A few words about this new version of the Self Publishing 2.0 blog. I’ve switched to WordPress because Blogger no longer allows FTP publishing, ie, people using Blogger can no longer publish to their own website. The 484 blog posts I wrote between June 2005 and April 2010 will supposedly remain available, and I set up an appliance so you can now search through them at the bottom of any page on the new blog, or here.
The new blog is set up with FeedBurner to manage subscriptions. You can subscribe using the feed icon or the e-mail subscription box in the left side navigation, or directly through http://feeds.feedburner.com/SelfPublishing20. I haven’t finished the right side navigation yet, I’m open to suggestions for useful WordPad widgets and plug-ins. Speaking of suggestions, I didn’t rename the blog Self Publishing 3.0, or 2.1, or 2.1 rev b, because I thought it was too cute.
The address of the new blog, if you prefer to bookmark the main page and check in from time to time, is:
At some point, I’ll add a 301 redirect (permanent move) which should forward all visitors, and equally important, all links to the new address. At the time of the changeover, the blog ranked #4 in Google for a searches on “self publishing” – the other top nine were Wikipedia and eight companies offering paid publishing services. The reason I’m not rushing to do the 301 redirect is that it is permanent, and I want to make sure that I like the new setup before I lock in.
I’m not entirely set on the Primum non nocere byline, First do no harm, though I think it’s a fair description of my approach to giving self publishing advice. While I encourage everybody to take chances with their feelings and put their work out there, I’m dead set against people spending money they can’t afford to lose in the belief that spending equals success. That’s how I came up with the new blog graphic at the top which is meant to stress that market research and marketing are more important than all of the production values in the world.
It’s easy to spend money making your book look its best and on advertising, but it won’t tip the balance to make the book a success if you haven’t done your homework and created a viable marketing platform. Maybe I inflict psychic harm on some of my readers and correspondents by telling them it’s not easy, but I never want to hear from another self publisher who’s mortgaged the house for a war chest and now wants advice on how to best spend it advertising – something that unfortunately happened.
To wrap up some loose ends, I’ve been asked several times how I came up with the domain name “Foner Books” and why the website logo is half Hebrew – and what it means. I started this website in 2000 while I was finishing up translating the collected works of my great-grandmother, Sarah Menkin Foner, from Hebrew to English. She wrote a very Biblical Hebrew (this is before modern Hebrew came into daily use in Israel), and I spent quite a bit of time looking of phrases in Biblical concordances. The pages ended up covered with notes as below:
Once the site was in place, I gradually began adding to it until it became my main publishing business website. The Hebrew in the logo is: Books (of) Foner, or, Foner Books. I occasionally get criticized by Israelis for the shape of the initial Samech, the Hebrew “S”, which looks suspiciously like a Mem Sophit, a final “M”. I did the logo ten years ago in the Israeli wordprocessor Dagesh, and I remember going through a number of Samech’s before hitting on that one by changing fonts. It’s entirely possible that either Dagesh or I made a mistake, but my take is, you can’t start a word with a final letter (by definition they go on the end) so anybody who doesn’t read it as a Semech has an attitude problem. The original logo I used is below, but I thought it was too pixelated.
Feel free to post any questions or ideas for the blog, it will help test the comment function. Just keep in mind that I’m offline from Friday dusk until the first three stars appear Saturday evening. I like to give my poor little beast of a laptop a day of rest.