Self-published automation book is out, at a researched price

John, a lighting/show automation guy, has written a new edition of Show Networks and Control Systems, a book about networking for automation techs.

He sez, "Back in January, Cory re-posted my analysis of the reader survey I used to determine the price and title of my newly self-published book. Self publishing has been a fascinating process, and the survey actually led me to price the book higher ($50) than I had originally thought was feasible. That's $8 less than my publisher was charging, but high enough to give me discounting flexibility.

"For example, I'm running a contest on my website this week (link provided) to give away a copy to the reader who can come closest to guessing the number of times I use the word 'Ethernet' in the book. Every one who enters gets a discount code for $5 off the book. The other cool thing about self publishing is that once I've recouped my costs (copy editor, cover designer, graphics assistant, ISBN and Library of Congress numbers) I can reconsider the price."

Show Networks and Control Systems Book Now Available! Win a Free Copy! (Thanks, John!)


  1. Seems like publishers have been the vampires of the artistic world since the printing press was first invented.  Any time an author can go around them both consumers and writers benefit.

    1. Absolute nonsense. Publishers large and small are responsible for the huge mass of literature and information readily available. They developed writers, paid for their work, and kept it available for future generations.

      Edit: That being said, good on this guy for providing a resource for such a small niche, and doing the market research. It is nice to see someone developing a product without relying on kickstarter.

    2. That really depends on what is being published. For  some non-fiction/technical stuff a publisher probably doesn’t bring much value to the party, but for works of fiction or anything that involves  marketing and promotion in order to get shelf space in physical stores, a GOOD publisher earns their keep.   So I would say “sometimes when an author can go around them…”  not “ANY time…”  etc. 

    3. Complete nonsense. See for Charles Stross’s take on why publishers are actually helpful…TL;DR : manuscript != book, author != editor. 
      Being able to write a good manuscript is NOT the same thing as being able (or willing) to publish a book. Think typesetting, rereading, marketing, selling, managing returns, etc.

      Also, topically enough, Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles) has posted a love-letter to his editor today :

      Now, record labels…that’s a different story.

  2. Since I got my Kindle, I can’t imagine why I’d read a “regular” book again. Books are expensive, heavy and just sit on the shelf after I’ve read them. I have given away some of my old books and donated some to libraries.

    I have bought more books, from a more diverse range of authors since getting the Kindle.

    Note to Amazon: since I can’t buy many titles (from Canada) for my Kindle on Amazon, I buy the epub editions from Kobobooks, then convert them to read on the Kindle. So Amazon: the restrictive arrangements with US publishers is costing you money are directing it to your competitor!

    1. Sure, I like books. I like them so much I want 3,000 of them in my jacket pocket.

      For me, a book has now become an Aesthetic Object. It must be old, beautiful, or unique in some other way for it to sit on my shelf. I’ve got a small collection of commentaries that are not, and probably will never be, available in electronic form. A Kindle edition of Pritchard’s Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament? Highly unlikely. I have every novel Philip K. Dick ever wrote, and they look nice together. The Naked Civil Servant has no e-book edition. Etc. So those, I keep.

    2. You just explained why you might read a “regular” book again, after all! Once you have used the book, it is easy to pass it on to someone else who might enjoy it. Or, if you like, you can sell a “regular” book. Then someone else can buy your “regular” book used, for a nice discount.

      1. The “pass it around” factor is actually easier with ebooks…those without DRM, that is. 

        That said, publishers seem to be getting their head slowly out of their collective arses on the subject…Tor, the biggest SF publisher in the world, has stopped DRM’ing its new releases, including John Scalzi’s Redshirt, Charles Stross’s The Apocalypse Codex, and Stross’s and Doctorow’s future collaboration The Rapture of the Nerds (Out soon ! Can’t wait !).

    3. For me, it’s about security. What happens to your Kindle ebook collection if Amazon folds, or decides that your account is fraudulent ?

      Plus…I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a fetishist, but I can’t feel like I really own a book unless I have a dead-tree codex in my hands. I use ebooks all the time for my job (reading manuscripts for a French SF publisher), and I love how convenient they are, but the few books I have actually bought as ebooks (from memory, Charlie Stross’s Rule 34 and GRR Martin’s A Dance With Dragons) I don’t fell like I really own.

      1. Don’t depend on Amazon, is the short answer.  Keep your own collection; backup your own books in easily-convertible formats.  (Calibre is your friend.)

  3. I don’t even read books anymore. Audible supplies me with almost all of my literature (and torrents for anything that isn’t readily available). I have even converted ebooks to audio through text to speech if there is no audiobook version. The only real complaints are that the “platinum” membership only gives me two credits per month, and that (rarely) some titles can’t be found in any e-format.

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