Thursday, January 14, 2010

Summing it Up

That title for this post doesn't necessarily mean this will be the last post, but I think it's getting close to that point. I haven't posted in quite a while, largely because I've been working on writing another book -- another camera guide. This time it's not one that I'm going to publish mysefl (let alone print, bind, and ship from home!). One very positive result of the Leica D-Lux 4 book project, and one that was not intended at all at the start, was that I was able to use that book as a sample of my writing, and I ended up getting a contract to write a book about a different camera. I can't discuss the details at this point because of confidentiality provisions in the contract, but it was a great opportunity, though very intense. I've been working just about non-stop in every available hour since Christmas, and finally finished my part (I'm writing with another author) this afternoon -- unless there are changes to be made.

Now I finally have some time to reflect a bit more about our experiences with the Leica D-Lux 4 book. I know Clenise is relieved that the home-based printing aspect is over. I think she and I both enjoyed some parts of that process, because it was exhilarating in a way, but it was really exhausting and stressful, and it was not at all good for her arm, which she used repeatedly to work the binding machine. Now her arm is recovering, and we're both breathing easier.

One point I don't think I made very strongly is that, overall, what turned out to be the system that saved the day for us was the ability to use Lightning Source, the print-on-demand company, to take over, in effect, the whole project. Looking back now, it seems almost miraculous how things have changed.  One day Clenise and I were working ourselves to a frazzle to manufacture and ship the books, and deal with customer-service issues. The next day, once LSI took over, we could sit back and do nothing, if we wanted. I need to do some more work to publicize the book, but other than that, there's not that much to do. LSI gets orders from Amazon, Barnes and, and quite a few other online booksellers, then prints the books and ships them to those sellers very quickly. Every once in a while I log into my LSI account and find out how many books have sold. As of earlier today, the report said they have sold 165 books so far in January -- not bad for a small self-published book.

If I were to self-publish any more books, I would not hesitate to set them up from the start through LSI, and get them sold through Amazon, et al. It really is a great system. This whole strategey is the subject of a wonderful book by Aaron Shepard called Aiming at Amazon. Aaron is the guru of this method of self-publishing, and he really understands the print-on-demand business and the workings of Amazon in great depth.

The Kindle edition has been available on Amazon for a couple of weeks now, and as of yesterday it had sold about 12 or 13 copies, I think. Those go slowly, but there's no hurry.

I still need to do an update for my web site about the firmware upgrade for the Leica D-Lux 4 camera.  I hope to get to that within the next week or so.

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