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Thread: Why do you Self publish?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin HPhatecraft's Avatar
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    Why do you Self publish?

    I've heard from many that self publishing is for people who weren't good enough to get book deals...and I know that is 150% BS. Many of us never even tried to get book deals with the corporate publishing houses in the first place, and those who couldn't are often talented writers who just could not catch a break.

    So why are you going the completely indie route?

    For me, it has to do with 1) my genre is not supported by any publishers and 2) the more I think about it, the more I want 100% control over my art.

    I'm writing hardcore horror, and no publishing house really takes any new hardcore horror. They want "suspense" and other stuff, but no extreme violence. If you want to make splatterpunk, you have to be an indie. And I'm working on a novel that is splatterpunk but with real character development and as much heart as it has carnage...basically, literary splatterpunk. No way in hell (no pun intended) would a corporate publisher take it, and I don't know of any small press that would either.

    Honestly, why all the "horror is welcome, but no extreme violence" stuff? That's like asking for a romance novel, but without any mushy stuff.

    And I don't want to have my work end up getting edited into something I did not write for the glory of almighty dollar. Nor do I want to write something that's in demand, but that I don't like, to get my name out there in the hopes of being able to sell the stories I want to tell some day.

    And yes, THERE ARE GREAT AUTHORS PUBLISHED IN THE BIG FIVE WHO DO NOT COMPROMISE THEIR ARTISTIC CREATIVITY. Don't get me wrong! I'm just saying that the big houses, for me, seem to want a kind of fiction that doesn't push boundaries in the ways that I enjoy doing with my writing.

    In short, I want to make my art my way, and don't feel comfortable changing my art to fit any publishing house's criteria. Corporate publishing is like the music industry in that they care less about art as the artist sees or hears it then they do catering to the biggest market they can find to maximize profits. I would rather be the literary equivalent of punk rock or gothic rock than be the literary equivalent of Kesha.

    So why do you pursue self publishing as opposed to the "traditional" corporate model?

    EDIT: In case it needs to be said, this is a disclaimer:

    I am NOT KNOCKING "TRADITIONALLY" PUBLISHED AUTHORS OR INDIVIDUALS WORKING IN THE FIELD! If you are or seek to be a "traditionally" published author, GREAT! Hell, if the deal was right and it was with a piece of work I was comfortable with, I would take the right kind of deal from a "traditional" publishing house if I was lucky enough to get one.

    My only beef is with the corporate structure that goes into the big six. I am kinda idealistically against art being subject to the profit line. That's it.
    Last edited by HPhatecraft; 05-04-2017 at 03:49 PM.
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  2. #2
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    I don't want to deal with the hassle of creating packages or going on book signing promotions or to meetings with the publisher. I'm a hermit.
    Last edited by Cindyt; 05-04-2017 at 12:05 PM.
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  3. #3
    Finally, complete mss to revise!
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    I publish bilingual English-French editions of classic works. Not really something a publishing house is likely to be interested in. And I enjoy having total control over the design, etc.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW DarienW's Avatar
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    I would rather be the literary equivalent of punk rock or gothic rock than be the literary equivalent of Kesha.
    Not sure about this analogy, going after your producer with her claims is not kissing the butt of the man. (I admit, I am a fan, hee . . . )

    I'd say Britney, Katy, or Rihanna would be closer. (sniff, I like them too)

    To the subject, I'm not against it, just not on the rejection train yet . . . to be determined.

    I'm thinking harsh horror is a good reason to branch out, look how great Fifty Shades of Gray turned out. (I haven't read it but it was edgy sex, right?)

    Best of luck with your writing!

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  5. #5
    Looking for thylacines on CYP Helix's Avatar
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    You know, it's quite possible to argue in favour of one thing without denigrating the alternative.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Dhewco's Avatar
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    I tried the 'rejection train' for my book. 5 years of trying...I had several requests for partials, but no fulls. (Several being about five, lol). I decided to self-publish because I wanted this book to be out there. I believe it is worthy of an audience. I've only gotten two reviews...but since I've only sold thirty or so copies, I guess that's not horrible.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    You know, it's quite possible to argue in favour of one thing without denigrating the alternative.
    Apparently that's not possible for artists, or something. I dunno, not being an artiste and all.

    I just write stuff.

  8. #8
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
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    And I'm working on a novel that is splatterpunk but with real character development and as much heart as it has carnage...basically, literary splatterpunk.
    So like SAW, but literary?
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Putputt View Post
    So like SAW, but literary?
    I do believe that may be the first time those five words have been put in that particular order.

  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I started self-publishing with reverted books and it kind of built from there. It's fun.
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  11. #11
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Isn't it 'trade' published that is the alternative to self-publishing, the latter being the one referred to as being 'traditionally' published?

    HPhatecraft. - EDIT: In case it needs to be said, this is a disclaimer:

    I am NOT KNOCKING "TRADITIONALLY" PUBLISHED AUTHORS OR INDIVIDUALS WORKING IN THE FIELD! If you are or seek to be a "traditionally" published author, GREAT! Hell, if the deal was right and it was with a piece of work I was comfortable with, I would take the right kind of deal from a "traditional" publishing house if I was lucky enough to get one.

    My only beef is with the corporate structure that goes into the big six. I am kinda idealistically against art being subject to the profit line. That's it.
    Last edited by Bufty; 05-04-2017 at 07:26 PM.
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  12. #12
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPhatecraft View Post
    I've heard from many that self publishing is for people who weren't good enough to get book deals...and I know that is 150% BS.
    If books aren't good enough to get trade deals there's a good argument to made that they're not good enough for self publishing either.

    Many of us never even tried to get book deals with the corporate publishing houses in the first place, and those who couldn't are often talented writers who just could not catch a break.

    So why are you going the completely indie route?
    It would be SO nice if people read the guidelines for the room. And it would be SO nice if people used the correct terminology.

    For me, it has to do with 1) my genre is not supported by any publishers and 2) the more I think about it, the more I want 100% control over my art.

    I'm writing hardcore horror, and no publishing house really takes any new hardcore horror. They want "suspense" and other stuff, but no extreme violence. If you want to make splatterpunk, you have to be an indie.
    It's not a genre I've worked in, but I don't think that's true.

    And I'm working on a novel that is splatterpunk but with real character development and as much heart as it has carnage...basically, literary splatterpunk. No way in hell (no pun intended) would a corporate publisher take it, and I don't know of any small press that would either.

    Honestly, why all the "horror is welcome, but no extreme violence" stuff? That's like asking for a romance novel, but without any mushy stuff.
    So first your work is too hardcore and extreme for trade publishers, and now it's too literary. And the implication that other splatterpunk books don't have "real character development" isn't on. Watch your step.

    And I don't want to have my work end up getting edited into something I did not write for the glory of almighty dollar. Nor do I want to write something that's in demand, but that I don't like, to get my name out there in the hopes of being able to sell the stories I want to tell some day.
    You have some very odd ideas about trade publishing. Books are signed because publishers like them. They are then edited to make them even better but the author is in control of all editing, at all times. Authors never have to compromise their work in the ways you imply.

    In short, I want to make my art my way, and don't feel comfortable changing my art to fit any publishing house's criteria. Corporate publishing is like the music industry in that they care less about art as the artist sees or hears it then they do catering to the biggest market they can find to maximize profits. I would rather be the literary equivalent of punk rock or gothic rock than be the literary equivalent of Kesha.
    And now you're not only getting all sorts of things wrong, you're insulting writers who are published by trade publishers, everyone who works for trade publishers, and everyone who works in the music business.

    So why do you pursue self publishing as opposed to the "traditional" corporate model?
    I don't.

    EDIT
    : In case it needs to be said, this is a disclaimer:

    I am NOT KNOCKING "TRADITIONALLY" PUBLISHED AUTHORS OR INDIVIDUALS WORKING IN THE FIELD! If you are or seek to be a "traditionally" published author, GREAT! Hell, if the deal was right and it was with a piece of work I was comfortable with, I would take the right kind of deal from a "traditional" publishing house if I was lucky enough to get one.

    My only beef is with the corporate structure that goes into the big six. I am kinda idealistically against art being subject to the profit line. That's it.
    Yes, you have knocked writers who are trade published, along with a whole lot of other people. Mostly, I think, because you are clearly very ignorant about how publishing works. You'd do well to rectify that if you're going to hang around here for much longer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    You know, it's quite possible to argue in favour of one thing without denigrating the alternative.
    Indeed.

    I'm going to leave this thread open, but if I see one more comment which knocks other writers or other forms of publishing, I'll lock it without hesitation. I hope that's clear.

  13. #13
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    I've gotten several requests by readers of my trade / commercially published novels for additional stories, so I'm testing the waters with one.




  14. #14
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPhatecraft View Post
    I am NOT KNOCKING "TRADITIONALLY" PUBLISHED AUTHORS OR INDIVIDUALS WORKING IN THE FIELD! If you are or seek to be a "traditionally" published author, GREAT! Hell, if the deal was right and it was with a piece of work I was comfortable with, I would take the right kind of deal from a "traditional" publishing house if I was lucky enough to get one.

    My only beef is with the corporate structure that goes into the big six. I am kinda idealistically against art being subject to the profit line. That's it.
    You are woefully ignorant about publishing at every level.

    You need to stop posting posts like this that are full of ignorant and inaccurate assertions.

    There hasn't been a "big six" of publishing for just shy of four years.

    I'm pretty sure you're woefully ignorant about what "corporate structure" means in terms of publishing, or what an indie publisher is; here's a clue: W. W. Norton is an indie publisher.

    If you're aghast at "art being subject to the profit line," just give your books away for free. No worries.

    Finally, if you're having to add "disclaimers," perhaps a better option would be to write more carefully, use terms of art accurately, and read The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write.

    Because yes, I'm hearing from editors and book designers for Big Five publishers who are not happy with your care-free and ignorant insults here and in other posts.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin HPhatecraft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    You are woefully ignorant about publishing at every level.

    You need to stop posting posts like this that are full of ignorant and inaccurate assertions.

    There hasn't been a "big six" of publishing for just shy of four years.

    I'm pretty sure you're woefully ignorant about what "corporate structure" means in terms of publishing, or what an indie publisher is; here's a clue: W. W. Norton is an indie publisher.

    If you're aghast at "art being subject to the profit line," just give your books away for free. No worries.

    Finally, if you're having to add "disclaimers," perhaps a better option would be to write more carefully, use terms of art accurately, and read The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write.

    Because yes, I'm hearing from editors and book designers for Big Five publishers who are not happy with your care-free and ignorant insults here and in other posts.
    So how exactly is talking about the corporate structure of SOME book publishing (i.e., that an author only gets a 15% royalty on average, that they have little to no say on cover design or book layout or editing, that so many other hands get into the work and marketing etc) "insulting" to people in the industry"? I'm trying to make it as clear as possible that I'm advocating DIY, not attacking individuals in the field.

    And when I started it was the big six and I'm still use to saying that. Yes, I know Penguin and Random House had a merger in 2013.

    And I have yet to see anyone calling out users who say things like "well, if you had to self publish, you probably aren't a very good author." So why is it I say "as an artistic idealist, the corporate structure has limited appeal to me" is insulting...but saying "If books aren't good enough to get trade deals there's a good argument to made that they're not good enough for self publishing either" is not an insult to those of use who self publish? Especially on a sub board dedicated to self publishing...

    I love a bunch of best selling authors, from Clive Barker to JK Rowling to Samantha Shannon, Catherin Fisher, Paolo Bacigalupi etc. They are all extremely talented and all are published in corporate publishing houses. And that's great for them. I am not insulting anyone, just saying that, because of what I write (splatterpunk) and they way I write that that model isn't really for me.

    But like I said, I would take the right kind of trade deal. So I am obviously not against trade publishing 100% if I would take a trade deal myself.
    Last edited by HPhatecraft; 05-05-2017 at 12:59 AM.
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  16. #16
    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    State your source for your knowledge about publishing.

    There's a lot of misinformation out there and you seem to have fallen into that quicksand.

  17. #17
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
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    Eh, I tried getting published through the usual means. Didn't work out, and I saw no reason to keep trying a method that wasn't working in the hopes that in a few years it might work out.

    Used to be a bit fiery on the subject, but now I'm busy living my life and doing my thing. It works for me, but there's no reason the trade method can't work better for others. Wouldn't call self-publishing superior, just a better fit for me and where I'm at right now.

    That said, I do like the fact that I get to choose who vets my stuff before it goes to readers. The only gatekeepers I've got are the ones I hire. Puts more of an onus on me, but that's fine. I don't mind waiting on myself. I like that I get royalties every two months, so long as something sells. I like that there seems to be a correlation in self-publishing that the more books you put out there, the better you do. Though nothing's guaranteed, this seems to be holding true from what I've seen so far.

    I like that it's becoming more socially acceptable, and that people are coming in to support this growing practice. I like that I'm free to innovate without having to run it past marketing or whoever. I like being able to engage with the public on my terms.

    I like the money. Gonna come out and say that, the income boost came at the right time, helped with some serious problems, and really turned my family around. We were struggling before this. Might not be up to 'quit your job' levels, but if I didn't make a dime from books for the rest of my years, I'd still come out ahead on this deal. We got a breather, and we owe it to my awesome readers.

    I like the fact that if I DO ever get a yen to work with traditional publishing again, I've got some fairly solid sales and good books to point at. From my experience in business, that's leverage to gaining better terms on a contract. I like the fact that I got to join SFWA, and look forward to many good years helping and supporting the organization for mutual benefit once I get the time to turn more of my attention to it.

    I like the fact that I'm now getting paid to do something I'd do for fun anyway.

    I like the fact that I've been able to give good advice and help to some of the local authors that I've met along the way. Some of this advice has been gleaned from this board, mind you. Not all of it relates to self-publishing.

    I like the fact that I've found something I can do up until and past retirement, so long as my mind remains relatively intact. My body may run down eventually, but so long as the hands or mouth work, I can find a way to keep doing this.

    I like the fact that I can finally get these freaking awesome ideas out of my head and put them in front of an audience, share them with the world, and have people go "holy @%@!%" I like that I can do that.

    Most of all?

    I like the other writers that I meet, most of whom are pretty goddamn cool. It's my pleasure and honor to have finally found my 'tribe', and I'll forgive you your trespasses if you'll cut me the same slack. Best job in the world right here right now, folks, that's what we've got.

    Let's be awesome together.

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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin HPhatecraft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    If books aren't good enough to get trade deals there's a good argument to made that they're not good enough for self publishing either.
    I'm going to hold my tongue on that one.






    It's not a genre I've worked in, but I don't think that's true.
    Actually, it is. Splatterpunk has been considered "dead" by mainstream publishing for some time...mostly because they just won't touch it. There are however indie presses that do publish hardcore horror: http://asliceofhorror.weebly.com/new...xtreme-fiction


    So first your work is too hardcore and extreme for trade publishers, and now it's too literary. And the implication that other splatterpunk books don't have "real character development" isn't on. Watch your step.
    What I am saying, as someone who reads a bunch of splatterpunk, is that character tends to be less important than the horror itself. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I'm just saying that I want to take it in a different direction than I've seen in a lot of published work. And "different" does not equate "superior."


    You have some very odd ideas about trade publishing. Books are signed because publishers like them. They are then edited to make them even better but the author is in control of all editing, at all times. Authors never have to compromise their work in the ways you imply.
    I've heard very different things from published authors, especially when they first started out.




    And now you're not only getting all sorts of things wrong, you're insulting writers who are published by trade publishers, everyone who works for trade publishers, and everyone who works in the music business.
    First, I am not insulting anyone, just saying my own situation. And second, I will not defend the corporate music industry. Watch the documentary "Before the Music Died" about how Clear Channel changed their corner of the music from an art industry into basically fast food.


    I don't.
    But this is a thread and a sub forum for people who do self publish...

    Yes, you have knocked writers who are trade published, along with a whole lot of other people. Mostly, I think, because you are clearly very ignorant about how publishing works. You'd do well to rectify that if you're going to hang around here for much longer.
    First, again, I am not attacking anyone who is published in a big publishing house just because they are published in a big publishing house. I'm just saying it is not for me and many others (hence the title of this thread) Second, is this person also "ignorant of how publishing works"?
    http://authorkristenlamb.com/2016/04...-self-publish/



    Indeed.

    I'm going to leave this thread open, but if I see one more comment which knocks other writers or other forms of publishing, I'll lock it without hesitation. I hope that's clear.
    I'm not knocking anything, just saying it isn't right for some of us. I have a ginger allergy...is that an insult to ginger farmers? (as in farmers of gingers, not redheads who till the soil)
    "Some may say that I couldn't sing, but no one can say that I didn't sing."-Florence Foster Jenkins

  19. #19
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPhatecraft View Post
    So how exactly is talking about the corporate structure of SOME book publishing (i.e., that an author only gets a 15% royalty on average, that they have little to no say on cover design or book layout or editing, that so many other hands get into the work and marketing etc) "insulting" to people in the industry"?
    Without commenting on the rest of your quote...for my single data point (my current three books are with HarperVoyager), a lot of this is false.

    Yes, dotted line, they got to choose the book cover. But I got input and chose between early sketches, and I'm the one (IIRC; might have been my agent) who came up with the series title (which subtitles all the books). So contractually? Sure, they could have said HERE IS BOOK COVER LIZ SUCK IT UP but in reality they said "Hey, we're thinking of this" and there was a long back-and-forth and everybody was happy. (I love my covers. I have one framed and hanging in my living room.)

    As for editing? I've been through three books now with my editor. Every change was absolutely my decision. But you know what? I agreed with him nearly every time, because he's a bloody good editor and he wants the book to be as good as it can be. They bought the book because they liked it. They have zero incentive to change my voice, and not a single one of his suggested changes ever did that.

    There seems to be this perception in some circles that trade publishing is inherently going to be adversarial. Based on my own experience, and the experience of other authors I've spoken to, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Big fat corporations are big fat corporations, sure, and they're going to be looking at the aggregate financials of the imprint. But the people you actually work with? The editors and the artists and the publicists and the marketing people? They are talented, nice folks who love books, and they're genuinely excited for you and want your work to do well. Not because it'll make them money (because hey, that's a nice perk, but not every book makes them money), but because they love books, and yours in particular, because you and they are all on the same team.

    Not every good book is going to get a trade deal. I think that's absolutely true. I've read some lovely self-pubbed books, and I know a number of trade authors who self-publish as well. My original plan, before I queried, was to self-publish, and I won't rule it out for the future. But having been through the process with a trade publisher, I have a much better idea of the tremendous amount of work I'd be in for.
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  20. #20
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPhatecraft View Post
    I'm going to hold my tongue on that one.
    Yes you certainly are.

    You've had PMs from mods.

    You've had posts in thread from mods, and now twice, from me.

    You apparently need some time to read more and reflect, and post less.

    You can start by reading The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write.

    I first self-published more than twenty years ago. I can honestly say I helped invent ebooks, and was part of the first commercial ebook venture.

    I've typeset and edited for and been published by big five publishers. I'm still self-publishing, and helping others (for free) self-publish.

    I'm tired of people who have very little knowledge about publishing in any form making astonishingly ignorant assertions.

    I'm beyond tired of people trying to create a division that is both stupid and unnatural.

    So you're going to have a bit of a posting break. You can use it to read FAQs and stickies and reacquaint yourself with the community after a short break for reading and reflection.

  21. #21
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    I tried trade publishing first as it pays better in general. They didn't want my work and I still needed money, so I self-published. It turned out I could make more money doing other things, so I ditched most of my self-publishing project ideas to make time.

    In a world without money, I'd likely have gone to self-publishing first. I enjoy doing all the stuff and making a finished book. I've also had enough bad experiences selling short stories to not really want to sign up for trade publishing unless someone is paying me. I've had good experiences too, but enough bad ones to be wary. Though the author does get the final say in a lot of things, that final say can involve having to fight every step of the way, which is exhausting. Money is the only reason I stuck at it, because it's not like I found it fun.

    It's not exactly an inspiring story. It's mostly driven by having very few choices and needing to create an income somehow. But that's reality. It's not necessarily filled with warm creative fuzzies.
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  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW RightHoJeeves's Avatar
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    I'm not convinced that a trade publisher could provide enough value to outweigh the cost me doing everything and taking a much larger cut/keeping total control.
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  23. #23
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPhatecraft View Post
    The external carnage is mostly action-based violence...and it's extremely traffic.
    Is the bolded bit horror-genre-specific terminology? I've never heard that one.

  24. #24
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RightHoJeeves View Post
    I'm not convinced that a trade publisher could provide enough value to outweigh the cost me doing everything and taking a much larger cut/keeping total control.
    There's no single right way. What works for one person would be disaster for another.

    There are things I don't want to keep control of, because I don't know sod-all about them, whereas the big publishers have staff who specialise in knowing how typesetting and font choices and book cover design affect reader perceptions and sales. Some things you can hire an expert to do for you (e.g. cover art) but for many self-published authors there is simply no way to buy, bribe, or bully bookstores into stocking your books. Distribution can be key to sales, and sales are key to money. On the other hand, self-publishing out-of-print titles sounds like a really good way to go, and I'd be in for that.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    118
    I'm not convinced that a trade publisher could provide enough value to outweigh the cost me doing everything and taking a much larger cut/keeping total control.
    **

    This is my fear. I've self published and experienced success. (Not six figure success, but enough to live on this year). However, the constant publishing treadmill has me exhausted. I'm also tired of writing in genres I don't love just for the money. I've got my eye on writing YA, and I know that trade publishing still dominates there. So I'm thinking of dipping my toe in the querying waters. However, if no one bites, or I don't get an advance that's equal to what I could make publishing the book in the first year, then I'll probably go back to self publishing. We'll see.

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