Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vanity Publishing v Self Publishing

In the latest issue of the Romance Writers of New Zealand (RWNZ) newsletter, writer Laura Resnick compares vanity and self pubishing and their marked dissimilarity to the traditional publishing model. Resnick defines both self-publishing and vanity publishing as forms of printing, not publishing. Self-publishing, she says, is an honest business, while vanity publishing is 'the perfect con, preying on the dreams of desperate aspiring writers who are uneducated about how publishing works.'

Resnick goes on to say that: 'If your business arrangement with a company calls for you to contribute any money-any money at all-toward the production of your book then you are dealing with a print model, not a publishing model.'

I concurr with Resnick's comments. I've been instrumental in several self-publishing ventures. I would not, however, enter into any agreement whereby I'd pay an individual or organisation to publish (print) my writing. Read Resnick's enlightening blog Publishing, Printing or Scam.

People who self-publish often can't see any further than getting their work into print. Consequently there are countless books stored under beds, in cupboards and garages all over the world. Sadly, there are not countless customers with fists full of dollars waiting for your book to appear.

Take it from me, selling self-published books is frustrating, time-consuming work. It can be soul-destroying. If you're self-publishing family histories or a memoir, marketing may not be important but if you need to get a return on your outgoings, be scrupulous about investigating many different marketing possibilities before printing your book; print the minimum number and/or look at e-publishing options-or abandon the idea entirely, polish your writing skills and continue to submit manuscripts to established publishing companies.

Were my self-publishing ventures successful? Financially, no. The two books I self-published with my partner were, however, rewarding in that they opened the door for him to gain his first significant publishing contract and a relationship with his publishers which continues to this day. We also published a bi-monthly magazine from a home office for several years before selling to a larger publishing company. The magazine has since been sold again and is still popular with its niche readership 17 years after the first issue came off the press - I think that effort also deserves a 'successful' label, although that 'success' came at a high cost. Would I self-publish again? Probably, but with extreme caution.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What is this Art and Writing Blog About?

I've been thinking hard about what this blog's about. It started as the result of a workshop at the Romance Writers group I belong to. I hurried home, set up a blog and ignored it for the next few months.

Writing for Suite101 online magazine has been a fantastic learning experience in terms of bringing me more up to speed with search engine optimisation, keywords and other techie things that I was previously completely ignorant of. I'm not particularly technologically inclined, but these aspects of the internet have fascinated me. The new knowledge has inspired me to make this Art and Writing blog more substantial.

Working via the internet and email is something that could have been invented for my way of working. I like to work alone; I'm not by nature a team person, but the customer-service ethic has always been inherent in my business practice. I like people - I have faith that most people are intrinsically 'good'.

With millions of people online every day, so much scamming and 'get rich quick' schemes out there, and little, or no personal contact, how do you provide customer service with a blog. How do you build a business that's ethical, profitable and provides a service.

Naturally, this blog will promote my own art and writing, but I will also be featuring and promoting other artists and writers, especially in New Zealand, and the businesses and organisations that support their endeavours. This piece on Copyblogger has helped me to clarify what my blog's about.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Luxury Accommodation in New Zealand

Two recent Suite101 stories were about luxury accommodation in New Zealand. Treetops Lodge and Estate is a perfect getaway break for a holiday, honeymoon or romantic escape and the ideal venue for a wedding with a difference. John Sax, who spent years developing Treetops, fulfilled his dream of creating a luxurious sanctuary surrounded by a 2,500-acre wilderness estate. Close to Rotorua in New Zealand's North Island, guests can enjoy a multitude of experiences from soaking in spas, to Maori culture, fishing and hunting. Stories about luxury retreats are lovely to write about... read more

Friday, January 22, 2010

Janet Keen Mosaic Artist

Rotorua mosaic artist Janet Keen, recently spent a fortnight on an art and writing retreat in Noosa on Queensland's Gold Coast. We had lunch together a little while ago and as always I came away feeling uplifted and inspired. It was Janet who first gave me the confidence to market my artwork.

Janet's passionate about everything she does, including her gorgeous mosaic garden in Rotorua which she opens up to the public on appointment. Janet is one of those people who add so much to your life - I'm glad she's my friend. You'll find more details on Janet's website read more


All material on Art and Writing is owned by Lyn Rasmussen. Permission to republish in print or online must be granted by Lyn Rasmussen in writing.