Publishing Master of the Crossroads

With everything else that is going on in my life at the moment it is often easy to lose sight of my real ambition as an author. Quite apart from my interest in magick and my involvement with a number of occult groups and various witches which has inspired, and continues to inspire a series of books and articles on a variety of esoteric matters, my original intention was always to write fiction. As useful and, I hope, as interesting as these treatises are I still hope to make my fame and fortune on the fiction bestseller lists but it isn’t always easy to find the time that it takes to write a novel. Somehow, in between my other commitments last year I managed to write another novel that was inspired by a mix of horror and steampunk and to which I gave the title Master of the Crossroads.

During the past year I have investigated the brave new world of Print on Demand (POD) and e-book publishing that are emerging and posing a real threat to the traditional publishing houses that have, for a long time, had a stranglehold on which books do and don’t make it to the presses. I have learned that most of the books that appear in the bestseller lists are there not because the grassroots book buying punters have rushed out and bought copies but because the big publishing houses produce tens of thousands of books to then push onto booksellers and that artificially inflate the sales numbers of their most successful authors. This makes the most popular bestsellers lists nothing more than the most printed list and it transpires that a large percentage of the books produced in this way never make it off of the shelves, get returned and consequently make little or no profit for the writers

An author that has made the New York Times bestseller list may find that with paying for returns and accounting for the meager advance that they may get for their book from a traditional publisher, sales of around 50,000 books is just enough to break even. To put this into perspective, the bestselling books for 2011 that weren’t part of a film promotion or the latest glossy cookbook by a favorite celebrity chef sold around 250,000 copies as a rough average. This means that the authors of the highest selling novels for the year made around $60,000 for what often amounts to years of work. At the same time the publishing houses that produced those books made a return of over five times that much from each of their successful authors while dumping most of the financial risks for those books onto the retailers that are contracted to take the books that are being pushed onto their franchises by their suppliers. No wonder the traditional publishing houses are sweating bullets over the current changes in the publishing industry with the rise of e-book and POD publishers that put the power to publish into the hands of the people that are writing the books and that offers authors the opportunity to take the lion’s share of the royalties from their work.

My own experience of publishers and the pittance that they have paid me for the privilege of publishing my books with them has made me look at POD options as being the most financially viable path to publication, especially for relatively unknown writers like myself. Keen to get in on the earliest waves of self published authors that will produce books this way I knew that I needed a manuscript before I could publish anything and so with that in mind I set to writing Master of the Crossroads to be my first self published POD novel. I had done extensive research into my publishing options and, after weighing up as many of the pros and cons as I could, I decided to use Lulu.com to produce my print copies and Smashwords.com to create the equivalent in the various e-book formats that are currently in use. So, with my manuscript written, proofread and edited I set off to see what the POD process involved and what kind of book I could produce.

Lulu.com offers a wide variety of book format and binding options and I chose to go with the US Trade Paperback format that my previous books have been printed in, using regular stock paper and perfect binding. Lulu makes the formatting easy by supplying document templates for MS Word as well as detailed instructions for creating covers and for producing a professional book. The formatting that I had set aside a few days to get right was as easy as a bit of cut and paste, adding a title page and the usual front matter (copyright notice, ISBN and license notification) to the book and finally compositing the table of contents so that the page numbers matched correctly, and the book was ready to upload and be converted into a printable file all within a day. Of course because I was publishing myself it meant that I had to come up with a cover but as I already had a good idea of what I wanted the book to look like it was a simple matter of playing with Photoshop to produce the image that I wanted and which was surprisingly easy to format correctly using Lulu’s online software. In the end I was pleased with how good the cover looks and with that last detail in place Lulu.com put together my book so quickly that it seemed almost too easy.

For the e-book version of my new novel I chose to use Smashwords.com which I had already used to publish an e-book of my blog posts called Give Us This Day Our Daily Blog and which had produced a great product. Getting the formatting right is a bit tricky but Smashwords’ Mark Coker has written an excellent style guide for publishing with Smashwords and my earlier experience made my second effort at publishing an e-book using the Meatgrinder software at Smashwords much easier. The important lesson that I have learned is that an e-book is not the same beast as a print book and so the formatting has to be done independently for both.

So how did this compare to my previous experience of publishing books? Once the hard work was over and the book was actually written it took only a day to format and upload it to Lulu.com and Smashwords. At the end of that one day process I was able to order hardcopies and download e-copies and within a couple of weeks my novel will be available for sale in all of the same places that my previous books are being sold. Going the route of traditional publishers that process took at least 3 months or longer if the formatting details required more attention. Master of the Crossroads is a 6 by 9 inch paperback just like my other books but the overall design and format of the book are exactly as I chose them rather than what I was given. I set the cover price and get paid directly for any copies that are sold rather than having to wait for the biannual royalty payment that the traditional publishers offer. Comparing all of this to the standard deal that is being offered to authors by the traditional publishing houses it soon becomes clear why they are all so worried about their relevance into the future.

Master of the Crossroads (ISBN 978-1-4710-3359-9) by D G Mattichak jr is available in print at Lulu.com here for $27.50
and as an e-book (ISBN 978-1-4660-1573-9) from Smashwords.com here for $5.99

Advertisements

About dgmattichakjr

D G Mattichak jr was born in 1963 in Syracuse New York and immigrated to Melbourne Australia with his family in 1972. He was educated in one of Melbourne’s exclusive private schools before studying art at Preston Technical College. D G Mattichak jr has been a student of the occult arts since the early 1980s and has become well known in Australian magickal circles and, in recent years, around the world due to a string of essays on a variety of occult subjects http://www.scribd.com/dmattichak/shelf . He discovered the “key to the order & value of the English alphabet” from Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law in 1983 and has since used this English Qabalah to unlock the secrets of Thelemite magick. Success in these methods admitted him to the highest levels of attainment in various Hermetic disciplines and until recently he has been passing on his knowledge to private students, many of whom have gone on to become notable occultists in their own right. After almost three decades of study and development D G Mattichak jr has finally been able to distil his knowledge of magick and Thelema into a book- A Comment on the Verses of the Book of the Law, the first in a planned series of books on Hermeticism and Thelemite magick, revealing, for the first time in over a century, the secrets of magick that have been hidden in Crowley’s magnum opus, the Book of the Law. D G Mattichak jr currently lives in Melbourne Australia with his artist wife Michelle and their two cats. He has had a long career as an al a carte chef in Melbourne’s vibrant hospitality scene and now spends his time writing blogs on cooking, writing and, in the guise of Master Ankh af na Khonsu, about magick. He is also one of the founding members of the Mt Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering and regularly contributes to its official website http://mountfranklinannualpagangathering.blogspot.com/ as both an administrator and as an author. D G Mattichak jr’s first book Loot was released in 2009. His books are available through amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=stripbooks&field-keywords=D G Mattichak&x=13&y=20 .
This entry was posted in authors, Books, D G Mattichak jr, fiction writing, Master of the Crossroads, pop fiction, print on demand, Publishing, writers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Publishing Master of the Crossroads

  1. Hello Dgmattichakjr,
    I know what you mean, I recently wrote an article called:
    Welcome to the lesson in the Publishing & Promoting Your Own
    Book crash method.
    In this lesson let’s talk a little about self�publishing and how you can
    use it to publish, print and sell your own book without hiring a literary
    agent, submitting your book to a publishing house, waiting to be
    accepted, negotiating the purchase of intellectual property rights,
    agreeing on royalty rates and finally after everything of that seeing your book on
    the shelves. The process can take years!
    Did you know that self�publishing is the way that various writers today are
    choosing to complete their book out to the public? Self publishing isn’t the
    same as it was years ago when you had to spend very many of dollars
    to publish your book. You can publish your own book for as little as
    $500 when you choose a great self publishing service.

    Self�publishing simply means that the author (in this case you)
    undertakes the entire cost of publication themselves. You will handle all
    of the editing, layout, formatting, registration, ISBN, art, photography,
    printing, marketing, distribution and storage of your own book.

    You can read the rest of this article at:
    http://extraincome.renatas-network.com/index.php/2012/01/08/
    or
    Learn additional here

    Kind Regards
    Renata Rimkute
    Cheers

    • Self publishing has certainly changed since the days of the vanity publishers and it is now easier than it has ever been for authors to get their work onto the market. Lulu.com actually offers their service for free and includes an ISBN at no cost as well as listings on major booksellers’ websites like amazon.com. I received the print proofs of my latest book, Master of the Crossroads, within ten days of putting it through the publishing process and the result was equal to, if not better than the results that were produced by the publishers that I have worked with in the past.
      I have had to do all of the promotional work to sell my previous books, get the smallest percentage of the royalties and have little or no control over the way that the book looks so going the self publishing route has not made any extra work and I still have the option of being able to make changes to my book in the future without incurring any extra cost. I can’t see what real advantage there is to using a traditional publishing house and I will continue to publish my writing for myself into the future.
      Perhaps if the traditional publishers had been less mercenary in their treatment of new authors and genuinely helped to develop their talents then they wouldn’t be facing the extinction that seems all but certain now.

  2. SpiderGoddes says:

    Just so you know… I have given you the Inspiring Blogger Award because I truly enjoy reading your blog….
    http://spidergoddess.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/very-inspiring-blogger/

  3. Good information. Lucky me I came across your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s