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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days of Horror: Day 24: Self Publishing and Libraries a Guest Post by G.R. Yeates

Self publishing is very hot right now.  It used to be that authors were stigmatized for "vanity publishing," but not anymore.  In today's ebook world, authors like E.L. James have become publishing superstars by striking out on their own, self publishing in electronic format, and then being picked up by major publishers.

Like Romance, Horror is an especially rich market for self publishing.  There is a lot of good self published horror out there.  While it is getting easier for libraries to find reviews of self-published works, the problem for libraries is that it is hard for us to get our hands on it in a way we can circulate it.

I figured I could help to rectify this problem by going right to the source.  G.R. Yeates is a horror author finding success with self publishing.  I asked him to share some insight from the author's side of the issue.  So for today's 31 Days of Horror, I present Yeates and his advice to libraries as they navigate the world of self publishing.

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Self-publishing and Libraries

First off, I'd like to offer my thanks to Becky for asking me to talk a little about self-publishing and how libraries can work with authors who have chosen to take this route.

The simplest answer to that is contact the author if you are interested in their work. Because we self-publish, your line of communication with us is 100% direct - most of us have our business e-mail address available on our websites at the very least. In terms of what you then want from the author, I have a few suggestions in terms of what we can offer you.

1) We can offer ebooks at low prices compared to Big Publishers. Because of the very competitive royalties rate offered by Amazon (70%), we can afford to price ebooks at between $0.99 and $3.99, for example, which undercuts the prices set by the big publishing houses at the current time. Though I'm sure, as you would be doing a service for us, authors would be open to negotiation and might even be able to offer you free copies from their ebook catalogue. This is up to the individual author as we are all different in terms of how we are currently gaining success through marketing, promotion and distribution but the point is that by dealing with self-published authors directly, you are looking at being able to get a very good deal that will benefit both your library and its patrons.

2) We can offer you ebooks that are Digital Rights Managements (DRM) free - what this means is that once you have purchased our ebook, you are free to convert it to other formats as many times as you like to aid ease of distribution to your patrons. So once you have one copy of the ebook, you would never need to purchase it for the library again.

3) In addition to purchasing our ebooks, you could also talk to us about doing readings and presentations at your library. This could take the form of seasonal events tied to Easter, Christmas and, yes, Halloween. There are self-published writers finding success in genres all the way from Christian Lit to Horror so finding someone appropriate for such an event should not be a difficult task. And throughout the year, events could be organised around particular groups of readers such as those of Romance, Cosy Mysteries and YA. As I have said before, we are easy to contact, open to negotiation on what you want from us and we are also very keen to get our names out there. If you put the call out for self-published authors to appear at your library, local or otherwise, you will get a response.

4) I have been advised that a stumbling block to stocking ebooks is whether they have been reviewed at a trusted source. My honest opinion on this is that it is a tricky one for a library to negotiate because it depends on how you define trusted. Do you go by Kirkus or by Amazon?

I'm sure you are aware that there has been a recent furore over a handful of self-published and traditionally-published authors using paid reviews and leaving purposefully negative reviews against the works of their rivals. My suggestion would be to look at this in terms of supply and demand. I have already addressed the question of supply under Point 1 in this article.

In terms of demand, I would say that how people read is not just changing, it has changed. Speaking from my perspective as a reader, I bought my Kindle to get the odd digital book and to proofread my own work before publishing. Now it is how I read. I rarely buy paper books anymore. This has happened to my habits in just the space of eighteen months and the changes in the publishing industry have kept pace with that. Authors who used to make up the publishing mid-list are moving to self-publishing in numbers and at speed, so the demand is going to quickly grow for self-published ebooks. There are now numerous blogs and websites that support and review self-published writers. I would suggest that these can be used as a means of reviewing potential authors you would like to stock. These websites are just a few that you could be using as initial reference points: Pixel of Ink, World Literary Cafe, Gingernuts of Horror, Digital Book Today & Indies Unlimited.

Beyond that, it is a judgement call on the part of the library but I think it is something that should start being talked about now because, in the very near future, there are going to be many more self-published authors, certainly not less, and the decision-making process regarding which books to stock will need to adapt accordingly.

I think it is in our mutual interests for self-published authors and libraries to work together and support each other. I hope these suggestions are of use to you.

G.R. Yeates
To Purchase The Eyes of the Dead: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0052BPGTM http://www.gryeates.co.uk

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