AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 48 of 48

Thread: Self publishing or small traditional publishers

  1. #26
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,503
    Whoops, I missed this answer, sorry!

    A difference to the decision to self pub I guess. I'm not sure.
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

    -- George MacDonald

  2. #27
    figuring it all out gbondoni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Buenos Aires
    Posts
    73
    I have worked with various small presses. A couple of them were frustratingly lacking on the marketing side, and to that we need to add the additional complication that they were trying to sell story collections from an unknown writer. I don't work with those any more. The publisher for my debut novel, on the other hand, has a very good marketing strategy (all black magic to me, but it seems to be selling copies - hundreds, not thousands, if you were wondering), and I see sales of that one every day and have been getting a little extra money each quarter in royalties. That publisher impressed me enough that I have sold them another novel (coming soon, stay tuned).

    Having said that, I am also sending a different novel to agents. There's no need to stop just because one novel hasn't twigged with agents, or you have other projects going on.

  3. #28
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    789
    Turns out you can do both, if you're so inclined.

    I've been self-publishing for two years, and I just got approached by a small press, to see if I'd be interested in letting them handle my flagship series. I'm declining their kind offer, for a number of reasons.

    Now if they'd been interested in my MG series, I would have been willing to talk...
    My Twitter
    My Blog
    My Facebook Page
    My Web Page
    My most recent release:


    DIRE:SINS

  4. #29
    practical experience, FTW Troyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    269
    gbondoni, I would love to know who your small press is that you are impressed with. Old Hack, it seems like you have some good ones to mention as well. I am not a romance writer, but, like the originator of this tread, I have sent many queries, and gotten no where so far. In my case, I do believe subject matter is part of the issue. The story involves domestic abuse (it is a women's fiction, and despite the topic, has a positive ending), and some agents don't even want to look at that. Those who do, I believe are still hard to convince. The thing is, everyone who has read the book, liked it (those related to me and those who are not). One person who read it does book reviews for a small magazine in the area where I grew up (also the area where the book takes place), and she liked it. But I am having no luck with agents. I have read many things that tell me this is often the case with new writers, but it is hard to know what small presses are worth sending to. I would love to know of some small presses that other writers have had good experiences with.

  5. #30
    figuring it all out rchapman1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    56
    My understanding is that small publishers (and even some big ones) do not do a lot of marketing on your behalf. If that's the case, you might as well self-publish and have full control. However, it would be worth trying one book with a small publisher to see how many sales they can achieve.
    Rita Lee Chapman
    Author of Missing in Egypt
    Missing at Sea

    Winston - A Horse's Tale
    Dangerous Associations

  6. #31
    Preparing for winter VeryBigBeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1,676
    Quote Originally Posted by rchapman1 View Post
    My understanding is that small publishers (and even some big ones) do not do a lot of marketing on your behalf. If that's the case, you might as well self-publish and have full control. However, it would be worth trying one book with a small publisher to see how many sales they can achieve.
    This is not the case. A publisher that pays an advance for the book, i.e. most publishers, is investing significantly into that book's success. The publisher has a very clear incentive to market the book, and a good publisher doesn't acquire books it doesn't think it can sell on some level.

    There is a difference between marketing and promotion. Much of the effective work a publisher does may not be visible to the author because effective marketing takes place between a publisher and booksellers. What placement does a book get on which rack? How many are ordered? And so on, into complexities of distribution I can't pretend to understand. A good publisher has distribution and it gets books where people buy books.

    People do buy books on Amazon. Quite a sizeable percentage don't, however. I'm one of them, as I only rarely buy a book from Amazon and only then for authors I already know and read and when I don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to order through my bookstore ("Would you like to buy this tea cozy with your book? Or this inspirational charm?"). I find new authors browsing the bookstore or my library.

    That's not true of everyone, but to self-publish effectively you need to do research to become informed on where readers find and buy books online. The kind of promotion a lot of authors think is effective (social media, book signings, blog tours) often bears only a tangential relationship with how books are actually discussed and recommended.

    None of which is to say self-publishing is ineffective or problematic. There are plenty of examples to the contrary both on AW as a whole and in this thread. This place is a great resource to learn some of what's involved in self-publishing so that you can effectively become your own publisher rather than doing it without fully understanding that role you have to fill.

  7. #32
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    21,579
    Quote Originally Posted by Troyen View Post
    gbondoni, I would love to know who your small press is that you are impressed with. Old Hack, it seems like you have some good ones to mention as well. I am not a romance writer, but, like the originator of this tread, I have sent many queries, and gotten no where so far. In my case, I do believe subject matter is part of the issue. The story involves domestic abuse (it is a women's fiction, and despite the topic, has a positive ending), and some agents don't even want to look at that. Those who do, I believe are still hard to convince.
    That subject-matter wouldn't put off any of the agents I know. There are lots of books which feature domestic abuse, and all sorts of other unpalatable things.

    The thing is, everyone who has read the book, liked it (those related to me and those who are not).
    If you're not finding agents willing to read it, your query needs work; if you've had partials requested and got no further, then your book needs work too.

    One person who read it does book reviews for a small magazine in the area where I grew up (also the area where the book takes place), and she liked it. But I am having no luck with agents. I have read many things that tell me this is often the case with new writers, but it is hard to know what small presses are worth sending to. I would love to know of some small presses that other writers have had good experiences with.
    That "new writers can't get agents" thing is wrong. Agents don't care if you're a new writer or not. They care about the book you've written. If they love it, and think it has commercial potential, they'll want to represent you.

    There are plenty of good small presses, but I think you'd be best off putting some of your work up in our Share Your Work rooms and seeing what sort of response you get first.

    Quote Originally Posted by rchapman1 View Post
    My understanding is that small publishers (and even some big ones) do not do a lot of marketing on your behalf. If that's the case, you might as well self-publish and have full control. However, it would be worth trying one book with a small publisher to see how many sales they can achieve.
    Some don't. Some do. That's why you look for a good small press.

  8. #33
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,503
    Quote Originally Posted by rchapman1 View Post
    My understanding is that small publishers (and even some big ones) do not do a lot of marketing on your behalf. If that's the case, you might as well self-publish and have full control. However, it would be worth trying one book with a small publisher to see how many sales they can achieve.
    I hear this a lot--from self pubbers, usually.

    Small publishers are often invested in your success. Your sales are their sales--why would they not promote you? If they're a genuine pub, that would be a death sentence in business terms, to keep taking on books and doing nothing with them.
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

    -- George MacDonald

  9. #34
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    right here
    Posts
    28,063
    What people making this complaint mean by "marketing" is variable. That said, small presses generally make smaller profits per title so they have less to invest in the book.
    Emily Veinglory

  10. #35
    practical experience, FTW Troyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    269
    Thanks, Old Hack. I will consider what you have said. My query has been through the QL hell, and I have been told it is pretty good. Still I only get a bite once in a while, and it hasn't gotten past that. But I have seen where some agents specifically say they do not want to see this subject matter. I always try to look for interviews the agents have done before I query to see if there is any helpful info to be found there. I did post my first chapter a while back for review, and it did lead to some re-writing. Still getting nowhere though. I did have one agent who read the whole book and told me that it was a very touching story, but she didn't think my writing style was for her. Another read a partial. She told me that it was a good story and well-written, but she felt that the present day part of the story wasn't moving fast enough. I have considered what they said, and tried to do what I can to improve (although the present day part of the story can't move faster, and have it all work right. She would probably have understood that if she had read more of it). I am not saying my work can't still benefit from the help of others, and I am pretty willing to take that help, most of the time, but I believe in my story. I have seen how readers have reacted, and I know it has made them feel the whole spectrum of emotions. For this kind of story, I think that means it is good. Maybe you wouldn't agree, but I have to believe in my work, even if the agents don't. But I have also read many things to suggest that it can be difficult for a first time author to get an agent. I know it happens, but I think it is harder.

  11. #36
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    Posts
    1,503
    Given that some agents work only on referral, and that some don't work with first time authors at all, it seems logical to me that having publications under your belt certainly wouldn't hurt. (I once read an author's post about how his agent only works with people who've won a Hugo/Nebula award, for example-- you won't be getting him, then!)

    It might just take a bit of time. Agents reading it sounds positive to me. What's your genre?
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

    -- George MacDonald

  12. #37
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    right here
    Posts
    28,063
    There are certainly ways to publish that would hurt your chances with any particular agent.
    Emily Veinglory

  13. #38
    practical experience, FTW Troyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    269
    Harlequin, I have been classifying it as women's fiction since it does have a strong female MC. If it were a movie, they would call it drama. It is really a story of healing. I have gotten some positive feedback from agents, but far more have sent form rejections or just nothing at all. Believe me I have spent time trying. That doesn't mean I have given up, but I have been taking a little break to focus more on what I am working on now, and just to recover from rejection blues. There are still more agents out there, and I haven't sent queries to any of the ones that insist on snail mail. Maybe I need to get motivated and try that. Right now, I just discovered that my county has a writer's guild, and I plan to look into that. (I don't know why I never thought to look for something like that before, but I didn't.) Maybe get to know some other writer's right here at home, and get their advice and input. As I said before, I am not opposed to help. I wouldn't mind trying self-publishing, but I am not sure I would be any good at selling the book, and I don't want to rush into that and ruin any other options I might have. I also know that a lot of what agents are looking at is sales possibility (which I understand), and that means that if you are a first time, nobody special author like me, you are at the back of the list. If you are a known name you can write crap and get it published. That's just the way it is.

  14. #39
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,701
    Quote Originally Posted by Troyen View Post
    I also know that a lot of what agents are looking at is sales possibility (which I understand), and that means that if you are a first time, nobody special author like me, you are at the back of the list.
    Bolding mine. I'm posting this because this comes up a lot.

    And It. Is. Not. True.

    Agents love debut authors. Publishers love debut authors. Everyone wants to be the one who discovers the Next Big Thing. Being a debut author doesn't put you at the end of anybody's list, it puts you at the start if you've got a good book they believe they can sell.

    As for knowns being able to write crap - well, sure. Stephen King could write cat haiku in crayon, and it'd sell buckets. That's just economics, and when you've spent decades making a name for yourself you'll be able to get away with skating on a book or two as well. But everybody in publishing wants to be the one who discovers the next Stephen King. They want the bragging rights (and the back catalog!).

    Now, of course, the reality is the vast majority of debut authors are not the Next Big Thing, and what happens then is variable, and also a completely different discussion.
    November goal: An additional 60K on WIP #2 (+58,732 : 75,056/~120,000)

    Hey, I got interviewed by AbsoluteWrite!




    Here are some books I wrote.

  15. #40
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    On the Server
    Posts
    13,343
    Quote Originally Posted by Troyen View Post
    I also know that a lot of what agents are looking at is sales possibility (which I understand), and that means that if you are a first time, nobody special author like me, you are at the back of the list. If you are a known name you can write crap and get it published. That's just the way it is.
    Troyen this is really not true. Every single author ever began as a debut author. Publishers love debut authors. Debut authors have huge potential for multiple books, for instance.

    There are numerous members here who sold their first novel as complete unknowns.

  16. #41
    practical experience, FTW Troyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    269
    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    Troyen this is really not true. Every single author ever began as a debut author. Publishers love debut authors. Debut authors have huge potential for multiple books, for instance.

    There are numerous members here who sold their first novel as complete unknowns.
    Yes, I know. When I said "a no body special," I wasn't just talking about previous publishing experience, but other factors that agents and publishers can use to increase the sales ability of a book. Things like being someone known to the public, having won awards, or having expertise in a field that relates to the story in the book. Those things, if you have them, certainly help. A celebrity, for instance, could write drivel, and it would still sell. I am not saying that a debut author can't make it. I know everyone had to start at the beginning once upon a time, but there are a lot of debut authors, and only so many are going to get published. I don't think that the ones who don't always fail because their book isn't good enough. Some really good books came from authors who had a hard time convincing a publisher to take a chance on them. Because a new author is a chance that publisher is taking. The book might do well, it might not. That author might write lots of other great books, they might not. That is what I am saying.

  17. #42
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,701
    Quote Originally Posted by Troyen View Post
    Yes, I know. When I said "a no body special," I wasn't just talking about previous publishing experience, but other factors that agents and publishers can use to increase the sales ability of a book. Things like being someone known to the public, having won awards, or having expertise in a field that relates to the story in the book. Those things, if you have them, certainly help.
    Well, sure it might help. But the vast majority of debut fiction authors have none of this.

    It's not a strike against you that you're without it. Really.
    November goal: An additional 60K on WIP #2 (+58,732 : 75,056/~120,000)

    Hey, I got interviewed by AbsoluteWrite!




    Here are some books I wrote.

  18. #43
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    On the Server
    Posts
    13,343
    Quote Originally Posted by Troyen View Post
    I know everyone had to start at the beginning once upon a time, but there are a lot of debut authors, and only so many are going to get published. I don't think that the ones who don't always fail because their book isn't good enough. Some really good books came from authors who had a hard time convincing a publisher to take a chance on them. Because a new author is a chance that publisher is taking. The book might do well, it might not. That author might write lots of other great books, they might not. That is what I am saying.
    Trade publishers aren't really "taking a chance." That's why they're picky.

    Before an author is even sent an offer letter for a book, the publisher has already started a Profit and Loss spreadsheet (P & L) wherein they figure what it will cost them to physically (and/or digitally) produce the book, how many copies they can sell, how many will be returned, etc.

    That's used to figure out if the book will break even for all costs AND how much to offer in an advance.

    Even if a book doesn't earn out (sell enough copies to cover the advance) the numbers have already been run to make sure the publisher doesn't lose money, even if they don't make money.

    So it's a bit of a gamble, but the odds are weighted in terms of the publisher not losing money. And those books that are guaranteed to sell because of the name on the cover, those make the less popular books (and debut novels) possible.

    There's a lot of competition since each publisher has a specific number of slots for books in a given year, but that's why we tell people to keep trying. A book might be a great book, but simply not appeal to a particular editor, too. And sometimes a book a writer loves isn't loved quite so much by others.

  19. #44
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    21,579
    Quote Originally Posted by Troyen View Post
    Yes, I know. When I said "a no body special," I wasn't just talking about previous publishing experience, but other factors that agents and publishers can use to increase the sales ability of a book. Things like being someone known to the public, having won awards, or having expertise in a field that relates to the story in the book. Those things, if you have them, certainly help.
    They can help. But they're not obligatory.

    Being well-known can help, but if you can't write it's not going to get your book published. Winning awards is good but only if the book-buying public know about the awards concerned. And having expertise in your field is really good if you're writing non-fiction. For fiction, it's just an interesting thing about you.

    Honestly? It's about the book you've written. That trumps everything else.

    A celebrity, for instance, could write drivel, and it would still sell.
    That's not necessarily true, and is a bit disrespectful to the celebrity writers, don't you think? Let's try to be better than that.

    I am not saying that a debut author can't make it. I know everyone had to start at the beginning once upon a time, but there are a lot of debut authors, and only so many are going to get published.
    Debut authors are the ones who are being published for the first time, so your point isn't entirely watertight. Also, that debut status is huge in terms of promotional leverage. Agents and publishers love debut authors. It's a good thing for them.

    I don't think that the ones who don't always fail because their book isn't good enough. Some really good books came from authors who had a hard time convincing a publisher to take a chance on them. Because a new author is a chance that publisher is taking. The book might do well, it might not. That author might write lots of other great books, they might not. That is what I am saying.
    Publishers don't take chances on the whole. They know if a book is likely to sell well or not, they know how to market and promote the books they publish, and so on.

  20. #45
    practical experience, FTW Troyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    269
    Old Hack, thank you for your input. I am sure you are more knowledgeable than I am for the most part. On some points I think we'd have to agree to disagree.

  21. #46
    Old Hand in the Biz Barbara R.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    1,720
    That's a big question. It depends on the book and your goals. As a former literary agent, I admit I'm biased---I think that working with a small but legitimate press presents you with opportunities (like reviews, awards, library sales) that self-publishing doesn't. But the great thing about publishing these days is that writers have choices. Rather than go into all the contingencies, I'll refer you to this post that examines the options in detail.

    Good luck, whatever you choose!

  22. #47
    Old Hand in the Biz Barbara R.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    1,720
    Troyen, Old Hack is right. Your difficulty doesn't stem from being a new writer. It's comforting to think so, which is why that theory is so popular among as-yet unpublished writers. But the truth is, agents LOVE new voices that they can "discover." I know--I was an agent for 15 years. We lived for those discoveries.

    It's not the topic, either. I believe you when you say some agents specifically exclude it, but most would not. In the end it all comes down to how well it's done. A friend of mine, Diana Gabaldon, wrote a book called OUTLANDER that was a mix of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. No such animal existed before OUTLANDER, and some publishers were flummoxed about how to market it.But the book itself was too compelling to turn down. Now there's an entire cottage industry of historical/fantasy/romance fiction where none existed before.

    So if it's not the topic and it's not the fact that you're unpublished, it must be either your query or your writing. I love the fact that you have faith in your story. Without that sort of self-belief, no writer will succeed in this very tough profession. But consider the possibility that the book needs more work, and try to get more stringent, professional feedback. I offer this service for a nominal fee. I'm not here to push my services--there are plenty of editors who will do sample edits for free or a small fee. But you are exactly the sort of writer I had in mind when I created this offer: one who's serious and determined but stymied by lack of professional feedback, which is so hard to come by until you sell your work. It's a perfect Catch 22.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!

  23. #48
    Green as the meadow grass nelehjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    35
    I like small traditional publishers because people are more likely to read something from an indie press than an indie author. A lot of self published books I just won't read. There's so many bad ones out there they drag down the good ones too. So a lot of other people feel the same way. Just be careful while selecting a small press.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search