Self-Publishing Snapshot


I took a snapshot of this graphic by Alan Grundy while perusing Delta’s inflight magazine over the weekend. You know, during that time where they make you turn off all your electronic devices for take off and landing.

iPad off. Delta magazine open. Ironic that I was reading an ebook.

Let’s address a few of it’s points today.

Aside from the personal investment of time, MS Word, and Adobe InDesign, my hard costs have been paying for a good editor ($400 per title, á la Sue Kenney), and CreateSpace’s Premium service (as opposed to their regular free service, which nets better royalties) at around $39 per title. Granted, this is for physical copies (CreateSpace), not ebooks. Spearhead absorbed my cover design costs by my team, but that would have been another $400 roughly (had I not done it myself) and hired it out. But again, that’s for a full print cover, not the smaller single page needed for ebooks; average cost for a good design is now under $150. And finally a conversion service (unless you want to deal with the headaches of doing it yourself). I’m using (who also do covers) for under $80/title for a package of Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords formats.

So I’m well under half the cost of the statistical average.

From all my study I have to say the price points listed above are not only correct, but where a self-published author (of any breed) should list. Remember, ebooks are forever, and that’s a very long time to sell on a global market. We’re trading price point for sheer volume to a world that will soon have a billion e-readers in their hands (Amazon’s Kindle is about to hit India).

As for the number of authors hitting the NYTBS list? Let me just say, who cares! The industry model has changed. The selling power of a legacy published book is usually 6 months with its peak lasting for less than 2. Recently I spoke with a friend who had his book hit #1. It lasted for a few weeks. Then it was gone. How many royalty checks did it earn? Yes, a nice big one. And then what? Nothing. The publisher has kept the rights, and it’s overpriced as an ebook, selling only a few copies a month (of which he sees next to nothing).

Much like Dave Ramsey’s “status symbol of choice” being the paid off mortgage, authors are finding keeping their world-wide rights at 70% forever is the highest status symbol they can get. Already my CreateSpace sales of The White Lion Chronicles are earning an extra $75/week for my family; I’m expecting the ebook sales, due out next month, to exceed that.

When my most recent royalty check came in from my legacy publisher my dad happened to be with me. It was a $700 check. He was really happy for me. Then I told him what it would have been had I sold the same number of books through CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing (numbers I’ve sold on your at my own merch table).


And the crazy part is, it wasn’t name recognition that sold those numbers with my publisher. It was me and my hard work (et all, Wayne). I should know. They had no budget for 4th quarter marketing and made me submit a list of what I was going to do. (Actually they only ever had $500 for first quarter marketing).

Time to feed my family, not a pig. Of course, I’m about to eat the pig anyways. ch:


No, it’s not some new children’s book. Although a big lovable elephant named Pipa who follows his favorite bar of soap on a jungle adventure sure sounds cute. Or like a prison allegory turned horribly wrong.

Actually, a prison allegory would be tame compared to what PIPA | SOPA really is. (And if PIPA | SOPA have their way, the allegory would never get air time for poking fun at a government system).

Here’s why.

The Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House are new government regulations designed to thwart online piracy. Sounds noble, right? Except that there are already numerous national and international laws on the books that accomplish this pretty well, successfully disbanding copyright infringing entities.

When you read the fine print, these two measures are actually allowing unprecedented government access into our most accessible vehicle for the freedom of speech: the internet.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the US Government breaks everything it touches. Heck, it can’t even turn a profit delivering mail!

My friend Christian Fahey pointed out an incredible statistic on his blog recently:

If you started a business the day Jesus was born and managed it so poorly that it lost $1,000,000.00 a day up until the present day, you would have just over 2 trillion dollars of loss (that’s 2,000,000,000,000). That is 1/7 of our national debt, which is today over 15 trillion dollars. (Thanks to Chuck Missler for the analogy.)

The bottom line is our government either outspends positive cash flow and puts public entities in debt, or it over regulates and puts private entities in debt (and out of business).

With such mismanagement, do you really trust our Congress to properly manage the internet?

Although since AL Gore did invent it, maybe they have a right to and don’t even need to vote.

Please watch this video by first, then consider writing your Congressional Representatives through their web form. While you’re at it, sign Google’s petition too.

If you have a differing viewpoint than mine, I’d love to read your comments. And if you share the same, or if you want to add to the dialog, you’re always welcome to comment (but you already knew that). ch:


UPDATE 01.20.11: I just received this email from Tiffiniy Cheng, spokeswoman for, (as did you if you signed up with them) and thought it was worth posting. Great job everyone!

Hi everyone!

A big hurrah to you!!!!! We’ve won for now — SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today — the votes we’ve been scrambling to mobilize against have been cancelled.

The largest online protest in history has fundamentally changed the game.  You were heard.

On January 18th, 13 million of us took the time to tell Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet. Hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, people all around the world saw what we did on Wednesday.  See the amazing numbers here and tell everyone what you did.

This was unprecedented. Your activism may have changed the way people fight for the public interest and basic rights forever.

The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled.  “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.’”

“’This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”  

Tweet with us, shout on the internet with us, let’s celebrate: Round of applause to the 13 million people who stood up  – #PIPA and #SOPA are tabled 4 now. #13millionapplause

We’re indebted to everyone who helped in the beginning of this movement — you, and all the sites that went out on a limb to protest in November — Boing Boing and Mozilla Foundation (and thank you Tumblr, 4chan)! And the grassroots groups — Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, CDT, and many more.

We changed the game this fall, and we’re not gonna stop.

13 million strong,

Tiffiniy, Holmes, Joshua, Phil, CJ, Donny, Douglas, Nicholas, Dean, David S. and Moore… Fight for the Future!

P.S.  China’s internet censorship system reminds us why the fight for democratic principles is so important:

In the New Yorker:  “Fittingly, perhaps, the discussion has unfolded on Weibo, the Twitter-like micro-blogging site that has a team of censors on staff to trim posts with sensitive political content. That is the arrangement that opponents of the bill have suggested would be required of American sites if they are compelled to police their users’ content for copyright violations. On Weibo, joking about SOPA’s similarities to Chinese censorship was sensitive enough that some posts on the subject were almost certainly deleted (though it can be hard to know).

After Chinese Web users got over the strangeness of hearing Americans debate the merits of screening the Web for objectionable content, they marvelled at the American response. Commentator Liu Qingyan wrote:

‘We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics.’”


Smiling Helps Everyone (Especially Single Guys)


I figured out the key to Levi’s success with getting women to flock to him. For all my men out there, listen up.

First off, smiling is good for your health. And science proves it.

From lowering your blood pressure, increasing endorphin levels, lowering stress levels, boosting your immune system, and simply making you more attractive to the rest of the human race (come on, who doesn’t need a little of that?), smiling has a tremendous effect on your body and your mood.

Smiling is also good for the health of those who see you.

People who smile more often have a positive effect on their environment, and are better received by others (Abel, MH, Hester, R. (2002).

Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the British Dental Health Foundation, stated “We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research. A healthy smile can improve your confidence, help you make friends and help you to succeed in your career.”

Yet why do so few of us smile?

While it may not be terribly surprising that women smile an average of 62 times per day, men only smile an average of 8 times per day. If spread over 16 hours of wake time, that’s 1 smile every 2 hours for us guys.

Bros, think we can step it up a little?

And yet 99.7% of adults (*which includes women) say an attractive smile is an important personal asset.

*FREE TIP OF THE DAY – To my single male readers out there: this research suggests that maybe the key to landing a bride is stepping up the amount you smile. She apparently not only likes to smile, but likes seeing others smile.

It’s this simple fact that has lead me to conclude precisely why Levi has so many women flock to him: he’s a professional smiler at the age of 7 weeks.

Lord, help me. ch: