Blurb In The Publishing Arena

December 2, 2010

For an author who wishes to see his or her books in print, the typical methods in the past have been traditional publishing, or subsidy publishing.

In the traditional publishing model, an author contracts with a publisher to write a book (or deliver a book as written), and then receives an advance against royalties. The publisher prints and sells the books and receives the lion’s share of the profits, and the author gets a cut (less the advance). Usually the publisher is responsible for editing and proofreading the book before it’s printed.

In subsidy publishing, the companies involved generally turn this process around, and get the author to pay for the print run of the book. Any editing involved is usually at the cost of the writer, if it’s done at all. As the subsidy publisher is in business to make money, the usual controls as to what’s an acceptable manuscript are often missing or diminished.

A traditional publisher may tell your science fiction novel draft or picture book prototype needs to redone / revised and / or reject it, whereas a subsidy publisher may tell you the same manuscript / book is just fine – and then ask you for $5,000 to publish it.

Generally the subsidy publishing method hurts you as an author in a couple of ways:

1. A poor first draft is accepted, and not rejected / asked to be revised. The revision process that a traditional publisher will make you go through strengthens your written material.

2. The publishing costs are put on the author, and they’re usually for an entire print run, which can be expensive.

3. Editing, proofing, and design services are usually either nonexistent or costly, and can be slipshod.

Blurb represents a new paradigm in publishing – a print-on-demand service that allows the author to be the publisher in a novel way.

Blurb is a middle ground between traditional publishing and subsidy publishing. By allowing authors to make their own books, and freeing them from the usual pitfalls of subsidy publishing, it makes the process of getting books in print a lot more realistic.

How does Blurb differ from a subsidy publisher?

In the first place, there’s no incentive for Blurb to take in a bad manuscript. The onus is on the author to make their book the best it can be, and there’s no subsidy company to give them incorrect feedback because it makes them a buck. Through Blurb Nation, independent editing services can be found, where users can get impartial feedback.

In the second place, Blurb’s unique print service, where the entire print run can be controlled, means the barrier of entry is pushed way down. There’s no scheme to get you to pay for an entire print run. As little as 1 copy can be ordered and printed, and volume discounts start at 400 copies.

In the third place, since the editing and design of the book is up to the user, the path to a better book is clear. There’s no subsidy publisher to gum up the works. BookSmart software makes it easy to create a great book by yourself, and editing / design services can be found through Blurb Nation (as noted).

Blurb. It’s way better than subsidy publishing.


ScriptFrenzy, Part III

June 7, 2008

Well, I’ve managed to jump into ScriptFrenzy with both feet. My script is moving along well, and my community of San Franciscans seem to be getting along with the writing bit, no major complaints so far. There are still 21 days to go, so the major stress of the deadline isn’t here yet, but I think it will be OK.

I’m 51 pages into my script, @ 7600 words. The goal is to have a 20,000 word script finished by the end of the month. That’s about 120 pages or more, so I have around 70 pages to go, but I should be able to get that done before 6/30/07.

ScriptFrenzy, Part II

May 30, 2008

ScriptFrenzy 2007 starts Friday, June 1. I’m now the Municipal Liaison for San Francisco, which means I manage the user forums for San Francisco, and run the local Write-Ins.

I’m pretty well set to go on the Frenzy; I have a treatment/outline to work from for a space epic, and I can’t wait to get started.

Sometimes it’s hard to wait – I want to jump in today, but the rules state that the 120-page script has to be written from June 1 to June 30, so I’ll have to wait…


May 23, 2008

ScriptFrenzy is a challenge contest from the fine folks at the National Novel Writing Month.

Basically you have to write a 20,000 word screenplay during the month of June to meet the challenge. That’s around 120 pages.

I’m going to do it; I have a science fiction script on the boards right now, and I’m going to spend the last week in May getting the treatment fixed up, then jump right in. I’m meeting with the producer on Thursday to go over some details.

I went to the launch party last Saturday, and met a nice group of people. So far, so good.

Animation Script Examples, Short Form

April 5, 2007

So I’ve written four spec feature films to date, but no animation scripts. Since I want to apply to the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship in 2008, I need to figure out what goes into an 11-minute animated script. The usual rules of a feature script, 1 minute of screen time = 1 page of script, don’t apply. A short script for an 11 minute cartoon is longer than 11 pages, but by how much?

John Krickfalusi says over here that places that say twice the page count as for a feature are full of it, so 24 pages won’t do, but what about some example scripts in the right format?

Turns out that the usual places to find scripts online don’t have any short-form animation scripts in their collections. And places with scripts for a specific show, like SpongeBob fansites, turn out to have transcripts, a whole different animal. A transcript is a literal recreation of the text of a script done by listening to it and writing it down. Not only are these invariably in the wrong format, but they also occasionally have misinterpretations inside, and can’t possibly have the scene descriptions and stage actions that go into a real script.

After poking around the Net for a bit, I came across the website of Jeffrey Scott, a screenwriter who offers a writing service. His site also includes script examples in the right formats. If you scroll down the page you’ll see a list of animation scripts in 7-minute, 11-minute, half-hour, and feature-length formats.

Grab the kind you want to write, print it out, punch holes it it, put the brads in, and you’ll have the right example script to go by.

Now I know I need to hit around a 19-20 page draft for an 11-minute animated short.

Sony MYLO: What The Hell Is It?

April 4, 2007

Sony Corporation recently released the MYLO, a bean-shaped personal communicator with a slide-out keyboard. The cool factor is that it supports WiFi transparently, so you can pull up a web page anywhere you go, using the internal web browser. The huh? Factor relates to the gizmo’s size. The screen is 320 x 240 pixels, far less than the PSP, at 480 x 272, so that web page you look at, the type is really really small. This isn’t surprising, since 320 x 240 is exactly the same screen size as Apple’s ipod video. Videos are just about tolerable at that size,; web browsing comes off much better on a PSP-sized screen at least. Sony touts the availability of Yahoo Chat, Skype, Gmail and their own browser for free web-based communication anywhere you can find a WiFi hotspot, but I’d be leery of proprietary software doing “everything” I wanted to do on the web. I’d certainly want to know how to add apps to this thing (although the answer from Sony will probably be “hold your breath”).

Is it worth the $349 price tag? Well, a PSP will run you $169 and will do a lot of the same things, and it comes with a bigger screen (and plays games and movies!), but it won’t fit in your pocket like the MYLO, and it doesn’t have a keyboard. And the MYLO comes in white with an orange keyboard, or black with a white keyboard, in a really nicely-designed little package. Is it a mini-PC that will fit in your pocket? Well, maybe…

Worth a look, here.

Story for Parsec 2007

April 4, 2007

I finished the story for Parsec yesterday; it’s about an old wizard who wants to be young again. I should pop it in the post this week.

It’s calle “Gather Ye Fewmets As Ye may”, and it runs to 1200 words.