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Thread: A quest to SP-ville. But what am I getting in to?

  1. #1
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    A quest to SP-ville. But what am I getting in to?

    Ok friends, I'll start by saying that I don't know a great deal about self-publishing. But I am thinking about it and I'm trying to get an understanding of what all this entails.

    First, let me explain what got me to thinking about this today: I bought a copy of Closing the Deal on Your Terms: Agents, Contracts and Other Considerations by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an educational book for sure. She expresses an opinion rather boldly, multiple times, that writers today probably don't want to bother with an agent, and says that with fewer publishers available running fewer titles and restrictive contracts, you're better off going the self-publishing route. (She calls this "indie," but I read the forum rules and won't go there.) She also says so what if a commercial publisher will get you in to brick-and-mortar bookstore, most books are sold on-line now. These were quite surprising thoughts to me as I had not thought of self-publishing as something I could do.

    So I reached out to an agent who puts on seminars about how to be a hybrid writer, and asked her how one gets started, and she offered to consult for me for $200/hour. (Sticker shock!)

    Now, about my own project: It is a memoir, an inspirational / medical memoir about the extremely premature birth of our only son, who was born at 22 weeks and 6 days of gestation, an age at which the doctor told us it was unethical to try to save him and that he wouldn't provide treatment. That doctor did provide care, and since then the national standards for initiation of care have changed. Themes through the book include a test of faith, developing fatherhood in the narrator (me) and of course the obvious question of how well does the baby do (remarkably well, considering). My reasons for wanting to publish the book are to inspire readers who are looking for a good story of hope, and to let people know that you can push on the "boundaries" that doctors set up around what they think is proper medicine, especially when a family member is on the line.

    A little more about me: I'd like to get a new day job once I get a new accounting credential and my kid is in full-time kindergarten. I have more things I'd like to write some day, but I'm not going to be one of those novel-every-six-months series writers. I have no particular need to climb to the top of the non-fiction market, but I do want to tell my story. In the marketing / platform / following category, I do get invited to speak at nursing schools sometimes, but nobody ever pays me (they like me, but I'm not in high demand). I have a few hundred Twitter followers and readers of a e-newsletter, but I'm not at the head of any particular "movement." (I did once get our story on to the front page of the Sunday Seattle Times, as it related to a significant medical-ethics question.) The short version is -- I'm a newbie to marketing.

    This project has been submitted to a large number of agents, a few of whom asked for additional materials, and then they declined. It's been a few months since I submitted to any one as I am presently polishing some scenes and changing a few things.

    Looking around on this sub-forum, I've seen a number of people who have self-published and liked it and I'm interested in what made them choose it versus commercial. And, if you were to do your first book self-publishing, how would you do it?

    p.s. Please be gentle in responses. I'm writing this to get my feet on the ground, which necessarily involves asking stupid questions and....
    1. I know that self-publishing isn't a "consolation prize."
    2. If you're tempted to say, "Eric, I've read your threads on other boards and it's obvious you're trying too hard on the wrong points and you're not ready," let's just not do that please.
    Last edited by eruthford; 04-21-2017 at 07:12 AM.
    Eric Ruthford blog: http://theydontcry.wordpress.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/micropreemiedad
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    I'm querying for Please Cry: A Father's View From Outside the Incubator
    And writing a coming-of-age/travel memoir

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    I'm interested in what made them choose it versus commercial
    I had a sort of crystallizing moment when I was querying agents. Think I got one full request, which was rejected, and form rejections from everyone else (although I only reached out to 20 or 30).

    I suddenly asked myself "what am I doing?". For me, the process of querying agents seemed a little bit... sycophantic? I don't mean to disrespect anyone or agents, but that's how it seemed to me. Emailing strangers on the other side of the world, obsessing over every detail, to get form rejections or not hear back with absolutely no reason why just struck me as hugely depressing. I'll note that I understand *why* it works like this, but I just didn't want to take part in it.

    So essentially I was drawn to self publishing because it was a way of sidestepping that hugely drawn out and anxiety-inducing process. And let's be honest, it's not like debut authors are generally known for getting really awesome deals and heaps of marketing support. I realised I could do most of what the publisher could do. Yes, the brick-and-mortar store thing isn't happening, but that doesn't bother me in the slightest. I've spent a lot of times in bookshops and the vast, vast majority of books on sale are classics, Stephen King, Hunger Games, travel books, cook books, self help books, etc etc. Getting into a brick-and-mortar store would be cool, but if you don't inexplicably stand up among the giants then you're out the door.

    And I suppose fundamentally I realised that I'd rather self publish and fail on my own terms, then fail because I never struck gold with an agent, you know?

    So I started a freelance copywriting business, and that's how I pay for editing, covers, etc (both my editor and cover designer are ex-Big 5). That's my first piece of advice - like any business, you need to have some cash to invest. A lot of self pubbers seem loath to spend money (which has contributed to making the whole industry seem amateur), but I think it's crazy not to. If you were starting up a cafe, you'd have to spend +100x the capital as you would on a book. Nobody balks at that! They applaud it!

    Since you're talking about non-fiction, I'd check out the Creative Penn podcast. Joanna Penn is a thriller writer, but has also done a lot of non-fiction. I think there is a lot of cross over between advice for fiction and non-fiction, but they are also crucially different. Also check out Tim Grahl's podcast. He knows a lot of good stuff about book launching and marketing.

    That's the other thing. Be prepared to market, but don't do everything in a scattergun approach. Learn what works and *why* it works. Approach it with the 80/20 principle.
    Being judgemental must surely be one of the most joyful activities known to the species and it is cruel that other animals are denied this pleasure.

    @guerre_stellari

  3. #3
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    Thank you for these helpful thoughts, RightHoJeeves! I will check out Joanna Penn. What's the 80/20 principle?

    Re: your sig line. Housecats are pretty darned judgmental. :-)
    Eric Ruthford blog: http://theydontcry.wordpress.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/micropreemiedad
    E-mail newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/bCkOXf

    I'm querying for Please Cry: A Father's View From Outside the Incubator
    And writing a coming-of-age/travel memoir

  4. #4
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eruthford View Post
    Thank you for these helpful thoughts, RightHoJeeves! I will check out Joanna Penn. What's the 80/20 principle?

    Re: your sig line. Housecats are pretty darned judgmental. :-)
    It's also known as the Pareto principle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle


  5. #5
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    I'm trade-published, not self-published, but two things stood out for me. One is that your book deals with very specific non-fictional set of events, and the second is that although you have other books you want to write, you don't intend or expect to be forging a full-on writing career. Both of these, along with the fact that you obviously take your writing seriously and have a skill for communicating through writing, suggest to me that SP is an excellent idea.

    FWIW, I've been looking forward to reading this book of yours for a while. But a trade publisher, considering the fact that you don't expect to be pushing on to a full-time career might well not feel that the investment is worth the risk.

    I hope you'll go on and SP and let us know when it's out. Best of luck with it.

    ETA: And, no, I agree - SP should never be seen as a last resort, or as an easy way out. It's just what it is - taking the risk on yourself, and being your own team. I've seen it done brilliantly for niche/memoir works. I beta-read one in particular that ultimately made a bunch more money than I'll ever see.

    Ahem. Not that we're doing it for the money or anything...

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eruthford View Post
    Thank you for these helpful thoughts, RightHoJeeves! I will check out Joanna Penn. What's the 80/20 principle?

    Re: your sig line. Housecats are pretty darned judgmental. :-)
    It just means focus your efforts on what brings you the biggest return, rather than trying to do everything under the sun.

    And re housecats... you're not wrong, but I suspect mine is more stupid than judgmental.
    Being judgemental must surely be one of the most joyful activities known to the species and it is cruel that other animals are denied this pleasure.

    @guerre_stellari

  7. #7
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    McCardey: What's the name of your latest book?
    Eric Ruthford blog: http://theydontcry.wordpress.com Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/micropreemiedad
    E-mail newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/bCkOXf

    I'm querying for Please Cry: A Father's View From Outside the Incubator
    And writing a coming-of-age/travel memoir

  8. #8
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eruthford View Post
    McCardey: What's the name of your latest book?
    Ask me in November

  9. #9
    It's too hot Mclesh's Avatar
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    Eric, I self-published my memoirs relating to my experiences with breast cancer for a few reasons. This was my story, and I never considered pursuing trade publication. (And, honestly, I don't think I would have found a publisher interested in publishing yet another book by a breast cancer survivor.) I wanted control over the project, and I had a built-in team, if you will, to put my book together. (I had a wonderful editor I'd worked with before, and my husband is an art director.) Because of my circumstances, I also had time to write (I was off work recovering from surgery, and my recovery took longer than expected). At first, I only intended to release my book as an ebook, but the project expanded. I ran a Kickstarter campaign, and my backers all wanted a physical book. Having a physical book ended up being a very good thing, though, as it ended up in libraries, and it's just good to have for book signings, gifts, etc. It actually still sells more paperbacks than ebooks.

    The reason I ran the Kickstarter campaign (besides helping fund the project): I really wanted a support group of cheerleaders who believed in my book. That made a big difference when the book was ready. I had people invested who wanted to help me. For instance, one of my backers was able to arrange a radio interview with KFI in LA. I don't think that would have happened otherwise.

    It all ended up being a large amount of work, but I ended up with a book I'm proud of. I've also been able to meet a number of other breast cancer survivors over the years, and every now and then I'm approached to do an interview or even a podcast. I have a support group on Facebook that evolved after one woman who read my book reached out to me and we became friends. The two of us were fielding so many questions from other women, we decided to form our group. I'm also a contributor to a women's breast cancer website now. Four years later, my life has taken unexpected turns because of this project, and I'm mostly glad I did it.

    It really sounds like you have something worth sharing with the world, and because of that, you may find people contacting you and helping you in ways you'd least suspect.

    I'm so glad everything worked out with your son. That is incredible!

    I hope this helps! Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any specific questions.

  10. #10
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eruthford View Post
    Ok friends, I'll start by saying that I don't know a great deal about self-publishing. But I am thinking about it and I'm trying to get an understanding of what all this entails.

    First, let me explain what got me to thinking about this today: I bought a copy of Closing the Deal on Your Terms: Agents, Contracts and Other Considerations by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an educational book for sure. She expresses an opinion rather boldly, multiple times, that writers today probably don't want to bother with an agent, and says that with fewer publishers available running fewer titles and restrictive contracts, you're better off going the self-publishing route.
    KKR is strongly biased towards self publishing, and many of her arguments against trade publishing don't hold water. I wouldn't pay too much attention to her arguments for and against self- or trade-publishing. Her advice on how to self publish, though, is good, I'm told.

    I'm not sure that it's true that there are fewer publishers or fewer titles being published by trade publishing; and I wouldn't call the contracts "restrictive" either. You're not forced to sign anything, and a good agent will ensure terms are favourable.

    (She calls this "indie," but I read the forum rules and won't go there.)
    And yet you did.

    She also says so what if a commercial publisher will get you in to brick-and-mortar bookstore, most books are sold on-line now.
    I've seen that claim so many times, and it's so misleading.

    Yes, more books are sold online than off now. BUT there's still a substantial number of books sold from physical bookshops: something approaching 40% of sales, I think. Why turn your back on those? And of the books sold online, something like 60% are bought by people who first saw them in physical bookshops, but bought online because of discounts and so on.

    So out of 100 books, 40 are bought in a bookshop, 40 are bought online after having been found in a bookshop first, and 20 are bought having been found and bought online. (Assuming I've remembered the latest research correctly).

    So I reached out to an agent who puts on seminars about how to be a hybrid writer, and asked her how one gets started, and she offered to consult for me for $200/hour. (Sticker shock!)
    An agent charging for that does not sound to me like a good agent.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightHoJeeves View Post
    So essentially I was drawn to self publishing because it was a way of sidestepping that hugely drawn out and anxiety-inducing process. And let's be honest, it's not like debut authors are generally known for getting really awesome deals and heaps of marketing support.
    Actually, many debut authors get exactly that. "Debut" is a significant status in publishing and provides a lot of marketing potential.

    I realised I could do most of what the publisher could do. Yes, the brick-and-mortar store thing isn't happening, but that doesn't bother me in the slightest. I've spent a lot of times in bookshops and the vast, vast majority of books on sale are classics, Stephen King, Hunger Games, travel books, cook books, self help books, etc etc. Getting into a brick-and-mortar store would be cool, but if you don't inexplicably stand up among the giants then you're out the door.
    I don't think this is fair or correct.

  11. #11
    I write CathleenT's Avatar
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    Self-publishing is an incredible amount of work, and I'm barely into it. You have to build a platform or your book will land with a barely noticeable splat and your only satisfaction will be that you wrote and published your work.

    Building a platform is a whole art by itself, and it seems to vary from writer to writer, being an intersection of each particular author's skills and finding readers. You have to get your name in front of people and then develop relationships. Twitter is a broad net, and to me many of the book ads seem like so much noise, but I do know of one woman who has relentlessly marketed her SP memoir there with some success. I've read that Facebook fans are far more loyal than Twitter fans, but I'm still barely there on Facebook, so that's a work in progress. My blog is my favorite medium, but this has so far attracted mostly other writers. Pinterest has been valuable for me, but I write fantasy, which has a built-in bias toward genre artwork.

    I'm working on a specific freebie for my newsletter opt-in (up until now I just sent out free short stories, but that doesn't seem to work). However, just having one isn't enough. You have to promote it. My Book Cave and Instafreebie have been referenced by another blogger who built her newsletter list in a very short time (1500 fans in three months--her blog is here: https://joynellschultz.com/1000-true-fans/).

    You will have to find reviewers and approach each one individually, by name, in much the same manner as in querying. All this will take more time than you ever believed possible, but that's okay because you'll grow as a writer in the meantime, and you'll need to edit your book(s) more than you'd ever thought they'd need. You'll need to find like-minded beta readers to swap with and help them on their publication journey, but that's all right because you'll learn more trying to fix their books than you thought you knew about yours.

    Educating yourself about covers is a good idea, even if you don't paint your own cover illustrations like me, because you're still going to have to hire someone even if you do provide the art, and you need to know what a professional product looks like for your genre.

    You'll need to learn about formatting and publishing, a time-swallowing activity that will make you want to pull your hair out at times, exacerbated by the knowledge that this process has been designed so that any idiot can do it. And then there's hitting the actual publishing button, something I have yet to be able to do sober.

    Once it's out (following your meticulously planned launch), you have to know about ads--Facebook, Amazon, etc. and have a strategy for using them in such a way that you reach your target audience.

    Everything has to be well-done, and mostly, you're the person to do it. I'm still figuring it out. But I do believe it's possible if you're extremely motivated.

    This is not meant to discourage. There are a ton of moving parts. Each one has its own skill set. And I don't think it's a good idea to leave anything out. I'm trying to give you an overview of what you're getting into. I hope it helps.
    Last edited by CathleenT; 04-21-2017 at 11:00 AM.


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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    I don't think this is fair or correct.
    *I should preface this by saying I'm not saying it to be belligerent*

    What's particularly unfair about it? I frequently go into bookshops, and I could count on one hand the number in my city that really push new fiction from debut authors in any significant way. To be fair, I did go into one yesterday, but that is on a street with *two* vinyl record shops, so I'm not so sure the area is a good representative of normal retail.

    The next closest one is part of a major chain, and I'd honestly estimate that at fiction makes up for 35-40% at the most. The vast majority of that seems to be a huge wall of classics, the recent Man Booker winners, the top tier marquee fiction names, and then a second tier of best sellers like Leanne Moriarty, Wilbur Smith and James Patterson. The store doesn't even devote a whole shelf to SF - half of it is fantasy.

    I don't doubt that 40% of book sales come from brick-and-mortar stores, but if most of those sales are going to F Scott Fitzgerald, Jamie Oliver, and Lonely Planet, then its not necessarily bountiful pastures for a debut author no one has ever heard of.
    Being judgemental must surely be one of the most joyful activities known to the species and it is cruel that other animals are denied this pleasure.

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  13. #13
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RightHoJeeves View Post
    I've spent a lot of times in bookshops and the vast, vast majority of books on sale are classics, Stephen King, Hunger Games, travel books, cook books, self help books, etc etc. Getting into a brick-and-mortar store would be cool, but if you don't inexplicably stand up among the giants then you're out the door.
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    I don't think this is fair or correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by RightHoJeeves View Post
    *I should preface this by saying I'm not saying it to be belligerent*

    What's particularly unfair about it?
    It's not true that most of the books on sale in bookshops are classics (but my list of "classics" is not the same as yours--Austen, Dickens, Trollope, etc). Yes, popular writers like Stephen King and Suzanne Collins do have books in bookshops: but so do lots of new writers, and lots of writers I've not heard of. Nor is it true that "if you don't inexplicably stand up among the giants then you're out the door". Bookshops stock all sorts of books, and keep them on the shelves for as long as they're selling. They can't afford to give shelf-space to books which no one wants to buy, but books which sell in low quantity still sell, and are often shelved.

    I frequently go into bookshops, and I could count on one hand the number in my city that really push new fiction from debut authors in any significant way. To be fair, I did go into one yesterday, but that is on a street with *two* vinyl record shops, so I'm not so sure the area is a good representative of normal retail.

    The next closest one is part of a major chain, and I'd honestly estimate that at fiction makes up for 35-40% at the most. The vast majority of that seems to be a huge wall of classics, the recent Man Booker winners, the top tier marquee fiction names, and then a second tier of best sellers like Leanne Moriarty, Wilbur Smith and James Patterson. The store doesn't even devote a whole shelf to SF - half of it is fantasy.
    I can't speak for the bookshops you've been to: but bookshops stock what they can sell. If they can't sell much SF/F then they're not going to stock it.

    I don't doubt that 40% of book sales come from brick-and-mortar stores, but if most of those sales are going to F Scott Fitzgerald, Jamie Oliver, and Lonely Planet, then its not necessarily bountiful pastures for a debut author no one has ever heard of.
    Most of those sales go to the books in the bookshops' own best-seller lists, which are often displayed, so you can see what's popular.

    Debut authors often have best-sellers. Look at Emma Donahue, Paula Hawkins (have I got that right?), Joanna Cannon. Bookshops sell huge quantities of books when they're published well, have good distribution, and proper marketing support.

  14. #14
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Debut authors often have best-sellers. Look at Emma Donahue, Paula Hawkins (have I got that right?), Joanna Cannon. Bookshops sell huge quantities of books when they're published well, have good distribution, and proper marketing support.
    This is true, but I think the way it's phrased invites a bit of misreading. Yes, debut authors often have bestsellers. On the other hand, they often don't, despite being published and distributed well, and having proper marketing support. RightHoJeeves is remarking on a genuine phenomenon, although faulting the trade industry for it is misdirected. There are no guarantees in publishing, no matter how you do it.

    To break it down, I think two things are true:

    1) Debut novelists are highly sought after by trade publishers, and often sell extremely well.
    2) Good publication/marketing/distribution doesn't automatically make a book a bestseller, or even successful.

    The thing about 2), though, is that with a good trade publisher, the author still makes money off the deal. In self-publishing, for most genres, there's a not-insignificant financial layout, and a much higher learning curve in order to be able to find your audience.

    Linda Nagata recently blogged about her 30 years in the business. She is trade and self-published, both extensively. Her experience gives a lot of perspective, I think.

    And now that I've gone waaaaay off-topic. To the OP: You've got a niche memoir with a pretty well-identified audience, which seems like a great place to start if you're looking at self-publishing. The thing to do, I think, is exactly what you have been doing: polishing the daylights out of your work, and making it say what you want it to say in a clear and interesting way. (That's something that's necessary for trade publishing as well. )

    But the bottom line is that it's going to be a lot of work no matter which way you go. Self-publishing can get around a lot of the hurry-up-and-wait that happens with trade publishing. On the other hand, a lot of the hurry-up-and-wait involves people behind the scenes doing things like sales and marketing pushes that you'll be dealing with yourself when self-pubbing. You're not really changing what has to happen to get your book out there; you're just changing who's doing the work.

    The main thing, really, is the book itself. I'm not going to tell you you're getting ahead of yourself - because we all do that, I think, while we're working! - I'm just going to reinforce the idea that how the story is told is the most important element here.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    (but my list of "classics" is not the same as yours--Austen, Dickens, Trollope, etc)
    That's what I meant by classics.

    Debut authors often have best-sellers. Look at Emma Donahue, Paula Hawkins (have I got that right?), Joanna Cannon. Bookshops sell huge quantities of books when they're published well, have good distribution, and proper marketing support.
    There are of course debut novelists who are best sellers. But what I'm trying to get at it for every Emma Donahue or Paula Hawkins there are many more authors who are not best sellers. That is not to say trade publishing isn't worthwhile. I'm just saying for the majority of debut authors, access to bookshops doesn't necessarily mean anything. So if an author is weighing up between trade and self publishing, I don't personally believe access to brick-and-mortar stores is that much of a plus for trade publishing.

    Anywho I've given my 2c. Best of luck to the OP!
    Being judgemental must surely be one of the most joyful activities known to the species and it is cruel that other animals are denied this pleasure.

    @guerre_stellari

  16. #16
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RightHoJeeves View Post
    I'm just saying for the majority of debut authors, access to bookshops doesn't necessarily mean anything.
    This I'll have to dispute, I'm afraid. It doesn't necessarily mean success, but it almost certainly means better sales. If you're going to fail, fail with bigger numbers.

    I also feel like a lot of this debate is about fiction, and OP is writing non-fiction, which AFAIK tends to do comparatively well when self-published.

  17. #17
    Get it off! It burns! Dennis E. Taylor's Avatar
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    It's not necessarily as easy as SP vs TRAD, either. I'm a 'hybrid' in that I have an agent, and a contract with Audible.com, but no print publisher. So the e-books and paperbacks are on Amazon and Createspace.

    My agent shopped 'Legion' around in the normal way, and got no bites except the Audible offer. Eventually we agreed to accept Audible's offer and SP through my agent's private label publishing arm.

    So was it worthwhile having an agent? Oh, hell, yes. He's negotiated 3 foreign-language deals for me, negotiated 2 follow-up contracts with Audible; he's vetting speaking offers, his office has filed several DCMA notices for me... Don't ever make the mistake of thinking that all an agent does is shop the book around. That's just the front hallway--there's a whole houseful of services.

    As to the trad-pub situation, we did get a big-five offer on my latest book, but turned it down. First, because Audible's offer was better, and second because the TRAD royalty % was lower.

    Trad pub is still a goal, because it can increase your exposure, but I don't think it'll necessarily make you that much more money. Of course, YMMV. There are enough variables in the whole publishing thing that everyone's experience can be unique.

    As to brick-and-mortar book sales declining: yeah, probably, to a certain extent. But the number of titles available has increased dramatically, so a 'drop in market share' doesn't necessarily mean a drop in business, just a same-size piece of a much bigger pie.
    Formerly Angry Guy.

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  18. #18
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
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    Why did I choose to self-publish versus going the traditional way?

    Well, I tried the traditional way, and ended up getting nowhere. Also, I found that attempting to explain to agents why my book was worthwhile was very draining and a serious damper on my enjoyment of writing.

    So screw that noise. I self-published and never looked back.

    Still open to the notion of working with traditional publishing, but I'll wait until they come to me. I did get a bite from a small RPG company that way, so technically I am a hybrid author now. Mind you, the owner's a friend, so take that as you will.

    The other reason that I self-published is because I seriously doubt a publisher could keep up with me. I write fast, and I see no reason to delay my work due to waiting on other people. My day job is 90% waiting on other people. Why should my night job be the same grind?

    If I had to jump in completely blind, with your book and plans to eventually write more...

    I guess the first thing I'd do is ask myself what I'm trying to achieve, here? Do you want to publish a book for the money? For the joy? For the pride? Or so that people can read it and be inspired? Choose as many reasons as you want, and try to prioritize them.

    If profit's an issue, then you don't want to spend too much. Hie over to kboards and hire one of the middling-range editors there, expect to drop a hundred or more. Have them go over it. Cover art's the next thing to worry about, but a memoir is easier in a lot of ways. Find a good photographer or talk to an artistic friend about arranging a good, simple composition that represents that time in your life. It's gonna be personal, so I can't tell you how to do it. Don't go expensive, but make sure it looks nice.

    If you want to reach a lot of people... eh, you're going to have to dig into marketing. Find the proper places to buy online ads, amazon and facebook are a good starting point. Get good at social media. Find where your communities hang out online, and buy ads there. Stuff like that. Honestly, I'm not the best at marketing, so maybe talk with wiser heads than mine, there. Normally I'd recommend kboards as a starting point, but the community on there is mostly fiction writers. Nonfiction probably has some vagaries to it.

    Ah! One more thing... you probably want to make a print version of your book. Amazon's Createspace is the way to go there. It can get you rolling for free, and free's good when you're just getting started. The quality is decent, I've found. Not overwhelming, but good.

    Get the ebook settled first, then look into the print version. Often after publishing the ebook you'll catch errors that you want to weed out before they make it into the print copy. Just the way it goes.
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  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizmonster View Post
    This I'll have to dispute, I'm afraid. It doesn't necessarily mean success, but it almost certainly means better sales. If you're going to fail, fail with bigger numbers.

    I also feel like a lot of this debate is about fiction, and OP is writing non-fiction, which AFAIK tends to do comparatively well when self-published.
    Yeah fair enough.
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