The Best Self-Publishing Links: Know Your Rights, Read Author Earnings, Find Your Title

In the hopes of pointing you toward worthwhile reads regarding the self-publishing landscape, I’ll post a link roundup every Thursday of the best articles I’ve come across that week. I encourage you to read these articles in full, as well as to leave comments with links to other self-publishing articles you’ve read that have helped, encouraged, or inspired you.

Courtney Milan’s “Know What Your Rights Are Worth” had the single best line I’d read this week because it encapsulated a major concern all writers should have when considering self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.

She goes into great detail regarding the time value of money, then drops a bluntness bomb:

“If your calculation suggests that your publisher’s contract is worth $28,000, and you’ll make $49,000 if you self-publish, and you’re going with your publisher because you want to have books on the shelves, ask yourself if it is worth $21,000 to you to put 6,000 copies on the shelf.”

You can hear her drop the microphone as she walks away from that article. [ref]As these things typically happen, I discovered Courtney’s article via Holly Lisle’s “Self-Publishers: New numbers you need NOW”, a self-publisher I discovered via Simon Whistler’s The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast.[/ref]
Even though just yesterday I said that money shouldn’t be a main motivating factor for a self-publishing author, Courtney’s right in saying that, when considering traditional publishing, “you should have some sense of how much less money you’re accepting, because at some point, the thing you’re getting in exchange for that money just might not be worth it.” The entire article is worth a read, which is why it leads off this link roundup.

Speaking of earnings, if you haven’t already bookmarked, read, and re-read Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings reports, do that now.

author-earningsIt’s fascinating, and may be the first large-scale salvo launched against the assumption that traditional publishing has, is, and always will rule the publishing world. If you’re an independent author, you can also take the Author Earnings survey anonymously to add your book’s data to their growing report. I have yet to complete the survey, but plan to soon.

If you’re both a Scrivener user and a keyboard shortcut fan, here’s a nifty, printable Scrivener keyboard shortcut cheat sheet.

If you’re unfamiliar with Scrivener, get the 30-day trial (or just buy Scrivener right now because you’ll love it), then be sure to check out Learn Scrivener Fast, a video-based tutorial that’s been immensely helpful to me. I wrote all of my book in Scrivener prior to taking The Scrivener Coach’s online, video-based course, yet I’ve still learned an immense amount of what Scrivener is capable of doing. I often define Scrivener as Photoshop for writers because it can do the simplest of chores, but was built to perform complex tasks as well. I highly recommend both products.

Lastly, Heather Hart with Training Authors posted “6 Steps to Choosing a Book Title that Sells,” a short but superb post on what to consider when titling your book.

The items that stood out to me were

  • keyword research, to see if your book title might be something people are searching for online, or to see how much competition exists for certain titles, and
  • brainstorming at least 20 titles, even if some are terrible.

So, what have you read lately about self-publishing?