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Thread: Life After self-publishing

  1. #101
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by ResearchGuy View Post
    I could cite one. The author rejected the publisher's offer and continued on her own, expanding her catalog to include books by other people than herself. (It was far more profitable and she retained creative control.) But I suspect instances are rarer in fiction. That's a guess, though.

    --Ken
    Ok, thanks.

  2. #102
    practical experience, FTW mercs's Avatar
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    I remember reading on here (sorry can't find the actual thread but this covers the topic) that no one owns a POD book and that sales are rare...

    I've been back home polishing my MSS and relaxing and decided to look through my bookcase. I have a lot of Wordsworth classics and puffin paperbacks, but even my collection had several printed by Lightning Source, including Michael Ward's Planet Narnia, which also had a bbc programme dedicated to it over Xmas...

    It is possible to succeed, although yes the traditional method is obviously the best method, or why would anyone bother!

  3. #103
    Wannabe Mad Scientist TychoBrahe's Avatar
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    I've been struggling with this whole concept lately and I've given myself a deadline - June 1, 2010. If I haven't at least had a serious nibble on my current sales project by then, I copyright my book, print-on-demand so I can at least have copies to give to my friends, and post the damn thing for free on the Internet.

    I think about my wife, who paints and does mixed-media stuff. She creates art because the creation itself is rewarding (same reason I write) and then gives her stuff away as gifts to her friends. If you went up to her, though, and said "You really should hide everything you create until you can get some New York art snob to declare it a work of genius" she'd tell you to go screw yourself. And yet, that's exactly what a lot of us writers tell ourselves.

    As for self-publishing scarring your future possibilities, here's a solution: self-publish under a pseudonym and don't mention it in any of your future queries unless your p.o.d. sales go through the roof.
    "A certain ruthlessness and a sense of alienation from society is as essential to creative writing as it is to armed robbery." - Nelson Algren

  4. #104
    Got the hang of it, here valeriec80's Avatar
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    Honestly, I think self-publishing can be far less damaging to a career than getting traditionally published, but not selling "enough" books. With self-publishing, as someone pointed out, the traditional publishing industry doesn't even consider you published. But once you've traditionally published a book and only sold a few thousand copies, no publisher will touch you. You basically have to start from scratch with a new name.

    In a world where the current distribution model is squeezing out midlist fiction authors, and publishers no longer read slush, I honestly feel that I've got about as good a chance being "successful" (my ultimate dream being to scratch out an actual living from writing, something I understand very few traditionally published authors can even do) going it alone as I do trying to get into the mainstream market. For me, having complete control over the "look" of my stuff and the people I market to is a plus as well.
    Online young adult and dark fantasy novels, available at: vjchambers.com.

  5. #105
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valeriec80 View Post
    . . . With self-publishing, as someone pointed out, the traditional publishing industry doesn't even consider you published. . . . .
    Maybe or maybe not, but can be entirely irrelevant. All a commercial publisher cares about is whether a book (or, better, an author who may have a series of books over the coming years) is likely to be profitable.

    Examples include Stephanie Chandler, whose very limited self-published Lulu.com book about online platforms for authors was picked up by Quill Driver Press (a commercial publisher), or the fellow I know (don't recall his name right now, and he writes under a pen name anyway) whose self-published book on gambling was noticed by DK (a major international publisher) and led to a contract for a much larger book on gambling, which DK has since published, fully illustrated and with all the bells and whistles.

    William Teie self-publishes his books on wildland firefighting (he is an expert), and has turned down a buyout offer for his whole company by a commercial publisher. Naida West (historical novelist) has rejected commercial publisher(s)' offers to pick up one or more of her books. In both cases, the authors preferred the profits and control.

    Those are just folks I pesonally know and can cite off the top of my head. There have to be many, many more.

    --Ken

    P.S. Stephanie's first book was a subsidy POD from one of the better subsidy presses. Her next book was published by a major commercial publisher. Don't believe the blather about self-publishing, or even subsidy publishing, being a terminal taint. Everything depends on quality and commercial potential going forward.
    Last edited by ResearchGuy; 06-13-2009 at 06:34 AM.
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  6. #106
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TychoBrahe View Post
    . . . I copyright my book, print-on-demand . . .
    Do yourself a favor and read up on copyright. See the Copyright Basics and the FAQs at www.copyright.gov. Copyright is one thing (and is automatic as soon as the work takes tangible form, which could be hand-written on notebook paper). Registration of copyright is another.

    --Ken
    Last edited by ResearchGuy; 06-13-2009 at 06:36 AM.
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  7. #107
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin TheUnknownAuthor's Avatar
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    This is the reason I love this forum!

    I have been seriously considering POD and I think I have learned more reading this thread then I have reading 3 books on the subject :-)

  8. #108
    practical experience, FTW Angkor's Avatar
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    When POD first appeared on the scene, there definitely was a taint attached to it; the publishing industry put it on a par with vanity publishing. This attitude, however, has changed over time. It generally is not a stigma in the eyes of most agents and publishers to have published via POD. Conversely, unless your POD book is one of those rarities that took off in sales, publishing professionals merely regard you as not having been published. In other words, your POD books likely won't hurt your reputation, but they also won't help much either.

    POD is best suited for niche non-fiction works for what is termed "long-tail retailing." Hence, the book on gambling mentioned by ResearchGuy. A handful of successful POD novels have been picked up by the industry and gained further success, but they are rare.

  9. #109
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angkor View Post
    . . . the book on gambling mentioned by ResearchGuy. . . . .
    I think you might have misunderstood. That book, self-published (probably not via POD, but I don't know) led to a contract from a major international commercial publisher for a new book. I doubt that the author is still promoting his first book.

    Stephanie Chandler's first book was a POD, from Aventine Press, and probably could have been picked up by an agent/commercial publisher. Her second book was published by Wiley, which apparently was sufficiently impressed by the first book. She experimented with a Lulu version of another book, which was then picked up by Quill Driver Press, a commercial publisher, for its own new, retitled edition.

    POD is a method. Period. All that ultimately counts with commercial publishers is the profit potential they see in a proposed book. For that matter, self-publishing and subsidy publishing are methods. They are not curses. Times have changed.

    --Ken
    Last edited by ResearchGuy; 06-16-2009 at 07:35 AM.
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  10. #110
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    I'm hoping I can find an agent and traditional publisher for my YA fantasy books because my financial ability to market my own books is non-existent, but I have written an RPG gamebook based on my stories that I have every intent to self-publish (I'm learning toward CreateSpace so I can have easy Kindle support) since the published books can market the game for me.

    Admittedly, I may end up publishing the gamebook before the novels become published since there are very few Kindle released RPG gamebooks right now and I imagine this will not be the case a year later.
    One day the world will recognize my genius, he swore in a dark room with nightmarish-type spooky things around him.


  11. #111
    A determined dreamer ButterflyStoryteller's Avatar
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    I POD published my first Children's book with Xulon Press in December 2007 and I know the story has so much more potential... I'd like to revise it a bit and try to get it traditionally published. Is there any hope for me?

  12. #112
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButterflyStoryteller View Post
    I POD published my first Children's book with Xulon Press in December 2007 and I know the story has so much more potential... I'd like to revise it a bit and try to get it traditionally published. Is there any hope for me?
    Yes. It might require some contortions on account of the previous publication, but one step at a time.

    --Ken
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  13. #113
    A determined dreamer ButterflyStoryteller's Avatar
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    Are there actually publishers, agents or agencies that will consider revised, but previously POD published manuscripts?

  14. #114
    practical experience, FTW StephenJSweeney's Avatar
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    ButterflyStoryTeller - I don't think there are any specific publishers who would do such a thing; none that actively look out for it, I mean.

    Publishers are, at the end of the day, a business - they want to sell books and they want to make money from it. That's basically all anyone ever needs to remember.

    If you publish a POD novel, manage to sell 5,000 copies of it, and get good reviews and reception, then chances are that someone is going to sit up and pay attention.

    There are numerous stories of people who have moved from a self or POD published book to an actual publishing house. Some of the significant ones are,

    ERAGON by Christopher Paolini
    STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova
    THE SHACK by William P Young
    SHADOWMANCER by GP Taylor

    I also know a few people who have self published and have landed themselves an agent as a result.

    One thing you MUST keep in mind, however - stuff like this is the exception and not the norm!
    Last edited by StephenJSweeney; 06-18-2009 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Shadowmancer - another recent-ish example

  15. #115
    A determined dreamer ButterflyStoryteller's Avatar
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    Stephen (and anyone else with insights to share on this),
    Thanks for the info. It's good to know there are authors who've succeeded in my same goal... I'm mainly trying to land an agent. My book is an "independent reader" Christian children's book that's also written for youth with disabilities. So, in terms of query letters, do I tell them that I self-published? If I should, do I then explain that it was nominated for the Schneider Family Book Award? It is an award given to authors and illustrators who tell stories about people living with disabilities. I also was recently interviewed by Exceptional Parent magazine (the most read disability magazine in the country and probably the world) about my book and also being a writer with a disability in general. Would that also be pertinent for a query letter if I disclose that it was self-published? I am planning to revise the manuscript to give the story a little bit more oomphf, but I want to start the query process at the same time. I really appreciate your guidance.
    Thanks!
    Blessings,

    Brooke Brown
    Author of The Little Butterfly Girl
    www.wheels2wings.com



  16. #116
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButterflyStoryteller View Post
    . . . I also was recently interviewed by Exceptional Parent magazine (the most read disability magazine in the country and probably the world) about my book and also being a writer with a disability in general. Would that also be pertinent for a query letter if I disclose that it was self-published? I am planning to revise the manuscript to give the story a little bit more oomphf, but I want to start the query process at the same time. I really appreciate your guidance.
    Thanks!
    IMHO, yes, that interview is pertinent. It suggests credibility (assuming it showed up in print).

    And, for whatever it is worth, IMHO, it would be good to be direct that you experimented with self-publishing a prior version of the work. But I'd recommend making the revisions before querying, and relentlessly revising to as close to perfection as you can. Then query. And be ready with a fully developed book proposal (marketing plan, platform information, and all) in case you get an expression of interest.

    --Ken
    .
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  17. #117
    A determined dreamer ButterflyStoryteller's Avatar
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    Queries for angents....

    [quote=ResearchGuy;3710250] IMHO, yes, that interview is pertinent. It suggests credibility (assuming it showed up in print).

    The interview was "Top Story" on the EP website last month... is that still creditable? Also, the book can now be ordered from their online bookstore. Check it out and tell me what you think? Thanks for all the help. I read and marked up your booklet today.
    http://www.eparent.com/main_channels...Fairy_Tale.asp
    Last edited by ButterflyStoryteller; 06-19-2009 at 09:14 AM.
    Blessings,

    Brooke Brown
    Author of The Little Butterfly Girl
    www.wheels2wings.com



  18. #118
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButterflyStoryteller View Post
    . . . The interview was "Top Story" on the EP website last month... is that still creditable? . . .
    I would think so.

    I am registered at way too many sites already, so I'll take a pass on this one, but in any event I think you have a fine running start. Keep up the good work.

    --Ken
    Last edited by ResearchGuy; 06-19-2009 at 07:29 PM.
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  19. #119
    A determined dreamer ButterflyStoryteller's Avatar
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    Thanks. That means a lot...
    Blessings,

    Brooke Brown
    Author of The Little Butterfly Girl
    www.wheels2wings.com



  20. #120
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    Here's a question, though I'm not sure if this is the thread to pose it :

    I self-published a book back in 2005, and recently removed it from the POD publisher (discontinued). I was told it would follow suit that the book's ISBN would then be removed from Ingram's listing, though I do still find the title on Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon's sites in full color (yikes!). Their sites state it's available, but if anyone tried to order it back to the POD publisher, it would quickly be revealed as "discontinued".

    The manuscript has been rewritten and revised, heavily. However, it retains the same title.

    All right, the question:

    I queried this book to 30 literary agents, and within 7 days, received not only 3 requests for partials, and two for fulls, but now have an offer of representation. I feel a need to tell the agent who's placed the offer, of this manuscript's previous sad and limited shelf-life as a POD. I'm sure the agent would make that discovery, especially when they shop it around. Further, should I suggest a title revision, to avoid any mess created by a skeptical publishing house?

    Anyone?

  21. #121
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maddie View Post
    ... All right, the question:

    I queried this book to 30 literary agents, and within 7 days, received not only 3 requests for partials, and two for fulls, but now have an offer of representation. I feel a need to tell the agent who's placed the offer, of this manuscript's previous sad and limited shelf-life as a POD. I'm sure the agent would make that discovery, especially when they shop it around. Further, should I suggest a title revision, to avoid any mess created by a skeptical publishing house?

    Anyone?
    My views:

    1. Tell all to the agent.

    2. A new publisher will pick title. Author gets no say in that (or very little at most). But good point to discuss with agent.

    3. ISBNs appear to be forever. I won't bore you with my story on that.

    --Ken
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  22. #122
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    Thanks, ResearchGuy (not too far from Lassen, eh?). I keep seeing that image of my former-POD book cover on Barnes & Noble - used to be a pretty sight, but now it's more like a fancy curse.

    It definitely feels right to tell the agent, and in truth, there's no other option. Knowing he'd find out anyway would be proof of my withholding, and create an atmosphere of deception. That's terrible for an author's rep, and the author/agent relationship.

    Being a bit green, I never knew that titles are somewhat meaningless. Interesting!

  23. #123
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maddie View Post
    . . .
    Being a bit green, I never knew that titles are somewhat meaningless. Interesting!
    Oh, I would not say they are meaningless, not at all. But a commercial publisher has a better idea of what works in the market and what works for its target audiences than the typical author. And they have a much broader and deeper view of the market.

    Congrats, by the way. Keep us posted.

    (Indeed not too far from Lassen . . . not a drive I have made in a great many years, though. I aim for the Central Coast instead.)

    --Ken
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    [/FONT][URL="http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Street-Colorful-Origins-Sparks/dp/1937123073/"][FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium][I]There's No Lake on Lake Street![/I] by James D. Umbach[/FONT][/URL]
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  24. #124
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    I have my fingers crossed. I just sent off a professionally honest email to the agent, so I'll let you know what happens. Thanks again for the excellent advice.

  25. #125
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    Well, I think the axiom "the truth shall set you free" is a fair assessment of what happened after I sent this agent the facts about my novel having been a POD in its earlier life. Never mind assurances (and proof) that it no longer was available with the POD publisher (though still showing on B&N, Amazon, etc.), and that it had been heavily edited from a BMI of 145,000 words to a svelte 90,000 - the agent became suddenly - I guess the only way to describe it is "weird". Immediately backed off.

    This still doesn't change my belief that honesty to a certain professional extent is the best foot forward. However, I am now going to completely change the title so that it never links back to the original POD.

    Such is life!

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