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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.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.
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.
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.I have an *awful* big collection of anecdotal data suggesting that most trade published books get little to no marketing dollars.
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.#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?
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.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.
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.Publishers are well on their way to being disintermediated. It's an *enormous* change, and has come with frightening speed.
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.Yes, but most of them are folks like Robin and dgaughran, who have actual experience in the self publishing field
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.and regularly get attacked for trying to pass on their personal experiences.
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.
What's to stop you from commercially publishing a book that's been previously e-pubbed?
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.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.
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.
[URL="http://www.umbachconsulting.com/KenCV.htm"][FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium][COLOR=royalblue]ResearchGuy[/COLOR][/FONT][/URL]
[FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium][/FONT]
[FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium][I][URL="http://www.umbachconsulting.com/pursuit.pdf"]The Pursuit of Publishing: An Unvarnished Guide for the Perplexed[/URL][/I]
[/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]
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.
"Fade to Black is a dynamic and original introduction to a world and character that promise further exciting stories". British Fantasy Society
The series has grown in complexity since the beginning, reaches a profoundly moving conclusion that is both unexpected and entirely satisfying - Publisher's Weekly
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I can't either. Wow.I can't believe you actually posted that.
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.
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?
a) no big deal
b) a complete non-starter
c) will considered if the work is good enough.
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.
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.'
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://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/20...t-and-q4u.htmlFirst 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?
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?
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, 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????"
Now, let's look at some STATISTICS and they are out there to find.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.
-- from the NY TimesIUniverse, 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.
Later in the same article:
And a different NY Times 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 what's really killing me? The executives at the self-publishing companies are only too aware of what's really happening.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.
Same article; different perspectives from elsewhere in the business.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.
And of course, from one of my favorite blogs--which led me to some of these sources: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.”
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--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.
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.htmlIn 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.
But not so fast. That's misleading. According to Writer Beware: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.
And further still: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.
What would we do without the great folks at Writer Beware? I ask you...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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last edited by rsullivan9597; 06-06-2011 at 09:47 AM.