Using Kickstarter to Publish Your Book

I’ve come across just about everything you can think of when it comes to books on WordPress. One of the posts that seems to persist is writers asking for help via Kickstarter to publish their book. I was one of them. I thought it would be a good way for me to get people interested in my book and to make it better in the process. I haven’t read any Kickstarter campaign pages in a long time, but I wanted to use mine for the things that you’d expect like editing and cover design.

But now I’m really thinking of Kickstarter’s place in publishing and I have some thoughts on it. Sure there are plenty of successful publishing projects on the site, but should it be used as often as it is? I don’t know. It’s nice to help someone get their book out in the world, but in using Kickstarter to deliver that assistance one has no idea what he/she is getting involved with. You likely aren’t beta reading the book. You have no idea how well the author writes. You don’t know much of anything outside of the campaign page. And those are a problem.

I’m not sure I’d be comfortable helping fund any book project. I know, I know. I tried funding mine on the site, but I didn’t know anything. And when I really think about it it’s just not a good bet. Other creative projects are different. Someone trying to fund an independent album can refer you back to song covers they’ve released. Someone trying to fund a short film project can also refer you back to previous work. And even artists can do the same. But I’ve found that many using Kickstarter for a book project have never actually written a book.

What do you think of aspiring authors using Kickstarter to publish their book?

PS: I’ve received two guest posts that I know I’ll be using next week. Which means I need three more. I’m not waiting for people to decide what they’re writing about. All you have to do is let me know you’re interested in guest posting and I’ll send you an invite. I’ll refer you back to this post to see what I’m looking for.

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Books and Judging Them by Their Covers

dont-judge-me

Photo Credit: Bigger Pockets

The title of this post was my attempt to differentiate myself from every other person who has already written about judging books by their covers. I don’t think my title is very catchy. But eh. That’s okay. Let’s get on topic.

No matter what you say or what anyone else says, we’ve all judged books by their covers. Every person who has ever walked into a bookstore without knowing what they’d walk out with has done this. Now I’m not saying that every book you or I purchase has been because of its cover, but I’m sure there are a few on your shelf that you bought simply because you thought it looked pretty. That’s okay. I’m sure I’ve done it. But there have probably been dozens more that you chose not to buy because you thought the cover was a turn off. I have to say that I’ve also done this. But why? Let me tell you what I think.

You walk into the store and move toward your favorite section. You immediately find a few of your favorite authors but soon realize that you have all of the books on the shelves. Then you start walking up and down the aisle. You find a handful of books that you’re considering taking home with you.Then you find a nice place on the floor or one of those big comfy chairs and read all of their blurbs and titles and check out the covers.You’ve never read any of the authors and you don’t want your buying decision to be made based solely on the book blurbs. There’s just not enough there. You don’t know if the books are in a series or anything about the writing styles of any of these authors. You’re going back and forth between every book trying to come up with valid reasons for each. But then, you glance at your watch or phone and realize that you have five minutes before you need to be back in your car to make that doctor’s or lunch appointment. It all comes down to the covers now. You lay them all out and make a pick, and probably take an additional one for good measure. The others are quickly replaced on the shelf and out the door you go.

At least this is what I’ve done whenever I’ve gone to the bookstore to find something new.

But browsing for me is not walking up and down the mystery aisles at the store. Browsing is now randomly searching for the next books in just about every series I’m reading. I don’t look at the covers or the blurbs or anything but the price. I’ll eventually have to buy them all if I intend to continue the series, but usually the cheapest will win. Makes no difference what the book is about because I already know I enjoy the series and the author and the stories I’ve read.

Whenever I do decide to find something new the process is much the same. I’m sure you know that Amazon has Top 100 bestseller lists for everything in books. I’ll usually go to the Mystery, Thriller, Suspense or Private Investigator lists and go to the end of the list. I don’t want to see the super high bestsellers that have just been released, but the books that are selling well even though they’ve likely been out for years. But that’s not very often I have to do this because I have so many series I’m always wanting to continue.

So the point of this post is to acknowledge that I’ve absolutely judged a number of books by their covers, but probably not as much as you have. Tell me how come you do it whenever you do.

Why is it Still Acceptable to Strip Books?

ImagePhoto Credit: Nesting Place

I was thinking last night about how traditional publishers allow for unsold books to be returned. I had an idea about how the process to return unsold books takes place, and unfortunately I was right about how the process works when it comes to mass market paperbacks. These are those small paperbacks that basically fit inside the palm of your hand. You probably have hundreds of them. The price range for these books is typically $7.99-$9.99. At least that’s what I’ve always seen them listed at.

But do you know what happens to these books if they go unsold and a retailer decides to “return” them to the publisher? Their covers are ripped off and sent back to the publisher as proof that the book has been destroyed. Ripped off! These then become known as “stripped” books. Paperback and hardcover books are typically shipped back to the publisher as whole books, but mass market paperbacks are not. They’re simply destroyed.

Tell me how come these books can’t be shipped back to the publisher just the same as others. Or how in the world this practice was ever acceptable. Or what kind of evil person could sit there and actually strip the covers off either by machine or by hand. I almost couldn’t believe that the practice was still going on, but then again, the publishing industry has remained unchanged for so long that it really shouldn’t have surprised me.

It doesn’t matter that the return rates of these books is higher than the rest. You know why? Because the publisher is the one paying to have it shipped back, not the retailer. This practice should be done away with immediately because I’m sure a group of reasonably intelligent people could come up with something better that doesn’t destroy books.

I don’t like that books can be returned at all, but if I had to pick between returning a book to its publisher or destroying it, well then I say ship it back.

What do you think of the practice of stripping the covers of mass market paperbacks?

You’ve likely seen this message on the inside of your mass market paperbacks.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

Books I Will NEVER Read

Photo Credit: Book Snobbery

I’m not a fan of bashing authors, but I’m not bashing authors really, I’m bashing their books. There’s a difference!

Okay, so I know most avid readers like myself have a number of books that will not ever be read for any reason. Not even if there’s a zombie apocalypse taking place and I’m the lone survivor with just the one book thrown on the floor in front of me. They are to remain off-limits forever and a day. Let me just give you the list.

1. Fifty Shades of anything

If you’re a fan of EL James, great. I’m not and never will be. I’ve known the very basic concept of the book for a long time now, but I just read a little of the Wikipedia page that made me want to slap someone. The first book sounds absolutely horrible. I mean, if you want to read about that stuff then partake in it yourself. Or go watch a movie. Or find a website. Do something. Don’t read about it. Makes me think you’re kind of gross. Don’t get angry at me for saying that. It’s my blog.

2. Twilight

I know Stephenie Meyer has been heavily criticized for her writing skills and the way she portrays Bella. Those are pretty much the two reasons why I won’t be reading any of the books in the series. Let me be clear, though, I would read this entire series 100 times before ever reading the first book from the above mentioned series. My reasoning for not reading these books is mostly because they don’t seem like they’d be interesting reads to me. Sure the writing may not be great and Bella isn’t the most memorable literary character of all-time, but the only book I’ve ever read about vampires was Dracula. Yes, I loved it.

3. Divergent

I think some of you may be thinking how I’m putting this series of books in with the other two. What I’ve read and heard about this series of books has mostly been that the first two books were pretty good and the last one was disappointing. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’ve read. Those have nothing to do with my decision not to read this series. There’s only one reason why I won’t read these books. It’s going to sound crazy, but oh well. I won’t read them because of all the comparisons they get to The Hunger Games. THG is my adult obsession. I LOVE those books. LOVE them. You’ll recall that I named the trilogy my favorite series ever in a previous post. Well, it’s because of the very slim off chance that I like Divergent more than THG that I won’t read them. I’m in love with Jennifer Lawrence and Katniss and Effie and Prim. I don’t want that to be overshadowed by Veronica Roth.

4. Anything written by a celebrity

I fully realize that most celebrities who ‘write’ books don’t actually write them. They have the help of a journalist or author or someone who actually writes the book for them. It’s not that I think the books are poorly written, it’s that the books are generally bad. For instance, I don’t have any interest reading about the whole rags to riches stories that so many athletes claim. It’s great that you went from food stamps when you were little to millions of dollars a year in salary, truly, BUT you won’t find me reading about it. I’m not including former presidents in this group. I think their books would be rather interesting to read. I look forward to reading George W. Bush’s book at some point. Not necessarily because I’m a supporter of his, but because his presidency was the first of my life that I actually understood a little about what was going on.

5. Anything with seductive people on the cover

I mean, come on. What’s the point? I work in a store that carries a very selective section of books. You’ll pretty much only find the major bestselling authors there. The ones I can name off the top of my head who I can recall seeing this past weekend are James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King. BUT half of the books that I don’t recognize the author names have half-naked people on the front. It’s annoying. Won’t ever be reading those books. Not a one.

This would be my reaction to reading any book on the list.

Photo Credit: BuzzFeed

Okay, so I know my list wasn’t exactly a list of particular books so much as it was a list of types of books I won’t read. But that’s it. Do you have any books that you’ll never find yourself reading? Tell me why.

In other news, I just passed 500 WordPress followers less than a month after reaching 200! You guys seriously make me happy.

Cover Art Revealed: Divided Within

Is there anything greater than picking a book off of your bookshelf and seeing your own name on its spine!? Well, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m definitely now closer than ever! And no, the answer is no.

I mentioned in my last post that I had an appointment today to discuss the interior formatting of my book and questions that I may have had about anything pertaining to the final steps before publication. I made my list and all of my questions were answered easily. So, you’re probably wondering where that gets me now. Well…in no  more than twelve days I’ll have the proof of my book in my hands for my review! How fantastic is that?

Once I approve the proof the book will be available shortly thereafter. And I’ll probably enjoy a little victory dance when I have a moment to myself so as not to embarrass myself too much. Oh what the heck. I’d dance and sing in the middle of the street if there was no danger associated with doing so.

Before you take a look at my cover art, please note that it will not be spineless as shown. Okay! Close your eyes! Now…open!

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Big Day Wednesday

Finally. I have an appointment tomorrow to speak with my design team about my book. Supposedly work will begin after the consultation. The meeting is meant for me to ask any questions I may have about any element of the book and for them to get an idea as to my vision for the book.

I initially paid for them to make me a custom cover that I would then be able to approve of or request changes to, but in the time since I paid for that I’ve played around with the book cover generator that is offered free of charge on their website. It doesn’t have the exact layout of the cover that I wanted, but I’ve managed to find a great image and template combination. So I’ll be creating my own cover. I assume that I’ll still be receiving a cover proof, so I’ll be sure to reveal it when I get it to all of you.

With that out of the way the only major detail to discuss regarding my book will be the interior formatting. I could have done this myself or had someone do it for me, but I’ve decided after looking into many options that the best option is probably to use them because of the fact that they know their requirements and specifications.

Lastly, in the very near future I’ll be dividing my posts into two parts to report on things going on with my first book and the writing process of my second. I’m currently sitting on two book ideas for the second in my Andrew Banks series and I probably won’t decide which I’ll be writing until I begin writing. Sometime this week. Maybe tomorrow! Stay tuned!