The Dead Tree Project|
As part of the deal wherein I mooched the web hosting and support for this online project, I offered to make preparations for publishing it as a book, bound on paper and all that.
What makes this possible is Book On Demand publisher Xlibris.com. For a modest fee, they will electronically design and typeset the book, and make it available for you to order online. While the exact price will depend on page count it appears a trade paperback copy of The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect would cost you about US$20, about US$5 of which would return to me as a royalty.
It appears that I would need what they call "basic service" in order to accommodate the formatting of the novel. This requires an up-front payment of $500 on my part.
The offer I am making is this: If 100 people e-mail me and promise to buy a copy of the novel when it's available, I will contract with Xlibris and have it done. This is just to cover my costs. I won't ask for money up front. I expect that this will either happen in relatively short time, or it won't ever happen at all.
I have also put a tip jar on this site, and I will put all tip money directly toward the Xlibris charge. If I get $200 in tips, I'll only require 60 people to sign on instead of 100. If you really want your copy badly, you could just give me a $500 tip and I'll get right on it :-)
I will announce significant changes in the Dead Tree Project's status in my K5 Diary. (This is quite a bit simpler than getting Rusty to update this page every time I want to make an update.)
Now you might be asking if I'm really so poor I can't afford $500, or why I don't believe in my work enough to just spend the money. This is a good question, and I have a good answer. A close friend of mine has been a professional writer since the mid-1980's. (Sadly, her career is coming to a close largely because of the Internet, but that's another story.) One thing she has indoctrinated me with is that it is a deeply shameful and pathetic thing to pay someone else to publish your work. If it's not worthwhile enough to get someone else to carry that freight, it's probably not worthwhile enough for you to make back your own money either.
Vanity and Subsidy publishers are a cancer on the publishing industry, especially the ones that market themselves to writers as if they are real publishers so that you don't find out what they really are until you get the contract that asks you for money instead of offering an advance. Having your book subsidy published is generally considered a kiss of death as far as ever having it picked up by a real publisher, and most subsidy published books end up rotting in their authors' basements.
Now, Xlibris is a subsidy publisher despite the many protests to the contrary on their website. They want money up front from writers, which is kind of the definition of subsidy publishing no matter how much you shine it up.
What they have going in their favor is that the fee is modest, and their service includes taking orders and shipping.
It's not that I can't afford the $500; it's a matter of principle. If enough people sign on, or some benefactor arises who is willing to cover the cost, it doesn't just mean that I'm saving the money; it's proof that there is a demand worth filling. Without that proof, it would seem like spending money to masturbate.
It is also worth mentioning that while there are some success stories out there of self-publishing authors, almost all of them are nonfiction. One of the most successful wrote a book about hemorrhoids. Successful self-published fiction is almost completely unheard of.
It would be nice to find out that this is an exception, but I'm not getting my hopes up -- unless you give me a reason.
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