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Thread: Life After self-publishing

  1. #26
    I agree with what's been said by most here.

    I know firsthand how crappy rejection is. It kept me up at night. The sound of my email chime made me jump, thinking it was another agent rejecting me (and often it was).

    If you really want to be a published fiction author, I think it's commendable that you wrote a second novel. It shows you are capable of improvement, rather than beating a dead horse (your first novel that was rejected all around). I think you should query your second novel. And if it doesn't land you an agent, hey, write another and maybe steal huge pieces of your first two novels to write your third. Keep going.


  2. #27
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomothecat View Post
    . . .
    If you really want to be a published fiction author, I think it's commendable that you wrote a second novel. . . .
    One of the authors written up in How I Got Published (Writer's Digest Press, 2007) saw her fifth novel as the first to be accepted for publication. By then, she was writing novel #13.

    --Ken
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  3. #28
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by scope View Post
    Christopher,

    I'm sure you've read the many reasons why people like me suggest that you first try the traditional publishing route. Nevertheless, you've decided to forgo same and enter the world of self-publishing. Having a nonfiction work, a defined niche and a specific target audience is a plus, but it's not enough. I suggest you look deep inside yourself and be sure that you want to, and are capable of running a business, because when you self-publish to make money that's what you're doing. Then consider editing -- that's your baby to handle, whether or not you pay others to do so for you. What about production? Do you have the knowledge to instruct the self-publishing company to produce the type of book you envision. Do you have the time required to run a self-publishing company? Do you have the thousands of dollars required to do so, and are you prepared to lose it? Do you know how to publicize your book? Do you know how to market and merchandise your book? Do you know how to effectively distribute your book. And so on, and so on.

    My purpose is not to try and discourage you--which I know I can't--but only to give you food for thought.

    I wish you the best.
    Scope - Thanks for the constructive input. I have considered most (not all) of the points you mentioned and I know I have several weaknesses to overcome (inexperience is just one of many.)

    I think the most considerable thing for me to digest is what you said about editing - I know I have a hard time killing my babies, so to speak, and it'll take serious amount of discipline to trust others to do it for me. I'm already anticipating a struggle, and we'll see how that goes.

    For the "knowledge" and "know-how" part, some things I'm confident I can do, others I know I have no idea. The only way to learn, though, is to do.

    Finally, the money - the short answer is yes: I'm prepared to spend the money and to lose every cent. I know this is a serious possibility, but even if I lost everything, it's not a big deal. Wouldn't be the first time, and probably won't be the last. I can always make more money.

    I'm sincerely thankful for your response and wishes, Scope. It's reminded me of the holes I need to start filling if I want this venture to succeed.
    Christopher Ming Lee

    I do what I want, despite what people with the best and worst intentions tell me. Apparently, you're a fish in a barrel in the literary world if you choose to self-publish. So I think that's what I'm going to do next. I'm also investing in a restaurant, and I wait tables on the side for my spending monies. I just got back from Argentina, and this is my new adventure.

    www.chrisminglee.com

  4. #29
    practical experience, FTW Laura Lond's Avatar
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    Hello Everyone,

    I am new here at the forums, this is actually my first post. I have self-published a trilogy with a POD publisher. I did that after trying to break into traditional publishing for years, finally being accepted by a small publisher - and then moving from Europe to America and finding out that I would have to start all over again here. I tried. I played the querying and waiting game the second time around; I collected another pile of rejection letters, and I got tired of it. I went the self-publishing route.

    The result? Well, in some ways I am happy, and in other ways I am not. My books have been read and are still being discovered and read, with positive feedback. I get letters from fans asking for more. But the books have not sold well enough to get me anywhere when it comes to achieving my dream.

  5. #30
    practical experience, FTW cpickett's Avatar
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    Welcome Laura!
    It's too bad you had to start over. However, I think you are to be commended for sticking to it. Many would have given up long ago I'm sure. Keep at it.

    Next, I'd like to remind everyone that there are different benefits to every publishing option. If you have particular goals or dreams in mind, part of your decision process as to which to choose must be mapping out which option can get you where you want to go. You'll probably have to map out a few different routes as well and be prepared for road blocks.

    While I can't guarantee you'll reach every goal this way, I do know you'll significantly increase your chances and that you'll have less disappointments than who have no plan at all.
    Cheryl Pickett

    Author of Publishing Possibilities: 8 Steps to Understanding Your Options & Choosing the Best Path for Your Book

    http://publishinganswers.com

  6. #31
    practical experience, FTW Laura Lond's Avatar
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    Thank you for the welcome Cheryl. You are right about setting goals. One of mine was to get my books out, so that people can buy them and read them. That goal is achieved. And being POD, the books will not go out of print, either.

  7. #32
    Momentary lapse of reason Sweetleaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snook View Post
    What a jerk. That guy needs a plexiglass bellybutton so he can see where he's going. Real humanitarian that one.

    Ha! Ha! Snook, that's fabulous!

    But really, that's just uncalled for. I know some truly fascinating people and none of them are famous. Other people's lives are always interesting, that's why they invented talk shows, documentaries, and reality tv (if you could actually call it reality, but I'm sure that was the original idea.)

    Just don't do what that guy on Oprah did, and make it all up to appear more interesting...

  8. #33
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Hi all. I'm not new here but might as well be since I haven't visited or posted in two+ years. But curiosity brought me back and I thought I'd share my own experiences with POD and standard publishing.

    I had three suspense novels published by HarperCollins back in the nineties as paperback originals. All three sold moderately well, with moderate meaning anywhere from a little over 60,000 copies to just over 95,000 copies. But in the process of negotiating for my fourth book, Harper underwent some changes, bought up Avon, and dumped a lot of authors, myself included. A couple of years after that my agent decided to get out of the business. After losing both my publisher and my agent, I was understandably depressed but kept on writing and querying, to little success. And my previously published books all went out of print. I did find a new agent by querying with a humorous forensic mystery I wrote, but he failed to do much for me other than get my rights back for the first three books, so we eventually parted ways.

    About five years ago I decided that the humorous forensic mystery (THE VICARIOUS LIVER), a work that I loved, should see the light of day. And since my latest queries for the book hadn't garnered me a new agent, I decided to do a POD thing with it and chronicle my journey in a newsletter. I released the work through Booklocker and over the next two years I sold a little over 500 copies. My net income was a couple of hundred books and that's mainly because I had a built-in readership from my previous books. I also entered it in the EPIC annual EPPIE awards for electronically published books (since Booklocker makes both electronic and print versions available) and it made it to the finals.

    Still committed to the work, I withdrew it from Booklocker (a company I chose because it allows you to keep all your rights) and started querying again. And this time I hit paydirt, though it took dozens of queries and nearly two years. I found a new agent and she sold the work as part of a three-book deal to Kensington last spring. The book is scheduled to come out this September under a pseudonym (Annelise Ryan) with a new title (WORKING STIFF) as a hardcover, and a paperback version will follow with the release of the second book.

    Would I do POD again? Maybe. I have another completed ms that my agent hasn't been able to sell and I might consider going the POD route for that work. But not anytime soon. In the meantime, I'm working on book #2 in my Kensington series and also writing another suspense novel in hopes of someday getting another book published under my own name and reprinting my first three.

    Moral of the story? I'm not sure I have one. POD publishing is hardly a path to writing success and without my prior publishing credits I doubt my POD book would have sold 100 copies. (I do believe nonfiction has better success in the POD venue than does fiction.) Had POD been around when I first started submitting my novels to agents in the late eighties and early nineties, I might have given up more easily and let those first works (which I can now see were utterly dreadful!) be published as PODs. Had that happened, I might not have tried as hard to hone my writing skills. I might not have spent as much time on workshops, and writing classes, and analyzing the work of writers I loved in order to identify the areas where I needed to improve. I might not have spent as much time learning the ins and outs of the industry and staying up with the latest trends. Yes, those rejections are hard, and it's not easy admitting to one's self that perhaps you're a never-will-be, or in my case, a has-been. But if you truly love writing and want to be successful at it, you have to be able to set aside those personal feelings and persevere.

    Nothing is guaranteed. My new book could totally tank, placing me in the has-been corner again. But if that happens, I won't give up. And I'll always seek out the traditional route of publishing over POD publishing. I won't rule out the POD route, but I know it's worlds apart from the traditional method and not where I'd prefer to be.

    Beth Amos

  9. #34
    practical experience, FTW MickRooney's Avatar
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    Beth,

    What an absolutely excellent post. It's always far more realistic and balanced for POD published authors to hear about the expeiences of an author who have followed both paths to published. More to the point, as you have told us, even an experienced author signed to HarperCollins and selling up to 100k copies can find publishing through POD a really hard slog and unlikely to lead to groundbreaking commercial success.

    Mick.

  10. #35
    practical experience, FTW Laura Lond's Avatar
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    Beth, thank you so much for sharing your story. First off, I want to say, congratulations on your success!! You've got several books out, they have sold well, and you have another one coming out soon - that's wonderful. Keep going!!

    You made me feel a little better about my own POD endeavor, too: I have sold several hundred copies, and I had NO readership base here in the US, no connections, nothing.

    I have not given up on the traditional route, either. My WIP is going to agents as soon as I have a decent synopsis (don't you hate that thing??).

    Laura

  11. #36
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Lond View Post
    I have not given up on the traditional route, either. My WIP is going to agents as soon as I have a decent synopsis (don't you hate that thing??).

    Laura
    I don't hate them. But I used to.

    Beth

  12. #37
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwfgal View Post
    About five years ago I decided that the humorous forensic mystery (THE VICARIOUS LIVER), a work that I loved, should see the light of day. And since my latest queries for the book hadn't garnered me a new agent, I decided to do a POD thing with it and chronicle my journey in a newsletter. I released the work through Booklocker and over the next two years I sold a little over 500 copies. My net income was a couple of hundred books and that's mainly because I had a built-in readership from my previous books. I also entered it in the EPIC annual EPPIE awards for electronically published books (since Booklocker makes both electronic and print versions available) and it made it to the finals.

    Still committed to the work, I withdrew it from Booklocker (a company I chose because it allows you to keep all your rights) and started querying again. And this time I hit paydirt, though it took dozens of queries and nearly two years. I found a new agent and she sold the work as part of a three-book deal to Kensington last spring. The book is scheduled to come out this September under a pseudonym (Annelise Ryan) with a new title (WORKING STIFF) as a hardcover, and a paperback version will follow with the release of the second book.

    Would I do POD again? Maybe. I have another completed ms that my agent hasn't been able to sell and I might consider going the POD route for that work. But not anytime soon. In the meantime, I'm working on book #2 in my Kensington series and also writing another suspense novel in hopes of someday getting another book published under my own name and reprinting my first three.

    Nothing is guaranteed. My new book could totally tank, placing me in the has-been corner again. But if that happens, I won't give up. And I'll always seek out the traditional route of publishing over POD publishing. I won't rule out the POD route, but I know it's worlds apart from the traditional method and not where I'd prefer to be.

    Beth Amos
    Beth,

    I remember seeing The Vicarious Liver up on Amazon; even had it on my Wish List. But I think I saw it said out of print (just recently, I think)?

    So it'll be coming out again as Working Stiff (love that title)? Do you have any idea when it'll be out?

    And thanks for posting your experiences.

    ~Nancy
    Screw the new blog, I've resurrected my old blog: Writerly Stuff.

    I twit, therefore I am?

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison

    It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~Robert Benchley

  13. #38
    practical experience, FTW Laura Lond's Avatar
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    Love your signature quote about "vroom, vroom" Nancy.

  14. #39
    On the rocks cwfgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyGirl1962 View Post
    Beth,

    I remember seeing The Vicarious Liver up on Amazon; even had it on my Wish List. But I think I saw it said out of print (just recently, I think)?

    So it'll be coming out again as Working Stiff (love that title)? Do you have any idea when it'll be out?

    And thanks for posting your experiences.

    ~Nancy
    WORKING STIFF is scheduled for release in September of this year as a hardcover, and sometime next year as a paperback in conjunction with the hardcover release of book #2 in the series, SCARED STIFF. They will be under my pen name, Annelise Ryan.

    Thanks for your interest, Nancy. I appreciate it.

    Beth


    As Annelise Ryan:
    WORKING STIFF, SCARED STIFF,
    FROZEN STIFF, LUCKY STIFF, and (coming in 2014) BOARD STIFF

    As Allyson K. Abbott:
    MURDER ON THE ROCKS (Available 8/6/13)

    As Beth Amos:
    COLD WHITE FURY
    EYES OF NIGHT
    SECOND SIGHT
    NICK OF TIME
    FACE OF DEATH

    www.mattiewinston.com
    www.bethamos.com

  15. #40
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Just in case anyone thinks self-publishing has no potential, I have learned that a self-publishing friend of mine, whose best-selling (among his books) title has sold 85,000 copies, is now going to produce a large-print edition of that book to reach more readers.

    Nonfiction, regional interest, moderately priced, easy impulse buy -- good profile for self-publishing.

    He has a total of about 18 books, and is an enthusiastic promoter/marketer.

    --Ken
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  16. #41
    figuring it all out ssnowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OKperson View Post
    "Quote" Do you really think anyone is interested in your life story?"
    I was told by a publisher, "No one cares about you or your life".

    Then, of course, I sold the book. Which is about me. And my life.

    Go figure.

  17. #42
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by ResearchGuy View Post
    Just in case anyone thinks self-publishing has no potential, I have learned that a self-publishing friend of mine, whose best-selling (among his books) title has sold 85,000 copies, is now going to produce a large-print edition of that book to reach more readers.

    Nonfiction, regional interest, moderately priced, easy impulse buy -- good profile for self-publishing.

    He has a total of about 18 books, and is an enthusiastic promoter/marketer.

    --Ken
    After all those bleak posts, this one is a little encouraging. Whew!

    Just an idea (not for everybody): If you're a writer devoted to your art and someone told you that in order to become successful, all you would have to do is write 13 books. Would you happily go about with your life and continue writing? Are you in it for the writing or the money or the recognition?

    Of course, some of us will want to rely solely on our income from our book sales and have no room for this crazy idea. But if we have day jobs, and obsess over our characters at night simply for the love of it, will we get better at our craft? Yes. Will we stop worrying so much about rejection letters? Yes.

    I'm in the process of writing my first fiction novel and have no clue what it is like to be rejected for years on end (respect for all those guys), but I guess I like this philosophy. The philosophy that the more you want something, the more you push it away.

    I'll do my best to keep writing for as long as I can, query my novels, if there is no good news within a year I'll POD and have another book ready for querying. By my 13th book, I'm pretty sure something will be happening. Or maybe my 12th book, since 13 is a little ominous.

    Asimov, King; these guys will tell you to never stop writing and I think this all I should be really worrying about: How is my MC going to get out of this one?

    I know each of us is in very different situations. Please excuse my cheerful ranting. =D

  18. #43
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theholotrope View Post
    . . . writing my first fiction novel. . .
    A friendly heads-up. In the latest issue of The Writer magazine (latest I have received, at least), there is a round-table set of agent interviews (Q&A style article). One of the agent flatly states that he immediately discards any query that uses the phrase "fiction novel." A novel is by definition fiction; the redundancy "fiction novel" is a red flag.

    Anyway, hang in there. Persistence is the key. (Well, that and craftsmanship.) If you genuinely want to pursue commercial publication, don't give up and turn to self-publishing/subsidy publishing after a year. You'd be shooting yourself in the foot. Tough it out. (How I Got Published will be worth your time to read, I think.)

    --Ken
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  19. #44
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    It just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Fiction novel. Fiction novel.

    Thanks for the tip, ResearchGuy. Probably saved me a couple of years of embarrassing rejections. I hope I can come back to this thread later on, look at the optimism in my comment and still be motivated. I just hope I'm writing for the 'right' reasons, you know? I like this quote:

    "The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews."

    -William Faulkner

    But anyway, this thread is about self-publishing.

    Thanks again.

  20. #45
    figuring it all out
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    Ken, I have to laugh at those quirky agents who have all sorts of pet peeves, such as immediately discarding anything that says "fiction novel." I wonder how many great manuscripts they've passed up.

  21. #46
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I suspect they know what they are doing. If the miss half the great novels but save hours a day I am sure they still have more great novels than they need to make a living. It's a cost:benefit thing.

    p.s. I also tend to pay less attention to someone the moment they type 'fiction novel'. It is akin to dotting your eyes with little love hearts.
    Last edited by veinglory; 02-03-2009 at 12:59 AM.
    Emily Veinglory

  22. #47
    practical experience, FTW Laura Lond's Avatar
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    I wonder whether anyone has ever tried to submit a "non-fiction novel"??

  23. #48
    practical experience, FTW Nandi's Avatar
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    "Fiction novel" is a huge, huge red flag for agents. It isn't simply quirky. On their blogs they joke about "clueless" writers who use this. Agents and their assistants would immediately toss any query that used that phrase.

  24. #49
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    Good Grief. I discard any agents that are so anal that they reject a good work over a redundancy.
    Mods, please remove me from the AW member rolls please.

  25. #50
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    Oh, I don't deny that agents see it as a red flag. My point is that it's a huge assumption that using "fiction novel" always means that it's a lousy novel. Why not be courteous and just say, "Hey, don't do that. It's redundant." Imagine if every national network TV anchor always had to use correct English. There'd be no one presenting the news. On almost a daily basis I hear national TV news anchors mix up verb tenses (e.g., "Look, there's birds in that tree!). Does that mean they're terrible anchors? On top of that, I've even seen this same type of subject-verb confusion occasionally used by agents on their blogs.

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