I’ve written before about “impossible books,” the books that will not work out the way you are imagining they will, once you get farther down the path toward publication in Are You Trying to Create an “Impossible” Book?
I explained in the article that some books can’t be easily or economically produced by self-publishers for technical reasons. For instance, it’s simply not possible to publish an 800-page novel via print on demand and set your retail price at $9.95.
Because the book will cost you over $11.00 to produce, while you’ll receive less than $6.00 when each book is sold.
At the end of the article I made a kind of plea to readers:
So do your planning wisely. If possible, talk to someone who has produced the kind of books you want to create, and who understands the realities of how books are made. They will give you some guidance early in your process.
That’s still good advice, and it came up again for me yesterday.
At the San Francisco Writer’s Conference
The San Francisco Writer’s Conference has been running the past few days, and I’ve done several presentations there. (Today I got to repeat a presentation on book formatting with Smashword‘s Mark Coker.)
Yesterday we had an extended “Ask a Pro” session in the main hall. Experts were set up each at our own large table with a perky sign with the expert’s name on it, all arranged in alphabetical order.
These short sessions (we were reminded to get moving every two minutes, but alas, I totally failed at that since I would get absorbed in an author’s publishing journey, and there’s just so much to talk about) sometimes turn into mini-consults.
For authors who are thinking about making the leap into self-publishing, these opportunities can be invaluable, and I have more than once steered an author away from what could turn out to be months of frustration, wasted time and money and, in the end, disillusionment with the whole publishing project.
One discussion with an author stood out because, the minute I heard this author’s plan, I knew he was in for a rude awakening, because what he envisioned was an “impossible” project.
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