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Panda Dragon
07-01-2008, 01:13 AM
Hey guys, was wondering if anyone could help me with this query.

I'm thinking of self publishing a new series of novels I've written and publish them through the website lulu.com. Then, if I get enough interest then hopefully I could try and get a publisher. I guess it's two questions really.

1) If I do this, can I take my book to bookshops?

2) Does this sound like a good idea?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Perle_Rare
07-01-2008, 01:39 AM
First of all, welcome here! :welcome:

Just for clarification: Why do you seek to self-publish? Have you tried getting published through regular channels?

IceCreamEmpress
07-01-2008, 01:48 AM
Hey guys, was wondering if anyone could help me with this query.

I'm thinking of self publishing a new series of novels I've written and publish them through the website lulu.com. Then, if I get enough interest then hopefully I could try and get a publisher. I guess it's two questions really.

1) If I do this, can I take my book to bookshops?

2) Does this sound like a good idea?


2) This sounds like a not-very-good idea. For every novelist who managed to parlay a self-published book into a contract with a commercial publisher (and there are a handful), there are literally THOUSANDS of first-time novelists who got contracts with commercial publishers through the ordinary routes of querying agents (or, with some publishers, querying the publisher directly). Have you queried any agents?

1) You might be able to get your most local bookstore to sell your book, if they have a policy of selling self-published books by local authors. Otherwise, no.

scope
07-01-2008, 02:02 AM
Ditto to what IceCreamEmpress said. It's not a good idea.

veinglory
07-01-2008, 02:15 AM
1) Very few chain stores will even take non-returnable book on consignment any more. Even indy stores are cooling to the idea which tends to leave you with shop-worn books rather than high levels of sales.
2) No

I support self-publishing, for people who want to self-publish, where self-publishing has a realistic chance of meeting their goals. If your goal is commercial publishing self-publishing is more likely to reduce your chances than inclrease them. It does happen but very very very rarely. The odds of succeeding by submiting as normal is much higher.

Mr Sci Fi
07-01-2008, 02:18 AM
I just asked the same question and from what I was told, it seems like a bad idea.

Might as well give yourself a shot at getting published traditionally before self publishing.

brianm
07-01-2008, 02:38 AM
1) If I do this, can I take my book to bookshops?

Yes. Will they place copies on their shelves? No, although your local bookstore may take a copy or two on consignment if they have a local author section.

2) Does this sound like a good idea?

No, and didn’t you try the self-publishing route (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97373) already?

Self-publishing can be a good idea for certain niche genres and for some non-fiction works, but it isn't a good idea for works of fiction.

Marian Perera
07-01-2008, 02:59 AM
2) Does this sound like a good idea?

Why not try to get it commercially published first? If that fails, you can still self-publish. It's more difficult to get a commercial publisher interested if your self-published book doesn't have good sales.

I write fantasy and I'm trying to get those published commercially, so I can't say that self-publishing fantasy novels sounds like a good idea.

Old Hack
07-01-2008, 10:58 AM
I blogged about this one recently: all I did, really, was point out how incredibly difficult it is for a book which was originally self-published or vanity-published to make the transition to commercial publication, then I sent my readers to the Lynn Price's blog--she's editorial director for Behler Publications, and put it all into sharp focus. You’ll need to go here (http://behlerblog.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html), then scroll down to read “Do It Right the First Time”, dated January 23, 2008.

timewaster
07-01-2008, 11:39 AM
[quote=Panda Dragon;2501835]Hey guys, was wondering if anyone could help me with this query.

I'm thinking of self publishing a new series of novels I've written and publish them through the website lulu.com. Then, if I get enough interest then hopefully I could try and get a publisher. I guess it's two questions really.

1) If I do this, can I take my book to bookshops?

2) Does this sound like a good idea?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.


I think it depends on what you want to achieve. If you just want a physical copy of a book with your name on the spine to give to friends and family, self publishing is a good idea though obviously it will cost you money.
If, on the other hand, you want to end up commercially publishing your story self publishing is highly unlikely to help.
To come to the notice of a commercial publisher you would have to sell a significant number of copies and if your work is good enough to do that with limited in store distribution and no publicity, chances are it would sell to a mainstream publisher.

IMHO it makes sense to self publish for niche books - local or family history, minority interest books which have an accessible audience through non standard channels. Some published writers have gone that route too for books that didn't fit their publishers plans or for out of print books. It works well in certain types of circumstances. It doesn't sound to me like yours is one of them.

Phaeal
07-01-2008, 06:09 PM
Ask yourself why someone should buy your self-published fantasy when the store shelves are groaning with commercially published ones. If yours is as well-written and involving as the commercial books, why not try to get it commercially published? If it's not, keep rewriting until it is.

Panda Dragon
07-01-2008, 06:29 PM
Thanks to all who have replied so much (and the warm welcomes).

To answer your questions, yes I have tried to get an agent. However, the general problem that I have is that most publishers won't accept you unless you have an agent and most agents won't take you on unless you have already published something. It's a catch-22 which I'm stuck on.

To be honest, I would prefer the commercially successful route, but it's so hard to get a publisher these day that self-publishing might be the obvious choice. Unless there's any advice that people can give to me to help go for a publisher?

Thanks for all your help guys. I look forward to hearing more.

veinglory
07-01-2008, 06:35 PM
Most publishers will accept a query letter from unagented authors -- 'no unsolicited manuscripts' refers only to cold-sending the entire book.

I suggest you read through the forums and pick up some idea of how people here got published at by various types of publisher and how it is working out for them.

It is harder to get a publisher because the rewards are greater. But it is far from impossible, and if you consider worthwhile small presses is really isn't that arduous at all. Lord knows I am no matyr to my art and have managed to get my book into a few bookstores and made afew thousand dollars from it.

Choose the level of success you want and do the amount of self-education and effort required -- the peeps here can provide all the information you are going to need.

I would note that creating a self-published books is not that hard, but selling it is very much harder than selling a book that has distribution behind it. I would consider third-party publishing the 'easier' option for anyone wanting to sell into three figure amounts or higher.

Panda Dragon
07-01-2008, 06:44 PM
Thanks for that veinglory. I'll consider it. To be fair, I don't really care about major world distribution, I'd just like my book read by a few people. But if you think commercial publishing is the best way to go, I'll look into it.

Thanks

ResearchGuy
07-01-2008, 06:48 PM
. . .
. . .

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Recommendation: Buy latest edition of Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual and study it before you launch any sort of self-publishing venture.

Read How I Got Published (Writer's Digest Books, 2007).

Email or PM me for a (free) pdf of "The Pursuit of Publishing: An Unvarnished Guide for the Perplexed." Or you can find it at Lulu.com and pay a few bucks for printed booklet form or their download version. It is only 15k words, including references/resources, and will help you get oriented to the whole range of possibilities. (Considering I'll give you a .pdf for free, with no gimmicks or catches, there is not a lot of risk involved.)

I see lots of good advice in other replies to your query here.

--Ken

Panda Dragon
07-01-2008, 06:52 PM
Thought I'd get your advice on this one guys. Does having previous writing experiance help in getting yourself an agent? I'm just asking because in some example of query letters that have been accepted, I've noted that they have had some experiance in writing (IE, winning a competion or writing for their local paper, etc). I do't have any experiance per say, but I have a huge interest in story telling and have pretty much taught myself how to do it.

Does experience help in getting a publisher? Does it affect an agents or publishers decision to accept a novel?

Any advice I'd much appreciate. Thanks

ChaosTitan
07-01-2008, 07:00 PM
To answer your questions, yes I have tried to get an agent. However, the general problem that I have is that most publishers won't accept you unless you have an agent and most agents won't take you on unless you have already published something. It's a catch-22 which I'm stuck on.

It's also quite false. Agents take on unpublished writers all the time. I've not published a scrap of anything, but I signed with a well-known agent last month. Agents wants good books they can sell and authors whose careers they can help guide. Previously published works are just icing.

Claudia Gray
07-01-2008, 07:01 PM
For fiction, experience doesn't help as a credential. (With nonfiction, a reporter who had extensively covered the subject matter of the book would no doubt have a stronger case.) Probably it does help in the construction of solid queries/drafts. But you can make that experience up through your own practice.

ChaosTitan
07-01-2008, 07:02 PM
Experience never hurts. Agents like to see that someone's already liked your work enough to publish it. But like I mentioned in your other thread, I've rarely seen the lack of credentials hurt anyone (including myself).

waylander
07-01-2008, 07:03 PM
Everything else is insignificant beside HAVING A GREAT BOOK

BenPanced
07-01-2008, 07:13 PM
What ResearchGuy said.

When you self-pub, you become much, much more than an author. You're now the editor, the cover artist, the marketing and PR person, the shop keeper, and the accountant, depending on how far you want to take it.

Toothpaste
07-01-2008, 07:23 PM
It can help, but it isn't necessary. I had NO experience at all, and that didn't hinder me! Like Waylander said, write a great book!

Sargentodiaz
07-01-2008, 07:25 PM
Everything else is insignificant beside HAVING A GREAT BOOK

:Sun:Amen!

The next trick is to SELL IT!

As an aside, in the research I've done on publishers, most don't deal with authors directly. They prefer agents who, in effect, do their screening for them.

JamieFord
07-01-2008, 07:29 PM
All the experience in the world won't matter if your book is uninteresting. It's all about the book.

veinglory
07-01-2008, 07:34 PM
If you literally only want to sell 'a few' self-publishing may be easiest option--assuming you don't really go for a fully profession looking cover, layout and editing, just something readable. If you actually want to sell over 1000 it probably isn't.

IceCreamEmpress
07-01-2008, 07:38 PM
most agents won't take you on unless you have already published something

This just plain isn't true. Full stop.

Polenth
07-01-2008, 07:50 PM
To be honest, I would prefer the commercially successful route, but it's so hard to get a publisher these day that self-publishing might be the obvious choice. Unless there's any advice that people can give to me to help go for a publisher?

If you're not getting any interest from agents, there's a good chance your query letter is bad (that doesn't mean your book is, just that the letter doesn't do it justice). You might want to consider posting your query letter and start of your novel in the 'Share Your Work' forums. It can be easy to miss problems in your own work.

Soccer Mom
07-01-2008, 08:26 PM
I think this is being discussed in your other thread as well, Panda, so I'm going to merge the two. Hopefully things won't get too confuzzled.

Birol
07-01-2008, 08:30 PM
I do't have any experiance per say, but I have a huge interest in story telling and have pretty much taught myself how to do it.

Depends. How have you gone about teaching yourself? How good of a teacher were you? What have you learned? What do you still have to learn?

Willowmound
07-01-2008, 08:30 PM
Being able to spell everything correctly helps a great deal. I'm not saying this to be snarky (although I do enjoy the snark) -- I'm saying it because it's true.

scope
07-01-2008, 09:47 PM
Thought I'd get your advice on this one guys. Does having previous writing experiance help in getting yourself an agent? I'm just asking because in some example of query letters that have been accepted, I've noted that they have had some experiance in writing (IE, winning a competion or writing for their local paper, etc). I do't have any experiance per say, but I have a huge interest in story telling and have pretty much taught myself how to do it.

Does experience help in getting a publisher? Does it affect an agents or publishers decision to accept a novel?


Any advice I'd much appreciate. Thanks


Buckle up!

You'll probably take my brief remarks harshly, and frankly you should, but please know that their intention is only to help you.

Your above post, as well as others on this thread, while welcomed, show me that you have little or no knowledge of the publishing business and perhaps writing for publication -- for whatever reason. If I'm right, you can't just sit down and write something and then hope, without knowing what to do with it, that for reasons not even you can describe, that it will be accepted by an agent or directly by a publisher.

IMHO you should take the advice of some here, includng ResearchGuy, and learn at least the basics of writing and how to try and get published, as well as where, how, and all that's involved. Know why you are writing, what your options are once your work is complete, what to do and how to attempt doing so, know your audience and marketplace, and much more.

On the other hand if you want to write as a hobby, nothing wrong with that. From what I read you seem to be somewhere in between.

I sincerely hope I haven't offended you. My purpose is to try and help in any meager way I can. Good luck.

Panda Dragon
07-01-2008, 11:05 PM
ChaosTitan. Thanks for setting me straight on that point. I guess I only saw it that way because I got a response from a publisher saying that's the way the publishing world is. I guess he was just natually cynical.

Also, the problem I have is looking for publishers who are "legit" as I almost became victims of fraud publishers. I guess perserverance (I probably didn't spell that right) is the way to go.

Panda Dragon
07-01-2008, 11:11 PM
Dear scope. No, you haven't offended me in any way (Heck, to be a writer I think you need to be able to listen to honest advice now and then. I was just asking a question. I don't think it demonstrates a lack of understanding at all by asking, I am still new to this and need to research as much as possible into this.

To answer, what I think, is your question, writing was originally my hobby, but now I want to take it a step further. I'm not talking about multi-million book sells. I just want my stories to be told to others. If that makes any sense.

IceCreamEmpress
07-01-2008, 11:12 PM
ChaosTitan. Thanks for setting me straight on that point. I guess I only saw it that way because I got a response from a publisher saying that's the way the publishing world is. I guess he was just natually cynical.

Or trying to scam you--or at best, sell you something. "Oh, it's impossible to find an agent! It's impossible to find a commercial publisher! It's a Catch-22!" is the cry of the vanity publisher looking for customers. Or victims, depending how ethical the vanity publisher is.

Have you read The Sell Your Novel Toolkit by Elizabeth Lyon? It's a good book, available in paperback, and very detailed. I recommend it.

Panda Dragon
07-02-2008, 02:27 AM
No, I haven't done that Empress. But I'll add it to my, ever growling, list of things to read.

Funny, I only just posted on here for about a day and I already have a list of things to read! hehe. Still, it's all good.

mirrorkisses
07-07-2008, 01:32 AM
Being able to spell everything correctly helps a great deal. I'm not saying this to be snarky (although I do enjoy the snark) -- I'm saying it because it's true.

Oh yes, I read that so wanting to snark. But I try very hard to be a good girl on this board. ;)