Thursday, October 29, 2009

A self-publishing project to inspire

by Suw on October 29, 2009

I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to do my self-publishing project for Revenge of the Book of Hay. I’m constantly riddled with doubt: Is it going to be good enough? Will enough people be interested? How will I convince people to support me given I have no track record? What exciting things could I add to the sponsorship options to entice people in?

Robin is offering a “surprise”, which I think is a great idea, but what sort of a surprise could I offer? A picture of me saying “Boo!”? A pop-up picture of me saying “Boo!”? A paperclip and elastic band contraption that shoots a pictures of me saying “Boo!” out of the book when it’s open? (I give all due credit and deference to Kevin Marks for that idea.)

Now Cory Doctorow has given me even more ideas in his article for Publishers Weekly to appropriate. Cory is self-publishing a collection of short stories, With a Little Help, as a free ebook and audiobook, but also as a print-on-demand trade paperback (via Lulu), a premium hardcover edition, has sold a specially commissioned new story (at a fee of $10,000) and is looking for other income streams such as maybe including ads.

The details of the packages are interesting. The trade paperbacks will have four different covers, and there’ll be a custom-cover package for people who want to run events or give-aways.

The premium hardcover really is premium, at $250 for a limited run of 250 copies. It will be printed by Oldacres of Hatton Gardens [Suw makes mental note] and hand bound by Wyvern Bindery [walked past them the other day, makes another mental note]. Each will be embossed with an illustration and will come with an SD card containing the full text of the book and all the audio. Furthermore, every book will have “unique endpapers made from paper ephemera solicited from writer friends, ranging from William Gibson and Neil Gaiman to Kelly Link and Eileen Gunn.”

Now, Cory does have bucketfuls of contacts that he can call upon to send him ephemera or help him out. Some of those people are very famous, some are just quite famous, and some are people he’s worked with before. He’s been doing this for a while so it’s no surprise that he has a fatter address book and, as an already successful author, he has a much deeper understanding of how the book creation process works than I do.

I’m going to have to get to grips with that process myself, and I’ll admit it’s a bit daunting. I don’t know who of the people that I do know has typography or cover design skills. But there are plenty of great ideas in Cory’s piece that I shall be half-inching right this second. A hardback edition is a great idea, for example.

But right now, I need to put details aside and just get enough nerve together to launch the project.

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