Thursday, November 17, 2011
The Book is done
Just wrapped up the final items for the Emperor of Mars book. Above is the final cover with a few changes from the previous one a few days ago. The process of formatting and uploading a Word document into the CreateSpace website is not as easy as Amazon makes it out to be.
It drove me crazy for a week and a half after which I was directed by a friend of mine to Greg, a whiz at these things. The final artwork cover, both front and back, was finished by Katie, a graphic artist. Both of them were remarkable in their dedication to making the book cover and the text inside as good as it could be.
So now I await a proof copy of the novel which should take 3-5 days. Once I get it in my hands, I'll go over every aspect, the cover art, page numbers, dedication, chapter numbers and a handful of other checks to make sure it's ready to go on the market.
As you know, I've never written a novel before and while that was not too hard, being that it was based on my screenplay, the publishing side was a whole new beast.Normally, a publisher would take care of all of this but since I wasn't able to find a publisher who would even read it, I decided to go the Amazon way.
Why didn't any publisher want it? Well, to be truthful, I only wrote about 20 publishers, all of whom passed. Publishing books, it turns out, is just like the movies; they're looking for a proven novelist, rather than take on a new writer. And even though I've been a screenwriter for 31 years, it apparently didn't count.
The only other alternative was what they used to call "vanity press". This was where a writer can't find a publisher and decides to spend their own money by hiring a printing company who would print their books and novels. Thus the term "vanity" meaning you're doing it on your own.
Most, if not all of the books were not very good, being a blend of bad novels, conspiracy books from wackos and a lot of self help books, oddly enough. A vanity press book was considered not very good and usually only friends bought them.
Until Amazon came into the game.
With Amazon a writer could publish his/her own book and automatically have it for sale on Amazon along with Stephen King and Al Gore. In short, you're automatically in with every author in the world. Unlike vanity press, where you had to haul your books around to book stores hoping they'd put them on their shelf, or using mail order although the internet has made that easier, you are now with the pros.
And it doesn't cost anything like the vanity presses charged, for that you had to order a minimum, maybe 100 books or more. Amazon only prints a book when it's ordered. They get orders from 20 people, they print 20 copies.
So what's the catch? Nothing. Amazon takes almost half and the writer gets the other half. It's actually a good deal. And if you pay $39, you get more than half and the book is put on lists for libraries, other countries and more.
And there's no stigma like vanity presses presented. As I mentioned a week ago, Penny Marshall sold her autobiography to Amazon for $600,000. Book publishers saw this as a warning shot across the bow, as they say. And it's scaring the hell out of them.
Emperor of Mars will be listed (after I proof it) as "Young adult - ages 10 and up" and the genre is Sci-Fi, fantasy, adventure, fiction.
You get a lot of help from CreateSpace, the Amazon website for book publishing, there are forums where you talk to other writers and lots of advice on how to market and sell your book.
So let's see where this goes. I'll be happy if I sell 10 books, a hundred would be even better, but I learned long ago as a writer, to not get too full of one's self as it can all fall flat.