With ALVA's conversion from a self-publishing house to an eBook
and trade book independent publisher, revising and updating the website to bring the message clearly to writers and readers
alike has been a challenge.
As such, last week,
recognizing my lack of objectivity in evaluating my own copy, I brought in a high-powered professional developer and copywriter
to critique the general site structure and ALVA home page. Since then I have spent hours responding to her suggestions as
to how to bring increased clarity and coherence to it. Then today Alyssa, Stef, and I jointly used a few hours to hammer away
at further polishing it, the results of which I absolutely love! But will the viewer? Will the writer contact us for consideration
for publication? Will readers' trust in the quality of our books be increased?
In other, as part of the process,
I reviewed sites that included amazon.com and some of the smaller self-publishing houses as well as the Big Five in trade
book publications: Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. On the one hand,
I found some of the self-publishing sites to be almost overwhelming in their complexity and at times their offers unduly costly.
But for the ALVA site, while it may have less content, I was pleased to find it does offer the same emphasis on books, authors,
and readers as do the Big Five. So I figure we must be doing something right.
But will authors who because they have avoided efforts to break into the Big Five are now used to
the gobbley-gook of self-publishing industry mistrust ALVA Press' simplicity? Will ALVA, having moved to the traditional,
appear too simple for legitimacy? And how will these same authors accept the fact that publishing with us has become so cost
free? Especially as many were drawn to ALVA for the purpose of self-publishing? What will be their response when they read
that for manuscripts and books ALVA accepts for publication 'as is', the only cost to the author will be an annual administration
fee of one hundred and twenty dollars? And will these same authors understand that until their books begin to sell those books
function more as a liability that an income source? And will writers understand that as website maintainance and technical
services for editing, design, and distribution cost, that ALVA, not being one of the Big Five, will continue to require the
payment an annual administrative fee?
But with the change from being a self-publishing house to becoming
a trade eBook and book publisher, what now really is business as usual at ALVA? First one might say that ALVA has joined the
big boys. This means that while author competition for publication comes more clearly into play than previously with
ALVA, manuscripts accepted for publication will be designed, converted, and distributed as eBooks and books at no cost to
the author. And whereas ALVA needs a cash inflow for each book to over time match the cost of its production cash outflow
ALVA will rely on an administrative fee to help defray production costs.
Roberta in Po-Town, Cookin'