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NEWDEALPRESS Domain To Good Home

NetworkSolutions tells me that the domain name I purchased for a new publishing company six years ago, NEWDEALPRESS.COM, is up for renewal next month. I don't want to let it expire and get picked up by a spammer, but I'm not real enthusiastic about continuing to pay for it without using it either. I think it makes a pretty good name for a new publishing venture, easy to remember, and probably not a bad match for somebody with progressive politics, which I lack:-) I originally reserved the name because of another one of my shortcomings - cover design. I thought I'd use Depression era public domain art from the WPA (Works Progress Administration) for the covers and give the books a branded, professional look. I never launched that publishing company because I couldn't come up with a business model where I wasn't just donating my time to previously unpublished authors. So if you want the NEWDEALPRESS domain name, drop me a line and tell me why.

I'm frequently asked to publish books for other authors, even though there's nothing on my website suggesting I'm in that business, but I'm rarely tempted. The bottom line, even if somebody seems to have a good book idea, is that authors are a high-maintenance bunch. That's the nice way of saying that as a group, we tend to be non-conformist whackos who don't get along with authority in general and people we work for in particular. I've also noticed a strong hand biting tendency in authors, I think it has to do with lashing out at anybody who will actually pay attention. It's one of the reasons I gave up the POD publisher's group I started back in 2003, which is now over 1500 members if you're looking for a true publishers group to join. As the active moderator at that time, there was just too much correspondence with misunderstood geniuses who didn't believe the rules should apply to them, or that I should be the one to interpret the rules. Who needs it?

But I still get served my share of humility by way of blog comments. The comment below which came in this morning (anonymously) was too good to waste on a post that no one will ever read again:

I've read your stuff off and on for years looking for help with my POD business, but I have to say that although you SEEM to be saying some instructive things, I can find no way to apply anything helpful from your advice. I already have Adsense, but who on earth except you can make $25,000 a year with it? And really, you aren't helping with your blog except in a very general way. Nothing to take away and use oneself. I guess that's part of how you got where you are. At least, you haven't blown it all on fancy clothes and expensive haircuts.


Well, Anonymous. I suspect it's a good thing that you chose not to include your name or your website, as I would have looked at it and given you honest feedback as to what you're doing wrong. Since you chose to be anonymous, I'll assume that your website and books fall into the general category of unsuccessful websites and books and give you the general advice. Your website lacks content, it's just an advertisement for your books, with a lot of personal information about you and your life that doesn't serve any business purpose. If you want to share all that stuff, put it on a Facebook page. A publisher website needs to be a resource to attract visitors, it's that's simple. Perhaps you wanted a recipe for writing good resource content? Try acquiring hands-on knowledge in a field and writing about your actual experiences, numbers and all. And don't expect to please everybody, I certainly don't.

Thanks for the help in giving me an easy blog post today, saved me the four to six hours I usually spend trying to say something useful. In another month, Blogger will be shutting down their FTP service, which means I'll stop using them to generate this blog, which will be the end of anonymous comments. So if anybody else wants to vent, you only have a few weeks left to do it, and that's only if you get past the censor. And Anonymous, part of your problem is clearly time management. If you don't find my blog useful, why on earth do you read it? I'm hardly an inspirational writer, and I don't think I'm that entertaining. If you have to read blogs, try some of those inspirational guys who don't confuse the issue with their actual historic data and focus on how they made their first million as "thought leaders" and inspirational speakers. Maybe my "secret" to making a decent living is that I don't read any other blogs myself.

13 comments:

Kevin S. said...

Morris,

What is FTP service mean and how do you find out in advance information such as Blogger shutting down a particular service? I might be clueless but I am sure some of your other readers are clueless as well in terms of finding out this kind of information.

Anonymous sounds like sour grapes to me. I blame my failures on myself and try to learn from everything I do, good and bad, so I can improve.

I have learned a great deal of helpful information from your posts, just not all of it applies directly to my specific situation and books.

Kevin S.

Anonymous said...

Well said, my friend. I for one do value your 'column', I mean 'blog'.
Treading warily into the publishing world from a position of complete ignorance (actually not complete - but near enough), I've found your 'content' illuminating. How many time have I begun to understand the hidden issues and unspoken about facts because of you, I can't tell. Thanks Morris, you've been the greatest help to me.

IG

Morris Rosenthal said...

Kevin,

Blogger sent an e-mail to everybody using FTP for blogs, or at least, I assume they didn't pick me out on purpose:-) They included the following address for updates:

http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/>

There are currently 71 comments on that thread, several of which are mine, which of course, went unanswered. The trouble with all Google communications I've encountered are that they run a supplicant/lord model, where they either deign to respond or not.

A side note would be that they (Google) issued me an incorrect 1099 for 2009, leaving out a couple thousand dollars they paid me in December. I've wasted a couple hours trying to contact them, to no avail, so I'll just file my taxes based on the amount they paid me rather than the amount they reported. That's the trouble in partnerships between unequals, I have no way to contact a company that I do a five figure business with.

Morris

Tom Nixon said...

The message from anonymous was interesting in many ways. I should direct him to my author's website, http://BestOnlineHighSchools.com, where, yes, the book is on the home page and, yes, there it is on another page, but that is about it. The rest of the site is informational. People come for the information and a not insignificant number purchase the book or click on my Google ads (not $25,000 a year, but also five figures).

Also, because my site is not really an author site, but is an informational site, Google search loves me. This is the key. Putting up an author site if you are not already well-known is tough for non-fiction. Better to be realistic about what it is you are doing.

Morris Rosenthal said...

Tom,

Information rules:-)

I wouldn't worry about anonymous. S/he sent another post that I didn't approve claiming that everything is great:-)

Morris

Anne said...

Hi Morris!

All I have to say is: kol hakavod - you go guy! I'm very new to your blog but I'm loving it. You've answered so many of my questions. Although I've been published several times (cookbooks and I was hired to write them) I'm about to come out with my first novel. I will definitely self-publish it and I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Hell, the printing cost alone is less than two trips to New York to try and beg some agent or publisher to take me on.

I think there's a whole new way of publishing out there to be explored and I'm seriously considering doing more of this - I even reserved a domain for my new publishing company!

By the way - I've had great success with godaddy.com for domain names. They're really decent, helpful, CHEAP and they know what they're doing. I almost lost a very important domain name recently because the company I bought it from went out of business and it was impossible to locate their buyer. Go daddy came to the rescue.

Anyway - keep up the great work and good luck. I look forward to reading more of what you have to say.

Best,
Anne

Morris Rosenthal said...

Anne,

Thanks, and I enjoyed your websites. I had to use Google cache to see Planet Pomegranate since the server was apparently terrorized.

Self published fiction is tough to make a business out of, but I know a few people who have managed - though they tend to sell-out to the big trades once they become known.

Some of my best video backgrounds were in your neck of the woods. See if you can guess spot these two locations:-)

Selling books through a website

Chasing bestsellers

Barbara Frank said...

People sure can be jerks sometimes. I don't know what Anon.'s problem is, but I find your work very helpful. Thanks, Morris.

Anne said...

Your videos are great - recognize Jerusalem but the "Selling books through a website" video - not sure. Its not Caesarea, Bet Shean?

Anyway - your words are priceless - I think I should just plug into your blog and website and I'll learn everything I have to know about self-publishing. Besides the novel, I'm also working on another recipe book about pomegranates (my first - Ten Speed Press, 2004) is still the only one of its kind in the world). I'm convinced self-publishing is the way to go.

And by the way - you also helped me with the Planet Pomegranate reference - I didn't know I could access google cache and see the site - I thought it was lost forever. While my web designer is really slow about getting it back on line - now I know I have another way to access the archives. Thanks!

Morris Rosenthal said...

Barara,

Thanks, but I really thought it was pretty funny, which is why I posted it. I get all sorts of feedback, ranging from threats to offers of marriage (well, almost), but that one reminded me of the old Borscht Belt joke about the food being awful and the portions being too small.

Morris

Morris Rosenthal said...

Anne,

The website video is on the backside of the Givat Ram campus, few hundred yards from the National Library.

With Google cache, you need to copy out everything you want at the first chance, you never know when they are going to update, at which point it will be lost. Normally, the Internet Archive (www.archive.org) would be the place to go, but I checkedyour site and there was something about the way it was coded (Flash?) that prevented the archive from saving it properly.

Have you talked to your web designer about simply moving to a different server? As long as you own the domain name, you can point it to any server you want, and these days, it only takes a couple hours before everybody is directed to the right place.

Morris

Kevin said...

I only just discovered your posts and now they're going away?!
Thanks for your straightforward candor and approachable writing style. I've learned a lot these last few hours.
Kevin

Morris Rosenthal said...

Kevin,

In the meantime, nobody is snapping up the domain name, so I've got to decide whether or not I want to pay for another few years.

I'll probably continue posting, I just won't be using Blogger.

Morris