I'd like to edit an e-book series with multiple authors. How?
December 14, 2014 2:07 AM   Subscribe

The bottom has basically fallen out of the music journalism market, and I'd like to do my part to keep great longform music writing alive by starting an e-book series where some of those critics and thinkers can do their thing. I have no experience in book publishing, though, and I don't know yet how digital book publishing works, aside from the fact that you can self-publish on Kindle. Help me get my bearings.

What are some resources to get me started? What will my startup costs be? If I keep the book advances small, how high should I make the royalties? I'm not doing this to make money, but I would like to recoup what I invest, if that's possible. And just because I may not make much money myself doesn't mean I'm comfortable with exploiting the hard work and knowledge base of my writer friends -- what can I do to make a project like this worth their while?
posted by mirepoix to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you prepared financially to take a loss on the first book published at least? If not, don't do it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:09 AM on December 14, 2014

That said, having someone else cover the costs of designing, publishing, distributing, marketing and promoting a book would be enough for me and most of my music journalist friends to sign a deal for a first book with you. As long as you have good taste and are above board I don't think it's exploitation at all to limit advances, take on lots of responsibility, and pay royalties on the off chance that someone actually buys a long form music journalism book in 2014. PM me if you're interested in a 400 page exegesis of the 3rd Living Color album.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:15 AM on December 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would recommend you contact small publishers and ask them. They will give you stories of the start up costs (you know, a lot of small presses don't give out advances on books, it doesn't make or break the quality submitted).
Also, this becomes an intense amount of work. I assume you will be doing the editing? Manuscript editing and line editing are a lot of work and necessary to create quality output.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:24 AM on December 14, 2014

I've self published books, and we've started a small press. A lot of your expenses will depend on what you have the skills to handle yourself. If you can edit, or trade someone for edits, that will help tremendously. Especially if its straight text, formatting for kindle can be done by yourself as well. I'd recommend finding the Smashwords guide to formatting, as their guidelines will work for smashwords and amazon/kindle. Smashwords has distribution for ibooks, barnes and noble and kobo. Covers can be done in house with good royalty free images, or pm me if you don't want to mess with graphics, and I can point you at a couple good folks.

Don't forget your legal costs - if you're as a dba, you'll need to put that into your contracts, and set up your amazon account, etc with that. If you're going to run as an llc, go ahead and get that set up first. If someone else does your taxes, sooner is always a good time to tell them of changes.

If you're staying ebook only, you probably don't need to worry about isbns (as I recall, both smashwords and amazon will assign you one of their ids), but they're a ton cheaper now than they used to be, and you can buy just a couple at a time at bowker. I think having your own isbns, especially if you know you're going to want to do multiple books, is a nice professional touch.

Running out, but ping me if you'd like and I'll help point you to resources.
posted by korej at 3:03 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

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