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

  1. #51
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Okay, let's see if I can remember everything I wanted to say.

    My point was that publishing frequently changes, and while there will inevitably be some major shifts, I don't foresee the kind of epically major shifts that people are predicting. I don't think publishers will go the wayside, and I don't think self-published books will take over. I do think contracts will change and agent roles will change and probably the number of books being sold will change, and almost definitely the kind of opportunities available to authors. I don't know how in each case, but there will be changes.

    The point is there are always changes. Will these be bigger and more obvious? Yes, of course. But that doesn't mean that there won't be publishers out there paying authors and hiring editors and cover artists and marketers, etc. I don't think bookstores are going to totally collapse and cease to exist.

    I remember ten years ago when POD was the new big hot thing. The same kind of things were often being said. It was going to revolutionize the industry. It was going to allow authors to bypass the gatekeepers. It would give anyone who wrote a book a chance to succeed where they had failed before. None of those changes happened, and POD books became just another tool that's used by publishers that has had little to no influence on the industry or authors. Ebooks will have more influence no doubt, but I seriously don't think there is going to be that big of a monumental shift. I also can envision (and have seen agents and editors envision similar things on blogs) a world where the current self-publishing boon is actually a negative and causes problems for publishing in general, so to say there are changes and those changes are going a particular direction is just impossible to know.

    Also, Robin, if I'm correct, you said elsewhere that your goal in publishing was to find self-published authors who were doing well to reprint and that you aren't actually open to submissions. If that's the case, your business model is definitely not the same as the average publisher's.

    As for the podcasting comment--yes, you repeated what I said. There are people who have gotten deals. There are people who have self-published and gotten deals, and people who write blogs who have gotten deals, and so on and so forth. That doesn't mean that the industry standard is to not look for authors via normal means or that it happens often. In fact, it's rare. Being able to pick out an example or two does not make something the industry standard.

    And yes, for the record, some of the people commenting in this thread are people who have worked in the industry for years in various fields (editors included). And some people, such as myself, are often repeating the things those people have said in other threads and on blogs, etc.

    Personally, you won't see me harping on first rights very much because I've heard from some reliable people that it's not as much an issue as other people make of it. What is an issue is sales numbers, and there is no doubt that having had a book previously published makes it more difficult to have it reprinted--period. There are some agents out there who actively suggest that they're willing to pick up such books, but there are others who actively say that they aren't willing to even look at them.

    And honestly, you're just being unfair now because you're saying the only experts you're interested in are those who have bought recently previously published works. So, again, you're essentially saying that the only people whose opinions you are willing to look at are those who will support your cause. You say:
    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
    Okay fine. So that essentially means that a hundred acquisitions editors could be here saying "I rarely consider previously published work for reasons a, b, and c" and you wouldn't listen to them because the only ones you'll consider experts are those who are buying the books.

    I've seen this kind of argument before, and it's not the first time that you've essentially made a statement that the only valid data is that which supports your opinion.

    You know what, if everyone on here with the industry experience was saying something I didn't like, I'd listen and believe it whether I want to hear it or not. In fact, I do. I don't want to have a blog. I think blogs are stupid, a waste of time, and mine would suck. But everyone in the world says "You have to have a blog" so I'll have a blog if I ever get published. I don't want to hear it, but I accept it.

    I didn't want to hear that my super long book needed to be cut down to be viable in today's market, but I heard it and I did something about it.

    I listen to the facts and I am willing to accept viewpoints that disagree with my own when the facts support them. I don't say "Well the only facts that count are those that support my beliefs."

    I don't have a dog in this fight. I come on here to learn and be helpful, and anything I suggest or advise is based on information I've learned through years of research. I keep up to date on this and find it fascinating and do believe that this area has potential and that the future is uncertain and just as potentially awe-inspiring as it is terrifying.

    What matters here is the facts. We could make decisions on speculation or hearsay or the experiences of a few people who have succeeded against the odds (and people do all the time), or we can try to learn what those odds are and why.

    It's up to the person reading the arguments to decide which to follow. I know which ones are more compelling to me and I've explained why. If you don't like that, fine. You can believe what you want. I'm not here to persuade. I'm here to learn and give facts and point out flaws in arguments where I see them. After that it's up to everyone else to make their own choices.
    Last edited by kaitie; 06-06-2011 at 10:42 AM.


  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mscelina View Post
    http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com...ng+Part+1.aspx

    http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/20...t-and-q4u.html

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

    There are three OPINIONS by agents or respected people within the publishing industry--people who want to find good authors with good material.
    These are old articles VERY old one is 4 years old, one almost 4 years ago and the most recent is 19 months ago - which isn't too bad but A LOT has happened in those 19 months. I've said throughout this post that the concern about first print rights "used to be of concern" and these prove that point. What I've been saying all along, though is that times have changed.

    The source I cited in support of my contenton was from Forbe's Magazine in October of last year it is entitled: Literary Agents Open the Door to Self-Published Writers
    you can read the full article here.

    I also read deals at Publishers Marketplace here is some recent data from it:

    • April 28, 2011: Stephanie McAfee's DIARY OF A MAD FAT GIRL, the self-published NYT ebook bestseller
    • May 5, 2011: Amanda Hocking's 2nd deal with St. Martins for her previously published Trylle Trilogy
    • May 13, 2011: Jerry McGill's self-published DEAR MARCUS
    • May 18, 2011:Quentin Schultze PhD. and Bethany Kim's POWERFUL POST-COLLEGE RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS, from the self-published title

  3. #53
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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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.
    Was that the first in the series?


  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by mscelina View Post
    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.
    Reading Slush piles is the worst thing to do - no question. They are usually filled with crap upon crap. The first thing I do when going through slush pile is try to see if the work was previously published. My experience is the previously published works are better than queries from someone who has not been published before. But you are right even so the ability to find a gem through that venue is so slim.

    But since you are obviously in acquisitions and obviosuly taking previously published works, it doesn't sound like "cracking the fist print rights" is a deal breaker for you.

  5. #55
    Teh doommobile, drivin' rite by you mscelina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    These are old articles VERY old one is 4 years old, one almost 4 years ago and the most recent is 19 months ago - which isn't too bad but A LOT has happened in those 19 months. I've said throughout this post that the concern about first print rights "used to be of concern" and these prove that point. What I've been saying all along, though is that times have changed.

    The source I cited in support of my contenton was from Forbe's Magazine in October of last year it is entitled: Literary Agents Open the Door to Self-Published Writers
    you can read the full article here.

    I also read deals at Publishers Marketplace here is some recent data from it:

    • April 28, 2011: Stephanie McAfee's DIARY OF A MAD FAT GIRL, the self-published NYT ebook bestseller
    • May 5, 2011: Amanda Hocking's 2nd deal with St. Martins for her previously published Trylle Trilogy
    • May 13, 2011: Jerry McGill's self-published DEAR MARCUS
    • May 18, 2011:Quentin Schultze PhD. and Bethany Kim's POWERFUL POST-COLLEGE RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS, from the self-published title
    That would be four examples out of over 70k according to Bowker's latest statistics. Forgive me, but that's not overwhelming. Times haven't changed all that much in publishing, save for the fact that self publishing outfits are doing their damnedest to get thousands of authors selling ten copies instead of ten authors selling thousands. And the fact remains regardless of how anyone tries to spin it--the quality of the majority of self-published works--particularly in fiction which is my realm of expertise--is dreadful, dreadful beyond the slush pile, dreadful beyond anything that's even worth discussing.

    Writing is a profession, not a hobby. I like to sing in my shower, but I don't inflict that upon the rest of the world by cutting an album and uploading free sound bytes to online radio stations. Are there some writers that do well by being self-published? Of course. Are there some areas within the industry where self-publishing is a preferable option? Absolutely.

    Should writers with no experience in publishing, no editing, no cover artist, no background in marketing, no platform, no established readership, no name recognition and no way for their book to be found amidst the swirling cesspool of self-published rubbish choking up the major third-party retail sites?

    Not if they want to make writing their profession. Not if they want to succeed. Not if they want someone besides Mom and Uncle Ted and their best friend in the carpool to read their book. And hopefully, when the smarter new authors out there are doing their research, they'll find this material here and at other sites and make the best decision for THEM professionally.


    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    Reading Slush piles is the worst thing to do - no question. They are usually filled with crap upon crap. The first thing I do when going through slush pile is try to see if the work was previously published. My experience is the previously published works are better than queries from someone who has not been published before. But you are right even so the ability to find a gem through that venue is so slim.

    But since you are obviously in acquisitions and obviosuly taking previously published works, it doesn't sound like "cracking the fist print rights" is a deal breaker for you.
    Of course not, because I am an electronic publisher. First electronic rights, on the other hand, ARE a deal breaker for me. Sure--I can produce a superior product, but the first rights are already gone and usually on an inferior product. I have yet to acquire the rights of a self-published author because I have yet to find one that meets my standards.

    The writers whose rights I have acquired are established writers, trade publishing midlisters for the most part, whose earlier rights reverted to them and are now able to decide what to do with those rights. Some are creating their own e-books, which is fine. It works well for them. But quite a few are quite happy to let me provide the extra layer of proofreading, cover art which they get approval on, formatting and uploading to multiple sites and not just Amazon. I like working with those authors and I think I can state with a fair amount of accuracy that they like working with me. But these authors don't really apply to our discussion. Their works have already been edited, published and loved by their readers for many years--and those readers are only too happy to upload those beloved books onto their Kindles or Nooks so they can take them anywhere.

    Comparing my authors to a newly self-published author would be just as unfair as comparing Amanda Hocking to a newly self-published author. They don't start out at the same place when it comes to name recognition, readerships and platforms.

    As I've said before, if JK Rowling decided to self-publish an eighth Harry Potter book electronically ONLY, then her sales would change all the statistics. But those stats would not then accurately reflect what's really going on in self-publishing, and that's not fair to an author who's just starting the process and trying to make an educated decision.

  6. #56
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    First off - on double standard. There is one. There is a small clique of people who frequent this forum who deliberately attack pretty much any post which actively supports self publishing. It just is. And they're just expressing their opinions, and usually not doing so in an offensive way - so it's really hard to report the posts. Note: I am *not* including folks who are bright, asking good questions, and open to honest debate in that cluster. But there are an alarming number of folks who seem to have a hobby of "lets bash self publishing", which seems like an odd hobby for people frequenting a self publishing forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by mscelina View Post
    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.
    OK, back to the OP. First off, iirc, she's had the book out a month. Yes, it's not selling - most SP books do not sell well in month one. Nature of the beast; the track record tends to support a gradual increase in sales over the first 6-12 months. It takes time. And of course, there's a lot else involved - good cover, good editing, good blurb, good price tag. If all of those things look pro, then you have to ask if it's a good book in the first place, if it's still not selling at all six months in.

    Just as important is getting more work up. One book alone tends to sell nowhere near as good as a writer with a half dozen or more books up (yes, exceptions exist, some indie writers have sold 100k copies of their one book - but the data supports the idea that more books generally gives you better sales for all books).

    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.
    Except, of course, that there are hundreds - heck, maybe thousands, at this point - of SP books selling 1000+ copies a month, month after month, with little marketing effort put forth.

    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.
    Don't want to call you anything. I understand that must be hard work. Unfortunately, most books written are bad. We all know that. Most books submitted to publishers are bad; most books self published are bad. Nature of the beast. Neither are going to sell. Good books will.

    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.
    People keep saying that!

    But they are missing the fact she just self published a new book last week.

    They skipped reading the blog where she said she intends to continue self publishing 3-5 books for each one she sends to SMP.

    Somehow, Ms. Hocking sending a quarter or less of her work to a trade publisher means she "went over". Really selective attention to her career, there - and a perfect example of just what I mean by the propaganda being put out by major publishers (who have pushed the whole "Amanda went over, now she's a *real* writer" thing quite a lot).


    That said, I want to completely agree with you about the Author Solutions scam-companies. I am absolutely dead set against them; they are scams, designed to scrape money from writers who just don't know any better.

    However, they have nothing at all to do with self publishing. They are subsidy publishers: trade publishers who require writers to pay for the fees of producing the book. They advertise themselves as self publishing companies, but nothing published through them is actually self published: it is published by them, not by the writer, ergo, not self published.

    And those same companies (plus the misinformation they spread) is what has led to the whole "self published books only sell" 50/100/whatever copies. In fact, that quote was from Bowker several years ago, referring to subsidy published books. Not to self published books, and certainly having nothing at all to do with self publishing as it exists in the digital publishing era. In fact, we have *zero* data for averages on self published books today.

    But the averages don't matter. Because as I said before, the average sales for all books submitted to trade publishers are very small, if you include the ones who fail to be accepted by agents and publishers. Likewise, the average number of sales for self published books is probably pretty small, if you include the ones who fail to be accepted by readers. The average doesn't matter. What matters, in the end, is "what is the best path for this book, assuming it is a good book?"

    And the answer, today at least, is "either".
    Last edited by KevinMcLaughlin; 06-06-2011 at 11:28 AM. Reason: fixed quote formating

  7. #57
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin View Post
    First off - on double standard. There is one. There is a small clique of people who frequent this forum who deliberately attack pretty much any post which actively supports self publishing. It just is. And they're just expressing their opinions, and usually not doing so in an offensive way - so it's really hard to report the posts.
    Errr....So where is the "double standard" you're whining about, then, exactly? Because people have other opinions and they get to express them?

    A double standard?

    Really?

    REALLY?

    Why? Because I don't shut everyone up that you disagree with, so you can have a climate-controlled echo chamber? Because I let people cite statistics, facts, and anecdotes that directly contradict what you so desperately want to convince other writers of — no matter if it's right for them or not? Because we're not a board that's all about how self-publishing will make the average Jill and Joe Writer rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams or the reach of the NYT Bestseller list, so none of us ever have to face the sting of a rejection slip again unless we're irredeemable and pedantic masochists desperately clinging to the rotting dinosaur carcass of Publishing-That-Was?

    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 [sic] opinion".
    "Perpencity" and "desenting" and "the lurkers support me in email" and never met a pair of scare quotes that didn't make you positively giddy — but you wonder why some of us are a wee bit skeptical about betting our writing careers on your advice? And why we're not quite ready to tell other writers that they should bet their writing careers and a book they love on your advice? Really? That's still a mystery to you?

    Kevin, you and Robin have both been consistently rude, snotty, condescending, evasive, and utterly unpleasant in this room. Yet you feel completely free to insult other writers here, twist and misrepresent their words, and then say that *I* run a board with a double standard because I dare to let people disagree with you?

    Get lost. Both of you. Get the hell off my website.

    I'm sick to death of the misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and outright bald-faced lies that some of you insist on spreading like it's gospel truth. Go start your own damned cheerleader forum where no one gets to post rebuttals, ask questions, challenge assertions, or disagree with your awesomeness and mighty self-publishing guru-ness and wisdom(!!11!), and good luck with it.

    But regardless of where you go from here, you're most definitely not going to use my bandwidth to badmouth AW and the community here. Not any more.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 06-06-2011 at 02:50 PM.

  8. #58
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Robin Sullivan's exclusive definitions

    It's worth noting here that Robin Sullivan has some peculiar and exclusive definitions of publishing terminology.

    For example, here's how she defines 'mid-list self-publisher':

    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    Personally I lump anyone in the 1,000 - 10,000 as a "firm mid-list" for self-publishing.
    Now considering how very many self-e-published books there are that sell only a handful of copies, it's an interesting twist of language to decide aribrarily that those in the 95-99 percentile are the 'mid-listers'.


    And here's how she defines 'writer':

    Quote Originally Posted by rsullivan9597 View Post
    Call yourself what you like. But for purposes of my posts when I refer to a "writer" I mean someone who can earn $45,000+ a year or more from writing. Which will disqualify all but a few (I think).
    So the numbers Robin presents to support her opinions might make sense in her Orwellian world, but they often don't have any bearing on the real world where people define these words in more standard ways.
    Changing Gears (available now) -- Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.

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  9. #59
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    I feel a Humpty Dumpty coming on...

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”

    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”

    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.



  10. #60
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    And with that I think we're finished here, as Robin is no longer able to respond to our comments.

    If anyone feels a burning need for this thread to be reopened, please send me a PM.

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