Take a look at this video and tell me in the comments, honestly now, if you saw this video as a commercial on TV or on the Internet, would you think it came from a self-publisher?
For those who can't click on the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUN_3AoyMcs
And yet it does. UK imprint JJ Books is the property of one John Jackson, the 82-year old "chairman of a solicitor's firm" (chief partner in a law firm, for us in the States), according to his publicist Jonathan Knott.
Having available a lifetime of earnings as an attorney, plus connections and friendships, must open a lot of doors in self-publishing.
- How much did it cost to have this video made? This isn't your average YouTuber on his webcam.
- The illustrator is superbly talented. I hope she did not come cheaply.
- The blurbs have name recognition ("Times" of London, no doubt).
- Creating the book as an "app" for the iPad must have also cost.
I love that there are beautiful children in the video enjoying the book almost as a toy rather than just as a book. A paper book doesn't read to you, doesn't have animation, doesn't have buttons to push. This is very appealing.
To be published on February 28 of this year, "Tales for Great Grandchilren" is a free download, and one story is included. Each additional story costs 99 cents, and there are a total of 13 stories in the collection.
John Jackson clearly has a leg up on most of us in terms of resources. Will this book, "Tales for Great Grandchildren," be a sales success? Does John Jackson, who has accomplished so much in his life already, need for it to be a sales success? What is his goal?
In self- and e-publishing the goal may not be to make a million dollars and become a famous author. It may be simply to do what you want to do.
J.A. Konrath, self-publishing superstar, says the key to making money in self- and e-publishing is to have a lot of things to buy at a small cost. He was a traditionally published author with a large back list, and he makes tons because his old books sell well online. It reminds me of that once-popular get-rich-quick scheme of taking out tiny ads in magazines that say, "Best chili recipe ever, $2.95" and your address. If you have enough different recipes in enough magazines, you will eventually get 10,000 people to send away for your recipe. and make something like $20,000 from a piece of paper.
Such an approach to e-books is not conducive to high quality literature, but to each his own.
A beloved teacher of mine who is also an acclaimed novelist once said that she could not handle the tyranny of having to write books solely for money. The income she got from writing was always a supplement to her family income; she did not produce work frequently enough for it to be a breadwinner's share.
Self- and e-publishing allows everyone-- those after the big gold strikes, and those panning a small stake upstream-- to take writing and publishing at their own speed, and to invest in marketing at whatever level is comfortable. John Jackson's beautiful marketing video may not translate into big sales, but it is what he wanted to do and he went for it. That's gorgeous stuff.