Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Savvy Self-Publisher, July-August 2009

Happy Independence Day - the right to publish our own books
is among the greatest freedoms we enjoy. Benjamin Franklin was
a self-publisher; so was Thomas Paine... why not you?

Tip of the Month:
Ever wonder why many books have TWO title pages?

It's a tradition retained from the days when books were reserved
for the wealthy (the poor couldn't read anyway) who had private
libraries. Books were custom-bound for each owner's library,
usually in leather, with a family crest.

The first title page, called the 'half-title' (or 'bastard
title') page, was to protect the rest of the pages for the book
binder. It was removed when the binding was completed. The
second title page, or 'full-title' page, remained bound inside
the finished book.

Today, the half-title page isn't really needed, but is often
retained... an interesting artifact of days gone by.

Lead Story:
New iPhone and Competitors Gain Momentum... BUT...

The new iPhone 3GS was released in June with a TON of buzz.
Competing smartphones like the Palm Pre and the Google Android
are also growing rapidly in popularity.

Smartphones are VERY important to authors and publishers, since
they may very well become the primary way that readers read books
in the not-too-distant future.

A few years ago, they could be overlooked, simply because relatively
few Americans used handheld devices for reading. But there were 17
million iPhones in use before the release of the 3GS... projections
for 2010 range as high as 35 million.

In Japan, where smartphones are nearly universal, five of the
top ten bestsellers of 2007 were cell phone novels:

This is good news for foresighted authors and publishers in the
US, most of whom are already moving rapidly to add electronic
versions of their books.

But the news isn't all good. AT&T still has a stranglehold on
the iPhone; Sprint has the Pre... this means that users are not
just buying a phone, but an ongoing service on which the phone's
functions depend. This is bad news for consumers, and those who
want to reach them:

In conclusion, if you write or publish books, NOW is the time
to get moving toward electronic distribution. Smartphones will
almost certainly be a big part of the future market for books.
Don't get left behind by offering your book only in printed

There are still many questions about which devices for reading
e-Books will ultimate prevail in the marketplace, the file
formats they use, who will sell them to the public, and more.
Please stay tuned to this newsletter for updates! Freebie:
Smashwords Re-Releases Snow's e-Book

Smashwords has re-released Danny O. Snow's 2002 collection of
articles on electronic publishing, titled 'Steal this e-Book!"

It is available as a FR@E download, in a wide variety of formats
for the Kindle, iPhone, Sony e-Reader and others:

For those unfamiliar with Smashwords, it is a new e-publishing
and bookselling site that provides fre@ online file conversion
from Word or RTF to every major e-Book format. It also provides
e-commerce, and online community networking services... also
at no charge to the author. Royalties are a whopping 85% of
net profits.

It does NOT however provide DRM (to deter piracy) of any kind.
Nor is it suitable for books with complicated layouts, complex
graphs, charts, etc.

But if you have written a book that is primarily simple text,
and want a way to make it widely available as a DRM-fr*e e-Book
without spending a dime, Smashwords is definitely worth a try.

The Write Stuff:

A "quote" is an cost estimate from a vendor or service provider.

A "quotation" is a reproduction of a person's statement.

The phrase "Here is a quote from Shakespeare..." is incorrect.
It should read "Here is a quotation..." instead.

By popular demand, this newsletter will feature a similar tip
in each issue henceforth.

DOJ Opens Formal Investigation of Google Settlement

You've heard the rumors before, but now it's official. The
U.S. Department of Justice has launched an anti-trust inquiry
of the much-publicized settlement in October 2008 that would
allow the release of MILLIONS of books online by Google:

Danny O. Snow's personal POV: Of course, no one wants a monopoly
in the book world, online or offline. Whether Amazon and the
Kindle (or Sony and the e-Reader) can effectively compete is
hard to predict. At the same time, I see no company but Google
with both the resources and willingness to take this historic
step forward in the history of the written word. The current
squabbling makes me imagine that a cure for cancer has finally
been found... but is delayed while pharmaceutical companies
and the FDA jockey for position. I'm sure that some parties
have valid reasons to question the settlement -- and they
deserve answers. But how long do we stall the dawn of a new
age for books? If not Google, who? If not now, when?