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QueenB
02-25-2009, 04:43 PM
This was posted in the playsandplaywrights yahoo group. Interesting article on the evolving of the publishing industry...

Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1873122-1,00.html

JosephR
02-25-2009, 07:47 PM
QueenB, thank you so much for sharing that interesting article.

Nandi
02-26-2009, 05:10 PM
Thanks, Queen B. Fresh breezes really are blowing through the publishing industry, aren't they? The title of an old hymn comes to mind: "Fling Wide the Doors!"

An aside: a few days ago my sister, who knows zero about publishing, told me about a terrific new book she'd just read: Still Alice. I reserved a copy from my library. Curious, I investigated the author and her publisher, and was so surprised to learn it was [Gasp! Horrors!] ... a vanity press!

Clair Dickson
02-26-2009, 05:28 PM
Interesting article, but missing a lot of information. Did the Still Alice author get any requests for fulls or partials off her query? How many agents did she query-- I've seen people here give up after ten or twenty agents! We can make assumptions, but the fact is the information is still missing from this tale.

Since the vast, vast majority of self-published and fanfiction works are dreck with postively no commercial value, there will always be some rather stiff gatekeepers on the doors to commercial success.

As for the advances and the returns. I think advances are in the ridiculous range. Few authors will EVER earn out their six figure advance-- but it's like CEO salaries in that people feel that they must be worth it, without realizing the dark side. I'd rather a modest advance and royalties that keep coming in, thus making my publisher a profit, not putting them in the loss category! And everyone admits that bookstore returns are a problem.

Change will come, but it won't be wide-spread acceptance and MONEY for works that are not commercially viable. Most people wouldn't pay money for fan fic. because it's amateur. It's cheap fun, but not worth any money. That's not the same as commercial publishing.

But it's an interesting take. It'll surely encourage more people to skip the hard work that comes with being published and just go for self-publishing. Go for it, if that's the route you want. Don't expect to be like the two out of thousands (maybe millions?) of authors who made it work. Not unless you like playing the lottery.

Nandi
02-26-2009, 07:10 PM
You make some good points, Clair.

This is what Lisa Genova says on her blog:

It’s important to know that a self-published book was not my goal. I self-published because I couldn’t make any headway on the conventional road to a book deal. My self-publishing goal was to demonstrate that Still Alice had an enthusiastic and sizeable audience. I wanted to give my book a chance to wave its arms in the air and yell at the top of its lungs, to create a buzz loud enough for the literary agents and publishing houses to hear. And at the end of my self-published day, I still wanted a book deal from a traditional publishing house.

I think a lot of us feel similarly. I have queried widely (90+ agents and editors) for my own narrative nonfiction book and, although many agents and editors have told me they really like my writing, they don't feel the topic is marketable enough in these tight economic times to make an offer.

When I began this journey, self-publishing wasn't even on my radar screen. Now, after dozens of rejections, I have acknowledged that if I want to publish, I'll have to do it myself. Will I lose money? Probably. Do I mind? Not as much as I had thought I would. I want to share my narrative with those who are interested.

I guess what annoys and hurts me so much is the assumption by so many that if it's self-published, it must be crap. There are a lot of reasons agents and editors decline to offer a contract, and they have everything to do with marketability.

Clair Dickson
02-26-2009, 10:17 PM
The assumption that so many self-published books are crap is supported by the simple fact that most self-published and POD-mill books ARE crap. MOST,not all. But MOST. Sorry. It's an assumption that is based strongly on truth.

Are there exceptions, sure.

How many people who play the lottery are millionaires?

Try not to take this personally. Some well written books are not commercially viable-- and some do fantastic in small presses. I'd recommend going with a small press over self-publishing. That too can prove that a book is commercially viable, withOUT the problems associated with self-publishing. (Hey-- small presses even help edit!)

If you think you need to go the self-published route, I wish you all the best.

It's not for me. I'm not a good enough sales person to talk people into buying a book that costs twice as much as normal.

Nandi
02-26-2009, 10:51 PM
The assumption that so many self-published books are crap is supported by the simple fact that most self-published and POD-mill books ARE crap. MOST,not all. But MOST. Sorry. It's an assumption that is based strongly on truth.

Now, see, that's just the sort of unhelpful, hurtful allegation I was talking about. This is a forum for people interested in (hello?) self-publishing, so maybe you'd like to air your thoughts somewhere else on this site. We here all know how self-published and POD works are seen by most people.

I have publishing credits in over a dozen magazines and literary journals. (Do you?) I don't need to have people telling me that if I choose to self-publish my manuscript I'm joining the ignorant, unwashed masses.

Say--has anyone noticed how quickly every single thread here on the self-publishing forum seems to end this way...with insults? C'mon people!

Clair Dickson
02-26-2009, 11:27 PM
Most people that play the lottery don't win. That's all I'm saying.

I am not trying to disparage your choice. My apologies if you misunderstood what I was saying.

The best of luck to you in your publishing endeavors.

Nandi
02-26-2009, 11:59 PM
Most people that play the lottery don't win. That's all I'm saying.

I am not trying to disparage your choice. My apologies if you misunderstood what I was saying.

The best of luck to you in your publishing endeavors.

Thank you. And to you, too, Clair.

Another
02-27-2009, 03:54 AM
The assumption that so many self-published books are crap is supported by the simple fact that most self-published and POD-mill books ARE crap. MOST,not all. But MOST. Sorry. It's an assumption that is based strongly on truth.

Are there exceptions, sure.

How many people who play the lottery are millionaires?

Try not to take this personally. Some well written books are not commercially viable-- and some do fantastic in small presses. I'd recommend going with a small press over self-publishing. That too can prove that a book is commercially viable, withOUT the problems associated with self-publishing. (Hey-- small presses even help edit!)...

Maybe it's worth sorting out two explicit and maybe one implicit batch of issues rumbling around here:

the quality of books commonly coming out from self publishing presses, however one wants to make the measurement by reader or critic or other review sources
the market potential for self published books as evidenced by available sales track records to date
the reputation of self publishers distinct from the literary quality of what they publish, in particularly whether they are deceptive in negotiating and fulfilling contract obligations or prone to pushing costly packages and services or like matters.On 1, I guess the prevailing impression at present is, hmm, not so hot, though I can't cite a source other than some of the newspaper and other journal articles already referenced in some threads on this forum.

On 2, here is one good source giving several points of evidence suggesting sales are not very good, at least for the POD version of self publishing: http://www.sfwa.org/beware/printondemand.html#Issues (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/printondemand.html#Issues)

On 3, there is another thread Cooler dealing with this issue right now, and it references some good sources for more information:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132737 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132737)

Another

MickRooney
02-27-2009, 02:25 PM
This is a forum for people interested in (hello?) self-publishing, so maybe you'd like to air your thoughts somewhere else on this site. We here all know how self-published and POD works are seen by most people.

Say--has anyone noticed how quickly every single thread here on the self-publishing forum seems to end this way...with insults? C'mon people!

Let me first say a few things regarding the POD SELF PUBLISHING and E-PUBLISHING forum.

Some of the negative postings on this forum come from members and authors who have worked in various areas of the publishing business, from traditional to POD/Subsidy. Their experience is welcome and often very valid.

I have been on many other forum sites, but this one is by far the best, most balanced and informative.

There is a very specific thread for 'Conventional Self Publishing' above and authors should understand the distinct differences with using a POD service company.

Nandi,

I have been reading and posting here for quite some time and have researched this specific area, so while I don't profess to be any kind of knowledgeable expert, I think I have a reasonably strong grasp of the area.

I think your quote above underlines something I have felt about the forum for some time. You're right, this area of the forum is specific for this kind of publishing, and I agree, if a poster comes here simply to 'knock' the validity or reasons for Self Publishing or using POD services simply because they are uncomfortable with it or don't believe it is 'real publishing'- then I'm not sure what their constructive input is. If someone posts here about their own experiences of Self or POD publishing, saying A or B provides a bad or good service and the reasons why - then that is valid input. If someone posts about the general pitfalls or downsides - then that is also valid input.

In simple terms, if I went on to another thread and continually knocked 'traditional publishing' or why authors bother with using agents, or that on line workshops were pointless...I'd pretty soon have a lot of moderators and posters on my back.

Don't get me wrong; POD Publishing is a minefield which can disguise many poor services and out and out scammers, but like it or not, it still accounts for a significant amount of published titles, year on year, yielding many non successes, and a few moderate successes.

Whatever field a writer chooses to pursue; quality, commitment and perseverance comes firstly from the mind and pen of the writer, and not from a manufactured book, by whatever means. No one who knows anything of substance about publishing will disagree that the traditional route represents the safest, most reliable, strongest medium for reaching their reading public, and it remains the best avenue for an aspiring writer of any kind to follow as a first call.

David McAfee
02-27-2009, 05:34 PM
Interesting article. Thanks for posting the link.