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Journal Article - Meet the Author - Budi Kurniawan

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The just-released September 2004 edition of The JavaRanch Journal includes an article by Dirk Schreckmann, "Meet the Author - Budi Kurniawan".

Please use this thread to comment on and discuss the article.
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Budi:It's a widely known secret that authors get very little from their book sales, a merely 5 to 7% of the retail price. This means, an author only gets $2.50 or so for a $49.99 book.

What the heck! I have never know before that the royalty fee is such low... Well, self-publishing has a lot of advantages, but will it able to beat the brand name of famous publishers like O'Reilly, Manning, Apress and so on...

One question comes in my mind... What if someone want to write a book for BrainySoftware? Will Budi provide an author more royalty rate than other publishers? :roll:

6. Self publishing is easy and relatively cheap. I mean, you just need $5000 and you can publish your book. It's very tempting to try.

7. Amazon.com accounts for 20% of book sales in the US, and I suspect it's even higher for computer books. Selling through Amazon is very easy too. So how I calculated it was like this. If my target is only 20% of what a publisher's (2,000 copies as opposed to 10,000), then I can just sell through amazon and get the same result, at the same time retaining the rights of the book.

8. I can sell direct. In the past I gave my reader a 45% discount, but then some bookstores were not happy, so now I'm selling at the full price.

9. You get 100% of the translation rights, and not 25% to 50%.

The above info is really knowledgeable for us... Some kind of secret about publishing and marketing about a book is revealed.... Thanks a lot for that, Budi and interviewer(Mr.Dirk).

JavaRanch: Have you considered selling the book as an e-book?

Budi: Yes, I am considering ebooks as well. It will be available for sale from my website.

Budi, don't you afraid of distribution of illegal copies and reprinting? I think it will be one of the factors that decreases the sale of the book in hard copy. But I am very impressive with the technology used in SourceBeat.com, selling books in Live Series.

Budi:I spent $4,700 for printing 1,000 copies of How Tomcat Works. Other costs include paying the graphic designer, editor, for the ISBN registration, etc. The total cost is about $6,500, not counting the hundreds of hours spent on writing the book itself of course.

Oh Budi will get $49.99 - $6.5($6,500 / 1,000 copies) = $43.49 per copy... So totally after all 1,000 copies are sold, he will get $43,490!!! It's pretty high...

JavaRanch: Lastly, would you do it again?

Budi: I will publish at least 3 titles, and see what happens. The whole journey has been tiring but exciting. I'm currently writing a Struts design and programming title, which is much much easier to read and understand than all the Struts books in the market.

I have been asking the question for this Budi's reply in the Apache/Tomcat forum for many times... I guess he missed my posts... Now I got the answer from this interview... The next upcoming book will be about Struts...

Lastly, I would like to thank Mr.Dirk and Budi for this interview and I hope that many ranchers hanging out here for "How Tomcat Works" book promotion will benefit a lot from this interview also... Thanks JR!!!
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thanks for the insight, it is a very nice read. Knowing what the process is, helps understanding how difficult it is to get things published. On the profit side of things, it looks very much like the record industry, the small margins for the author itself.
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After reading that interview, I guess I might want to scrap any plans I had for becoming independently wealthy as a technical writer.

Maybe we should start a collection for authors at the ranch.

Enough bad jokes.

Budi, on the issue of printing, did you run across any print shops offering print-on-demand services? If so, what kinds of rates were they offering?

Is there a process for registering or cataloging a book with the Library of Congress in the United States?

What about registering intellectual property rights? Is there anything involved in doing this?

Have you had any legal fees?
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