April L. Hamilton here, your friendly Editor in Chief, with some Publetariat news and freebies for you. On February 11, Publetariat will celebrate its one-year anniversary. It’s been a busy, fulfilling 11 months, and Publetariat has some new developments and giveaways set for its audience in 2010, as well as one event.
Publetariat – New Contributors
First, Publetariat is proud to welcome Joel Friedlander, Jenn Topper, Stephen Windwalker, Bob Spear, Richard Sutton (The Indie Curmudgeon) and Mark Barrett as regular site contributors. Indie authors and/or publishing professionals all, they’ll be bringing valuable information and thought-provoking opinion to Publetariat.
Publetariat – Blogs and Free Exposure
Just a reminder: all Publetariat members have access to create blog entries on the site, and the 10 most recent blog entries are always featured on the front page of the site in the right-hand column. It’s an easy, free way to get some exposure to Publetariat’s audience of writers, authors, publishers, and all manner of other bookish types, and that audience is quite large. As of this writing, Publetariat ranks in the top 1.4% of all websites worldwide in terms of traffic, per Alexa.
Publetariat membership is free, and we don’t share your contact details so you need not worry about being added to any spam lists. Heck, Publetariat doesn’t even send out any type of newsletter, so you don’t have to worry about us clogging up your in-box, either.
I’ll be honest with you: I do not recommend using Publetariat’s blogging feature as your primary blog, because it will always be framed by Publetariat columns/content (as opposed to a blog that contains nothing but content related to you and your work) and it doesn’t have all the nice bells and whistles you can get with Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, or another dedicated blogging site. Still, it can be a nice adjunct to whatever else you’ve got going on, and you may want to use it just to publish the occasional article you feel is deserving of wider exposure than your blog’s traffic level typically provides. I use it as an adjunct: even though I have my Indie Author Blog set up with Blogger, I use my Publetariat blog to publish my weekly #fridayflash flash fiction because my other blog is dedicated to posts about authorship and publishing.
If you’d like to start blogging here, just sign up for a free member account and, once your registration has been confirmed via email, log in and click the Create Content link in the upper area of the left-hand column on any page of the site. Select Blog Entry on the Create Content page, and you’re ready to go.
Publetariat Vault – Free Listings for the First Half of 2010
Sister site The Publetariat Vault was launched last summer and has recently announced it is extending free listings through June 30, 2010. The Vault is a listing service for self-published authors who still own the rights to their works and wish to sign those works with a mainstream publisher, literary agent or film/TV/game/multimedia producer. Self-published books which have generated a lot of buzz, or sales, or both, are of great interest to such people, but until now it’s been very difficult for them to locate these books in the vast, undifferentiated sea of the internet.
That’s where the Vault comes in, providing not only standard catalog data (e.g., title, date of publication, page count, etc.), but actual sales figures and author platform links as well. Some have asked why anyone who already has a slushpile on his or her desk would want to search the Vault, and the answer is simple: not only is the Vault’s content searchable based on specific criteria (e.g., genre, protagonist sex or age, intended reading age for audience, more), but the results of Vault searches include actual sales and author platform information. This extra bit of information and links enable self-published authors to clearly demonstrate how both they, and their books, are performing in the marketplace.
The reason behind the decision to extend six months of free listings, a $60 value per listing, comes down to raising awareness. While the Vault has already registered such searchers as Sourcebooks, NBC/Vivendi/Universal (TV shows, movies, games), agent Nathan Bransford and publishing think tank Idealog, we recognize that the site needs more time to fully develop and become a trusted resource for its intended audience of authors and searchers alike—but we don’t expect authors to finance the effort.
We’re also working on expanding the Vault to include authors who have published with a small press but are still seeking representation; there will be announcements both here and on the Vault site when site changes to accomodate such authors are complete.
Vault University – Free Lessons/Handouts in Publishing and Author Platform/Promotion
Sister site Vault University launched last fall. This site provides monthly lessons for authors in two curricula: Publishing and Author Platform/Promotion. Vault U. was originally developed as a free educational service for authors who have their books listed in the Publetariat Vault: authors with at least one Vault listing are entitled to free enrollment in the Vault curriculum of their choice, though they’re enrolled in the Author Platform/Promotion curriculum by default since that’s the area of most interest to most self-published authors. If you take advantage of the Vault’s free listing offer above, you’ll also get access to Vault U lessons for free through 6/30/10.
But that’s not the only means of getting free lessons and handouts from Vault U. Because lessons tend to be lengthy, entire, self-contained sections of lessons are often provided in the form of separate, standalone pdf "handout" documents. When this is the case, Vault U. makes those standalone pdfs available online free of charge to anyone who wants them. I always tweet about them, so if you follow me on Twitter ( @indieauthor ), you’ll be sure to hear about any that are posted in 2010. There are also plans to add a page to the Vault U. site with links to all available free handouts by the end of this month, so watch the Vault U. site for the appearance of that page. So far, Vault U. has offered the following freebies:
Basics of Effective Website Design (intended for authors with some web developer skills and HTML literacy)
If you like what you see in these lesson materials and would like more, but don’t wish to list a book in the Vault, Vault U. also accepts paid subscriptions at a rate of $5/mo per curriculum. You can read more about the Publishing curriculum here, and about the Author Platform/Promo curriculum here. Subscription links are provided at the bottom of each of those pages.
Author Workshop Cruise
Finally, there’s the Author Workshop Cruise, scheduled for the week of 10/10/10. In this weeklong, all-workshop cruise, only 30 attendees will have the opportunity to learn everything they need to self-publish and promote right. It’s a vacation and writer’s workshop bundled into a single trip.
Workshops will be led by me (self-publishing in POD formats), Joshua Tallent (publishing for the Kindle), Kirk Biglione and Kassia Krozser (author platform and social media for authors) and Seth Harwood (author platform and podcasting for authors). Attendance is limited to allow for more personalized attention, and because all attendees will receive a private, 45-minute consulting session with a workshop presenter.
Cruise sponsors include Writer’s Digest, Smashwords and Everpub, and travel arrangements are being handled through AAA Travel, of the Auto Club of Southern California. This hasn’t been officially announced yet, but just between you, me and the internet, in addition to premiums provided by sponsors and workshop presenters, all cruise attendees will also receive a free, 12-month enrollment in the Vault U. curriculum of their choice as a benefit of cruise attendance.
That’s about all the news for now, but plans for a first-anniversary giveaway are in the works too so stay tuned!