My Internet Publishing Expert Hat

A couple comments for a lazy Thursday about my "position" as a self publishing expert. In case you're wondering who voted me into the position, it has something to do with this blog, my publishing book and the video channel. It also has to do with the lack of competition for an unpaid position answering questions and keeping up with the publishing industry news, especially as pertains to book sales and markets.

On the advice of Jon Reed, the moderator of the POD Publishers group, I changed the comment settings on my blog this week to allow comments from anybody. The caveat is that I still moderate all comments, and I automatically reject comments on posts more than a couple months old. My main goal in comment moderation, aside from eliminating spam, is making sure that the comments have something to do with the posts.

If you want to ask me a question and you can't find a recent post related to the topic, just e-mail me direct. But please don't waste my time or yours with questions like, "How do I publish a book?" or "Will you publish my memoir?". The whole point of going to an expert for help is to ask specific, informed questions, and if you can stump the expert, it's a good sign. I love it when people ask questions that teach me something new.

Keep in mind also that I'm in the market for publishing assets, both websites and existing lists, but that's strictly business. I've heard from several publishers in the past looking to sell their title lists who have never made any money. Let me ask a question for a change. Why in the world would anybody want to pay a publisher to take over a list of titles that don't sell? The same goes for websites that don't get any visitors. The amount of money which you've invested in building something you think of as an asset is irrelevant. If it doesn't generate revenue, it's not an asset, it's an expense, and you'd have to pay somebody to take it off your hands. I'd much rather start buying Espresso POD machines and trying set up a leasing business:-)

Finally, despite the protective headgear I wear in a couple videos, I'm not a mind reader. If you check my blog twice a week in hopes that I'll write about some topic that I never get around to, drop me a line and let me know. But keep in mind that I'm not a "feel good" guy, I'm not interested in blogging about how you can work out your personal issues by writing a memoir or the like. As my readers occasionally remind me, this blog is supposed to be about the publishing business, which means, making money. If you aren't making money publishing, it's not a business, it's a hobby, and the IRS can fill you in on the details.


Ernie said...

I stumbled across your blog today by finding another of your sites via a Google search. Two comments:

1. Thank you for taking comments from anyone. I believe that you may find that you get more feedback which could be helpful to both you and your readers.

2. You may wish to reconsider rejecting comments on your older posts. If someone such as myself finds your blog, then decides to read some of your archived posts for additional reference, the post may generate a relevant query that you could subsequently address in a future blog post. Although I suppose either a comment or a direct email to you (as suggested in this post) would accomplish the same thing.

I look forward to reading your future posts, as well as digging through your archives.

Morris Rosenthal said...


It will be an interesting test over whether login free posting draws more comments, I suspect it will.

On the subject of rejecting comments on the older posts, I'm sticking with it for now for two reasons.

1) Due to some Blogger issues and the way I run my site, I have to hand edit a couple of files every time a comment is made. This is just a hassle with older posts that I have to go searching for.

2) I think people who comment may not realize that many old posts are lucky to get one visitor a week. So if they are going to go to the trouble of posting a comment, especially one that might inform my current readers of something I missed, I'd really prefer it be on the front page, where it's more likely to be read.


Kim Isaac Greenblatt said...

Since other than ernie's comment you didn't get any Self Publishing info I figured I would add my two cents.

This may be obvious but I figured I would state it because other readers may be interested in it as well. If you are considering buying a library, book-of-business, remember to factor in that just because something was selling and of value in the past - or even currently, doesn't automatically guarantee that it will continue to have market value. A forced example of this would be a publisher that focused on books on the end of the world coinciding with the Mayan calendar restarting (sorry folks, it isn't the end of the world). Books or videos about the alleged coming end of the world, etc would not have a market after we survive the end of the world and you would have to write and publish new end of the world books bumping up the date to sell books to the fearful.
That has happened already to countless books that predicted Atlantis resurfacing, the world ending in 2000, the world ending in 1900, etc, etc.

A not so extreme example of this would be books on 2007 cars. There is diminishing interest as the new model years come out unless the books deal with detailed repair instructions, etc.

Kim Greenblatt

Morris Rosenthal said...


Yes, I didn't elaborate overly much on the fact that existing publishers often put crazy valuations on their business, even if they've failed to sell many books.

You point out a second category of publishers whose future performance may have little to do with past results, those whose titles were timely in some way, or are simply approaching the end of their life cycle. But that should be a fairly easy thing for the acquirer to assess, and remember that the titles themselves need not be the only asset.

I know several writers who have abandoned writing new books because their websites bring in more revenue. While most authors would be unwilling to let such a property go unless they were just sick of keeping it up to date, sometimes people get in financial trouble and need a lump sum, and sometimes they graduate to a higher (or lower) plane of existence.