Saturday, August 05, 2017
Interesting forum on self-publishing at 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in Washington DC
Today I visited the 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in the DC Center office space and surrounding atrium at 14th and U Streets in Washington DC.
This year I did not have my own table; I’ll get into this elsewhere.
The most interesting part of the visit was a presentation in DC Center’s largest room (on 14th Street ground level) from LGBT book publishers and literary agents.
There was a discussion of what an author goes through if he/she wants to control the process. It’s usually necessary to hire a copyeditor and a typesetter (who is often the same). It’s necessary to find a book manufacturer, and prices can vary a lot (many companies exist in the Shenandoah Valley and down in the North Carolina Piedmont). It seems that Milo Yianopoulos has controlled the production of his book “Dangerous” after Simon and Schuster dropped him after a controversy.
There was discussion of “guerrilla marketing”, and of the tendency recently for trade publishers not to offer advances, which typically have to be recovered from book sales.
There was mention of the use of pseudonyms and pen names, and that in a real world some authors really need to keep their identities secret, usually for reasons other than just being LGBT, like workplace conflicts or possible security concerns for themselves or others around them. This is rather alarming.
There was discussion of “sea turtle authors”, often introverts, who do not like to be pressed to sell aggressively, and are perfectly content to let their “eggs” lie dormant.
I asked about print-on-demand publishers, like Author Solutions. The group did not think well of this business model, and referred to it as a “shadow industry” They felt money should go to authors directly,, but that only works if the author owns the publishing entity. I did refer to the fact that POD companies have been pressing authors harder to buy copies of books and build their own stores and credit card operations, rather than depend on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I did mention the SESPA bill from the Senate and the implicit threat to web speech, including eventually author websites.