Thursday, June 27, 2013

Author Vs. Publisher - Creating Your Stable of Books

Stigma Be Damned - Creating a Steady Income by Publishing

One of the funniest "stigmas" I ran into in researching for "Just Publish! Ebook Creation for Indie Authors" was that there was some emotional baggage with publishing your own books. I'd been doing it for years before I read that, so found that comment rather droll. (And later created a satire based on this and other lies, called "J'APE: Just Another Publicity Excuse" - a free download available almost everywhere.)

Similarly, there is a "stigma" to do with republishing public domain works. Public Domain is where the legal copyright has expired for a book. Thanks to Disney, modern copyrights can be extended indefinitely. There are various limits to these, but as a general rule, anything published before 1923 is fair game (Wikipedia has a fairly exhaustive description.)

The great part about public domain works are a couple:
  1. You don't have to re-invent the wheel - or re-write it.
  2. If the work was any good, there has already been substantial marketing for that artist. 
In terms of Internet Marketing (SEO) you'll find that there is a niche for any book, and both the title and author are keywords. Adding public domain books to the value delivered from your site is then a no-brainer - it's just a matter of aligning these products to the overall theme and use you are providing to improve people's lives.

The only drawback is in trying to misrepresent the book. Getting a new copyright is simple - you just have to add value to the original. Again, this is the scene of improving the value of the book, not just creating a rip-off. Giving credit and building on the original (as in modern "mash-ups") is valued more than the original in many cases. Because the value you are providing is enabling a new generation of readers to find these classic works.

I've gone over a complete set of editing tools in "Just Publish!" which can all be downloaded for free. With a little work, you can take many of the books found on the web in various formats and convert them. One of the best tools for doing the rough conversion is Calibre

Calibre isn't a perfect tool - but it will take almost any book which it can read and then extract the text and images to make a new version. What I've found is that you'll need to extract it to HTML if it has images, but you can open that or the RTF version in LibreOffice (OpenOffice) for editing. (Again "Just Publish!" has more details on this - and has a video embedded on that page to help you.)

Once you have the technical sequence down pat, you can then free yourself to concentrate on how to re-market this book as part of your own valuable contribution to our world-culture.

The caveat is to not spend incredible amounts of time simply reformatting books and re-posting them. Each of them should be re-launched properly (which I've just gone over in the latest "Just Publish!" revision.)

The point is that there is a wealth of data out there. Just because you didn't write it or think it up originally is no reason not to do a new "mash-up" as part of the stable of goods you are offering to your own client-list to improve their lives. 

As usual, the only real limits you'll find are those you've agreed to. Life is meant to be lived. Fiction is meant to be enjoyed as entertainment. Limiting yourself with fiction is a form of living entertainment which may or may not make you rich or even give you a living.

Check it out for yourself. Your choice, as usual. 

Good Hunting!

PS. You can see an upcoming project I have going of re-publishing the 25 all-time bestselling classic fiction works as a tool for authors to train by studying the proven Masters.

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