Class Notes from #PNWA: #Publishing Facts and Fictions with @bethjusino

Image of a book labeled "Good Ideas" sticking out of a bookshelf.

Image: iClipart

Summer is here! It’s the first week of June! YAY! Teachers always look forward to their summers off, and I’m no exception. One reason why I look forward to my summers is because of the PNWA Summer Writers Conference.


Last summer I attended a class called “Publishing Facts and Fictions with Beth Jusino.” It was truly one of the best, most helpful classes I attended last summer. Ms. Jusino gave us quite a few pointers and facts that are also found in her book, The Author’s Guide to Marketing (which, incidentally, I bought, read, and LOVED).


Anyway, for all those writers out there, here’s the low-down on Ms. Jusino’s presentation:


How are you, the writer, supposed to decide whether you should go with self-publishing or traditional publishing? Beth Jusino says there’s a lot of misinformation out there. With self-publishing, you keep all the profits and all the control. But don’t expect to get your work reviewed in big reviews anymore. Online, though, it’s easier to get your readers to review your books.


For a long time, only official publishing companies published books. And bookstores were the only way for readers to buy those books. If you were an author, it was really hard to get published, because there was only one course of action to get your books published. The competition was fierce. The number of books being published was tiny.


Then three things happened over the course of just a few years:

  1. The way that we write books changed. (Computers and the Internet!)
  2. The way that we buy books changed. (Bookstores with limited shelf space gave way to online stores.)
  3. The way that we make books changed. (Ebooks and Print on Demand.)


There are more than 2 million books on Amazon now. There’s no limit to the shelf space. As a writer, you don’t ever have to go out-of-print; however you have a lot of competition, because all two million books also never go out of print.


POD means “Print on Demand.” With POD, you don’t have to print lots of copies and have them sit in a warehouse until they get ordered.


POD can do hardcover with a dust jacket, and they can print books with color illustrations. So it’s actually sort of hard to tell, when looking at books, which ones are POD and which ones are not.


Ask yourself, “Why do I want to get published?” Some people do it to advance their careers. Some do it to get back at their brother. Some do it because they like the sound of being an author. But before you decide how to publish, you need to ask yourself what you’re looking for.


Why do you write?

  1. To make money?
  2. To create art?
  3. To change the world?
  4. To have fun?

Your choices are bigger than just traditional publishing and self-publishing. We’ll be talking about several different options, and we’ll talk about them without judging. Some ways to publish are good for author A while other ways are good for author B.

(I’ll continue with Beth Jusino’s presentation in the following weeks, breaking down each of the different options for publishing in the 21st century. Come back next week to see Option 1: Big Publishing.)


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