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Thread: Can I try and traditionally publish after making a kindle/e-pubbing?

  1. #26
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    Someone comes to the self publishing board on one of the largest and most respected writing forums out there, asking for advice and help about self publishing, and is given advice to go to a trade publisher for her next book? Really?
    Because as the OP has indicated, she is interested in seeking commercial publication, and that she is struggling to sell more than 10+ copies.

    That is why I recommended trade publishing, or is that a dirty phrase?
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  2. #27
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    OK, so you've taken me to task for using a source without documentation of the names of those polled. But then you use "conventional wisdom" as a source - when that wisdom is clearly what is being debated in the first place.
    Kevin, I'm sorry that you're not happy with Mscelina's post; but I can vouch for her, and I can vouch for the information she's provided. She's spot-on. If she wasn't, I'd shout her down: you know I would.

    The double standard is beginning to be obnoxious. I recognize that there are folks posting on this forum who are here solely because they are anti-self-publishing. It's very blatant. But it's a little ridiculous to ask for sources for one side of the argument, yet expect to be able to produce personal opinion for your own side without being challenged.
    I see no double standard, but when you think there is one then please use the report-post button so that I can deal with it. As for people posting here because they are anti-self-publishing: that's ridiculous. The bickering usually starts when someone with a trade publishing background comes in and refutes some of the claims made by self-publishers about trade publishing and that's not being anti-self-publishing, it's being anti misinformation.

    And yes, you're right that people aren't asked to cite their sources when they're expressing their personal opinions; but when someone refers to a poll, or a blog post, or a survey, or a study, then yes, they will be asked to cite their sources.

    [snippety-snip]

    I have an *awful* big collection of anecdotal data suggesting that most trade published books get little to no marketing dollars.
    With writers more and more expected to do promotion for their trade published books, this is no longer the advantage for trade publishing that it once was. Much of what they do isn't visible to readers; but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

    #1 why are you so down on other peoples' career paths that you want to slam them and #2 do you realize that a good chunk of what you posted here is propaganda/misinformation?
    Kevin, Mscelina isn't slamming anyone; she's just explaining how things work in publishing, and attempting to refute a few myths. It's called trying to help people. Just because what she says contradicts your opinions doesn't mean she's wrong. And while I can't see any propoganda or misinformation in her posts, your posts here are thick with them both. Please take more care.



    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    Absolutely. But it's also important to recognize that
    a) people in the trade publishing industry often have very little or no experience with the self publishing industry - and they are two very different but related industries, at this point - and...
    People in trade publishing tend to have a lot of experience in making publishing work well, though, and so when they see self-publishers make basic mistakes they're very well-placed to understand why those mistakes were made, and the implications of them.

    b) ...there's financial incentive - strong incentive - for trade publishing industry folks to retain the status quo. There's numerous examples of obvious disinformation being given out by various blogs and periodicals put out by the TP industry.
    I'd really like you to cite a few examples of these blogs and periodicals, and explain why they're wrong. You could start a new thread here to do it. I think we'd all find that very interesting.

    Publishers are well on their way to being disintermediated. It's an *enormous* change, and has come with frightening speed.
    People have been saying that for as long as I've worked in publishing, which is getting on for three decades now. It hasn't happened yet.

    Yes, but most of them are folks like Robin and dgaughran, who have actual experience in the self publishing field
    With respect, Robin runs Ridan, which is her own trade publishing house; she hasn't self-published at all as far as I know. And Dave Gaughran has self-published just two short stories, both of them just last month.

    and regularly get attacked for trying to pass on their personal experiences.
    They regularly get disagreed with but I don't think they get attacked. If they did, I hope you'd use the "report post" button.

    Now. Let's stop getting so wound up about things and start being a little more analytical. We're writers: we should think carefully about the implications of all that we write, and make sure that our claims can stand up to close examination. Otherwise we're just wasting time here, and none of us want to do that.

  3. #28
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    What's to stop you from commercially publishing a book that's been previously e-pubbed?

    This:

    H. Author's Warranties

    Author represents and warrants:

    A) that the Work is the original work of Author and does not infringe upon any statutory copyright or upon any common-law right, or any other right whatsoever; and affirms that no part of the work has been previously published by the Author under another existing, active contract by any entity other than the Publisher, or the Work has not been taken from any other art form except as identified by the Author;

    B) that s/he is the sole author and owner of the Work; if the Work was previously published in any format the Author warrants the right granted herein have reverted to the Author with full power and right to enter into this Agreement and to grant the rights conveyed to Publisher; this work does not violate any copyright, privacy laws, or the rights of a third party;

    ...

    E) If Author shall breach any or all of these warranties, Publisher shall be entitled to injunctive relief in addition to all other remedies which may be available to it.
    And I'll bet my next royalty check that this is pretty much standard language in many publishing contracts, be they from Teeny Micro House to ConglomoPub Inc.
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  4. #29
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    What's to stop you from commercially publishing a book that's been previously e-pubbed?. . . .
    But there is no reason why a commercial/trade publisher cannot contract to (re)publish a previously published book. Stephanie Chandler published a book via Lulu, but Quill Driver Press signed it to a revised, retitled edition. AW's own K.L. Brady self-published a novel that was picked up by Random House under a two-book contract. Soho Press published a new (and unfortunately retitled) edition of one of my favorite books, originally published by a very small regional press, which signed it over to Soho for the new edition. If a publisher sees the book as suitable and profitable, previous publication (e- or print) is irrelevant.

    Obviously the author must not lie or deceive, of course. But if a publisher likes the book, finds it suitable, and can obtain necessary rights, nothing stops it from signing it to a new edition.

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  5. #30
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    The point is, it isn't standard to print something that's already been printed (e or otherwise) in a usual contract with an unsigned author. Which means an agent will think harder about it and it has more chance of being knocked back. And agents knock back99% of what they get anyway, perfectly good (and bad) books without that baggage, all the time. If you self-pub first and don't have uber sales...it's just another hurdle in a way strewn with hurdles.

    This (I) doesn't mean don't do it. It means think about it first, and research. Same as every writer should do when considering getting an agent. Just with extra caveats. Personally, if my goal was get an agent, I'd do the best I can in that avenue before I explored another. Same if I decided to self pub - I;d give it everything before I quit.

    But that's juts me. If anyone wants to swim around without research and proper thought into the matter, that is for them to decide. All I'm saying just that whichever route you decide to go for, do your research. Make sure it's actual fact from agents (or whatevers) mouth.If they say they won;t take previously pubbed work (and several--not all--do) then you've limited your options out of the gate. IF you only ever wanted to self-pub and/or just get it out there and you know the pitfalls/problems etc then go for it.

    Let your research influence your final decision. Go into whatever you decide with your eyes open.




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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I think the important thing to do, Kevin, is realize that the people who are successful at self-publishing aren't the only ones in the game and not disregard the information that those with trade publishing experience, particularly those who are intimately involved in it and have been for along time.
    I see your point but there seems to be a perpencity here to refute people who have proven track records in self-publshing. After all they can never be anything more than outliers. When I want to learn how to play tennis well, I go to someone who is a good tennis player. Why the perpencity not to listen to those that are doing well?

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    On the other hand, you have a lot of people who are editors or published authors or agents or people involved in one form or another on these boards who are telling you their perspective. Personally, I put more stock into these when it comes to issues such as this because they have more experience.
    Thanks for proving my point above...you trust those with years of experience in the "old model" but disregard real-world experience of those sucessful in the "new model".

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    Now, what it looks like from my perspective is that there is an assumption that commercial publishing has no idea what it's doing in the new modern world of ebooks or that everything has changed overnight and nothing is the same as it was yesterday. Yes, things are changing, but commercial publishers aren't completely clueless, and things haven't changed that fast.
    Yes, they are changing "that fast". Which is at the crux of this arguement. We now have agents becomming publishers, retailers becoming publishers, ebooks outselling paperback and hardcover combined on Amazon, self-published authors making hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is all changing at lightning speed and those that continue to cling to the "old wisdom" are the ones in real danger of being caught with their pants down.

    As for commercial publishing not knowing what to do. They are now starting to sort things out. An overriding sentiment I heard over and over again at BEA was that last year they were indeed clueless and flondering. That was coming from their mouths - not mine. But they are feeling more comfortible now and starting to make changes. Just another example that things will be changing very quickly as they are now starting to adjust to the new environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I think we need to keep in mind that a lot of people here do have the knowledge. Personal, first-hand knowledge because they work in the industry. And I also know that, personally, if all the wisdom and statements from the people who are intimately involved in the industry pretty much match, I'm going to question things that come along refuting that. Maybe that seems unfair, but to me it just makes sense.
    I think what you are seeing is people explaining models and paradigms that they have become accustomed to. They were relevant until VERY VERY recently. But now it's time to start listening to people riding the edge of the adoption curve not the laggards.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I'm not saying you can't listen to self-publishers or those who have taken their own route or whatever. Just that we need to make sure we listen to both sides and consider the weight of knowledge. Stephen Colbert has a doctorate in fine arts that was honorarily awarded. I'm not going to take his experience on how to get a doctorate over those hundreds who have gone through the actual education process.
    But the analogy doesn't fit. Of course you don't listen to someone who has a piece of paper but no knowledge on the subject. But when I speak, its not "theory" it is "real, hands-on experience. If I couldn't sell my way out of a paperbag then of course you shouldn't listen to me. The differnece is when I run across someone who is making big sales I immediately want to pick their brains. When a resource comes here and "offers" knowledge it is as welcome as the mess a neighbor's dog leaves on your front lawn.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    The double standard is beginning to be obnoxious. I recognize that there are folks posting on this forum who are here solely because they are anti-self-publishing. It's very blatant. But it's a little ridiculous to ask for sources for one side of the argument, yet expect to be able to produce personal opinion for your own side without being challenged.
    You are not the only one who sees the double standard being administered. There are a lot of lurkers that send me emails and PM's to this effect and thank me for offering a "desenting opinion".

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    I have an *awful* big collection of anecdotal data suggesting that most trade published books get little to no marketing dollars. With writers more and more expected to do promotion for their trade published books, this is no longer the advantage for trade publishing that it once was.
    Lack of marketing $'s has existed for a long time. This really isn't new (although from my anecdotal evidence it is getting worse). But that's not the big elephant in the room. The big elephant is the fact that most trade publishers who use a bookstore model focus their sales on buysers at the big chains. But with print sales (both hard cover and paperback) sliding with each release of AAP numbers, and bookstores going bankrupt, the new world order is going to require a shift in marketing from the chain buyers to the end-users. These publishers are not equipped to make such a transition - This is one of the reason's why Amazon bringing on Larry Kirshenbaum and forming two new imprints (Thomas and Mercer and MontLake) is so significant. Amazon has what no other publisher has - millions of email addresses of INDIVDUALS and a complete history of their buying habits. Going to be really really tough to compete against that in a direct to consumer sales environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    Go check the Amazon fiction-ebook-bestseller list. The top 100 has been at or above 35% self published for over two months. When I checked the SF bestseller list last week, it was over 50% self published in the top 100 books. That doesn't sound like SP can't compete in ebooks.
    You are 100% correct I capture and analyze the Top 100 list every week, and self publishers have routinely mainted 35% or more of titles (once games and periodicals are removed) this is not ancedotial it is cold hard data. Now...at the present time the Sunshine Deals is completly messing with the list as there is a flood of more than 600 titles from larger presses that are in the $0.99 - $2.99 price point. But in non Sunshine Deal Times Self publishers have completely outperformed small press publishers and do VERY well against the larger pubishers including titles offered by the big-six.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    That sounds like they're competing just fine, and even dominating in some genres.
    There is no question the are dominating Science Fiction. The also perform very well in Horror, Fantasy and Thrillers.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    Agree here. Yes, minimal sales of a self published ebook basically have no impact on potential ability to sell that work to most small epublishers. If it didn't sell much, that's not necessarily a slam on the book - it could be just bad cover, bad marketing, bad luck. But the book needs to be outstanding to get attention - like any other submitted book.
    Of course a book with high sales gets more immediate attention, but you are correct. I've taken on many books with low sales knowing that better marketing could save them. Marshall Thomas was selling 5 - 10 books a month but after a revamp and some marketing he sold 17,000 in May.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    Kevin, my biggest problem with a lot of the information given on self-publishing is that it is not all that reliable. People throw numbers around like SP was the City of Gold - and then we find out that the numbers pertain to a select few authors, or a particular retailer, or are being extrapolated out as if they were guaranteed - in other words, they're taking a small number of success stories and blowing it all out of proportion. It's very hard to take anything these people say seriously after that.
    There are no guarantees. But I must say that I'm grateful for all the self published authors who are sharing their sales data. Without it I thought what I was seeing was a "fluke" but by seeing there are others who experienced similar trends (like the incredible first wave spike in Oct/Nov 2010) it lets me know that that there is a bigger trend occurring.

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    The second problem I have is the obvious disdain some self-publishers have for commercial publishing. Now, they may have had a bad experience themselves and they find kindred souls who also want to vent, but again - they extrapolate their supposed injury into this idea that the whole of commercial publishing is the Arch Villain, complete with twirly mustache. Now, I grant you that there are people on the commercial publishing "side" who are just as vindictive, for whatever reasons they may have. But because someone points out flaws in reasoning or fact, does not make them anti-SP.
    I think a lot of that is projection. People accuse me of being anti traditional publishing all the time. Even though I'm activly signing with a big-six, and repeat over and over that each of the three paths has positive and negative attributes to them.

    I will say this though...there has been a very one-side balance of power in publishing for years. Authors signed contracts heavily weighted to the wishes of the publishers since they were the only game in town. Now that self publishers and small pressses that are selling well electronically are making some serious money it helps to give the author more power and that is worth celebrating over no matter which path you take.

  9. #34
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    You are not the only one who sees the double standard being administered. There are a lot of lurkers that send me emails and PM's to this effect and thank me for offering a "desenting opinion".
    I can't believe you actually posted that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    With respect, Robin runs Ridan, which is her own trade publishing house; she hasn't self-published at all as far as I know.
    And yet you were the one to tell me to classify Michael's works as self-published because went through no third-party vetting process and had no one investing money in the production of their works.

    I am both a self-publisher (the 5 books of the Riyria Revelations) and a small press publisher (the 15 boks by other Riyria authors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    What's to stop you from commercially publishing a book that's been previously e-pubbed?

    This:
    Author represents and warrants:

    A) that the Work is the original work of Author and does not infringe upon any statutory copyright or upon any common-law right, or any other right whatsoever; and affirms that no part of the work has been previously published by the Author under another existing, active contract by any entity other than the Publisher, or the Work has not been taken from any other art form except as identified by the Author;

    B) that s/he is the sole author and owner of the Work; if the Work was previously published in any format the Author warrants the right granted herein have reverted to the Author with full power and right to enter into this Agreement and to grant the rights conveyed to Publisher; this work does not violate any copyright, privacy laws, or the rights of a third party;

    ...

    E) If Author shall breach any or all of these warranties, Publisher shall be entitled to injunctive relief in addition to all other remedies which may be available to it.

    And I'll bet my next royalty check that this is pretty much standard language in many publishing contracts, be they from Teeny Micro House to ConglomoPub Inc.
    If the book was e-published by the author then none of those clauses would prevent publication.

    a) there is no "active contract"
    b) rights never left author so fine there

    I don't think anyone was saying that if the book is under contract with an e-publisher it could be shopped around again but if it was e-published with someone and as reverted then again you are fine.

    a) the contract is no longer active
    b) the rights have reverted.

    I see nothing here that prevents a work from finding a "second home" if it was first published, and if published by someone else --- well of course it can't be sold twice.

  12. #37
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    I see your point but there seems to be a perpencity here to refute people who have proven track records in self-publshing. After all they can never be anything more than outliers. When I want to learn how to play tennis well, I go to someone who is a good tennis player. Why the perpencity not to listen to those that are doing well?

    Actually, that's not true at all. If we're asking how to self-publish and what not, the first people I would turn to would be those who have done it successfully. It's when people who self-publish make comments about the industry in general or try to use their experiences to generalize to commercial publishing or argue that things are different in commercial publishing, etc., I'm going to expect those opinions to be well-supported when they're going up against those who work and live every day in the industry.

    The commercial publishing sphere is related to but not the same as the self-publishing sphere. In much the same way, I do (believe it or not) listen to people's experiences and try to see where they're coming from and how self-publishing is working out for others. I follow dgaughran's progress and have spoken to him about what he's done and how he's doing it privately, and I wouldn't refute his experiences. Similarly, if I chose to self-publish I can think of three or four people on here I would turn to in order to learn more about the process and ask advice, etc.


    Thanks for proving my point above...you trust those with years of experience in the "old model" but disregard real-world experience of those sucessful in the "new model".

    Again, not true. We're talking in this thread about commercial publishing and how viable a self-published book is in that world. So yes, I'm going to listen to those in the industry working with editors and publishers every day and those who make the decisions on whether to pick those up, etc.

    There is also experience to consider. I'm going to listen to all arguments, but if someone says "I've been doing this for twenty years and this is how things work" and someone else says "I've been doing this a year and I know how things are," I'm going to put the burden of proof on the latter and a little more trust in the person doing it for twenty years.

    What we have here is a situation where people are making comments about commercial publishing that contradicts the statements of the experts who work in the industry. That means those statements need to have something to back them up. Does that mean they're wrong? Not at all. What it does mean is that, when faced with two conflicting opinions, it's only logical to go with the one that has more experience.

    I also think your "new model" and "old model" is pretty indicative of exactly the type of thinking I find a little faulty in the first place. I'm sure you'll disagree with me on this, but the model is changing and it's a lot more amorphous than that. We saw tape players turn to cds turn to mp3s and there was no major collapse of the record industry.

    What we're seeing is a shift in the format in which books are bought. That entails a lot of growing pains and sorting of new contracts, etc., but my guess (and no, you don't have to believe me because this is just opinion) is that the new model is going to look a lot like the old model with a few more open doors.

    Old Hack mentioned it before, and I've mentioned it before I went on vacation. There's this attitude that commercial publishing is made up of old dinosaurs who aren't changing and the self-publishers are the new guys who "get it." Commercial publishers aren't dinosaurs, they aren't likely to go the wayside.

    A new self-publisher has every right to their experience and to share their experience, and their experience might even start to become representative of the average self-publisher (it's too early to tell). Drawing conclusions about the way commercial publishing is going based on those experiences? Not quite as valid, particularly when the experts disagree.

    Truth be told, my own thought is that I expect there to continue to be paradigm shifts in self-publishing, with commercial remaining largely the same. No idea if those shifts will be to the average author's benefit or not, but if anything is moving too quickly to make long-term bets, it's self-publishing.


    Yes, they are changing "that fast". Which is at the crux of this arguement. We now have agents becomming publishers, retailers becoming publishers, ebooks outselling paperback and hardcover combined on Amazon, self-published authors making hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is all changing at lightning speed and those that continue to cling to the "old wisdom" are the ones in real danger of being caught with their pants down.

    See, this is the whole "old wisdom" thing again. Yes, things are changing. A lot of people are trying to take advantage of those changes and the fact that no one has any idea what's going to happen. Some people are afraid there's going to be a major shift and don't want to be left behind. Others see doors opening up in new areas and want to exploit those. Cool, that's life. Business is like that. Twenty years ago you didn't need an agent to be published big and now you do. When I first started doing research into publishing, before the big take-off in self-publishing, it was always said you couldn't look at what was done five or even three years ago because the industry just evolves that quickly. It's always changing and it's always changing quickly. This one's just more obvious and getting more screen-time.

    Yes, people might be caught with their pants down, and initially it looked like it, but the major publishers are still selling the majority of ebooks. The number of ebooks sold by Random House have been going up something like 264% a month. They're not out of the loop, and as agents keep pushing for it, terms and contracts are probably going to start leaning more in the author's favor again.

    What's happened is that new doors have opened up to authors who can't find a publisher: they now have the viable option to do it themselves without going bankrupt. That's what's new. Will that impact commercial publishing? Probably. Does it mean commercial publishers are way out of the loop and have no idea what's going on and are twiddling their thumbs while refusing to believe that this whole ebook craze will last? No.


    As for commercial publishing not knowing what to do. They are now starting to sort things out. An overriding sentiment I heard over and over again at BEA was that last year they were indeed clueless and flondering. That was coming from their mouths - not mine. But they are feeling more comfortible now and starting to make changes. Just another example that things will be changing very quickly as they are now starting to adjust to the new environment.

    Yup, last year was a strange year and everyone was fighting contracts and formats, etc. But how many people were touting self-publishing last year compared to this year? How many people this time last year were on Amazon's bestseller lists? Self-publishers have just recently been getting their acts together with this as well. Everyone says that it's only in the past few months that sales really started taking off. You can't argue that commercial publishers were figuring things out while the self-publishers were making a killing and had it all when that's an incredibly recent development in and of itself.

    If anything, everyone was caught with their pants down, and a few intrepid souls ventured out and took what they could get. Those intrepid souls are the ones who laid the groundwork and are the reason ebooks and self-publishing have gained popularity in the past
    several months.

    I think what you are seeing is people explaining models and paradigms that they have become accustomed to. They were relevant until VERY VERY recently. But now it's time to start listening to people riding the edge of the adoption curve not the laggards.

    Here's the problem: People are saying they've changed and nothing is the same. Those saying that are the self-publishers. Now they're saying the rules don't apply to commercial publishing and everything is different. At the same time, consider that means commercial publishing is currently running things differently, which would mean those involved with it would be aware of all those differences.

    Essentially, you're saying that commercial publishing doesn't work the same way as it did before and then telling the people who work in that field who say "no, actually it's like this" that they're wrong and you know better. My question is why do you know better? Because you're observing from the outside? Because you're assuming? Because you think that's how it should be or will be in the future? What do you have to base it on?

    You might be right about some of the changes, but it's too early right now to predict what's going to happen with any degree of accuracy. Maybe self-publishers will take over the world and destroy the big bad publishers and keep everything for themselves. Maybe self-publishing will crash and burn and take ebooks down with it. Or maybe things will stay pretty much the same with a new format opening up doors to new readers and new writers.

    People have been publishing books on podcasts for years. Those people have occasionally been picked up by commercial publishers when they've become popular enough. That doesn't mean, as a general rule, that commercial publishers actively go looking for podcast novels or that putting your novel on a podcast is a good way to get a book deal. We're seeing new opportunities and yes things will change and I'm sure some of what you're predicting might be right. Self-published books might find themselves having an easier time getting picked up in the future. Does that mean that publishers will start disregarding the number of books sold when making that decision? Unlikely.


    But the analogy doesn't fit. Of course you don't listen to someone who has a piece of paper but no knowledge on the subject. But when I speak, its not "theory" it is "real, hands-on experience. If I couldn't sell my way out of a paperbag then of course you shouldn't listen to me. The differnece is when I run across someone who is making big sales I immediately want to pick their brains. When a resource comes here and "offers" knowledge it is as welcome as the mess a neighbor's dog leaves on your front lawn.
    Stephen Colbert's "real, hands-on experience" is that he got a doctorate without attending classes or enrolling in school. That doesn't mean colleges are moving toward honorary degrees instead of the old fashioned kind or that he has any real knowledge about what it takes to get a doctorate. I don't see how it doesn't apply.

    You have built up an amazing business based around great marketing skill--but you did so without the experience in the industry that others require to get the job done. That's an amazing feat and definitely one worth considering. The thing is, you're not the norm. Your experiences don't represent those of the average publisher out there. They aren't invalid, but when you try to state your experiences as the norm or to draw conclusions about what a commercial publisher will or will not do based on them, then yes, I can see problems.

    No one has questioned your success, and many of us are impressed by it. Hell, I'm pretty sure I've left you comments about it before. If I wanted to open a publishing business I'd look at your business model and see what I could learn from it, definitely.

    I'm just saying that there is a burden of proof. I have absolutely no problem with people stating their experiences. I think it's awesome, as a matter of fact because it helps us draw good conclusions and see trends and what's happening. But if someone tries to draw conclusions about commercial publishing based on self-publishing experiences or because "I heard people say" and then other people who are experts in their field disagree, I'm going to listen to the experts.

    Maybe that makes me look like an old fogey stick in the mud, but it just makes sense to me.
    Last edited by kaitie; 06-06-2011 at 08:28 AM.


  13. #38
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    I can't believe you actually posted that.

    Wow.
    I can't either. Wow.

    For the record, I do NOT work in trade publishing. I am an e-published author who runs a historical fiction imprint for a respected e-publisher.

    Now, if Kevin and Ms. Sullivan see a double standard on the AW self-publishing forum, they're obviously VERY selective about the threads they read and participate in. Self-publishing is a viable option for some authors without a doubt, but usually NOT for someone who mistakenly believes that they are going to be the one in a million who strikes it rich.

    Also, if the cheerleaders will put their pom poms down for a moment, they might notice that the OP wants to SEND HER BOOK TO AN AGENT AFTER IT HAS ALREADY BEEN SELF-PUBLISHED. And why is that? BECAUSE IT'S NOT SELLING.

    Hello? You see that, right? It's not selling. Just like e-published authors who release their books and do no promotion don't sell a ton of books. Just like self-published authors who don't have a partner doing all the dirty day to day work of promotion, plugging, formatting, editing, cover art, uploading, building and maintaining a web site with a sales option DON'T SELL THEIR BOOKS.

    This isn't an anti-self-publishing comment. This is a realistic comment. Go to the major e-book review sites. Read their submission guidelines. What do they say? "We do not accept self-published books for review at this time." And why is that? Because the MAJORITY (not all, but the MAJORITY) of self-published books are absolute crap. Their production values are crap. The lack of editing-crap. The book covers-crap. And all this is due to the self-publishing industry drones peppering the internet with pop up ads selling the concept of get rich quick to a lot of writers who really need guidance, editing, and direction just to get their books in readable condition.

    Kevin, you can call me anything you want to; it doesn't affect me. You aren't sitting in my chair, sifting through slush, explaining to devastated authors out hundreds of dollars to self-publishing sites that their book isn't good enough to meet my publication standards. But by God, if you're going to tell this forum you have a goddamn poll of editors, authors and agents and provide a link, I expect to see a goddamn poll of editors, authors and agents and not a blog that is...just like most of these posts...opinion.

    There is a future for self-publishing. I firmly believe that. But by spreading misinformation to people who don't know any better, YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYONE A FAVOR. NO ONE. And if you don't believe that, I suggest you do a little more selective reading on Amanda Hocking's blog.

    Although, of course, now she's gone over to trade publishing too. Why is that, I wonder? Maybe it's because she's tired of doing it all herself? Or maybe it's because the amount of work she's put in NOT writing isn't worth it anymore. And that's not a double standard. That's the godawful truth. Quit screening your sources and try reading for insight as opposed for ammunition.

    If either of you want to make any more pointed remarks at me, please feel free to take it to PM. I'd rather deal with you there than here.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    And yet you were the one to tell me to classify Michael's works as self-published because went through no third-party vetting process and had no one investing money in the production of their works.

    I am both a self-publisher (the 5 books of the Riyria Revelations) and a small press publisher (the 15 boks by other Riyria authors.
    I think she meant that you hadn't self-published yourself, that you had published your husband's works. And I'm under the impression he was small-press published for the same work, right? So he actually was commercially published first before being self-published, or am I remembering wrong?


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    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    The point is, it isn't standard to print something that's already been printed (e or otherwise) in a usual contract with an unsigned author.
    What makes you say this? Where is your documentation to this "standard"?

    The fact that the contracts have wording in it indicating that the rights must have reverted and no active contract should be in place indicates that standard contracts expect that works could have been previously published as they have language to handle that situation. If it was such a "rare and unusual" occuranc why would such language be in the boiler plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    Which means an agent will think harder about it and it has more chance of being knocked back. And agents knock back 99% of what they get anyway, perfectly good (and bad) books without that baggage, all the time. If you self-pub first and don't have uber sales...it's just another hurdle in a way strewn with hurdles.
    Again that is an opinion you have, which is reasonable as the business operated under this model for years. But times have changed and from my "read" of the industry this is not the problem it once once. Neither of us can speak with complete authority on this matter "today" so we are both just going by "what we've heard or read". To truly answer this question we would have to actually do a poll of agents to see if cracked first publication rights was

    a) no big deal
    b) a complete non-starter
    c) will considered if the work is good enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    This (I) doesn't mean don't do it. It means think about it first, and research. Same as every writer should do when considering getting an agent. Just with extra caveats. Personally, if my goal was get an agent, I'd do the best I can in that avenue before I explored another. Same if I decided to self pub - I;d give it everything before I quit.

    But that's juts me. If anyone wants to swim around without research and proper thought into the matter, that is for them to decide. All I'm saying just that whichever route you decide to go for, do your research. Make sure it's actual fact from agents (or whatevers) mouth.If they say they won;t take previously pubbed work (and several--not all--do) then you've limited your options out of the gate. IF you only ever wanted to self-pub and/or just get it out there and you know the pitfalls/problems etc then go for it.

    Let your research influence your final decision. Go into whatever you decide with your eyes open.
    So the real question is...where is this "reasearch" of which you speak? My guess is it does not exist - so everyone is forced to go on their "gut" instincts based on articles and forum posts like this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    I can't believe you actually posted that.
    Wow.
    Because????

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    Quote Originally Posted by ResearchGuy View Post
    But there is no reason why a commercial/trade publisher cannot contract to (re)publish a previously published book. Stephanie Chandler published a book via Lulu, but Quill Driver Press signed it to a revised, retitled edition. AW's own K.L. Brady self-published a novel that was picked up by Random House under a two-book contract. Soho Press published a new (and unfortunately retitled) edition of one of my favorite books, originally published by a very small regional press, which signed it over to Soho for the new edition. If a publisher sees the book as suitable and profitable, previous publication (e- or print) is irrelevant.

    Obviously the author must not lie or deceive, of course. But if a publisher likes the book, finds it suitable, and can obtain necessary rights, nothing stops it from signing it to a new edition.

    --Ken
    I work with several authors releasing e-versions of their backlists where the rights have reverted to them--usually books from the 1990s or early 2000s when the author has an established readership and a track record of sales. The earlier trade contracts didn't have provision for e-sales and we actively seek authors who want to get their backlists out there.

    However, the majority of the self-published stories I receive are in no condition to give to my editors to work on, much less publish. While some authors--like Hocking, obviously--don't require a lot of editing to make their books strong enough to stand in the current market of tech-savvy readers, unfortunately what I'm seeing in my slushpile are manuscripts cranked out by inexperienced writers--rough first drafts submitted as publication-ready. Sadly, they aren't. And those authors, who've anxiously watched their books dive straight into obscurity, start to panic and try to find some kind of publishing venue that will get their book noticed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    Because????
    Because the self-publishing forums don't exhibit a double standard. As long as you're not rude, you can express whatever opinion you want to express. However, if you think you're the victim of a double standard, perhaps you should take that up with the owner of the board.

    Seems to me that you've posted frequently enough in support of your position that any claims of a double standard are kind of hypocritical. Your definition of a 'double standard' appears to be based upon the fact that you don't think your opinions should be disagreed with or criticized. That's not a 'double standard.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    Because????
    The lurkers support me in email?

    This is why.

    You're ringing the chimes on standard Internet memes.

    AW Admin: This account is rarely active
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  20. #45
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    So let's take our personalities out of this thread altogether. Let's concentrate instead on sources and opinions from all aspects of the publishing industry and see what they have to say--as long as we all start from the same beginning point.

    Self-publishing IS a viable choice for SOME authors, but not ALL.

    That being said:

    http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com...ng+Part+1.aspx

    First of all, if you self-publish a book, it has to sell well to get the attention of an agent. How many copies, you ask? I've heard some agents say 8,000, while others say 30,000. Let's compromise at 15,000. That's no easy task, my friends. You're selling every copy yourself, peddling your wares every day. Yes, you may get distribution in a few local bookstores, but then again, that's just a few local bookstores.
    Also, good sales can actually be a deterrent to a publisher if your book is very regional. Let's say you self-publish a book called Oklahoma's Rodeo Champions and tour the state, selling it at small events and out of your car trunk. Maybe you sell 9,500 copies—a notable feat. Then, when you present your work to an agent or a traditional publisher, they may think that everyone who will likely buy the book has already bought the book.

    Agents want to find undiscovered gems. If your book is self-published and, perhaps, some of it is available online for free, an agent will likely pass on your work. The basic thinking is: If the book was so good, why self-publish in the first place? Why not just sign with an agent and sell the book to a traditional publisher?
    http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/20...t-and-q4u.html

    The lure and the prestige of getting a book published has always been based on... what? Exclusivity. It's exciting to get a book deal because many want one, and few can get one.

    Published books have always been respected because of the many gatekeepers they had to go through to get on that bookstore shelf. Numerous people had to agree that the book was worthy of publication. Large companies had to invest money and time. All of that added to the value of each book.

    Writers had to endure rejection, and be persistent. They had to keep trying harder, improving their writing, to get to the point of being published. And they had to impress a lot of people.

    With no more gatekeepers, no more exclusivity, no more requirement to actually write a good book, won't published books lose value? If anybody can get a book published, doesn't that diminish the perceived status of all authors?

    http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007...ng-career.html

    Now, about that pesky #3. I'm going to don my white coat and stethoscope (that's Dr. Bransford to you) and tell you about a pernicious disease called Self Publishus Myopialoma, or SPM. SPM is a disease that afflicts many a self-published author. These authors invest their time and money and energy into self-publishing a book, and they become so invested in that book they don't want to even contemplate writing another book with new characters or in a new world or really think about what their next step should be. Symptoms include refusing to work on a new (or non-sequel) work until the day they see their self-published book picked up by a mainstream publisher, murderous rage toward agents when they suggest that perhaps the author should work on something new, and frequent ranting against publishers for a) only caring about money or b) only putting out crap. SPM commonly mutates into Acute Sequelitus and... well... let's just say these cases are tragic and fatal. I've seen these my share of these cases and it's enough to keep you awake at night, clutching a towel, shouting "Why, God? Why????"
    There are three OPINIONS by agents or respected people within the publishing industry--people who want to find good authors with good material. But as Nathan Bransford goes on to say:

    Now, is there a "stigma" attached to self-publishing, and will people in the publishing industry look down on self-published books? Well, things get a little more complicated here. Anyone who has read more than three self-published books knows that the average self-published book is not very good. And (truth alert) anyone who has read more than five self-published books know that "not very good" is being kind. I know there are exceptions (insert plug for PODler and iUniverse Book Reviews for finding the gems in the Jupiter-sized cavern), but let's face it. Most self-published books are not very good, and agents know this as well as anyone.
    Now, let's look at some STATISTICS and they are out there to find.

    IUniverse, a self-publishing company founded in 1999, has grown 30 percent a year in recent years; it now produces 500 titles a month and has 36,000 titles in print, said Susan Driscoll, a vice president of its parent company, Author Solutions.
    -- from the NY Times

    Later in the same article:

    Other self-publishing outfits report similar growth. Xlibris, a print-on-demand operation, has 20,000 titles in print, by more than 18,000 authors, said Noel Flowers, a company spokesman. It is “nonselective” in choosing manuscripts, he said, though it does screen “for any offensive or inappropriate content.” Xlibris’s top sellers include “Demonstrating to Win!,” a computer manual (15,600 sold, not including copies bought by the author), and “The Morning Comes and Also the Night,” which the company lists in the “religion/Bible/prophecies” category (10,500 sold).
    And a different NY Times article--

    In 2008, Author Solutions, which is based in Bloomington, Ind., and operates iUniverse as well as other print-on-demand imprints including AuthorHouse and Wordclay, published 13,000 titles, up 12 percent from the previous year.

    This month, the company, which is owned by Bertram Capital, a private equity firm, bought a rival, Xlibris, expanding its profile in the fast-growing market. The combined company represented 19,000 titles in 2008, nearly six times more than Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer books, released last year.
    In 2008, nearly 480,000 books were published or distributed in the United States, up from close to 375,000 in 2007, according to the industry tracker Bowker. The company attributed a significant proportion of that rise to an increase in the number of print-on-demand books.
    And what's really killing me? The executives at the self-publishing companies are only too aware of what's really happening.

    For many self-published authors, the niche is very small. Mr. Weiss of Author Solutions estimates that the average number of copies sold of titles published through one of its brands is just 150.
    Indeed, said Robert Young, chief executive of Lulu Enterprises, based in Raleigh, N.C., a majority of the company’s titles are of little interest to anybody other than the authors and their families. “We have easily published the largest collection of bad poetry in the history of mankind,” Mr. Young said.
    Same article; different perspectives from elsewhere in the business.


    Diamonds in the rough, though, remain the outliers. “For every thousand titles that get self-published, maybe there’s two that should have been published,” said Cathy Langer, lead buyer for the Tattered Cover bookstores in Denver, who said she had been inundated by requests from self-published authors to sell their books. “People think that just because they’ve written something, there’s a market for it. It’s not true.”
    And of course, from one of my favorite blogs--which led me to some of these sources:

    AuthorHouse's online Fact Sheet, updated in September 2008, reported 36,823 authors and 45,993 titles. According to the New York Times, AuthorHouse reports selling more than 2.5 million books in 2008, which sounds like a lot, but averages out to around 54 sales per title.

    iUniverse's most recent Facts and Figures sheet reports that the company published 22,265 titles through 2005, with sales of 3.7 million: an average of 166 sales per title. Obviously some titles can boast better sales (Amy Fisher's If I Knew Then sold over 32,000 copies)--but not many. According to a 2004 article in Publishers Weekly, only 83 of more than 18,000 iUniverse titles published during that year sold at least 500 copies. And in a 2008 article in The New York Times, iUniverse's VP, Susan Driscoll, admitted that most iUniverse authors sell fewer than 200 books.
    That's not even all the stats in this article. Read the entire article with all the stats, some provided by the self-publishing companies themselves. So how successful can a self-publishing firm be? Well, apparently--

    In a 2006 article in the Times UK, its founder identified the company's goal: "...to have a million authors selling 100 copies each, rather than 100 authors selling a million copies each." A Lulu bestseller is a book that sells 500 copies. There haven't been many of them.
    And so then begins the bandwagon. Self-publishing is awesome! Self-publishing takes the gatekeepers out of the equation! Self-publishing is taking over traditional publishing! -- http://mickrooney.blogspot.com/2010/...aditional.html

    The latest 2009 statistical report released by R.R. Bowker today is a real eye-opener. The total amount of titles produced last year was 1,052,803, and significantly, 764,448 of that overall figure came from what Bowker describe as non-traditional channels – a mix of micro-publishers, self-publishers and reprints of public domain titles.
    But not so fast. That's misleading. According to Writer Beware:

    The category consists largely of reprints...According to Bowker, the largest producer of nontraditional books last year was BiblioBazaar which produced 272,930 titles, followed by Books LLC and Kessinger Publishing LLC which produced 224,460 and 190,175 titles, respectively.
    And further still:

    The Amazon subsidiary CreateSpace produced 21,819 books in 2009, while Lulu.com released 10,386. Xlibris and AuthorHouse, two imprints of AuthorSolutions, produced 10,161 and 9,445, title respectively.
    Bowker's press release rounds out its top ten POD book producers with few more numbers: General Books LLC, 11,887; International Business Publications USA, 8,271; PublishAmerica, 5,698 (I hate to admit that PA is tops in anything, but there it is).

    There's something a bit curious about these numbers. Reported title output for Bowker's top ten actually adds up to more than 764,448. And what about the many other publishing service companies (including three more Author Solutions brands, Trafford, iUniverse, and WordClay), and all the POD-produced small press and micropress titles? Where are they in these figures?
    What would we do without the great folks at Writer Beware? I ask you...

    At any rate, there are some of the bald, stripped down facts and stats about the self-publishing industry in the US. Writers can make their own decisions as long as they take the time to do the research...and the math...and determine which route is best for them. And the route that's best for them may not be the route that's best for me or for you or for any other writer in the world. And that's okay.

    But this forum's purpose is to provide the average writer who is looking for information a balanced spectrum of information from all sides of the issue. First rights notwithstanding, I think most writers when looking at the model for success that Lulu aspires to, compared with the average sales figures, the opinions of industry professionals and booksellers will and should think twice about consigning their work to the uncertainties of self-publishing FIRST. I don't think anyone here has ever said that self-publishing shouldn't be considered EVER, just not FIRST. If you want the gratification of holding a book with your name on it in your hands then sure, go for it. That writer isn't looking for fame, fortune, recognition or a career. But for a writer who's looking for something more, it seems wise to consider other options alongside with self-publishing and to determine what is best FOR THEM.

    And any writer who's wanting to make a career out of it is still going to try and land an agent so they can have a go at the big six or trade publishers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    The commercial publishing sphere is related to but not the same as the self-publishing sphere. In much the same way, I do (believe it or not) listen to people's experiences and try to see where they're coming from and how self-publishing is working out for others. I follow dgaughran's progress and have spoken to him about what he's done and how he's doing it privately, and I wouldn't refute his experiences. Similarly, if I chose to self-publish I can think of three or four people on here I would turn to in order to learn more about the process and ask advice, etc.

    The commercial publishing sphere is related to but not the same as the self-publishing sphere.
    The two spheres used to be completely independent of one another - for good reason. When self-publishers rarely sold more than a few books and made zero money there was no influence between the two. That is no longer the case. (But may be at the heart of the matter because if you contend that they are still irrelevant to commercial publishing, while I contend they are not - that might explain why we differ on the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    Again, not true. We're talking in this thread about commercial publishing and how viable a self-published book is in that world. So yes, I'm going to listen to those in the industry working with editors and publishers every day and those who make the decisions on whether to pick those up, etc.
    I don't know the history of everyone who has been posting - and you've been on the forum longer than I so perhaps you do. If the people who are doing the refuting are those responsible for selecting titles (i.e. agents or acquisition editors) then yes we have to take their opinions into account. But if the people expressing opinions are unpublished authors in the query go round or published authors who have never tried to take a previosly published title to market, then I'm not sure they have the "inside scoop".


    I am an acquisitions editor so I can state my opinions on the matter. I've also sold works that wer preveious published - so again I have experience with this. It is not my self-publishing expeirence that comes into play here it is my buying and selling of previously published rights.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    There is also experience to consider. I'm going to listen to all arguments, but if someone says "I've been doing this for twenty years and this is how things work" and someone else says "I've been doing this a year and I know how things are," I'm going to put the burden of proof on the latter and a little more trust in the person doing it for twenty years.
    The important thing is "doing what" - if they are agents or aquisitions editors - yes - but if they are not on the "buying end" or "selling end of previously published works" then their knowledge on the subject comes from the same source as mine - which is talking to people, reading articles, attending conferences.

    I've been "in the buiness" for 4 years which is a short time I agree - but I'll still contend that the publishing industry of 2010 is MUCH different then the publishing environment of 1990. What we need to be concerned with is the "current" environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    What we have here is a situation where people are making comments about commercial publishing that contradicts the statements of the experts who work in the industry. That means those statements need to have something to back them up. Does that mean they're wrong? Not at all. What it does mean is that, when faced with two conflicting opinions, it's only logical to go with the one that has more experience.
    The issue on the table is will this work be "snubbed" - the only people who can give a truly informed opinion are

    a) people who do the buying
    b) people who were bought dispite having first rights cracked
    c) people who were told "tough luck" becaus the first rights hae been cracked.
    d) people who were had their works considred even though the rights were cracked.

    I have experience in a), b), and d) and never hit c) even though I was in a position to - i.e. submitting work that had been previously pubished. If each person posting on the subject could indicate their experience in each of these areas it would seem to me to use that as a gauge of whether they have any relevenat experience on the topic at hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I also think your "new model" and "old model" is pretty indicative of exactly the type of thinking I find a little faulty in the first place. I'm sure you'll disagree with me on this, but the model is changing and it's a lot more amorphous than that. We saw tape players turn to cds turn to mp3s and there was no major collapse of the record industry.
    I think those in the music industry would disagree with "no major collapse in the record industry.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    What we're seeing is a shift in the format in which books are bought. That entails a lot of growing pains and sorting of new contracts, etc., but my guess (and no, you don't have to believe me because this is just opinion) is that the new model is going to look a lot like the old model with a few more open doors.
    If you believe this is about a new format than you are missing the importance of the momnumental shifts.

    a) Authors selling in the tens and hundreds of thousands without publishers

    b) The collapse of bookstore chains

    c) A required shift of marketing from chainstore buyers to indivdual readers

    d) infinite shelf space of online buying

    e) the re-introducton of hundreds of thousands of out of print titles that can now be reintroduced into the market place

    f) A huge proliferation of titles (ten years ago 50,000 titles a year were released last yeare there were 1,000,000 (Source)

    g) long tail economics as books can remain "in print" forever through POD and ebooks

    h) an end to publisher monopolies as a sole gatekeeper to getting a book to market.

    No the environment will not look like it once did. It already doesn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    Old Hack mentioned it before, and I've mentioned it before I went on vacation. There's this attitude that commercial publishing is made up of old dinosaurs who aren't changing and the self-publishers are the new guys who "get it." Commercial publishers aren't dinosaurs, they aren't likely to go the wayside.
    For the record I don't subscribe to the publishers will go extinct bandwagon. I will say that small pressess and self-publishers have been more "agile" and took advantage of opportunties brought on by new technology (online buying, ebooks, POD) so yes they have adjusted more quickly. I think the bigger houses will make adjustments and will continue to play a major role but it will no longer be the monopoly they once held.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    A new self-publisher has every right to their experience and to share their experience, and their experience might even start to become representative of the average self-publisher (it's too early to tell). Drawing conclusions about the way commercial publishing is going based on those experiences? Not quite as valid, particularly when the experts disagree.
    The important aspect to operaing in this "new environment" is recognizing a - h above and understanding what that can mean to how you map out your strategies in this environment. But if you are of the opinion that publising in 2011 is not any different then in 1990 and therefore we need to continue to operate as we did then and follow the advice of people still holding onto that business model then yes I see a big disconnect and probably why we disagree so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    Truth be told, my own thought is that I expect there to continue to be paradigm shifts in self-publishing, with commercial remaining largely the same. No idea if those shifts will be to the average author's benefit or not, but if anything is moving too quickly to make long-term bets, it's self-publishing.
    You scare me when you speak like this. Look at a - h above and tell me how commercial publishing is "same as it ever was".

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    See, this is the whole "old wisdom" thing again. Yes, things are changing. A lot of people are trying to take advantage of those changes and the fact that no one has any idea what's going to happen. Some people are afraid there's going to be a major shift and don't want to be left behind. Others see doors opening up in new areas and want to exploit those. Cool, that's life. Business is like that. Twenty years ago you didn't need an agent to be published big and now you do. When I first started doing research into publishing, before the big take-off in self-publishing, it was always said you couldn't look at what was done five or even three years ago because the industry just evolves that quickly. It's always changing and it's always changing quickly. This one's just more obvious and getting more screen-time.
    Do you see how this paragraph of yours completely refutes your previous one. You said "commercial remaining largely the same." and then you cite some very minor change that occur and mention how you expect more change. But you are completly missing the big elephants of change i.e. a-h.


    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    Yes, people might be caught with their pants down, and initially it looked like it, but the major publishers are still selling the majority of ebooks. The number of ebooks sold by Random House have been going up something like 264% a month. They're not out of the loop, and as agents keep pushing for it, terms and contracts are probably going to start leaning more in the author's favor again.
    And why are the contracts changing? Is it because publishers thought...hey I should be more author friendly today? Or is it a direct result of having to be competive and offer big sellers a reason not to go self and take their loyal fans with them?

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    What's happened is that new doors have opened up to authors who can't find a publisher: they now have the viable option to do it themselves without going bankrupt. That's what's new. Will that impact commercial publishing? Probably. Does it mean commercial publishers are way out of the loop and have no idea what's going on and are twiddling their thumbs while refusing to believe that this whole ebook craze will last? No.
    You do realize that many of the people who are self-publishing aren't "looking" for a publisher, right? Yes, some gave up and went that route because of that. For others it makes more sense based on their own goals.

    I never said that they won't adjust - I said they will be slower to adjust. Whether their adjustments now...and those required on into the future...will be quick enough to keep them profitable? I can't say.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    Yup, last year was a strange year and everyone was fighting contracts and formats, etc. But how many people were touting self-publishing last year compared to this year? How many people this time last year were on Amazon's bestseller lists? Self-publishers have just recently been getting their acts together with this as well. Everyone says that it's only in the past few months that sales really started taking off. You can't argue that commercial publishers were figuring things out while the self-publishers were making a killing and had it all when that's an incredibly recent development in and of itself.
    You are correct Oct/Nov 2010 marked the tipping point. But the toothpaste is out of the tube and publishing (even commercial publishing) won't continue "pretty much as it always had.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    If anything, everyone was caught with their pants down, and a few intrepid souls ventured out and took what they could get. Those intrepid souls are the ones who laid the groundwork and are the reason ebooks and self-publishing have gained popularity in the past several months.
    As someone who has been in this for a long time including before and after the transition I'll say that I don't think "pants down" is correct. We all knew it was going to blow big as a model with low overhead is such a no-brainer. The only x fator was when and how quickly. Those two things were a surprise but most of those there before it occured made strategic business decisions to be there ahead of the curve.


    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    Here's the problem: People are saying they've changed and nothing is the same. Those saying that are the self-publishers. Now they're saying the rules don't apply to commercial publishing and everything is different. At the same time, consider that means commercial publishing is currently running things differently, which would mean those involved with it would be aware of all those differences.

    Essentially, you're saying that commercial publishing doesn't work the same way as it did before and then telling the people who work in that field who say "no, actually it's like this" that they're wrong and you know better. My question is why do you know better? Because you're observing from the outside? Because you're assuming? Because you think that's how it should be or will be in the future? What do you have to base it on?
    Again go back to my notes above. I have first hand experience with a), b), and d) that is relevant experience to the issue at hand. For those that are stating their opinions I want to know their first hand (not heresay) experience with each of those. If everyone posting a discenting opinion says - yep I self-published first and it screwed me big time when it came to publishing elsewhere...and they were turned down recently (not 4 - 5 years ago) then they have an opinion that matters on this that matters and we should hear from them. It's not because I'm a self-publisher. It's becuase I've walked in these shoes. I think that most others stating opinions are on the "author side" having either queried or published for many years. But unless they buy rights or have tried to sell a pre-published work nope I don't see where they have more experience then myself who has been, and continues to be, in a position both of buying and selling previously published works.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    You might be right about some of the changes, but it's too early right now to predict what's going to happen with any degree of accuracy. Maybe self-publishers will take over the world and destroy the big bad publishers and keep everything for themselves. Maybe self-publishing will crash and burn and take ebooks down with it. Or maybe things will stay pretty much the same with a new format opening up doors to new readers and new writers.

    People have been publishing books on podcasts for years. Those people have occasionally been picked up by commercial publishers when they've become popular enough. That doesn't mean, as a general rule, that commercial publishers actively go looking for podcast novels or that putting your novel on a podcast is a good way to get a book deal. We're seeing new opportunities and yes things will change and I'm sure some of what you're predicting might be right. Self-published books might find themselves having an easier time getting picked up in the future. Does that mean that publishers will start disregarding the number of books sold when making that decision? Unlikely.
    Again - let's talk "first hand experience" I actually picked up Nathan Lowell because of his podcasting. And several other authors on my radar once I'm back open for submissions come from that environment. Look at the auhors on Dragon Moon Press. They completly farmed the podcast environment so yes podcasting did produce paths to trade publishing deals.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    You have built up an amazing business based around great marketing skill--but you did so without the experience in the industry that others require to get the job done. That's an amazing feat and definitely one worth considering. The thing is, you're not the norm. Your experiences don't represent those of the average publisher out there. They aren't invalid, but when you try to state your experiences as the norm or to draw conclusions about what a commercial publisher will or will not do based on them, then yes, I can see problems.
    In this instance it is not my marketing experience that comes into play - the question wasn't whether you'll sell more books by self-publishing. My relevenant experience here is the fact that I have both bought and sold previously published titles.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I'm just saying that there is a burden of proof. I have absolutely no problem with people stating their experiences. I think it's awesome, as a matter of fact because it helps us draw good conclusions and see trends and what's happening. But if someone tries to draw conclusions about commercial publishing based on self-publishing experiences or because "I heard people say" and then other people who are experts in their field disagree, I'm going to listen to the experts.
    I'll reiterate that the only "experts" I'm interested in on this particular topic is those who have recently experienced buying or selling of previously published works.
    Last edited by rsullivan9597; 06-06-2011 at 09:47 AM.

  22. #47
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    The lurkers support me in email?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    The lurkers support me in email?

    This is why.

    You're ringing the chimes on standard Internet memes.
    News to me - Although I'm not "plugged into memes" so I didn't realize it was "a thing". The reason I brought it up was because Friday at dinner I was discussing with a friend and he asked me why I stayed and that was the answer I gave him and a big part of why I just don't fade away. That and the fact that I get great ideas for future blog posts from what goes on here

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I think she meant that you hadn't self-published yourself, that you had published your husband's works. And I'm under the impression he was small-press published for the same work, right? So he actually was commercially published first before being self-published, or am I remembering wrong?
    One of Michael's five works were published by AMI (a small press that has nothing to do with Ridan) all the others have only been through Ridan. Based on the guidelines for terminology posted on this site I should keep Michael has had all three types of publishing, but for the most part he would be classified as self-published since most of his works are produced without vetting nor others investing money or time in them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    One of Michael's five works were published by AMI (a small press that has nothing to do with Ridan) all the others have only been through Ridan. Based on the guidelines for terminology posted on this site I should keep Michael has had all three types of publishing, but for the most part he would be classified as self-published since most of his works are produced without vetting nor others investing money or time in them.
    Thank you. That explains a lot.

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