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Prominent Critic
04-12-2016, 10:19 PM
I'm a successful playwright, and have just completed a novel, which I intend to self-publish. I have formed a publishing company. I will be getting an ISBN, and I have all my printing logistics in place. I plan to sell it only on Amazon to begin with, and I will fulfill any orders myself, no FBA. At least to start with I will only be selling on Amazon and on no other venues whatever. So my questions only refer to selling on Amazon and fulfilling orders myself.

I will get an ISBN, which will be printed on the back cover. But if I am not selling FBA do I still need an ASIN? If so, how do I go about getting one from Amazon? Do I need a barcode if I am not selling in any retail venues?

If I do not need an ASIN or bar code, is it correct to say that all I have to do is have the ISBN printed on the back cover and I can start selling on Amazon?

Is there anything else I need to do or know to prepare for listing on Amazon?

Thanks very much for any help.

P.C.

randi.lee
04-12-2016, 11:23 PM
Hi Prom! Congratulation on making the leap into novelism! On Amazon, the ASIN is the same as the ISBN number, so you do not need one.

Prominent Critic
04-13-2016, 12:52 AM
Thanks for your reply. To keep it clear, I would probably want an ISBN anyway for future reference in case I want to sell in retail venues. If I have an ISBN printed on the back cover, can I just cover it with an ASIN sticker? And anyway, if I am not using FBA, do I still need an ASIN?

Thanks -
PC

veinglory
04-13-2016, 01:27 AM
An ASIN is what Amazon uses to identify a book that has no ISBN. If you have an ISBN, Amazon uses that.

Prominent Critic
04-13-2016, 01:46 AM
An ASIN is what Amazon uses to identify a book that has no ISBN. If you have an ISBN, Amazon uses that.

That's what I'm trying to figure out. I have gotten the impression that if I use FBA I am required to use an ASIN even if I already have a ISBN. And then I have to cover the ISBN so the only number showing is the ASIN.

AW Admin
04-13-2016, 02:22 AM
Moving this to a more appropriate venue.

FBA is Fulfilled By Amazon.

https://services.amazon.com/fulfillment-by-amazon/benefits.htm

I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that you must cover your ISBN.

Not saying you don't need to, just saying I'm not aware of a requirement.

For those who don't know what FBA means, you're proposing to have your books printed in bulk and shipped to Amazon in bulk.

Amazon will then fulfill orders by shipping your book to customers.

This is often a fairly costly way to go, unless you've got the cash to order a large print run, and some indication of equally large sales.

J. Tanner
04-13-2016, 02:48 AM
The circumstances where direct fulfillment or FBA is likely to net you more than ebook + POD seem pretty slim for a novel. A pre-existing audience uber-committed to signed copies maybe?

It appears your question has been answered so I'm curious as to what factors led to choosing this highly unusual course if you don't mind discussing it.

Prominent Critic
04-13-2016, 04:19 AM
Thank you - I will be happy to discuss it, as I need some help and advice. First, I definitely do not want to publish an E-book. Next, in researching the costs of POD, they seem to exceed the costs of simply having the book printed for me from a PDF, and either fulfilling myself or using FBA, whichever I find is more viable.

I estimate the book will be about 160 pages. I have a firm quote for thirty copies to start - just to see how it goes - color covers, one sided - black and white interior pages - 8 X5 - 20 pound white bond (by the way, is that the correct weight to use for a novel?) - total price - $140, which comes to $4.66 a copy. Free shipping either to me or to Amazon if I decide on FBA.

I don't mind fulfilling myself, as I'm not expecting to have to fulfill thousands or even hundreds of orders. Unless it turns out that FBA is cheaper than self fulfillment.

Appreciate any thoughts or advice.

Thanks -
P.C.

davidjgalloway
04-13-2016, 04:35 AM
I think (and I probably am not the only one) that it's hard to understand your goals from this. Since you have a successful career already in playwriting, that already gives you a base that most self-publishers starting out do not have. Why are you against an e-book, when it takes much less effort than the print (in terms of fulfillment and printing), and might net you some interested Kindle buyers? Presumably you have, or can easily generate, a web-presence based on your playwriting experience, and if you could manage to get notice of your novel in playbills, I think you'd have a decent crowd who might check out your novel.

Also, I'm sure you have checked the numbers, but that $4.77 seemed high to me per book, even with free shipping (is it really free?). I plugged your 160 page into createspace, and that's less than three bucks. You do pay shipping, but I don't think it scales up so much to make it more ($8/10 books, for example). Even if it were *slightly* more, I think I'd go POD to avoid the hassle. I'm very much the "if I'm qualified to do it, I do it myself" kind of person, but I wouldn't want to be bothered with fulfilling and shipping orders of my books. There are much better uses of one's time. But that's just my opinion. Also, time = money, so you have to put a cost on that labor of wrapping and shipping. "Shipping and handling" can be a gouge, sure, but there's also a reason for it.

Prominent Critic
04-13-2016, 08:19 AM
In answer to your questions:

1) I do not want an e-book, because I don't know how to do it, and it will cost a good something to have it done for me, but more importantly I want the pages to read exactly as I have them set up, and e-books can change the page layout and formatting, etc. and the whole thing can become hash.

2) Yes, shipping is free.

3) Even though Create Space might be cheaper, I don't want this to be obviously a self-published book, not because of "stigma," which hardly matters these days, but for other reasons, made clear below.

4) If I do decide to fulfill, I have someone close very willing and able to do it for me, and as I said, I really don't expect enormous numbers, so that's not a problem. However, if it's cheaper I might do FBA.

5) There is really only one main reason why I am self-publishing this novel. I think there is a significant probability that I could get it published by a traditional publisher. But the process could and probably would take years. It is a literary novel, and as such is unlikely these days to have any great sales anyway.

However, I have successful screenwriter friends who have all said that they feel my novel has great possibilities to be adapted for film. My feeling is to get it into print and copyrighted much more quickly by self publishing, and see if I can get a film made from it. Good reviews on Amazon can help. Hence I don't really care if I just break even, or lose a few dollars. The idea is to as quickly as possible have a complete and protected property, that has the potential for substantial earnings. If not, I can always go to a publisher and see how it goes.

Thanks to all for your help and advice. I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Old Hack
04-13-2016, 09:51 AM
In answer to your questions:

1) I do not want an e-book, because I don't know how to do it, and it will cost a good something to have it done for me, but more importantly I want the pages to read exactly as I have them set up, and e-books can change the page layout and formatting, etc. and the whole thing can become hash.

It's not horribly expensive to pay someone else to produce an ebook for you, and it's possible to restrict the page layout so that your original formatting is preserved. Whether this is a good thing or not, however, is another matter.


5) There is really only one main reason why I am self-publishing this novel. I think there is a significant probability that I could get it published by a traditional publisher. But the process could and probably would take years. It is a literary novel, and as such is unlikely these days to have any great sales anyway.


A couple of friends of mine have recently gone from pitch to publication in under a year. It's possible. I've edited books which have gone from an initial concept to publication in under three months (but that was a horrible rush). If it's really important that this book is published sooner, a good publisher can do it.


However, I have successful screenwriter friends who have all said that they feel my novel has great possibilities to be adapted for film. My feeling is to get it into print and copyrighted much more quickly by self publishing, and see if I can get a film made from it.

You already hold the copyright on your novel: you wrote it, and copyright is automatic on creation. You don't need to publish it anywhere to achieve that.

If you want to register the copyright you can do that without publishing the book, I think, but it's not required.


Good reviews on Amazon can help. Hence I don't really care if I just break even, or lose a few dollars. The idea is to as quickly as possible have a complete and protected property, that has the potential for substantial earnings. If not, I can always go to a publisher and see how it goes.

Thanks to all for your help and advice. I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Once you've self-published you are very unlikely to find a reputable trade publisher willing to take it on.

Polenth
04-13-2016, 10:14 AM
Using a different printer is not going to increase your chances of getting a movie deal. Printer choice is irrelevant to that issue. More relevant are things like print quality, how much work it creates for you, etc. CreateSpace is useful as they handle most stuff, leaving the writer with more time to work on writing and promoting. You will also be missing a big chunk of sales by not having an ebook.

Though honestly, it sounds like you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Even a lot of bestselling books don't get movie deals. And most self-published books don't become bestselling books anyway.

Prominent Critic
04-13-2016, 10:17 AM
Thanks - I agree with everything you say, and I fully understand everything about copyright. Mostly I meant I wanted a hard copy in print with reviews, in order to help pitch it for adaptation to film. I think it's a lot better to pitch a fait accompli than an general concept. I can just send the novel and let them read it for themselves instead of a "treatment."

dpaterso
04-13-2016, 10:33 AM
I am not a writing guru. But I do not think that just because you self-pub a novel, this automatically makes it a candidate for being made into a movie (maybe that isn't what you're saying... but it sure sounds like it is). Of course if you get your novel onto best-seller lists and prove you have an army of fans willing to pay to put their butts in the theater to watch the movie adaptation, film companies may think differently. I've never heard any success stories, anecdotal or otherwise, about someone sending a prodco their novel and eliciting excitement and interest. Any such approach would more likely have to come through your agent. I could be wrong. But I'm just not getting the right vibe here.

-Derek

Prominent Critic
04-13-2016, 11:46 AM
Yes, of course it's going to go through my agent.

J. Tanner
04-13-2016, 11:49 AM
However, I have successful screenwriter friends who have all said that they feel my novel has great possibilities to be adapted for film. My feeling is to get it into print and copyrighted much more quickly by self publishing, and see if I can get a film made from it. Good reviews on Amazon can help. Hence I don't really care if I just break even, or lose a few dollars. The idea is to as quickly as possible have a complete and protected property, that has the potential for substantial earnings. If not, I can always go to a publisher and see how it goes.

Thanks for explaining. I think the paragraph quoted above is the crux. It sort of feels like piling on given the other responses so I will just toss in my two cents that this doesn't match any of my understanding or experience with how filmmaking, copyright, or trade publishing actually works but I wish you the best should you proceed on this path. Maybe you'll be the next trailblazer.

suki
04-14-2016, 12:15 AM
I'm curious if your agent thinks this is a better path toward your goal than pitching the script or pitching the book to trade publishers. There have been screen writers who trade publish, and then the book goes on to be made into a movie. But even if you sell 30 copies and screenwriting friends/fans review it on amazon, that seems unlikely to be the kind of critical acclaim that will attract movie production interest. I'm just wondering if you have discussed this plan with your agent, who might have advice.

~suki

cornflake
04-14-2016, 12:28 AM
This seems so backwards to me too - say you do this, give it to your agent, and the agent sends the thing out and someone is interested in turning it into a movie.

Now you likely need a deal for the book, as novels films are based on tend to sell decently. So your agent goes shopping for a publisher. Most publishers aren't interested in already-published works. If you get a studio involved, they may have an in-house arm that does novelizations, which are different from novels something is based on, so then you're in competition. I don't get it.

Why not just write a treatment? I don't see how an obviously self-pubbed book (there may be some, but I've yet to see any self-pubbed thing I couldn't tell was just that the second I saw or touched it - and regardless, if they look it up on Amazon, they'll know) is better than a treatment. Novels and scripts aren't the same, obviously. Why say 'here, read this lengthy thing I hope you'll hire someone to turn into a script,' rather than 'here's my fleshed-out idea, or script.'

RightHoJeeves
04-14-2016, 05:14 AM
Why not just write a treatment? I don't see how an obviously self-pubbed book (there may be some, but I've yet to see any self-pubbed thing I couldn't tell was just that the second I saw or touched it - and regardless, if they look it up on Amazon, they'll know) is better than a treatment. Novels and scripts aren't the same, obviously. Why say 'here, read this lengthy thing I hope you'll hire someone to turn into a script,' rather than 'here's my fleshed-out idea, or script.'

Particularly if the OP is already a playwright? I'm sure writing for the stage is different from writing for the screen, but it's gotta be closer than writing novels.

Old Hack
04-14-2016, 10:22 AM
I've spoken to a friend of mine who is an agent specialising in film rights, at a major agency. He told me that when he is trying to sell film rights to a novel which has already been published, he still requires a treatment to sell it with. So having the novel published is not going to get around the need to write one; and if it IS made into a movie he'd want it with a trade publisher, as they're able to ensure full distribution in ways self publishers simply cannot.

Prominent Critic
04-14-2016, 07:14 PM
Thanks for these replies. I had discussed it with my agent, and he pretty much said what has been suggested here - that the way to go would be a treatment or full screenplay. And that is probably what we will do eventually. But he understands my reasons and mindset.

With respect to sending the whole novel, my agent - who thinks as little of Hollywood as I do - said "That would be assuming that they know how to read."

Here's the main reason why I want a hard copy of my novel in print, any which way, but self would be faster. I have been plagiarized by the lowlife scum that populate Hollywood. I'm hardly the first, and I won't be the last, but it isn't a very good feeling.

I swore at the time that I would stick to stage and never again write for screen, but what can you do - let's face it, there is monster money in film, and it would be nice to see my work on film.

My feeling is that, while it is hardly a guarantee of protection, sending a screenplay that is "Based upon the novel by X" solidifies the elements in writing, and possibly ameliorates to some degree their ability to steal it. It might also to some degree make them less inclined to try. Probably not, buy I'm trying to think of any ways to hopefully minimize the chances of a repeat.

We're still thinking about it . . .

Old Hack
04-14-2016, 09:05 PM
You can write a screenplay based on your novel without first publishing that novel.

ASeiple
04-14-2016, 10:22 PM
Hey there! Welcome to the fray!

Looks like your questions have been well-answered and people are now on to questioning your answers, so there's not much more for me to add in the realm of questionable answers. :D

Your situation is definitely not one I've seen come up before, and I'm interested to see how it develops. Please do keep us posted as time goes on and you try various things. Self-publishing's an interesting craft, and no two of us get there the same way, but the more we see of how others go about things the better off we all are.

Prominent Critic
04-15-2016, 03:39 AM
You can write a screenplay based on your novel without first publishing that novel.

Yes, of course, I'm fully aware of that. And I know it's copyrighted upon creation. LOL with that. Sounds like a wonderful law - try proving it. When dealing with evil beings from Hell, aka Hollywood, I want a hard copy sitting in the U. S. Copyright Office.

cornflake
04-15-2016, 04:04 AM
Yes, of course, I'm fully aware of that. And I know it's copyrighted upon creation. LOL with that. Sounds like a wonderful law - try proving it. When dealing with evil beings from Hell, aka Hollywood, I want a hard copy sitting in the U. S. Copyright Office.

You can do that without publishing it too.

Prominent Critic
04-15-2016, 07:32 AM
You can do that without publishing it too.

Yes. But I want the cretins to see and know that it exists in flesh and blood and stone and is not some amorphous malleable entity. Hence the idea of sending them the whole damn novel along with the treatment. It might make them think twice, or at least a little harder.

Old Hack
04-15-2016, 10:21 AM
You can write a screenplay based on your novel without first publishing that novel.


Yes, of course, I'm fully aware of that. And I know it's copyrighted upon creation. LOL with that. Sounds like a wonderful law - try proving it. When dealing with evil beings from Hell, aka Hollywood, I want a hard copy sitting in the U. S. Copyright Office.


You can do that without publishing it too.


Yes. But I want the cretins to see and know that it exists in flesh and blood and stone and is not some amorphous malleable entity. Hence the idea of sending them the whole damn novel along with the treatment. It might make them think twice, or at least a little harder.

You CAN prove it, because you have the work. You have first drafts. Revised versions. You can talk naturally and easily about the book's progression as you wrote it.

The book exists. It is written. If people are going to plagiarise it they will regardless of what form it takes. But if you want the full protection of publication then you need a Big Five trade publisher to publish it, because of the immense and wonderful legal resources they will throw into the mix if the book is plagiarised. You won't have to pay a thing to protect your work. It's wonderful.

Self publishing isn't going to give you the same protection. And if you want to send out a book to show it exists in this form, you could always put together a POD edition and not publish it. So you'd not lose those precious first rights.

Just a thought.

cornflake
04-15-2016, 10:59 AM
If someone is inclined to steal, I don't think they'd be put off by a self-pubbed book vs. a treatment or screenplay.

ASeiple
04-15-2016, 06:00 PM
Yes. But I want the cretins to see and know that it exists in flesh and blood and stone and is not some amorphous malleable entity. Hence the idea of sending them the whole damn novel along with the treatment. It might make them think twice, or at least a little harder.

Mm. Good luck... the powers of denial in that part of the world are strong, no matter how much reality you throw at them.

Still, you won't lose anything by trying this route. And you'll get to write a book, so that rocks.

Prominent Critic
04-15-2016, 07:42 PM
You CAN prove it, because you have the work. You have first drafts. Revised versions. You can talk naturally and easily about the book's progression as you wrote it.

The book exists. It is written. If people are going to plagiarise it they will regardless of what form it takes. But if you want the full protection of publication then you need a Big Five trade publisher to publish it, because of the immense and wonderful legal resources they will throw into the mix if the book is plagiarised. You won't have to pay a thing to protect your work. It's wonderful.

Self publishing isn't going to give you the same protection. And if you want to send out a book to show it exists in this form, you could always put together a POD edition and not publish it. So you'd not lose those precious first rights.

Just a thought.


Thanks for this. I never thought about the legal resources that would be brought to bear on my behalf if I go traditional. They have as much at stake as I do.

Of course Art Buchwald had the resources to fight the bastards, and though he won he lost. But that's a different issue. Buchwald made the mistake of taking a deal based on net, not gross. So the film grossed something like $300 million, and according to Paramount's creative bookkeeping it netted $1.73.

In theater we long ago figured that out. Many years ago it used to be the same, but I am a member of the Dramatists Guild, and if a play of mine is produced under a Dramatists Guild contract it stipulates that royalties are paid based on box office gross, which really can't be fudged.

Thanks again for the advice - you have made up my mind. I will definitely go traditional. God bless the internet.

AW Admin
04-15-2016, 07:59 PM
I have been plagiarized by the lowlife scum that populate Hollywood. I'm hardly the first, and I won't be the last, but it isn't a very good feeling.

Register the screenplay with the Writers Guild

https://www.wgawregistry.org/regfaqs.html

This is usually SOP in the U.S.

Cyia
04-15-2016, 08:00 PM
I have been plagiarized by the lowlife scum that populate Hollywood. I'm hardly the first, and I won't be the last, but it isn't a very good feeling.

Did you not register it before you sent it out or spoke about it? You don't have to be a guild member to have them register a screenplay.

https://www.wgawregistry.org/


I swore at the time that I would stick to stage and never again write for screen, but what can you do - let's face it, there is monster money in film, and it would be nice to see my work on film.

In regards to the highlighted portion: There is monster money in producing successful films. There is potentially livable money in writing them. Writers are often bottom-tier considerations when it comes to film-making. You get an option that is often nominal (unless you've got a great agent/attorney combo), and that option can last for months to over a year. Unless the movie goes into active production, you're not going to see much in the way of a profit turn.



My feeling is that, while it is hardly a guarantee of protection, sending a screenplay that is "Based upon the novel by X" solidifies the elements in writing, and possibly ameliorates to some degree their ability to steal it. It might also to some degree make them less inclined to try. Probably not, buy I'm trying to think of any ways to hopefully minimize the chances of a repeat.

We're still thinking about it . . .

Again - REGISTER YOUR SCREENPLAY. There's no more protection in a DIY self-pubbed novel than there would be with WGA registration, but with registration, you aren't burning saleable rights.


Yes. But I want the cretins to see and know that it exists in flesh and blood and stone and is not some amorphous malleable entity. Hence the idea of sending them the whole damn novel along with the treatment. It might make them think twice, or at least a little harder.

It will likely make them throw the book in the trash, same as it would an agent.


Thanks for this. I never thought about the legal resources that would be brought to bear on my behalf if I go traditional. They have as much at stake as I do.

Of course Art Buchwald had the resources to fight the bastards, and though he won he lost. But that's a different issue. Buchwald made the mistake of taking a deal based on net, not gross. So the film grossed something like $300 million, and according to Paramount's creative bookkeeping it netted $1.73.

Not a mistake, actually. That's standard practice. The offer of "net points" or "backend points" is very common, and a lot of new writers think they're getting an awesome deal, but the points are almost always worthless.

Order of the Phoenix grossed nearly $1 billion, and still came out $200-300 million in the hole on paper. Budgets are often turned around in the distribution phase of things. Studios or production companies can actually be functioning as the distributor, meaning they're paying themselves, and since they're paying themselves, they make sure that they never turn a profit on paper. Thus, there are no backend profits to distribute.



In theater we long ago figured that out. Many years ago it used to be the same, but I am a member of the Dramatists Guild, and if a play of mine is produced under a Dramatists Guild contract it stipulates that royalties are paid based on box office gross, which really can't be fudged.

This isn't how movie contracts work, though. Writers are paid up front, and then they might be offered something off the net. If it's an adaptation and you have a best-seller, you'll likely get a per week bonus for every week the book is on the list, up to an agreed upon cap.

If you and your agent seriously think that your novel is movie-material, then your agent should help you get in touch with an attorney specializing in this field. You don't have to wait until the book is published to sell the movie-rights. You can even find production companies that like to present books to studios, and then to publishers. Yes, having a big book deal can help sell movie rights, but selling the film rights to a studio can also help sell the book to publishers.