” copies “in stock,” but which, if they do get an order, will likely get a copy at a discount from Amazon and then re-sell it. There has been one e-book sale through Nook.

swlogoI uploaded to Smashwords (and used their ISBN) for aggregate e-book distribution in Kindle format and to everybody else except B&N. Formatting was tedious, but I had no problems with my upload, which was accepted on the first attempt, and depending on the digital platform used, it seems to have few, if any, issues. Smashwords also distributes to OverDrive, from which many public libraries order. Two e-books have sold through Smashwords. You must be set up with PayPal to get paid.

plover_logoI publish as an independent publisher, using my own logo, but because the ISBN is registered to CreateSpace, most retailers list them as the publisher. Smashwords has been listed as the publisher at e-book retailers, presumably for the same reason.

Finally, I strongly recommend that Indie Author-Publishers register copyrights and comply with mandatory deposit laws in their locations. In addition, I discourage the practice of distributing 99-cent and free e-books, because they can encourage piracy and plagiarism. Indies should protect their work and price it fairly, no matter what may be their publishing platform of choice.

(Please be sure to read the comment section: explanations have been added there.)


Filed under books


Slide1Piracy and plagiarism have always been with us: one of the earliest cases is said to have been adjudicated by the 6th-century Irish High King Diarmait mac Cearbhaill, who pronounced, “To every cow its calf, and to every book its copy.” This started a war that resulted in the exile of the culprit, who repented for causing so many deaths, turned over a new leaf, and became Saint Columba.

There are writers out there who are on the record dismissing the importance of book piracy, and likening it to “free publicity.” But why encourage criminals? Others have compared piracy to borrowing books from a public library. This opinion is mistaken. Libraries purchase their inventory from reputable sources, so authors have been paid for each book libraries acquire. Libraries then lend their own property to their registered patrons. This is fair use. Readers may later purchase books that they borrowed from a library. I have often done so.

Piracy undoubtedly is exacerbated by the reluctance of many Indie Authors to obtain copyright registration. What should thieves fear, when their victims will have difficulty proving ownership without legal documentation of copyright? In the USA, copyright registration is easy, inexpensive, and should not be omitted.

The distribution of free e-books also has made it simple and cost-effective for criminals to steal intellectual property. I believe that the pirates who advertise new paper books “in stock” are lying about their inventory. If they do get an order, they can easily download a cheap or free e-book and print from that copy. It’s not hard to reverse-engineer most digital documents, especially those which lack DRM.

A retailer giveaway may boost an author’s “sales ranking,” but such figures are deceptive: something that is given for free has not been sold. Assertions of popularity which are based on such misrepresentations destroy the credibility of all authors. Such promotionals benefit only retailers, who use them to make claims of having “best-selling” authors in their stables. Participating authors have reported disappointment when free-book promos neither improved nor maintained their incomes.

Irish Firebrands has moved its readers to amazement, reflection, anger, laughter, and tears, but it’s not a best-seller. It’s too bad that so few people have read it, but sometimes it helps to have published a sleeper, because I can account for every known legal copy:

  • Only three e-books were sold (at full retail price) after I put the book on Smashwords in 2013. I do not know who bought them, although I suppose it’s possible that one could have been an investment made by a pirate who then made back the cost by selling copies to two of the three persons who left star-ratings (but not written reviews) at Goodreads (the third person to leave a Goodreads rating owns a paperback).
  • Only once did I do an e-book promotion for $1.99 USD, but none were sold.
  • I have never done a promotional giveaway.
  • I’ve given one ARC to a reviewer, and it was a PDF of a special edition that’s easily identifiable if it shows up elsewhere. The POD sold one print copy before I took it off the market, and I know who bought it.
  • I have exchanged paperbacks with two authors.
  • I have given two paperbacks as charitable donations.
  • The POD has sold very few paperbacks. Two were purchased via library distribution, and I know who all of the other buyers were. No paperback sales were made outside the USA.
  • I sent an e-copy of the manuscript to a small publisher in the UK, who declined publication.
  • I sent one paperback to a self-published author competition, so that one may now be in circulation as a used book.
  • About half of the chapters of the audiobook Beta edition are in the hands of a half-dozen identified listeners. Beta listener feedback resulted in changes to the recording, so any recordings made from the Beta chapters would be pirate copies, and I’d know who did it. The audiobook text is also different to any of the others, so any e-book or paper copy that turns up and matches the audiobook text would be a stolen copy, taken from audiobook “dictation.”

My copyright was officially registered from the beginning of my book’s publication. I’ve seen my book’s cover on one of those dodgy “free e-book” distribution sites, but it’s accompanied by a copyright warning. If people are downloading or buying and reading pirate copies, nobody is reviewing the book anywhere (not even trolls).

I commend Indie Authors who register their copyrights. In addition, I encourage all to end free e-book distribution, and to set prices for their works that are commensurate with their value. Feel free to add the CAP IT! Badge to your blog’s sidebar or footer.



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