A reminder: I'm going to be at WickedFaire this coming weekend, with books for sale and at least one panel discussion appearance. Everything I have will be available signed at the cover price ($12), as opposed to the $20 I normally charge for Internet sales. If you can make it out there, this is a great way to pick up everything I have in stock, cheap!
My next convention appearance (where I'm actually in a selling capacity) won't be until the end of August, when I turn up at AnimeFest with Tokyo Inferno in tow. There is also the chance I'll be selling at NYAF, but that has not yet been nailed down, and the cost may simply be too prohibitive right now for that. I'm also considering I-CON, although I haven't been there in ages and my experiences with it were, to put it mildly, not positive. I hope things have improved since.
Turns out the product IDs that I linked to for both Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend were wrong. I've since fixed the issue. My apologies to anyone who was cross-directed. (I also didn't need to create entirely new versions of the products anyway, just revise the existing ones.)
In my FAQ for this site, I've made some mention of why I've chosen to self-publish my material rather than go to a professional publisher. I've probably picked the right time to do this sort of thing, since self-publishing (especially if you do it with as much professionalism as can be spared on the project) is no longer seen as an instant door-closer or kiss of death.
I get asked "why?" a lot, so here's a more detailed rundown of the key reasons I do this.
With all this in mind, I have to add something that comes at the possible expense of sounding like I'm going back on myself. I haven't ruled out the possibility that a day might come along when I get offered a publishing contract with really amazingly good terms — and who knows, I might even take it. But I'm not doing that without taking a good, long look at what I'd stand to lose in the process.
One other thing I have been asked is: By doing this, aren't you tacitly admitting that you don't have enough confidence in your work to have it professionally produced? That was a toughie the first time I encountered it, and I've since come to think of it this way: By trying to adopt the best possible standards of production, editing, and storytelling, am I not a "professional" myself? Yes, I take on the responsibility, and thereby make it that much more difficult — I don't have the marketing muscle of a whole company behind me, to be sure — but is it any less professional if one person does it as opposed to a whole company?
I think what people really mean by this is "Don't you want to see your work reach the widest possible audience?" Well, sure — but again, I'd rather that not happen in a way where I have no control over what happens later.
It's done! The new 5.5 × 8.5 versions of my books Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend are available for purchase NOW. Both are available for $11.99 — down from $15! — and are available signed by the author for $20.
You can visit the links to learn about each of these books, but here are the blurbs as I've traditionally given them to others:
The cover art is still the same for each, however:
Coming in spring: reissues of my earlier novels Casual Users and Another Worldly Device!
I've made the needed corrections to Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend for their new 5.5 × 8.5 trim size editions. The changes were minor but there were a lot of them, collectively: a misaligned spine image here, some typographical inconsistencies there, and so on. But the resulting product has been really heartening. I love the new publisher-grade paper, and the print quality of the cover is if anything even better than before.
I don't know how many copies of each I'll be bringing with me to WickedFaire this year, but I ought to be able to start soliciting orders for the new editions by the end of this week. Once that happens, the old editions will be phased out and you'll be directed towards the new ones exclusively. Those of you who bought an earlier edition, you now have a collector's item!
Sadly, Lulu doesn't yet offer ISBN distribution for this new trim size, but once that happens I will be making everything available through all the most popular channels (Amazon, etc.). Once that happens, I'll have all the more incentive to start reissuing the older books — Casual Users, Another Worldly Device and maybe one or two other things — in that format.
The single hardest part about this whole thing has been making sure everything is consistent. Having templates and style sheets and the like is a big boon, but after a certain point you have to start tweaking everything manually for each individual product. That's where, I suspect, people with dozens of different books begin to go a little nuts. (Of course, in a more conventional publishing house, they don't have to keep every single one of those things in print at once — that's probably a big boon for them, not having to worry about the way things look across every single title in their library.)
I'm also impressed at how much of this stuff I've been able to do with software that costs nothing. The cover layout and typesetting: Scribus. The vector art: Inkscape. The two big proprietary apps I'm still using are Photoshop and Word, but only because everything I've found to try and replace them hasn't really worked out well for me. OpenOffice isn't bad, but I already bought and paid for a copy of Word 2007, and dang it all, I like Word 2007. Maybe I'll try producing the next book with OpenOffice, but for now Word it is.
My long-term plan has been to produce and offer about one book a year, and at this rate I have enough current and future projects to keep me going for a long time: