Holy guacamole! Simon & Schuster announced their foray into self-publishing…for a hefty price. Oh sure, the 24K price tag is a “luxury” option, but is $1599 (the lowest-price option) really a deal?

Here’s where I have to say I’m a self-publishing virgin. I’ve done little research into the opportunity. All I know I know from friends who have done it…sometimes in the backseat of a car. (I kid.) Honestly, I have no idea what a writer spends to self-publish a book. Is $1599 reasonable?

First, let’s see what that $1599 gets us.

I signed up for information from Archway Publishing, the self-publishing arm of Simon & Schuster. Via their online guide, I learned the low-cost option for me, a fiction writer, is $1999. What would I get for that? The package would provide me with guidance from multiple people throughout the process. (I’m not sure how much guidance though. Can I call directly? Email only? Can I call daily? Hourly? Is it one email per production step? Might be good to know.) I’d get the usual, like an ISBN, copyright registration, Library of Congress control number. (At least I think those are usual. Don’t all books self-published or not get these?) I’d get a “standard” cover design and “standard” layout. (The examples are pleasant, including stock options. Authors can also submit their own images too.) I’d get a copy cover review, an editorial assessment (of 1,700 words), Channel Distribution, a personalized bookstore page, Google and Amazon search programs, Barnes and Noble “See Inside the Book,” an author copy (can buy more at a discount), soft cover B&W publishing (not sure what this means other than trade paperback, but maybe the cover is B&W), 5 paperback copies, e-book publishing and 10 BookStubs (cards for marketing).

For those of you who have self-published before, does this sound like a good deal? Did you spend as much, less, more? I’m seriously curious.

As for a luxury plan, the top-tier plan for fiction writers is $14,999 and includes dedicated guidance from a single publishing expert, a social media publicist and more of everything above. A social media publicist? Could be fun. But $14,999. Think of all the books I’d have to sell to break even.

For someone like me, with a background in traditional publishing, I’m slow to put my money on the line. My words and name are enough. But I’d love to know your thoughts, especially if you’ve self-published before. Is $1999-$14999 to publish a book exploitation of writers and the current trends in publishing, or is it a more controlled opportunity for those willing to take the risk?

Elley

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I’m late writing my post on Second Saturday, but I wasn’t late to the Orange County chapter meeting of Romance Writers of America. Okay, with the start of my new “real” job, I did miss the Pro Breakfast and Ask An Author. I was so exhausted that I overslept, but thanks to Hunky Hubby…who would rather be on a race track…I made it to the actual meeting on time.

OCC’s own Tara Lain, an award winning erotica writer, spoke at the morning workshop about using blog tours and blog hops to promote your book. She gave a clear outline of how to organize a blog tour and/or hop—from timing and finding the right blogs for your book, to what to write. Not only were Tara’s writing and organizational skills and of course her knowledge of using blogs to promote your books apparent, but Tara is an outstanding speaker, comfortable in front of an audience, very articulate, and able to field our many questions. Did I mention she wasn’t scheduled to speak until February, but graciously stepped in at the last minute?

After lunch and much needed social time, we regrouped to listen to Golden Heart Winner and New York Times Best Selling Author Darynda Jones talk about high concept. (I keep telling you aspiring authors, if you don’t belong to RWA you need to join, and if you do, I hope you’re going to the meetings!) So, Darynda spoke about “high concept,” a subject I had totally the wrong concept of…I know, but I couldn’t help it. (Hmm, I managed to end that sentence with a preposition twice, which is only possible if you write in run on sentences and don’t really end your sentences when you should. Maybe I should keep my brand new real job?)

So Darynda made the very murky topic of “high concept” a lot more clear. It is exactly the opposite of what I (and apparently many other people) thought it would be. With high concept, you need a topic that is simple and universal, but with a twist. It should be something you can present in a twenty-five word sentence, although I don’t think that’s a rule. High concept sells. Think Twilight…vampires, but not just any vampires, teen vampires.

Between ordering sewing machines, learning management procedures and talking to the many customers (sometimes potential characters) in the sewing store all day, I’m thinking about blog tours, high concept, and making it early enough to get to the Pro Breakfast and Ask an Author next month without giving Hunky Hubby an excuse to pretend he’s on the track at Irwindale Speedway again.

Are you ready for a blog tour to promote your book? Do you follow your favorite authors on their blog tours? Is your book high concept? Are you hosting Thanksgiving or going to Mom’s? Seriously, I want to know…

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Tari

Maybe it’s the time of year, the colder temperatures, the early darkness, but I’m wearing thin the wood floor between the dining room (where I write) and the kitchen. Every other sentence, sometimes every other word, I’m tempted to grab a snack, refresh my tea, pour some water. It’s procrastination isn’t it?

Other people struggle with the Internet, surfing or tweeting in between sentences. Not me. I struggle to stay out of the kitchen. I’m up to six 16-ounce servings of green tea a day. (I wonder if that’s a problem.) When I manage to avoid tea, I’m filling a 32-ounce glass with crushed ice and water. Then I try to write while I chew every last piece of ice and shiver violently. (Not the best writing environment.)

I wish I could be a focused writer, one who never glances away from the screen until the chapter is complete. These people do exist don’t they? Maybe not. Maybe we all have our vices (excuses), ones that drag us away from the task at hand. I’d like to explore this topic more, maybe even find a way to curb the impulses, but I can’t…my tea is ready.

Elley

Acknowledgements

November 5, 2012

Two weeks down on my “real job.” Already two business trips under my belt. No actual writing done, but somehow between waiting at the airport for flights, flying, and staying alone in a hotel room, this week I managed to read Kieran Kramer’s Victorian romance Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right, and it was delightful…right down to the acknowledgements.

Seriously, I grabbed the top book from the stack of unread novels (that I’ve been dying to read) on the bookshelves next to my bed, and squeezed it into my already stuffed totebag (I refuse to check a bag, so I have a totebag and one rolling carry on case to take on the plane) as I was walking out the door to catch my flight. I don’t have to run, because I’m so paranoid, that I prefer to arrive at the airport three hours ahead of time, as they’ve suggested since 9/11, but apparently no one does that but me anymore, because I was through security in minutes and had three hours to read while I waited for my flight…thank goodness I grabbed Kieran’s book! (You already know I’m the Queen of Run-on Sentences, and if you didn’t you do now!)

So, anyway, I love to read the acknowledgements and dedications that authors write in their books, mostly because I fantasize about what I will say in mine. Kieran tells a fabulous story in her acknowledgements about an incident on an airplane before she was actually published. I won’t tell you the story–you need to buy her book and read it–but here I am, on the verge of publication (positive thinking people), about to board an airplane, reading her story. So motivating!

And it wasn’t just the acknowledgements that I enjoyed. They just made me want to read the book even more. Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right is a charming Victorian romance with a hint of mystery and just the right amount of steaminess (at least for me). Lady Poppy, Keiran’s heroine, is both ladylike and independent, both characteristics that I believe my heroines have. The story made me want to gather up my skirts and race home to my own “Lord of the Manor,” also known as Hunky Hubby!

So traveling for work every now and then may not be so bad…

What about you? Do you read the acknowledgements and dedications in books? Have you run across one that has been really special? One that made you fantasize about the acknowledgement you’ll write in your book? Or have you already written acknowledgments? Please share!

And by the way Spinsters Rule! (Read the book.)

Tari