Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby On the "N" Word; Reader Question; Cost to Self-Publish Chase of a Dream

This past weekend Bill Cosby spoke to graduates at Paul Quinn college, and among other things he mentioned the “N” word.

Cosby spent most of his time making people laugh, but he also imparted a serious message about culture and raising children, advising graduates never to use the “N” word.

“Because it’s not entertainment,” he said sternly.

Cosby said that the civil rights movement is ongoing and that Saturday’s graduates and Paul Quinn faculty are helping to bring about change.

“The faculty continues the civil rights movement by making sure you know your stuff,” he said. “That’s civil rights.”

I couldn’t agree with him more. I’ve posted about this topic before with regard to the “Q” word. I don’t see any differences in the arguments that support use of the “N” word and the arguments that support use of the “Q” word. To this day, in spite of all the arguments we’ve heard about the “N” word it is still is one of the most offensive words around. I feel that way about the “Q” word, too.  The interesting thing is that the people who can’t wait to call me queer, without even thinking twice that it just might offend me, would never, EVER, use the “N” word in public.

And I’m not fond of double standards.

You can read more here.

Self-Publishing Question From Reader

I often receive questions from readers that vary in subject from self-publishing to LGBT issues. And I’ve decided to answer these questions in blog posts for others who might be interested. This following question came from a reader who has always wanted to write. I’ve asked for permission to publish it here.

I see so many people talking about how expensive self-publishing is. Can you give me a ballpark figure of how much it cost you to self-publish your first book, Chase of a Lifetime?

Before I get into how much it did cost me, I want to state I’m only talking about digital self-publishing. I also think it’s important for me to mention that I didn’t go into the self-publishing arena with no experience. I’ve been getting published for over twenty years, so I know how the process of getting a book released works, in digital and hard copy. Although things do sometimes vary from publisher to publisher, the basic process is always the same. In other words, what I did might not be as simple for someone who doesn’t have any publishing experience. That’s not always the case, and I’ve posted about self-published authors like Joe Mihalic who did great jobs without experience. But I think it’s important for me to disclose this up front for those who really don’t know anything about publishing books. It’s not a simple thing to do, not even with experience. Actually, getting Chase of a Lifetime out was one of the most difficult things I ever did, and the most fulfilling, too.

I know there is a lot of information out there about self-publishing, and a great deal of this information talks about how expensive it is to self-publish a decent book if you ever want to be taken seriously. I’m not saying new writers shouldn’t look into self-publishing services, but I have seen a lot of exaggerated articles about how expensive self-publishing is that made me wonder if the people who wrote the articles really know anything about self-publishing. And the information about distribution blows me away, too. It didn’t cost me anything more to release my self-pubbed books on Smashwords, allromanceebooks, or Kobo than it did to release them on Amazon. So where these people come up with these extra costs for distribution passes me by.

I also want to mention that a good deal of self-publishing comes down to personal choices and how much control the author wants to maintain. There are literary agents out there who offer self-publishing services to their clients, and these clients seems to be doing well with them. One of them is NLA Digital Liaison Platform, LLC, which is offered by the Nelson Literary Agency, and you can read more about that sort of thing here.  If I were an agent, I’d most likely be doing something similar to this, and talking about it openly so people interested in self-publishing know where I stand.

There are other self-publishing services out there you can hire and you don’t need to be affiliated with a literary agent. I don’t know any well, so I can’t recommend.

But the costs of self-publishing does vary and so far I have not found anyone with the perfect solution to this. In my case, with Chase of a Lifetime, I paid a cover artist and I paid a good copyeditor. I’d worked with both of them before with publishers and I felt comfortable working with them on my self-published books. To date, and this was an accident, the Chase of a Lifetime cover will always be my favorite. Other than that, there were some small added costs Tony handled for me that didn’t amount to much. All in all, the cost for me to self-publish CoaL came to around 400.00.

Could I have skipped the copy editor altogether? Of course I could have. But it’s always been my experience that the copy editor is the most important person in the process of releasing a book because he or she is the one single person you depend on to find issues in grammar and continuity. And even though I always go back to the book and give it my own final edits after I get it back from the copy editor (I do this with publishers, too), I wasn’t willing to take a chance on releasing a self-published book without having a good copy editor.

I should also disclose that Tony did all of the HTML formatting and uploading for me. I told him where I wanted the book distributed, and where I thought it would be easier to get for my readers, but he did all the detailed tech work. He’s been doing this for years. He’s begun to do this for a few author friends I have, and for a literary agent I know. If I had had to pay someone to do that, my costs would have been far more extensive. And that’s because I probably could learn to do it myself, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it myself. When you already have published books out there, you don’t want to release a self-published book that isn’t equal to them.

So the bottom line, for me, is that I’m not sure there is a set figure for anyone when it comes to the cost of self-publishing. If you know how to format and you feel comfortable with uploading books than you’re going to save a good deal of money. If you know how to design covers, you’ll save even more. I know authors who paid even less than I paid to self-publish their books on Amazon and those books seem to be doing well for them. I also know authors who used self-publishing services, and they aren’t complaining either.

But one thing is important. Make sure you know what you’re doing so you can release the best self-published book possible. This varies from writer to writer and only you know what you’re capable of doing, especially in the beginning. And watch out for scammers. They are out there and they all make self-publishing sound so good you’ll be tempted to believe them. And don’t be shy about asking questions. Authors like me are always willing to help if we can.