Barnes & Noble Cafe Seats Rant

There are way too many people taking up cafe tables at my local Barnes & Noble without purchasing a single drink. I’m generally fine with it when the place is half empty, but it’s bad etiquette to sit there at your drink-less table when paying customers are waiting for a spot (and it’s also against store policy). It’s extra annoying when these groups of two or three people can’t pool the money to purchase a $2 drink when they seem like they can easily afford it (well, they look pretty well off with their ipads and macbooks).

I miss the overzealous cafe supervisor who walked around and reminded people of the store policy every thirty minutes. That guy was awesome. Come back, hipster-glasses dude!

And in the time I took to write this stupid rant, two tables beside me opened upoh, well, one’s taken now. Now it’s empty again ’cause I can’t find a suitable image for this post. Oh, wait, someone else showed up.

Photo by Luigi Novi, distributed under CC BY 3.0.

Photo by Luigi Novi, distributed under CC BY 3.0.


Traditional Publishing VS Self-Publishing: Considerations for a First Novel

Publishing and Distribution

After getting blog comments from writers who believe traditional publishing is dead or dying, I thought it was a good time to reassess the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self-publishing. With my buddy Google, I examined at the opinions of a handful of folks (who have good SEO) and basically reaffirmed my desire to try for traditional publishing first.

Basic Differences

Traditional publishing is where a publishing company invests in your manuscript: they pay for printing, distribution, marketing, and give you an advance on royalties. In exchange, the publisher takes a hefty cut of the royalties on sales. The most common route to secure a publisher is through an agent who act as so-called gatekeepers of traditional publishing (generally requiring a highly polished manuscript and a good pitch in the form of a query letter).

Self-publishing is essentially where the writer funds everything herself.

Pros, Cons, and Other Considerations

1. Advances VS Out-of-pocket Costs

Oftentimes, when an author publishes traditionally, the publisher will pay him an advance on royalties. For self-publishing, the author has to pay upfront for a great many things (e.g., editing, cover design, printing, marketing). I’m pretty sure traditional publishing is superior in this respect.

2. Quality VS Speed

An oft-cited drawback for traditional publishing is that it takes so stinkin’ long to go from a finished manuscript to having the book available for sale. Traditional publishers take while to make it happen, whereas self-publishing allows nearly instantaneous satisfaction.

An important factor to consider, however, is the quality of your work. A traditional publisher generally supplies you with a team to edit the content, design the cover, and what-not. This helps ensure the book is as awesome as possible once it’s released. With self-publishing, in the rush to get the book out there, many authors forgo substantial editing and quality checks and end up releasing a product that could have been much better had they put a little more time (and money) into it.

Then there’s also an apparent issue as to whether freelance editors are as effective as editors working for for major publishers. According to Keith Martin-Smith, the editors available to self-publishing authors do not have “the breadth of experience traditional publishers’ editors have,” which results in self-published works being sub par. Martin-Smith goes on to say that freelance editors lack the motivation to say “this book stinks and won’t make a dime, and here’s why,” and are more likely to leave a lot of self-published books to go to press “poorly written.”

In contrast, James Altucher believes the best editors (and cover/book designers, and marketers) are “no longer [just] working at the big publishing houses,” but are available to self-publishing authors. Thus, according to Altucher, self- Continue reading