Here in Thailand I know about a dozen authors and wanna-be-authors that are writing Thailand fiction, and about their experiences in Thailand. If you are a writer, there is a lot to do after you write the book. Editing, artwork, and publishing, whether creating ebooks or paperbooks, you will need to take care of these crucial steps. Established
parasites publishers are still hanging around – they didn’t disappear off the face of the planet – yet. It’s all going that way, in 5 years there will be few that are in business any more. There are many reasons for that.
From my own point of view – I don’t care to publish paperback books, even if it means more money (and it does, I have 25 books published digitally). I just don’t like the idea of paper books.
Have I read paperback books in the past? Yep, there was no alternative. Do I read them now? No, not at all. The ebook revolution has given us an alternative to creating wasteful paper books to read. The new Kindle Paperwhite ereader is better than books printed on paper in so many ways. Need a bigger font? Increase the size of the font on the Kindle. Want to change the contrast of the epaper and “ink”? Change it. Want to read in bed with the lights turned off? Use the light in the Kindle. Turn pages with a simple tap on the right side of the ebook page.
What is strange to me is that it took this long for the ebook idea to get going. We had computer screens capable of offering ebook reading back before the Apple Newton tablet arrived. I had one of those back in 1996 I think it was. It took 10 more years before ebooks really took hold.
Now it is here and there are many writers that want to try their hand at writing books. In the Thailand market I know a handful of new writers that have made the effort and went ahead and published ebooks at Amazon, or through some other means.
Comparing creating your own ebook with publishing through a traditional publisher, it looks something like this:
Do It Yourself:
- You write the book.
- Find an editor. From Thailand or wherever you are – use the internet. Best to go to writers that are currently producing their own ebooks, and see who they use and recommend.
- Find a cover artist or create it yourself – much better to find an artist that does it for a living. You should be able to get a decent cover for $100. Some graphic artists are charging $350 per cover! It is outrageous, and the covers aren’t any better than someone could do with $100. The simple graphics needed to do cover art can be done by a high-school student. Find a student you want to employ – and help them on their way to a bright career.
- You decide the final product in every way.
- You either upload the Word version directly to Amazon yourself (can do from Thailand or anywhere with internet connection), or, go through someone like Smashwords.com to do it. It is not difficult once you have the prior activities completed.
- Give Amazon a way to pay you. Linking your bank account makes it fast and avoids checks. You get paid monthly, the current delay is 2 months from the time a book is sold, to the time it arrives in your bank account. If you are writing in southeast Asia – do not get the check, if at all possible. Checks are slow to reach you, slow to clear your bank (we wait 60 days sometimes), and sometimes they bounce because the banks don’t know what they’re doing. We have had about 8 Amazon.com checks bounce after depositing them in Thailand. Not so good for your relationship with your bank, or the $50 they charge for each bounce.
- You own all rights to your ebook. You can assign those rights any way you choose. You own those rights for eternity. You can give your books to your children, along with all the rights, so they can collect royalties on your books – in full – after you die.
Use a Publisher:
- You write the book.
- Your publisher will assign an editor. He/she may be good, or suck. There is nothing you can do about it. The editor might want to revise your book drastically – and you will have to rewrite small or large sections of your book to make someone else happy. Sometimes a book doesn’t resemble the original after the editing process.
- Your publisher will assign a graphics person to create your cover. Quite often they will have the rights to choose what is even ON the cover. The final product is not up for your disapproval. You are at the whim of the publisher, and they are cranking out many new books – not just yours. You are a number with a publisher.
You decide the final product in every way. Through a collaborative effort with someone you don’t know, maybe don’t like or approve of – you will come up with a final product – “your” book.
- The publisher will distribute your book through channels it has, or, more likely – will just put your book on Amazon in paperback, and then format it for ebook release as well. You as author will likely have no say about where your book is released, or how much it will sell for. Amazon takes 30% of sales. Your publisher will probably take more than that. You’ll be left with something ludicrous to feed your family with. It will not resemble in any way, what you could have done on your own.
- Royalty checks are slow in coming. The accounting methods some publishers use are impossible to figure out.
- You own some rights to your book, those that haven’t been signed away in your agreement with the publisher. When you die, the publisher probably retains the rights to sell your book – and will continue to take commission before giving checks to whomever you assigned as a benefactor.
Don’t give away your rights to sell the book on your own. Most that care about this issue have already given away their own right to sell their books online – to their publisher. If you haven’t yet, by all means DON’T.
There are really only a couple more things to think about when doing it all yourself:
1. Finding a good editor you like.
2. Finding a good cover artist.
That’s basically it. Any monkey can fill out the submission data needed for Amazon or Smashwords release.
If you want to write books in Thailand, Philippines, anywhere in the world – do the work yourself. Once you find an editor and a cover artist – you don’t have to worry about that any more. Sure it may take a few tries to find someone you like, but at least you can do that and you are not stuck with whomever the publishing company assigns to do your book.
Disclaimer: I’ve not used a traditional publisher in the past. The points above are taken from what I’ve read from authors that have used publishers for years, and became dissatisfied with the process. They now publish their own books digitally and are much happier with the new system.