Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Sorry, I don't give away my name in web forums (as a general rule), not even here. But it's in the Top 10.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 12:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I wasn't asking for anything specific, just was sitting thinking that you could be 15,375th on the bestseller list and still say I'm on the bestseller list ;-)

Still it depends how often you sell that 40 books whether you can make a living or not.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 12:38:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, okay. Make a living on writing novels? Sounds great, but I don't think I'll ever be good enough.
If I was to write something that's really good sometime, I will go to a publisher and try it the proper way.

/estimated hourly wage so far: 3.8 cent.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 12:51:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the same attitude as my girlfriend, the selection of teaching books she's written always end up with her saying "If I knew when I started how little per hour I'd earn..."

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 12:58:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know a publishing house for books to primary schools, it was a one-woman operation (she wrote the books) which over a twenty to thirty year period  made her quite a few pennies.  She died a while back but the operation is on-going and still making money.  If your gf's books are in that area and if her copyright isn't owned by another company (MMM LLP sets forth) you could send me a copy of a couple, I'll pass them on(1).  

(1)I have no say in editorial decisions --and so far the company only produces the woman's books.

(you could slip a CD into that package, too.(2))

((2)I only type that to encourage your inner and outer artist.(3))

(((3) If you can get it to me before, say, the end of the second week of Christmas I can send it on to another person who (I think) will be interested.(4)))

((((4) When I say "I think will be interested" I mean that I am supposed to be sending him something and I'm thinking that he might be interested in the combination)))

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 01:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's different with novels, because you know you're actually writing them for yourself and it always pays off in this regard. What I wanted to say is that there's no way to make much money out of Lulu, publishing there is only good to get physical copies of something you've written or recorded (and psychologically, to finally be done with it).

I certainly wouldn't write teaching books if I wasn't able to get a fair compensation for the work, but there probably are people out there who think of that as a fun thing to do.


"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 01:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well it's a cheque that turns up every six months and pays for a couple of nights out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 01:54:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Publishing is a marketing problem, not a printing problem.

Quite a lot of professionally published work isn't terribly good, so it's not as if professional publishers are effective gatekeepers. But their output sells (to the extent that it does) because they have the distribution networks needed to get books into bookshops, and the PR network needed to create a buzz.

So Lulu is not the answer. Self-publishing is a waste of time unless you have some way to do effective promotion. And in fact, people trust bookshops to offer them something which is better than average. It's almost impossible to create that experience on Lulu.

The people who do well out of self-publishing are the scammish 'get rich quick' '100 top seduction secrets' 'essential ways to wipe out bad credit' artists who sell PDFs direct from a website. There's usually a SPECIAL LOW PRICE TODAY ONLY!!!! tag somewhere near the bottom, the hardest of hard sell further up, and regular spam reminders afterwards.

It's rather vile and seedy content-wise, but it's much better at making money for the people who do it than publishing on Lulu. The overheads are much lower - the hosting cost of a few PDFs and a website is negligible - and with clever Google-fixing people come to the site, so a PR operation is unnecessary.

Obviously this model wouldn't work for ET-ish books.

ET-ish books could only be sold with an established name - ET Think Lab, etc.

Once the name is recognised, book sales become a natural development.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 28th, 2007 at 07:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is simple enough:

For very few copies a service such as Lulu is quick and easy.

Example: I am in the process of producing an "ET Christmas Present" to myself.  (It seems to be coming in around 25,000 words, and then there are lots of pics.)  Once I have it ready (and once/if I get permission from the writer to publish), then I will buy the writer a copy, buy one for myself, sort of a "Here's a piece of ET to remind me for when the web (or ET) has moved on".

So, that's two copies.  I'll tell people about it here, maybe that generates two more copies.

But...if there are X people (and what is X?) interested, then I would contact people such as Cambridge Publishing (or A.N. Other as recommended by anyone here) to see what rates I could get for larger print runs.

This proposed book is built from ET content.  I would expect to publish it via MMM LLP (whatever that might mean or entail--I'll give a copy of the book to Paul, I doubt he read the original articles, so that's three copies ;)  The marketing is a problem or an opportunity for any person or people who wish to see the book more widely distributed, or just get a copy for themselves.

Well, that's my take anyway.

For proposed publication runs in the thousands, then yes you will need some form of marketing team to identify and then adevertise the product a thousand (or say 500 for break even?) potential buyers.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Nov 28th, 2007 at 09:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm working on the basis that there's not much point in putting ET-type books together unless a fair few people - i.e. 1000 and upwards - are going to read them. Ideally some media interest would be a good thing too.

Giving stuff away for free only works online. I know someone who has given away >100,000 copies of a book about the music business. It's a good book, and it's been very influential as a free download.

As a paper project, he might have sold 10-100 copies.

Online, people find you. In physical print, you need to find them, which seems to be rather harder.

If you want to print for friends+family+a few left over, that's usually called vanity publishing, and is a different animal again.

Getting even a small print run of 500 is a major operation. 500 books is a big slab of wood pulp, and  takes up a lot of space. In hardback it's heavy enough to significantly stress a domestic floor.

You really wouldn't want it in your home. Which is why publishers usually pay distributors to handle the physical logistics of moving that much dead wood around.

You can certainly self-publish at that scale, and people do - sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

But it needs a bit of forethought to make sure you can still get into your home after you've had the books delivered.

If we want to sell books it seems much easier to upload them as PDFs, set up a paypal account with voluntary donations and/or a fixed price, and point people at a print on demand service if (and only if) they want a hard copy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 28th, 2007 at 09:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the reply.  My idea is a bit hazy but it might be worth teasing out separate strands (might as well do it here as anywhere)

  1. Setting up in business, with the question on "busy".  A lot of the critiquing here is about business methods and practices.  One of the easiest criticisms from the right is: "Yeah, and which business did you set up today?"  If we can agree that new forms of business need to be developed then I think it an interesting project for ET to ponder business models.  The example that came to mind yesterday was "setting up an electrical system."  To generate a lot of power is complex, but to see how the basic circuits work, to try out different energy sources etc. you can start with a basic circuit of some kind.  I'd like to get my paws on a "real existing" business (no matter how small) just to see how (e.g.) the tax laws work.  I think, also, that a "we work together" model (a business?) can be as ad-hoc and informal as one likes when the "we" is less than ten people.  Above ten, though, it seems that there are economies of scale and/or new methods and/or dangers and/or etc... that I enjoy thinking about in the abstract but would also enjoy testing in the...material...in the less abstract...An experiment, then, in new forms of business (=economics).

  2. Creating a physical book.  Okay, let's call it a "Vanity Publishing" project.  If it quacks like a duck etc.  Because I'm planning on publishing other person or people's writing (only with his, her, their permision of course), then the "vanity" part is maybe not so vain, but let's go with the phrase.  What I'd really like is a "non computer" element of ET, maybe in the same way that ETers enjoy gathering away from their computer screens (in various combinations and for various reasons.)  Now that books can be created "on demand"--a new technology--then...what I'm thinking is that idea 1 can be incorporated with this: what is the best model for publishing "extended-word-projects".  Is it .pdf?  (The only one I've really read, I have to admit, was RAW's Prometheus Rising, which I printed out--100 pages of .pdf is too much for my eyeballs--may just be me.)

  3. Examining (recycle, reuse!) the ET archive.  The search facilities on scoop (I may have got this all wrong and would be very happy to be enlightened) are limited.  I can search by one criterion, and I can choose one of two time periods (this month/everything).  I'd like to be able to do more complex searches.  I think the ET wiki idea has aspects of this, but it doesn't seem to be a well-used resource (again, I may be wrong on this, I haven't checked numbers.)  A collation of ideas, so that people can refer to the "growing knowledge base"...something like that.

  4. An ETer mentioned the sitemeter stats to me the other day.  Here are the latest:


      Total    6,047,023     
      Average Per Day    4,660     
      Average Per Visit    4.2     
      Last Hour    354     
      Today    3,231     
      This Week    32,622     


I can't work out how many "readers who don't post" that makes, but that silent (and hopefully enjoying themselves) audience somehow connect to 1), 2) and 3) above.

It's early days, maybe this idea (these ideas) of mine are just....pfff...but I like ideas and I like testing them against realities of various kinds...

Am I making any sense?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Nov 29th, 2007 at 05:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are making much sense, and it does sound interesting. Experience is gained by doing and if the doing is worthwhile in itself then it is clearly worth it.

PDF + print on demand as TBG suggests sounds like the best way to publish, but getting the discussions into publishing shape is another thing. On that note, it is good to note that google can be used to search any site with the simple site:eurotrib.com included in the search terms.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 2nd, 2007 at 01:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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