As sort of an epilogue to my series on self-publishing basics, here's a link to an article written by some dude named Guy Kawasaki who I guess made some money self-publishing and now feels free to dispense a lot of impractical, pie-in-the-sky advice. I found this article unintentionally hilarious and then also sad because a lot of people are probably going to buy into this shit because he's an "expert."
Basically his top 10 "mistakes" are that you're not spending enough money to self-publish your book. In his world you should fork over thousands of dollars for a "real" copyeditor and then hundreds or thousands more to a cover designer and then the topper--you should spend $10,000-$15,000 for a PR campaign.
Great advice, Guy! Let me go out to my swimming pool filled with gold bouillon and pull out a couple nuggets there. Or maybe I left $20,000 in my other pair of pants.
Good gravy, man, are you kidding me? There is not one "indie" publisher I know who probably has that kind of money to invest in what would almost certainly be a money-losing venture. I mean come on, I'm in credit card debt up to my eyeballs and I'll probably have to move because the rent is just too damned expensive on my apartment anymore. I can't afford 20 large to market a fucking book.
This is what I hate about a lot of "experts." Their advice is either blatantly wrong or so impractical that there's no possible way it can be of use. It's like all those cooking shows where they make some recipe that sounds great but would cost you $500 just to make it from all the fancy ingredients and machines you'd need.
I mean, shit, Guy, if I'm going to take out a loan for $20,000 I'd go buy myself a Starbucks franchise or something. That's far likelier to have a better return on investment. Actually you have a better chance at making money if you take that $20,000 to Vegas.
It's a little ironic to me that his #1 "mistake" is writing for the money. Well yeah, you sure as hell can't be in it for the money if you're spending $20,000 just in start-up costs.
Yeah, I'd love to be able to do more to promote my books and sell more copies. But here in the real world I don't have the money to piss away on a gamble like that. And I'm 99% sure if you're reading this you don't either.
So as I said in my non-"expert" articles, you can do most of this stuff fairly cheap. Then even if you're not selling tons of copies you're not taking a financial hit. Copyediting and cover artists are great, but it's not likely to pay off. And unlike Guy, I hardly ever sell any paper copies of my books. When you consider how much it costs on CreateSpace for the proof copies and whatnot, it hasn't been all that worth it.
The bottom line is that in the real world of "indie" publishing you aren't going to find fame and fortune. So don't go put yourself in bankruptcy chasing the white whale of stardom.
Tomorrow is March's Phony Photo!