Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Simulation and Self-publishing

In the scientific computing community, we used to say, "Simulation is like masturbation; some people get so much into it that they prefer it to the real thing."

We might say something similar about self-publishing. If you believe the countless blog and discussion group posts by those who are happily doing their own publishing on Kindle, Smashwords, Createspace, Lulu, and others, it's the only way to go. It's freedom from traditional publishers, aka the Evil Empire.

They prefer it to the real thing.

Usually, though, it's because they can't get an agent or publisher interested in their work. That doesn't mean their work is bad. It means only that no one thinks they can sell it in the commercial marketplace for all the usual reasons. So the authors self-publish and have either that rare event, a runaway best seller or the more common one, a book that languishes on the e-shelf or in the storage unit.

A lot of emphasis is placed on writing an effective query letter, and you can find many online articles about how to write one, but the greatest query letter in the world won't help if the manuscript is not commercially viable.

A lot of emphasis is placed on using social networking and blogs to promote your books irrespective of how they are published. But the longest list of friends and followers won't help if you write something like, "The Haunted Birdhouse" or "How Fido Met Godzilla, a Love Story."

Write a good book, one that lots of people will want to read.

Or self-publish.

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