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Majestic: Issue #11 Monday, September 2, 2002
In this Issue:
Letter from the Editor
by Chrispian H. Burks
Article: Earning Pocket Change
by Richard Dani
Article: Publishing with iUniverse
Beckett Grey
Article: Self Publishing Round Up
Chrispian H. Burks

Letter from the Editor
Letter From the Editor
By Chrispian H. Burks

I know, we are running a bit late this issue. I assure you, it's all my fault! Though I could bore you with details (I usually do, don't I?) I'll refrain and get to the point. As I mentioned last time, there are big changes in the works at Lit.Org. The biggest being a new look. It won't be a drastic change. Those of you who have been with the site for a long time know I do things in stages. Most of the major changes are done a little piece at a time. The site evolves rather than suddenly mutating.

Why change things at all? Well, for one, the current design has gotten stale. It needs to powder it's nose and freshen up. It's not going to be a different site when you see it, but it'll sure be ready to hang out with you for another year! The visual style will be much improved along with making it easier to navigate.

Beyond the look of the site are several feature updates. These have been going on all along and will continue to go on long after the design change is forgotten. The next issue I'll give you more details on these changes as we'll be very close to releasing them.

For those of you who would like to take a look at the new front page point your browser here:


Feedback is welcome and if you want a little history on the name drop by the forums.

I would also like to give a huge pat on the back to Beckett Grey for getting his first book published! Born Loser is available from iUniverse. Make sure you go get your copy!

Chrispian H. Burks
Editor - Lit.Org

Article: Earning Pocket Change
Earning Pocket Change
By Richard Dani

Pay-per-click or Pay-per-view sites are springing up around the web offering writers the opportunity to receive payment for their words. Most of them work by giving the author a percentage of the banner ad revenues generated from the pages their stories are on. This sounds good on the surface but when one digs a little deeper the blemishes become harder to ignore.

Much like those gimmicky ads for high paying summer work, some sites use examples that show how a writer could "easily" generate $500 month. All they have to do is get 100,000 clicks. Simple right? By comparison, this is what Lit.Org averages with it's hundreds of members and forums section. So how likely is it that one writer, posting articles in a sea of articles, will ever generate that many views? Not very. At best a writer, who posts a hundred stories and averages 20 clicks per item, may earn a buck or two for their work.

Which brings us to another problem with Pay-Per-View sites, they stress quantity instead of quality. Since the more stories an author posts, the more money they will earn, many writers "publish" any group of words they can come up with. As a result, most of the stories are of such poor quality that over the long haul the credibility of the site and the stories posted there will suffer.

However, the outlook is not all doom and gloom as there are ways that a writer can benefit by using them. First, if you have a huge collection of stories posted at community sites like Lit.Org and ThoughtCafe, it would probably benefit you to post them at a pay-per-click site. The few pennies you'd earn are better than nothing. Secondly, if you do writing warm-up exercises, you could post them as well. If you can earn twenty-five cents to warm-up, where's the harm? Thirdly, you have a burning urge to say you're a professional so much so that you're willing to work well below minimum wage-Then go for it.

In the long run, the owners of Pay-Per-Click sites will profit far more than their writers ever will, but if you'd like to visit a few here are the links:

Terrashare:They claim to pay $.50 per thousand page banner views and they have a referral system.

Epinions: Offers to pay one to three cents per "qualified" page view. They have standards for what "qualifies" as a page view.

The Vines Network: This site pays five percent of the revenue generated from the ads posted with your stories.

Sagebase.com: Offers to pay half of the revenue generated through banner ads and book sales from your article pages.

Written By Me:Uses a barter system in which the writer earns "Deweys" that can be exchanged for goods sold online.

Instant Agora: Claims to pay one cent per click and additionally, authors can earn gift points and prizes.

Richard Dani

Claws in Creativity eZine

Article: Publishing with iUniverse
Publishing with iUniverse
By Beckett Grey

So you finished your manuscript. Congratulations! Take a break, order a pizza, open a bottle of champagne, do whatever it is you do to celebrate. Relax. The most vital part of your job is already done, and you've set yourself beyond all those people who 'want to write' and spend the occasional free minute tinkering with manuscripts they know they'll never finish. But not you. You've got it down, and you're ready to move on. So what now?

In the past, prospective writers had only two choices for publication of their works. These choices, the alpha and omega of the writing world, were traditional publishing and self-publishing. Traditional publishing- that being the situation in which you turn over all rights to your work, and a large company tries to sell it, and occasionally pays you- can lead to avenues of fame and fortune, but only if you're willing to sacrifice for it. Most publishers take up to six months to read unsolicited novels (if they do at all), and novels optioned for publication can take over a year to actually meet the presses. On the other end of the spectrum, self-publishing (also called vanity publishing, usually by those who look down on it) involves paying a big company money to print your book and send you the copies for you to distribute. The advantage is that you still own the rights to your work. The disadvantage is that you're all on your own.

There is, however, a third alternative, which falls somewhere between these two extremes. It was this that I stumbled across while searching for a publisher online. The company is called iUniverse, and they specialize in an interesting cross between big-market publishing and self-publishing.

The Gist: There are three fees of varying size (depending on the benefits therof) that the prospective author can pay for publication of a book. The lowest- and most practical, in my opinion- is right around 160 dollars. In return, you can submit your manuscript to iUniverse online, and they will publish it as a glossy trade paperback with graphics, cover art, author blurbs, and all the other bells and whistles that come with published books. The process is very simple. You submit the manuscript to their service, and pay the fee. Within a couple of days, you will be e-mailed by iUniverse concerning whether the manuscript is acceptable (i.e. they will not publish, say, a book made up entirely of the word 'frank' written over and over again) and who your publishing assistant is. This is the person who will e-mail you to keep you updated on the progress of your book, as well as the person you will be able to send questions to, if anything comes up. Shortly thereafter, iUniverse will send you a PDF file of your manuscript as it will look when published, as well as a graphic of your cover art. For cover art, you can either submit artwork of your own, submit artwork you want to use as basis for the cover, or simply write out a concept of what you want to see- in which case, iUniverse will hire someone to paint/draw it for you at no extra charge.

Once you recieve the PDF file, look over it carefully and check for any errors that may have escaped you. Once you send it back, what you see is what will be in the book itself, so be scrupulous. After you've reviewed and okayed the file, iUniverse will begin publication of the book. This process, usually mind-bogglingly long for standard publishers, is shortened considerably here. You can expect to see a notice of publication within a couple weeks' time. Once you recieve the 'Your book is LIVE!' e-mail, your book has been placed in the iUniverse.com bookstore for purchase, and your free author copies are being sent to you. A few weeks after this, your book will appear for purchase on barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com. You will also be entered into Books in Print, a listing from which many bookstores update their catalogues. Where you choose to go from here is up to you. If you're happy to see your book being sold online, you can leave it alone, and go about the rest of your life. However, if you feel the need for more exposure for your book, you have free reign to advertise it in any way you can think of. Flyers, bookmarks, posters, ads, all options are open. The book is both yours to sell and theirs to advertise, making use of the best aspects of each. So get creative!

On a final note, I would like to say that my experience with iUniverse was VERY favorable. Their website advertises publication in 90 days or less, but within two weeks of my first submission, my book was live and on their website. I would highly recommend looking into their services, if any of this sounds like your cup of tea.

Thank you. You may go now.

Beckett Grey

Article: Self Publishing Round Up
Self Publishing Round Up
By Chrispian H. Burks

Self Publishing has always been a way for authors to get their writings into print. It's often called vanity publishing. So called because you don't have to pass any editorial process or quality control. All you truly have to have is some money and a few hundred pages of manuscript. Before the Internet, but more importantly, before computers, even Self Publishing was a costly and limited to people who had the funds to produce their own book. But computes have leveled that playing field and now anyone with summer job can get their book published.

Vanity publshing has always had a bad reputation. There is a certain pride in having your book publishing by a traditional publisher, like Random House for example. But things change. More and more people are opting to publish their own books and they are using computer and the internet to do it. Computers are allowing printers to use "Print on Demand" technology to drive down cost and improve profit margins which is very appealing to everyone involved. No storage costs for inventory, no distrobution costs, no minimum quantity to print. Anyone with a story to tell can afford to get it printed.

But what about quality? There is always going to be chaff to deal with. Even some of today's biggest writers produce books you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. And in this new technology age, this problem is also solved. Most printers have an online store with several chapters available to browse before you buy the book. Places like Amazon.com go a step futher and post reader reviews and recommendations. Good books will sell no matter who published them.

No one can tell you if publishing your own book is for you or not, but I've taken the time to find you some of the best in the industry. These publishers all have their own strengths and advantages. Be sure you do your own research on each one before you pick a printer. Some have an editorial policy, and like a traditional publisher your book must be approved before it goes to print. Others are just printers and will take your manuscript and print it, no matter what it is.


In my next article, I'll cover just what Print on Demand is and how it works.

Chrispian H. Burks
Editor - Lit.Org

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