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View Full Version : Barry Eisler Walks Away From $500,000 Deal to Self-Pub



aruna
03-22-2011, 12:36 PM
http://barryeisler.blogspot.com/

Read. Discuss.

NicoleMD
03-22-2011, 01:40 PM
Wow. Very exciting. I think the dam is about to burst on ebooks, finally after some twenty-odd years. Heck, I'm probably the latest adapter I know and I'm considering getting an ebook reader now.

I think in general, the world is turning into a place where we'll rely on each other for entertainment instead of corporations, and social networks will be our filters. I don't think that's such a bad thing.

Nicole

NoGuessing
03-22-2011, 02:05 PM
Steel testicles.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 02:08 PM
Another name for the militant self-publishing brigade to cite while they sell 13 copies and say they 'are selling well.' [this was from a friend of mine who recently uploaded her book to Kindle.]

Winterturn
03-22-2011, 02:11 PM
Eisler and Konrath make a lot of salient points (though I find the tone of their back-slapping interview really, really obnoxious at times) but I think the future of the publishing world is going to be more complex than they're implying.

I think their interview should be read and discussed in conjunction with this:

http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/2011/03/some-things-that-need-to-be-said.html


There is so much stress in doing it all yourself. The editing is never good enough. And finding an editor isn't as easy everyone thinks. People thinking an editor is just having someone read through it a few times, checking for basic grammar and spelling, and while that is part of it, it's also much larger than that. It's helping tighten up sentences, watching repeated phrases, helping with flow, etc.
Publishers have done really great things for a really long time. They aren't some big bad evil entity trying to kill literature or writers. They are companies, trying to make money in a bad economy with a lot of top-heavy business practices.
Self-publishing and traditional publishing really aren't that different. One is easier to get into but harder to maintain. But neither come with guarantees. Some books will sell, some won't.

Momento Mori
03-22-2011, 02:38 PM
A big point to consider here is that Barry Eisler (like Joe Konrath) have had the benefit of commercial publishing, which established a readership platform for them to build on. In that situation, self-publishing and particularly focusing on e-books will probably make Barry more money than a US$500k deal - so although he will still be taking a risk, there are more 'knowns' for him than there are 'unknowns' so he can offset it more.

It's one reason I have a lot of respect for Amanda Hocking, who I believe is now looking at a million dollar commercial publishing deal for her next series. She took all the risk early on and made a success of it and that's still the exception rather than the rule.

MM

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 02:41 PM
I strongly disagree with the idea that print will be a 'niche market.' From the people I've talked to, they are saying that print and digital will exist side by side with an equal share [maybe a few percentage tilting the balance slightly.]

HarperCollins announced this morning that digital sales account for 25% of total sales.

shaldna
03-22-2011, 02:46 PM
I will be following this with interest. Self publishing is hard, and I do have a huge amount of respect for anyone who does well at it.

But, like Gothic said, I see this becoming another 'but such and such did it' case study. If he does well, that's awesome, BUT he already has a readerbase, and buy turning down this deal he has generated a lot of FREE publicity for him and his book, which in turn will attract readers and more attention from people who want to see how it works out. This is NOT the same as a previously unpublished, unkown writer with no readerbase and no platform self-publishing their book, and I fear that it will encourage more people to think that if they just self published that they too will sell 10's of thousands of copies.

Dr.Gonzo
03-22-2011, 02:56 PM
Very well said, shaldna.

LawlessLara
03-22-2011, 02:58 PM
I read this in a email this morning and its great but I am still hesistant this is someone who already sold hundreds if not thousands of copies in paperback form. The marketing platform for him is bigger to start with.

Shaldna your so right

Having said that the e-book revolution is underfoot.
Tapes are still around but very much a niche market. 'Experts' were predicting tapes demise to CDS YEARSSS ago but vinyl and tape are still all around even if CDs and digital are the major markets now.

Mark W.
03-22-2011, 03:14 PM
I don't see the death of traditional publishing. Traditional publishers have a large amount of talent when it comes to Editors, Book binding, Printing, and Quality Control. Self Pubs and PODs simply cannot match it.

What will happen is that Traditional Publishers will comtinue to publish high quality books. Self Pubs and POD will get the lower quality slush sprinkled in with a few older established authors.

You read all the horror stories about agent slush piles and the terrible ideas that come through there. Imagine if all those people Self Pub'd and POD'd. It would be a huge pile of slush that readers will have to wade through to find a few gems. There are already reports of e-book readers requesting ways to filter out Self Pub books from their searches. This will continue as people see the drivel that is out there.

No, the Traditional Publishers aren't going anywhere. They may streamline, but it will be for the better.

aruna
03-22-2011, 03:21 PM
Quite frankly, I don't want to self-publish, even if it brings in more money. I'm not a businesswoman. I don't want ANY of the hassle of putting a book together (and yes, I have done it, on Lulu; people might remember Crack of Death, but I've also printed books I've written for friends to read privately. I hated doing it and I hated the result.) and I don't want ANY of the hassle of marketing, calculating stuff, even thinking about the money side of it. I hate that stuff and I want to be in the hands of a mighty, respectable publisher. I don't WANT to do it all myself, and that would be the case even if I were to be a best-selling author. I'm not impressed by the term indie author. I prefer the term Penguin (or whatever) author. I want an editor to hold my hand throughout the process. I want to only write.

They do raise some interesting points, but AWers here have already shown why these guys are not the right models for someone entering the business as a new or come-back writer.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 03:34 PM
Quite frankly, I don't want to self-publish, even if it brings in more money. I'm not a businesswoman. I don't want ANY of the hassle of putting a book together (and yes, I have done it, on Lulu; people might remember Crack of Death, but I've also printed books I've written for friends to read privately. I hated doing it and I hated the result.) and I don't want ANY of the hassle of marketing, calculating stuff, even thinking about the money side of it. I hate that stuff and I want to be in the hands of a mighty, respectable publisher. I don't WANT to do it all myself, and that would be the case even if I were to be a best-selling author. I'm not impressed by the term indie publisher. I prefer the term Penguin (or whatever) publisher. I want an editor to hold my hand throughout the process. I want to only write.

I was at a publishing seminar last week, with a presentation from a small children's book publisher [when I say small, it's run by 2 people.] I thought I was unshockable, but my jaw hit the floor when I realised just how much these ladies were doing to launch just one book.

And these ladies are deeply experienced publishers. They had worked for a good sized independent publisher, who had ceased trading due to the economy. What they did, is buy the children's arm of the business and have since won prestigous awards.

aruna
03-22-2011, 03:40 PM
I can just imagine it. The very idea of it is daunting. I agree that there are certain personality types who might enjoy that kind of thing and are good at it, but I'm not one of them. I remember Toothpaste once wrote an excellent post on the subject. I hope she chimes in here soon.

AVS
03-22-2011, 03:45 PM
If you're a reasonably well known and successful author, then disintermediating the publisher could easily result in making more money. Or it serves to pressurise the publisher into either upping your percentage or advance.

It requires more work. It might reduce your sales. On the other side it ups control of deadlines, content and fan base.

Risky move and probably only for those who have a strong, established and loyal reader base.

Sheryl Nantus
03-22-2011, 04:08 PM
The big news is going to be in a year when we find out if this was a good idea or not.

I think he should have taken the money. I suspect that a year from now we'll be seeing little if any news as he slinks back to the publisher after discovering that he really *does* need that nasty print version of his book distributed to all the stores, promotional help, etc.

It must be nice to blow off a half-million on a maybe. Wonder if Konrath is willing to cover that bet.

I think not.

Anyway, a year will tell...

KathleenD
03-22-2011, 04:11 PM
I guess I don't see how it's risky.

*People used to reading him on their ereaders won't notice anything different at all.
*He's got a fan base.
*As noted, ebooks are already 25% of the total at one big print pub - that number isn't going to drop.
*At a 70% royalty, he doesn't need to sell as many books to get that half mill. (And technically, his 500K deal was for two books. For this book to "win the bet" he only needs to make 250K.)
*At Barnes and Noble he'd have been off the endcap within a month, and most of the books on display remaindered. As a self-pub, he'll have no returns at all.
* Someone else could still buy his print rights. If a publisher says his print rights aren't of value without the digital rights... well... that's not an argument AGAINST what he's doing, you know?
* This in no way precludes him from signing another deal with another publisher in the future. It's just one book.

As I said, I see no risk.

Edit to add: *I* would have taken the money. I'm nobody from nowhere. 500K represents more than ten years of day job salary to me, and my book sales are in the low four figures :) An advance like that would let me take care of my family for a long time while I focused on my writing. He... does not have that motivation.

My, well, more than TWO cents. ;)

Nick Blaze
03-22-2011, 04:36 PM
I think most of us would have taken that deal especially without an established fanbase. Though of us who do have a good reader base probably would prefer to focus on writing than self publishing.

stormie
03-22-2011, 04:45 PM
I usually don't like to just quote others without giving my opinion, but this one is worth quoting. It's succinct.

I will be following this with interest. Self publishing is hard, and I do have a huge amount of respect for anyone who does well at it.

But, like Gothic said, I see this becoming another 'but such and such did it' case study. If he does well, that's awesome, BUT he already has a readerbase, and buy turning down this deal he has generated a lot of FREE publicity for him and his book, which in turn will attract readers and more attention from people who want to see how it works out. This is NOT the same as a previously unpublished, unkown writer with no readerbase and no platform self-publishing their book, and I fear that it will encourage more people to think that if they just self published that they too will sell 10's of thousands of copies.

JamieFord
03-22-2011, 05:04 PM
Barry has an established fan-base and can make the leap. It's a gutsy call, but he can run the numbers based on traditional sales histories and give it a go.

Aside from Amanda Hocking (who despite her indie success is now at auction for a seven-figure book deal with traditional publishers) it's hard to make a living as a self-pubbed author.

That being stated, ebook royalties from most traditional publishers are terrible.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 05:04 PM
I think most of us would have taken that deal especially without an established fanbase. Though of us who do have a good reader base probably would prefer to focus on writing than self publishing.

I wouldn't just take the deal, I would have already bought a house and quit my day job.

That is the equivalent of 45 years salary to me.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 05:10 PM
Barry has an established fan-base and can make the leap. It's a gutsy call, but he can run the numbers based on traditional sales histories and give it a go.

Aside from Amanda Hocking (who despite her indie success is now at auction for a seven-figure book deal with traditional publishers) it's hard to make a living as a self-pubbed author.


I'm writing a series around the Stewart dynasty. I see a big slice of my market being tourists who visit places like Edinburgh castle etc. I wouldn't even know where to start how to get Historic Scotland or The National Trust for Scotland to stock my books.

You can't buy an ebook on impulse will visiting Stirling Castle can you? ;)

Mr Flibble
03-22-2011, 05:15 PM
I'm writing a series around the Stewart dynasty. I see a big slice of my market being tourists who visit places like Edinburgh castle etc. I wouldn't even know where to start how to get Historic Scotland or The National Trust for Scotland to stock my books.

You chat up their ordering person.


You can't buy an ebook on impulse will visiting Stirling Castle can you? ;)Yup.

As for the article, yeah it's not such a leap for someone with a reader base. And I'm not sure about the 'if ebooks take off we won't need publishers'

ebook =/= self pub. I know I'd sure as heck need an editor/cover artist/marketing help. Those are the things that publishers already know how to do. Why would I chuck in their expertise? And tbh, if I look at a selfpub ebook and then at one pubbed by an epub, it's pretty easy to spot the difference 99 times out of 100. If I want one that looks as good while self-pubbing, that's either time away from writing (a lot of time) or money.

ChaosTitan
03-22-2011, 05:32 PM
But, like Gothic said, I see this becoming another 'but such and such did it' case study. If he does well, that's awesome, BUT he already has a readerbase, and buy turning down this deal he has generated a lot of FREE publicity for him and his book, which in turn will attract readers and more attention from people who want to see how it works out. This is NOT the same as a previously unpublished, unkown writer with no readerbase and no platform self-publishing their book, and I fear that it will encourage more people to think that if they just self published that they too will sell 10's of thousands of copies.

This.

Axler
03-22-2011, 05:45 PM
Well, as I've opined before...judging the current situation vis-a-vis commercial publishing and ebooks as the way it's always going to be is premature.

The changes in commercial publishing since 2008 have been dramatic--even savage in some quarters--and those of us who made our livings as writers have had to reassess the way we manage our careers.

Things are patently not the way they were even five years ago.

Regardless, barring some sort of selective EMP which throws everything back to the days of vacuum tubes, there is no financial or cultural inducement for the publishing pendulum to swing back to an earlier era.

Publishers will invest in any method to get their product out to as wide a consumer base as possible. There's no reason why writers shouldn't do the same.

Aspiring novelists in particular should investigate all avenues open to them with as pragmatic a mindset as possible and not lock themselves into one way and one way only, especially if they hope to build a writing career.

Namatu
03-22-2011, 05:47 PM
They were pretty critical of the "legacy publishers," and while I agree there are things to criticize, I don't think it's a matter of the publishers being reluctant to change. Every publisher I've worked for has been trying to figure out how to keep up with or get ahead of the technology curve. This was long before ebooks. So what you've got is a traditional publishing company that has to continue with its process, but also has to figure out how to develop, implement, and integrate a new process into that. It's not a smooth transition. They're going to stumble. They're going to be concerned about what this change means to their bottom line. The sale of ebooks is growing, and quickly, but it's not yet on par with print. It not going to overtake print this year or the next. Publishers can see the trend toward digital, but they can't ignore the present.

Through most of the authors' discussion, especially when they criticized publishers and how much faster self-publishing is, I found myself asking "where are the editors?" There can be a lot of value added during the process through the editor, copy editor, and proofreader. I think self-publishing can offer a lot of great opportunities, but it also offers a lot of missed steps, which weren't discussed in that post until the very end.

ChaosTitan
03-22-2011, 05:57 PM
Through most of the authors' discussion, especially when they criticized publishers and how much faster self-publishing is, I found myself asking "where are the editors?" There can be a lot of value added during the process through the editor, copy editor, and proofreader. I think self-publishing can offer a lot of great opportunities, but it also offers a lot of missed steps, which weren't discussed in that post until the very end.

This is something that I wish more people thought about before going "eh, just upload it to Kindle/Nook/etc..." Professional quality books are not created in a vacuum. Editors are amazing creatures, and each time I open up a letter from my editor, I am floored by how good she is.

Editors exist to make your book better. Period. And no matter how many times I read, reread, and edit my own work, I won't always see the problems. I won't see all of the flaws. But my editors are good at what they do, and nine times out of then, their suggestions are exactly right. And I end up with a better book.

Mr Flibble
03-22-2011, 06:08 PM
Editors exist to make your book better. Period. And no matter how many times I read, reread, and edit my own work, I won't always see the problems. I won't see all of the flaws. But my editors are good at what they do, and nine times out of then, their suggestions are exactly right. And I end up with a better book.

Absolutely. I couldn't/wouldn't put anything out without an editor going over it. A good editor is invaluable. But I couldn't afford to pay for it up front either. And if a publishing house has that expertise, like I said, why throw it away?

I don't doubt that selfpubbing is a viable option for many people. But I don't think it'll replace publishing as it is. *ponders* If it does, will it become the domain of those that can afford an editor and all the other things that need doing? As self pubbing used to be before lulu etc? Or will writers have to devote much more of their available time to that sort of thing (Hocking, iirc, said that she spends so much time promoing for ex that she has way less time to write now). The whole thing is so up in the air. It could go any number of ways. But I don;t see publishers not being in the mix somewhere

shadowwalker
03-22-2011, 07:22 PM
Several good points have been made here.

1) You can't point to the exceptions and claim they're the rule.

2) Many writers want to be writers, not publishers. It doesn't make them dinosaurs or stupid.

3) One can't look at the e-book emergence and claim it means self-publishing success. They are two different animals.

aruna
03-22-2011, 07:47 PM
There was a certain self-congratlatorary, mutual back-slapping tone to the interview that I frankly found irritating.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 07:50 PM
I don't doubt that selfpubbing is a viable option for many people. But I don't think it'll replace publishing as it is. *ponders* If it does, will it become the domain of those that can afford an editor and all the other things that need doing? As self pubbing used to be before lulu etc? Or will writers have to devote much more of their available time to that sort of thing (Hocking, iirc, said that she spends so much time promoing for ex that she has way less time to write now). The whole thing is so up in the air. It could go any number of ways. But I don;t see publishers not being in the mix somewhere

This time next year I'll either be six months into a graduate scheme in a publishing house, or three months into a Publishing MA. Either way, I still wouldn't trust myself to edit my own work to a high enough standard.

Even editors need editors.

Winterturn
03-22-2011, 08:18 PM
There was a certain self-congratlatorary, mutual back-slapping tone to the interview that I frankly found irritating.

Me too. I couldn't finish reading it because of this.

And as Namatu said, I couldn't find any mention of editors. Eisler talked about having to pay for cover art and graphic design, but nothing about editing. I can't imagine any writer, no matter how skillful and experienced at what they do, whose prose wouldn't be improved by having a pair (or several pairs) of trained eyes take another look at it.

aruna
03-22-2011, 08:52 PM
Exactly. And ESPECIALLY a much-published author, because that's when you begin to get complacent and your work slackens off. Me, I would always want an editor, no matter how succesful I became.

TrickyFiction
03-22-2011, 08:52 PM
I think in general, the world is turning into a place where we'll rely on each other for entertainment instead of corporations, and social networks will be our filters. I don't think that's such a bad thing.

To me, this is the most interesting part of these stories. I doubt the publishing industry is going to disappear, and I don't want it to. But it is good to see the doors of cultural art and entertainment swing open a little wider.

aruna
03-22-2011, 08:59 PM
I don't like the idea, frankly. I much prefer having a quality filtering system. There's too much junk out there as it is.

Ineti
03-22-2011, 09:16 PM
Through most of the authors' discussion, especially when they criticized publishers and how much faster self-publishing is, I found myself asking "where are the editors?" There can be a lot of value added during the process through the editor, copy editor, and proofreader. I think self-publishing can offer a lot of great opportunities, but it also offers a lot of missed steps, which weren't discussed in that post until the very end.

For what it's worth, Konrath has discussed editing self-pubbed books a few times. Here's a relevant quote from a recent entry (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2010/12/you-should-self-publish.html):


As for editing, I'll be candid here. My last four print releases, all done by major houses, required very little editing. That's because I have writing peers who help me vet my manuscripts.

Join a writers group, or make friends with a writer in your genre and trade manuscripts.

Yes, anyone can throw a manuscript into Kindle format and start selling it, but the writers who approach self-publishing/e-publishing in a professional manner and/or as a business will make the effort to either hire an editor or find trusted readers to swap manuscripts with or whatever.

Not all good editors have or need a business card from a Big Six publisher. :)

Ineti
03-22-2011, 09:18 PM
To me, this is the most interesting part of these stories. I doubt the publishing industry is going to disappear, and I don't want it to. But it is good to see the doors of cultural art and entertainment swing open a little wider.

I assume you mean the traditional publishing industry here. Depending on how you look at it, self-publishing and epublishing are both part of the overall titanic publishing industry in general. And they're never going away. ;)

AP7
03-22-2011, 09:21 PM
I don't like the idea, frankly. I much prefer having a quality filtering system. There's too much junk out there as it is.

So you would prefer a few people in positions of power decide what you read? I prefer the vibrance of creative freedom. I dont understand this irrational fear of "crap." No one will force you to read it. And if the "non-crap" truly is non-crap, you'll still be able to find it and read it regardless of what channel it's published through.

I think Barry has tremendous courage and should be applauded. The best fiction takes risks, and so do the best fiction writers.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 09:22 PM
I assume you mean the traditional publishing industry here. Depending on how you look at it, self-publishing and epublishing are both part of the overall titanic publishing industry in general. And they're never going away. ;)

Neither is traditional publishing. The media may be shifting, but that's about it.

Mr Flibble
03-22-2011, 09:27 PM
So you would prefer a few people in positions of power decide what you read? I prefer the vibrance of creative freedom. I dont understand this irrational fear of "crap." No one will force you to read it. And if the "non-crap" truly is non-crap, you'll still be able to find it and read it regardless of what channel it's published through.



Yes but my wellies will be covered in crap by the time I do find it, and the smell takes ages to get out of the carpet. :D

It takes time and effort to find something I personally like even among stuff that's gone through a gatekeeper (all that subjectivity re subject matter, what constitutes good writing/plotting to me etc. I have trawled through self pubbed books, and yes I found one or two that were not bad. But I had to trawl a LOT more to find them. I'm not so sure people would be willing to take the extra time. I'd rather not, I know that. YMMV

shaldna
03-22-2011, 09:30 PM
So you would prefer a few people in positions of power decide what you read? I prefer the vibrance of creative freedom. I dont understand this irrational fear of "crap." No one will force you to read it. And if the "non-crap" truly is non-crap, you'll still be able to find it and read it regardless of what channel it's published through.

Personally I would rather not waste hours of my life doing that. If finding the non-crap was what what I wanted to do then I would have become and agent or an editor.

Mr Flibble
03-22-2011, 09:31 PM
Personally I would rather not waste hours of my life doing that. If finding the non-crap was what what I wanted to do then I would have become and agent or an editor.

Exactly! I mean, have you read a slush pile? ><

Sheryl Nantus
03-22-2011, 09:35 PM
I prefer the vibrance of creative freedom.

What does this mean?

shadowwalker
03-22-2011, 09:37 PM
There was a certain self-congratlatorary, mutual back-slapping tone to the interview that I frankly found irritating.

You noticed that, too? Yeah, irritating.

Cyia
03-22-2011, 09:38 PM
So you would prefer a few people in positions of power decide what you read? I prefer the vibrance of creative freedom. I dont understand this irrational fear of "crap." No one will force you to read it. And if the "non-crap" truly is non-crap, you'll still be able to find it and read it regardless of what channel it's published through.

I think Barry has tremendous courage and should be applauded. The best fiction takes risks, and so do the best fiction writers.

If the "crap" is free, maybe - that's what fanfiction sites thrive on. People are willing to wade through garbage to get to gold when there's no cash involved. If it costs me money each time? Not a chance.

Sure some less than stellar things make it to commercial success, even with the big 6, but at least I've got better than decent odds that what I'm paying for is worth my money.

I also don't get the notion that self-publishing is automatically "taking a chance" anymore than commercial publishing.

With self-publishing, you can put up anything at any time on your own, without input. With commercial publishing, you have to send things out and get others' input on them. That's taking a chance.

(Now, in the OP's case? Yes, this author is taking a risk - BUT - he's got an established platform, people know him, and the curiosity factor that comes with turning down that much cash will buy him a return from on-lookers curious to check him out for themselves.)

Ineti
03-22-2011, 09:55 PM
With self-publishing, you can put up anything at any time on your own, without input. With commercial publishing, you have to send things out and get others' input on them. That's taking a chance.

I'd argue that the most important input is that of the end users--the consumers, the readers. Self-publishing can get to that input faster than traditional publishing (which could be a pro or a con, depending).

Commercial publishing can give a writer many more layers of input before that point, which can also be either a pro or con. Really depends on a writer's goals.

AP7
03-22-2011, 09:55 PM
Exactly! I mean, have you read a slush pile? ><

That's fine. Nobody is forcing you to. In fact, no one is even asking you to. If you choose to assume that all self published books are crap you should simply ignore them the same way you ignore other crap that you see on sale in your daily life. What's the problem?

AP7
03-22-2011, 09:58 PM
What does this mean?

I find the vast majority of corporate published books safe, cookie cutter, boring (dare I use the word crap...). A boon in well written self published books represents a wonderful opportunity for creativity and risk taking. Corporate publishing is run by bean counters and sales people, not creative types. I welcome the influx of creativity and will risk buying the occassional "dog."

Phaeal
03-22-2011, 10:00 PM
Pretty simple, really. You're already an established writer with a fan base? Or a new writer willing to invest massive time and energy into self-production and self-promotion of a project with reasonably broad appeal (and the savvy to know whether you really have said appeal)? Eschewing the "legacy" publishers may work for you.

I don't know. If this mode of publication really takes off, could be lots of jobs for free-lance editors. :D

As for selecting a book. All books, published in whatever mode, get the same treatment from me: I read a few pages. Sometimes just a few lines. The writer either gains my trust in that short time or not. It's not that big a deal, since I'm not winnowing books for a living.

Sheryl Nantus
03-22-2011, 10:02 PM
I find the vast majority of corporate published books safe, cookie cutter, boring (dare I use the word crap...). A boon in well written self published books represents a wonderful opportunity for creativity and risk taking. Corporate publishing is run by bean counters and sales people, not creative types. I welcome the influx of creativity and will risk buying the occassional "dog."

So what do you consider "corporate"? Just the big ones in NYC or all publishers...

And I've read some pretty creative books coming out from actual publishers. Go figure.

:)

AP7
03-22-2011, 10:02 PM
I also don't get the notion that self-publishing is automatically "taking a chance" anymore than commercial publishing.


(Now, in the OP's case? Yes, this author is taking a risk - BUT - he's got an established platform, people know him, and the curiosity factor that comes with turning down that much cash will buy him a return from on-lookers curious to check him out for themselves.)

Ok...except I was talking about OP's case...I said Barry has tremendous courage to turn down half a mil. He's put his stones on the table and probably has his wife in heart palpatations. And you want to minimize it by saying he has a following and platform and yada yada....when you turn down half of a half of a half a million, then you can talk platform and yada yada.

Mr Flibble
03-22-2011, 10:03 PM
That's fine. Nobody is forcing you to. In fact, no one is even asking you to. If you choose to assume that all self published books are crap you should simply ignore them the same way you ignore other crap that you see on sale in your daily life. What's the problem?


1 - You obviously didn't read all my post, where I said that yes I have read a couple of good self-pubbed books but it took a lot of effort, more than it does among books released by publishers I know and trust. And if I have to search through it all, how can I ignore it? It's there, I'm searching through it.

2 - My issue is with the time/effort it takes to sift through to find the good stuff. And i would think that's an issue for more than just me.


I like someone to have presifted the dreck.
Why is that a problem for you?

AP7
03-22-2011, 10:05 PM
So what do you consider "corporate"? Just the big ones in NYC or all publishers...

And I've read some pretty creative books coming out from actual publishers. Go figure.

:)


So have I. In fact, virtually every book I've read in my life have come from "actual publishers." But I dont fear a glut of self published crap anymore than I fear a glut of independant movies or a glut of independant rock bands. The ones that appeal to me will get a chance at my dollars. The rest I'll ignore.

Phaeal
03-22-2011, 10:06 PM
And, um, is that $500,000 still available? Just asking...

Sheryl Nantus
03-22-2011, 10:07 PM
He's put his stones on the table and probably has his wife in heart palpatations.

Can't blame her.

It's fine if you're single and living in an apartment to take certain risks. When you have a family to support, a mortgage to pay off and children to educate it becomes less of a philosophical discussion and more about financial reality.

I'm sure he'll do just fine but I do hope he did discuss it with the missus first.

We'll see in a year. I'm sure if he's more successful than he would have been with a publisher that we'll hear him and Konrath bellowing from the rooftops.

If not... I expect silence.

AP7
03-22-2011, 10:08 PM
1 - You obviously didn't read all my post, where I said that yes I have read a couple of good self-pubbed books but it took a lot of effort, more than it does among books released by publishers I know and trust. And if I have to search through it all, how can I ignore it? It's there, I'm searching through it.

2 - My issue is with the time/effort it takes to sift through to find the good stuff. And i would think that's an issue for more than just me.


I like someone to have presifted the dreck.
Why is that a problem for you?

I read your post. It's not a problem for me. It's a problem for you. You seem to think that it will somehow be harder for you to ignore the work that doesnt interest you in this vast hypothetical self pubbed future. If you want to be spoonfed your entertainment, there will always be corporations holding up a spoon. Dont worry.

Mr Flibble
03-22-2011, 10:10 PM
I read your post. It's not a problem for me. It's a problem for you. You seem to think that it will somehow be harder for you to ignore the work that doesnt interest you in this vast hypothetical self pubbed future. If you want to be spoonfed your entertainment, there will always be corporations holding up a spoon. Dont worry.


Um nope. You might want to read it again and not infer stuff that isn't there in any shape or form.


Now excuse me, I have a self-pubbed book to go and read. I know it'll be good, cos I betad it :D

Namatu
03-22-2011, 10:18 PM
It takes time and effort to find something I personally like even among stuff that's gone through a gatekeeper (all that subjectivity re subject matter, what constitutes good writing/plotting to me etc. I have trawled through self pubbed books, and yes I found one or two that were not bad. But I had to trawl a LOT more to find them. I'm not so sure people would be willing to take the extra time. I'd rather not, I know that. YMMVI completely agree with the sparkly avatar'd IRU.

Cyia
03-22-2011, 10:26 PM
And you want to minimize it by saying he has a following and platform and yada yada....when you turn down half of a half of a half a million, then you can talk platform and yada yada.


The platform minimizes the risk on its own.

If John Doe writes a 700 page horror novel and puts it up on Kindle for $0.99 or $2.99 without anyone knowing his name, then 99% of the time, he's got a chance at making enough for a couple of nice dinners.

If Stephen King writes a 700 page horror novel and puts it up on Kindle for $0.99 or $2.99, tweets, blogs, or gives an interview mentioning it, then he'll be clearing a couple of million by the end of the quarter.

Platform matters. Notoriety matters. The reason that people like J. Konrath or A. Hocking make the news with their success is because they're exceptionally rare - the way JK Rowling or S. Meyer are rare with commercial publishing.

For an unknown to risk half a million on a self-published upload is a much higher risk than it is for someone with an established following. Sadly, hearing stories like this will feed the delusional assumption that many (not all) novice writers have that the mere existence of a book is enough to get it noticed. Just like it will feed their assumptions that if a book does poorly in the kindle store it's a bad book.

aruna
03-22-2011, 10:28 PM
[
Me too. I couldn't finish reading it because of this.
t.


You noticed that, too? Yeah, irritating.

Judging from the reps I got on that particular post, we are not alone! :)

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 10:29 PM
I find the vast majority of corporate published books safe, cookie cutter, boring (dare I use the word crap...). A boon in well written self published books represents a wonderful opportunity for creativity and risk taking. Corporate publishing is run by bean counters and sales people, not creative types. I welcome the influx of creativity and will risk buying the occassional "dog."

Sorry, I've heard this so many times before and all I can do is :ROFL:

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 10:32 PM
And, um, is that $500,000 still available? Just asking...

Fight you for it . . . :tongue

AP7
03-22-2011, 10:34 PM
Sorry, I've heard this so many times before and all I can do is :ROFL:

You're gonna have to be a little more articulate than that to get into a good MFA program.

AP7
03-22-2011, 10:35 PM
The platform minimizes the risk on its own.

If John Doe writes a 700 page horror novel and puts it up on Kindle for $0.99 or $2.99 without anyone knowing his name, then 99% of the time, he's got a chance at making enough for a couple of nice dinners.

If Stephen King writes a 700 page horror novel and puts it up on Kindle for $0.99 or $2.99, tweets, blogs, or gives an interview mentioning it, then he'll be clearing a couple of million by the end of the quarter.

Platform matters. Notoriety matters. The reason that people like J. Konrath or A. Hocking make the news with their success is because they're exceptionally rare - the way JK Rowling or S. Meyer are rare with commercial publishing.

For an unknown to risk half a million on a self-published upload is a much higher risk than it is for someone with an established following. Sadly, hearing stories like this will feed the delusional assumption that many (not all) novice writers have that the mere existence of a book is enough to get it noticed. Just like it will feed their assumptions that if a book does poorly in the kindle store it's a bad book.

I too would be saddened to hear of a novice writer turning down half a million dollars...

Eddyz Aquila
03-22-2011, 10:38 PM
Am I the only one who kind of marvels at this but at the same time rubbing their hands?

If more and more people turn to self publishing, a rift will be caused between traditional publishing and self publishing. The book reader on one hand will be more aware of the difference and traditional publishers at the same time will not have that many queries to sort through, lessening their work and at the same time having more opportunity to take risk with unpublished authors?

I think it will cause a difference between the two groups, with both sides having advantages and disadvantages and from here the book reader can only benefit.

aruna
03-22-2011, 10:56 PM
Sadly, hearing stories like this will feed the delusional assumption that many (not all) novice writers have that the mere existence of a book is enough to get it noticed. Just like it will feed their assumptions that if a book does poorly in the kindle store it's a bad book.

It's actually not that sad. Because:




If more and more people turn to self publishing, a rift will be caused between traditional publishing and self publishing. The book reader on one hand will be more aware of the difference and traditional publishers at the same time will not have that many queries to sort through, lessening their work and at the same time having more opportunity to take risk with unpublished authors?

I think it will cause a difference between the two groups, with both sides having advantages and disadvantages and from here the book reader can only benefit.

I first heard of this blogpost on the ABNA board, (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) and they are all practically wetting themselves there, in their eagerness to self-publish. A lot of them on that board are going straight to CreateSpace and not even bothering with agents, legacy publishing (is that a new term BTW? First I ever heard of it.)
Means the slush pile is just that bit less of a pile. Means quicker sorting. And even if good authors go straight to CreateSpace --means even the valid competition is less... (rubs hands with Eddyz)

Namatu
03-22-2011, 11:05 PM
I first heard of this blogpost on the ABNA board, (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) and they are all practically wetting themselves there, in their eagerness to self-publish.It may well lighten the slush load, although who can say for how long?


A lot of them on that board are going straight to CreateSpace and not even bothering with agents, legacy publishing (is that a new term BTW? First I ever heard of it.)Out with the old? Lack of something better to call them? Sounds like a term for something dead and buried.

Sheryl Nantus
03-22-2011, 11:08 PM
(is that a new term BTW? First I ever heard of it.)

Konrath coined the phrase.

He does seem to be very full of rage against the machine, as it were. I understand his frustration at being dropped by his publisher, as we all would - but I disagree with his assumptions and predictions.

But that's just me.

RBSHoo
03-22-2011, 11:08 PM
Like everyone else, I'm fascinated by this whole e-book revolution, and I'm only sure of one thing:

Whichever camp I throw my support behind will undoubtedly become extinct within two years.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 11:11 PM
You're gonna have to be a little more articulate than that to get into a good MFA program.

Who's applying for an MFA? I'm a strictly MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes girl. :tongue

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 11:12 PM
Like everyone else, I'm fascinated by this whole e-book revolution, and I'm only sure of one thing:

Whichever camp I throw my support behind will undoubtedly become extinct within two years.

Not going to happen. Neither side will become extinct.

RBSHoo
03-22-2011, 11:17 PM
Not going to happen. Neither side will become extinct.

Haha! You've vastly underestimated my ability to destroy my own career!

Axler
03-22-2011, 11:45 PM
Twenty-five years ago I bought my first computer--a Commodre C64-- and my first word-processing program.

After the first week, I declared computers could never replace my good ol' IBM Selectric. After a brief faddish flurry of enthusiasm, things would go back to the way they had always been.

I imagine my great-grandfather, who raised horses, felt similarly when he saw his first two-wheeled velocipede.

gothicangel
03-22-2011, 11:50 PM
Twenty-five years ago I bought my first computer--a Commodre C64-- and my first word-processing program.

After the first week, I declared computers could never replace my good ol' IBM Selectric. After a brief faddish flurry of enthusiasm, things would go back to the way they had always been.

I imagine my great-grandfather, who raised horses, felt similarly when he saw his first two-wheeled velocipede.

The flaw in your argument it that you are describing a change in medium, just as ebooks are just another medium.

No-one is saying that things will go back to the way it was. No sane person is predicting the death of publishing either.

Ineti
03-22-2011, 11:51 PM
Whichever camp I throw my support behind will undoubtedly become extinct within two years.

Why not go with both? The whole picking a camp or side things is kinda silly, really, when someone could do both, or either.

But I guess in the internet world, there must be sides. And when you have sides, there must be a winner and a loser and poo-flinging from one side to the other. :)

Axler
03-22-2011, 11:56 PM
I posted no argument.

I made an observation about how resistance to new things among some is so similar, it cuts across generations.

shadowwalker
03-22-2011, 11:58 PM
Twenty-five years ago I bought my first computer--a Commodre C64-- and my first word-processing program.

After the first week, I declared computers could never replace my good ol' IBM Selectric. After a brief faddish flurry of enthusiasm, things would go back to the way they had always been.

I imagine my great-grandfather, who raised horses, felt similarly when he saw his first two-wheeled velocipede.

I imagine the death of 'legacy' publishing, of paper books, will occur just as quickly as the paperless society. I wouldn't hold my breath. ;)

Axler
03-23-2011, 12:00 AM
Why not go with both? The whole picking a camp or side things is kinda silly, really, when someone could do both, or either.


Yup.

Jess Haines
03-23-2011, 12:00 AM
Erm. I'd also like to point out that former literary agent Nathan Bransford addressed this sort of thing just a few days ago in a blog post called Amanda Hocking and the $0.99 Kindle Millionaires (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/03/amanda-hocking-and-99-cent-kindle.html), and he made some very good points about it. It sounds amazing when you hear that a self-pubbed author earned a million dollars--until you look at some of the big guys in print, like James Patterson, who made $70 million between June '09 and June '10

Sheryl Nantus
03-23-2011, 12:06 AM
Twenty-five years ago I bought my first computer--a Commodre C64-- and my first word-processing program.

After the first week, I declared computers could never replace my good ol' IBM Selectric. After a brief faddish flurry of enthusiasm, things would go back to the way they had always been.

I imagine my great-grandfather, who raised horses, felt similarly when he saw his first two-wheeled velocipede.

I remember the Vic20. 20K of memory! WOW!!!

:ROFL:

Although I still miss the clackety-clack of typewriter keys at times... I've got a skin on my laptop with an old typewriter image on it.

I'm dreading the day some kid walks up, points at it and says "What's that?"

:cry:

gothicangel
03-23-2011, 12:07 AM
I imagine the death of 'legacy' publishing, of paper books, will occur just as quickly as the paperless society. I wouldn't hold my breath. ;)

Aargh, don't get me started on paperless. The utility companies have me doing every thing paperless. Then HMRC wanted me to confirm my identity using utility bills last week so I can claim tax credits :rant:

rsullivan9597
03-23-2011, 12:22 AM
While I agree that being traditionally published certainly makes this an easier choice, we are seeing more and more people who have NO prior traditional publishing experience making good livings (six-figure plus). Barry happened to mention.....

Barry: It’s inevitable that more writers will be realizing this is true. It’s being demonstrated by more and more self-published authors: you, Amanda Hocking, Scott Nicholson, Michael J. Sullivan, HP Mallory, Victorine Lieske, BV Larson, Terri Reid, LJ Sellers, John Locke, Blake Crouch, Lee Goldberg, Aaron Patterson, Jon F. Merz, Selena Kitt, hopefully me... :)

Which are just a few - The Kindle board shows multiple authors who have sold 1000+ per month and some in the 10,000+ and 20,000+ categories.

Ineti
03-23-2011, 12:26 AM
Aargh, don't get me started on paperless.

Yeah, paperless isn't going to happen in my lifetime. I work in a govt contractor proposal center and we go through reams and reams and reams and reams of paper daily. The waste is unreal. Nothing compared to what publishing goes through when they pulp stripped books, but still. Paperless society is a nice idea, but strictly sci-fi for a good long time.

Karen Junker
03-23-2011, 12:43 AM
Must we fling poo?

shadowwalker
03-23-2011, 01:48 AM
While I agree that being traditionally published certainly makes this an easier choice, we are seeing more and more people who have NO prior traditional publishing experience making good livings (six-figure plus). Barry happened to mention.....

Barry: Itís inevitable that more writers will be realizing this is true. Itís being demonstrated by more and more self-published authors: you, Amanda Hocking, Scott Nicholson, Michael J. Sullivan, HP Mallory, Victorine Lieske, BV Larson, Terri Reid, LJ Sellers, John Locke, Blake Crouch, Lee Goldberg, Aaron Patterson, Jon F. Merz, Selena Kitt, hopefully me... :)

Which are just a few - The Kindle board shows multiple authors who have sold 1000+ per month and some in the 10,000+ and 20,000+ categories.

I just did a quick random check on those authors - some were, again, already traditionally published; Victorine Lieske has sold 700 copies (http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=130373) as best I could determine.

I would much prefer to see a list of authors and their history in traditional publishing (if any) and verified sales as self-publishers. Then one could see how many 'newbies' are really "making it" and whether they are the rule or the exception. Like any other business proposal, I'd like to see the facts - show me what the typical sales are (not the average) and the experience level (ie, history) of the people involved is.

Kitty27
03-23-2011, 01:59 AM
I could never self-publish. First,it is a lot of work and hustling. Second,there is no guarantee of success. This man already has a fanbase and established presence in the publishing industry. It is not that hard for him to go to self-publishing.

An unestablished author doing it is another matter entirely. I've lurked in the self publishing threads round here and the amount of work the authors do is mind-boggling. They wear all the hats that a traditional publisher would put on. I'm sorry,but I just like to write. A lot. Having to be the editor,marketing staff,publicity,etc is just too much for me. I admire those that can do it and wish them well. Even those that put their heart and soul into it often fail. Self publishing is not some magical path to bestseller and richer than Gawd land. MANY try and fail utterly. About the only author I know of who made it is E.Lynn Harris(RIP). I think this is going to encourage people to think it's soooo easy to self-publish and they can stick it to DA MAN. For an author with an established platform and fanbase,yes it is easier. DA MAN already gave them commercial success,you know. So they are only building off what the evil publishing industry already created for them and not really having to do any hard work. What about the author who has none of those resources and has to start from scratch? Work,work,and more work. In addition to writing. Just,no.

The death of printed books is not drawing near. I don't like electronic books. I deeply enjoy the smell of a new book and holding it in my hands. Sitting in front of a nice fire with a cup of coffee and an electronic book loses something for me. I'll keep it old school.

Soccer Mom
03-23-2011, 02:08 AM
Must we fling poo?

There shall be no further poo flinging in this discussion please. Keep it civil.

/takes off mod hat

And as for my opinion, I don't think epublishing will ever replace hardcover. It's a seperate animal. I do, however, think it will replace MMPB as a medium. But I think print and epub will coexist as two viable mediums of the same product, each offering different advantages.

Honestly, I've bought a grand total of 3 self-pubbed books in the last year, all by the same author. I only bought them because I heard good things by word of mouth and read the free sample on Amazon. They were pretty darn good, but there were places where I thought a good editor would have made the good into fantastic.

Kitty27
03-23-2011, 02:12 AM
I bought Zetta Elliot's book,A Wish At Midnight and it was damned good. I went ahead and bought Bird,too. Anything she puts out, self-pubbed or otherwise,I am buying.

DeadlyAccurate
03-23-2011, 02:29 AM
I do, however, think it will replace MMPB as a medium. But I think print and epub will coexist as two viable mediums of the same product, each offering different advantages.

I think so, too. MMPB are already treated as a disposable product in that they're stripped instead of returned.

The fact that Amanda Hocking picked up an agent and is looking at a commercial publishing deal tells me that while self-pubbing did work for her, she seems more than happy to let someone else handle all that extra work.

Commercial publishers do need to fix some things. The ebook royalty rate is pathetic, and as downloads more consistently outsell print books, that will become even more apparent to authors. If there's one thing I hope Eisler's decision does do is get publishers talking on how they can retain good talent. They're going to be hurting if published authors keep jumping ship once they've established a foothold in the industry. If authors use a commercial publisher only as a jumping off point for their self-pub career, they're going to find it harder to end up with more James Pattersons and J.K. Rowlings.

Eddyz Aquila
03-23-2011, 03:00 AM
If authors use a commercial publisher only as a jumping off point for their self-pub career, they're going to find it harder to end up with more James Pattersons and J.K. Rowlings.

JK Rowlings and James Pattersons will always be in high demand because they bring in so much revenue, so from a business standpoint, offering a couple of extra incentives such as higher ebook rates to bestselling authors is good enough to keep the author put instead of going through the hassle of e-publishing.

Ava Glass
03-23-2011, 03:27 AM
I just did a quick random check on those authors - some were, again, already traditionally published; Victorine Lieske has sold 700 copies (http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=130373) as best I could determine.

I had to chuckle. That link is obviously quite old. Over a month ago, Victorine Lieske reported her 50,000th sale.

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,52547.0.html

Really, people should visit Kindleboards' Writers' Cafe. Lots of sales numbers there--good and not-as-good.

MartinD
03-23-2011, 04:12 AM
I always remember what Gandhi said about self-publishing: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

At least, I think he was talking about self-publishing...

entropic island
03-23-2011, 06:45 AM
I don't think epublishing will ever replace hardcover.

This times twelve.

rsullivan9597
03-23-2011, 06:46 AM
I just did a quick random check on those authors - some were, again, already traditionally published; Victorine Lieske has sold 700 copies (http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=130373) as best I could determine.

Victorine Lieske sold 28,000 books in February alone. She has sold 50,000 of of Feb 12th and was on track to sell 100,000 by the end of April - and that is only one book.

D.B. Henson sold over 100,000 books and was signed by Noah Lukeman - her book went to auction (I'm guessing 500,000 advance) as Lukeman doesn't generally deal with "small deals".

Michael J. Sullivan sold 9,500 in November, 10,500 in Dec, 11,500 in January (True that is over 5 books but as they sell for $4.95 - $6.95 (and we get 70% of that). Orbit signed him to a six-figure 3-book deal.

H.P. Mallor also got a six-figure 2-book deal.

Axler
03-23-2011, 06:48 AM
I always remember what Gandhi said about self-publishing: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

I thought that was The Joker.

rsullivan9597
03-23-2011, 06:50 AM
I strongly disagree with the idea that print will be a 'niche market.' From the people I've talked to, they are saying that print and digital will exist side by side with an equal share [maybe a few percentage tilting the balance slightly.]

HarperCollins announced this morning that digital sales account for 25% of total sales.

I totally agree - other publishers are reporting less than that - Most recent Numbers from Hachette Book Group was 8%.

rsullivan9597
03-23-2011, 07:01 AM
This is NOT the same as a previously unpublished, unkown writer with no readerbase and no platform self-publishing their book, and I fear that it will encourage more people to think that if they just self published that they too will sell 10's of thousands of copies.



Unknown non-previously published authors who have sold more 10,000+ copies:

Amanda Hocking
John Locke
B.V. Larson
Michael J. Sullivan
H.P. Mallory
D.B. Henson
Victorine Lieskie
Christopher Smith
B. V. Larson
J. R. Rain
Stephen Carpenter
Heather Killough-Walden
Nancy C. Johnson
Michael Gallagher
Christian Cantrell
David Dalglish
Vaughn Heppner
L.J. Sellers
Selina Kitt
Nathan Lowell
These are some off the top of my head...I'm not saying it is "easy" but I'm saying that these people are making more money than their midlist counterparts from traditional publishing.

rsullivan9597
03-23-2011, 07:06 AM
Aside from Amanda Hocking (who despite her indie success is now at auction for a seven-figure book deal with traditional publishers) it's hard to make a living as a self-pubbed author.



That "used to be the case" - since October 2010 this has changed dramatically.

rsullivan9597
03-23-2011, 07:16 AM
Why not go with both? The whole picking a camp or side things is kinda silly, really, when someone could do both, or either.

But I guess in the internet world, there must be sides. And when you have sides, there must be a winner and a loser and poo-flinging from one side to the other. :)

I so agree with this - and blogged about it recently (http://write2publish.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-does-it-have-to-be-one-way-or-other.html):

Terie
03-23-2011, 09:57 AM
Unknown non-previously published authors who have sold more 10,000+ copies:

Amanda Hocking
John Locke
B.V. Larson
Michael J. Sullivan
H.P. Mallory
D.B. Henson
Victorine Lieskie
Christopher Smith
B. V. Larson
J. R. Rain
Stephen Carpenter
Heather Killough-Walden
Nancy C. Johnson
Michael Gallagher
Christian Cantrell
David Dalglish
Vaughn Heppner
L.J. Sellers
Selina Kitt
Nathan Lowell
These are some off the top of my head...I'm not saying it is "easy" but I'm saying that these people are making more money than their midlist counterparts from traditional publishing.


That list represents a drop in the bucket. That's 20 authors. I know that the number of successful self-e-pubbed authors is greater than that. Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that it's 100 times that....let's imagine that there are 2,000 successful self-e-pubbed authors selling those kinds of numbers.

How does that compare to the hundreds of thousands of self-e-pubbed authors? Weren't there something like 500,000+ self-pubbed books last year?

2,000 is .4% of 500,000.

Yes, my numbers aren't necessarily correct. I haven't found accurate numbers. But I've been conservative. I bet there are substantially fewer than 2,000 self-e-pubbed authors selling tens of thousands of copies, and I low-balled my guess on the number of self-pubbed books.

But it shows -- again -- that all this hoopla is over people who are on the extreme tippy-tip-top point of the iceberg. I think it's safe to say that more than 99% of self-pubbed (e- and otherwise) authors will STILL see sales of fewer than 100 books, and all the shouting and proclaiming about the outliers isn't going to change that fact.

rsullivan9597
03-23-2011, 10:36 AM
That list represents a drop in the bucket. That's 20 authors. I know that the number of successful self-e-pubbed authors is greater than that. Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that it's 100 times that....let's imagine that there are 2,000 successful self-e-pubbed authors selling those kinds of numbers.

How does that compare to the hundreds of thousands of self-e-pubbed authors? Weren't there something like 500,000+ self-pubbed books last year?

2,000 is .4% of 500,000.


A valid point - but realize that many people who self-publish are doing it as a hobby - or to give books to friends and family - they don't market nor do they have any intention to be a "real writer".

So...lets compare apples and apples. A new writer who wants to make a "living wage" and has talent and skill and the ability to put out a good book. These are the people that we need to address. Which is better for them to go "traditional" or "indie".

Person #1 - Spends 1 year finding an agent, 6 months while they shop it around, 15 - 18 months to get in the release calendar - that's 3 years from now to "making money" - and the advance for a new author $5,000 to $10,000.

Person #2 - Invests $200 in cover design, does their own formatting (easy) and $800 in editing - so a $1,000 investment. They price the book at $2.99 (standard price for most indies) and in the first month sell 100 books and by month 6 are up to 500 books per month (these are NOT hard numbers to reach!!) At 1 year they are selling 1,000 books a month (again not hard numbers most "professional" writers who are indie are doing this so over 3 years their sales are: 100, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000. 6100 first year and 12,000 year 2 and year 3. Thats 30,100 books * 2.99 * .70 = $63,000 - $1,000 investment = $62,000.

So at the "start" the self-published person made $52,000 more than the top end of the advance and their books hit the street sooner.

But...the author gets no "new" money in the traditional as they have to work off the advance which if it was $10,000 will mean eating 5,740 books.

Meanwhile if the same 5,740 books sold for self the income would be $12,013.82

So at the point where the advance has earned out the picture looks like this:

Traditional $10,000
Self: $52,000+12,000 = $64,000

So at this point they are both earn "additional" money for each book sold. For each selfpub = 2.99 x .7 * = $2.09
For each tradpub = 9.99 * .7 * .25 = $1.75

So the author loses $0.34 for each additional book. Let's assume we can sell well for another 3 years and lets say sales went down to 5,000 a year so that 15,000 books so that's another $5,100 lost.

These numbers are NOT difficult to achieve there are MANY authors are selling mor than 1,000 books a month - these are not outliers these are the "midlist" of the "indie publishing" world.

Terie
03-23-2011, 10:51 AM
Person #2 - Invests $200 in cover design, does their own formatting (easy) and $800 in editing - so a $1,000 investment. They price the book at $2.99 (standard price for most indies) and in the first month sell 100 books and by month 6 are up to 500 books per month (these are NOT hard numbers to reach!!) At 1 year they are selling 1,000 books a month (again not hard numbers most "professional" writers who are indie are doing this so over 3 years their sales are: 100, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000. 6100 first year and 12,000 year 2 and year 3. Thats 30,100 books * 2.99 * .70 = $63,000 - $1,000 investment = $62,000.

No. These are fantasy numbers. You have absolutely no proof that this is anything close to typical. None at all. Period. Full stop.

aruna
03-23-2011, 11:56 AM
A valid point - but realize that many people who self-publish are doing it as a hobby - or to give books to friends and family - they don't market nor do they have any intention to be a "real writer".

So...lets compare apples and apples. A new writer who wants to make a "living wage" and has talent and skill and the ability to put out a good book. These are the people that we need to address. Which is better for them to go "traditional" or "indie".

Person #1 - Spends 1 year finding an agent, 6 months while they shop it around, 15 - 18 months to get in the release calendar - that's 3 years from now to "making money" - and the advance for a new author $5,000 to $10,000....

.

Etc etc etc.
This post gave me a headache. See, that's the reason I would never ever self-pub with the hope of making a living. It would negate everything I love about writing. I don't care if the process is slower. I don't care if I make less money. As long as I can live from it (which is my goal) I just don't care what I could have made if I self-pubbed.

See, I am basically a shy, introverted person. I am awkward in society, tongue tied. Yes, it's good to overcome these attributes and to a certain extent one should overcome them, and to a certain extent I have.
But I still much, much, much prefer my still small room to the clash and clang of the marketplace. Some people thrive on the latter, get a rush of adrenaline; good for them, but not me. The very idea of hsutling to make my book a success arouses horror visions within me. Doesn't mean I won't do my bit; but quite frankly my dream would be a runaway word-of-mouth success, while I peronally hide away in the Lower Hebrides. Or somewhere warmer.
I don't begrudge these guys their success, but for me they are not to be emulated. I'm not a lesser writer because of my introversion. In fact, that's what makes me a writer, (I couldn't say it so I had to write it) and that's the way it has to stay.

KathleenD
03-23-2011, 03:53 PM
I swore I was going to stay away from this topic after the last couple days. (There's a thread on Self-Pub, same topic, page three, where I explained why I'm frustrated.) But I made the coffee too strong this morning.

There's nothing in Robin's post that says anything about introversion or what promotion is required.

No matter where we get published, we would have to do the same kinds of things if we didn't want to depend on luck.

I have two novellas with Carina Press, and I'm happy enough with them that I just signed a contract for a third. They put my work up in all of the e-stores, and out of the sub rights, they've sold the audio so far. The whole crew is just dynamite - every person on the HQN digital team answers my questions like I'm their only author and they're nice about it to boot. But there is no promotion of me or my work, and furthermore I expected none (having lurked here for a stupid amount of time before posting or writing).

When I say "no promotion," I'm being literal. To my knowledge, they don't put my books in their teaser ads on other sites, they don't put me in any of the featured author spots on the store, they don't nudge any of the majors to review me, nothing. I don't think it's personal or a plot - I think I'm the epub version of a midlister.

My experience seems remarkably similar to the vast majority of published authors that have blogs or otherwise speak publicly about their experiences.

CP does a hell of a lot of wonderful work on my behalf (and again, obviously I'm more than satisfied with that work at this point in my career), but promotion? No. If I want any attention besides luck and word of mouth, I have to do it myself... and like you, Aruna, I don't particularly want to do it for the same reasons. :)

TLDR: The promo situation is exactly the same, publisher or self-publisher.

aruna
03-23-2011, 04:03 PM
There's nothing in Robin's post that says anything about introversion or what promotion is required.

I didn't say there was. I'm just explaining why the self-publishing route is simply not compatible with a temperament such as mine.


No matter where we get published, we would have to do the same kinds of things if we didn't want to depend on luck.
.....


TLDR: The promo situation is exactly the same, publisher or self-publisher.That's not my experience. My publisher did all kind of things to promote my books: an ad campaigne in the London Tube, the book cover printed on the backs of London Tube tickets, arranged for print, radio and TV interviews, arranged library readings and one or two book tours for me (one was together with a very famous author); and that was only the British publisher. The German publisher arranged a series of PAID bookshop readings for me, all expenses paid. And the French did even more, pouring 100000 Euros into a marketing campaign for the first book. All I had to do was fly to Paris for a week and do as I was told! It was actually rather fun.

If I were to be self-published I'd have to make the arrangements for all these events myself. I wouldn't know how to begin, and can't imagine persuading all these people to speak to me. I did all that requested of me to the best of my ability, but really all I had to do was jump in a plane or train when the time came. It was all done for me.

I don't mind getting a blog up and running, but to go around canvassing for myself -- no, it's just not in my mental makeup.

ETA: or, if you like, call me lazy. I'd actually rather not be published than run around self-promoting.

Sheryl Nantus
03-23-2011, 04:13 PM
CP does a hell of a lot of wonderful work on my behalf (and again, obviously I'm more than satisfied with that work at this point in my career), but promotion? No. If I want any attention besides luck and word of mouth, I have to do it myself... and like you, Aruna, I don't particularly want to do it for the same reasons. :)

TLDR: The promo situation is exactly the same, publisher or self-publisher.

*grabs cuppa tea*

Actually, you are getting promotion - the same as I get with Samhain. We get our books up on numerous websites without us having to pay and then keep paying to have them listed; we get our books listed among others "from" XXX publisher when people go looking for similar authors; we get (well, I do) excerpts from our books placed into the back of other books in the same genre so we get cross-promoted with other authors from the same publisher.

And, one of the most important ones to me, we get tagged as XXX authors. I've been with small publishing houses and larger ones and I can tell you that a name is everything when you look for reviews. I can't blame reviewers for wanting to only take subs from XXX house because they *know* there's a quality bar there, that they're not going to end up reading crap because someone decided to throw up (literally) a book on Amazon and/or create their own publishing company to hide the lack of experience.

My biggest fear for the self-pubs? When Amazon takes BACK the 70% royalties on books costing more than $2.99. Right now it's a loss leader for Amazon as they try to corner the market on ebooks, meaning that they make up the money with other products. But there will come a time when they yank that sweet number away from the self-pubs and then all the calculations won't mean diddly.

The bubble will burst but it'll be Amazon who does it.

shaldna
03-23-2011, 05:12 PM
Person #1 - Spends 1 year finding an agent, 6 months while they shop it around, 15 - 18 months to get in the release calendar - that's 3 years from now to "making money" - and the advance for a new author $5,000 to $10,000.

Person #2 - Invests $200 in cover design, does their own formatting (easy) and $800 in editing - so a $1,000 investment. They price the book at $2.99 (standard price for most indies) and in the first month sell 100 books and by month 6 are up to 500 books per month (these are NOT hard numbers to reach!!) At 1 year they are selling 1,000 books a month (again not hard numbers most "professional" writers who are indie are doing this so over 3 years their sales are: 100, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000. 6100 first year and 12,000 year 2 and year 3. Thats 30,100 books * 2.99 * .70 = $63,000 - $1,000 investment = $62,000.

So at the "start" the self-published person made $52,000 more than the top end of the advance and their books hit the street sooner.

But...the author gets no "new" money in the traditional as they have to work off the advance which if it was $10,000 will mean eating 5,740 books.

Meanwhile if the same 5,740 books sold for self the income would be $12,013.82

So at the point where the advance has earned out the picture looks like this:

Traditional $10,000
Self: $52,000+12,000 = $64,000

So at this point they are both earn "additional" money for each book sold. For each selfpub = 2.99 x .7 * = $2.09
For each tradpub = 9.99 * .7 * .25 = $1.75

So the author loses $0.34 for each additional book. Let's assume we can sell well for another 3 years and lets say sales went down to 5,000 a year so that 15,000 books so that's another $5,100 lost.

These numbers are NOT difficult to achieve there are MANY authors are selling mor than 1,000 books a month - these are not outliers these are the "midlist" of the "indie publishing" world.


While I really admire your maths, these are complete fantasy numbers. Let's be honest here, around 90% of books published sell less than 1000 copies in thier entire lifespans, 1000 books a month is a serios amount of books. I really don't know where you got your figures from, but this is why people need to be realistic.

The numbers that you have put forward shows exactly the sort of thinking that many aspiring self-publishers suffer from. Is there someone out there who is pedling these figures as being somehow 'standard' because this is the sort of massive miscalculation that I hear so many times from people.

Sheryl Nantus
03-23-2011, 05:51 PM
While I really admire your maths, these are complete fantasy numbers. Let's be honest here, around 90% of books published sell less than 1000 copies in thier entire lifespans, 1000 books a month is a serios amount of books. I really don't know where you got your figures from, but this is why people need to be realistic.

The numbers that you have put forward shows exactly the sort of thinking that many aspiring self-publishers suffer from. Is there someone out there who is pedling these figures as being somehow 'standard' because this is the sort of massive miscalculation that I hear so many times from people.


True. This is PublishAmerica math. While a few may succeed, most will fail.

ios
03-23-2011, 06:00 PM
TLDR: The promo situation is exactly the same, publisher or self-publisher.

Well said. I think a literary agent once said that no one knows quite how to promote the book as the author of it. I want to say Donald Maass said that, but I can't find it in the book off hand. Speaking of Maass, he says in his breakout series, "Promotion is cumulative. It only really works to reinforce a preexisting relationship between a reader and an author." So it's that initial step--getting the book in reader's hands or nook/kindle--that matters first and foremost. Not an easy thing for anyone to do.

Jodi

ios
03-23-2011, 06:14 PM
It takes time and effort to find something I personally like even among stuff that's gone through a gatekeeper (all that subjectivity re subject matter, what constitutes good writing/plotting to me etc. I have trawled through self pubbed books, and yes I found one or two that were not bad. But I had to trawl a LOT more to find them. I'm not so sure people would be willing to take the extra time. I'd rather not, I know that. YMMV

This brings up an important point. I'm assuming you are talking about ebooks, since there aren't a lot of self-published books mingling on the brick-and-mortar store bookshelves with traditionally published books. So my point: how do you find an ebook you like to read?

Personally, I look at titles first (in the genre/sub-genre I have selected). Then the synopsis/cover blurb. If I still like it, then I look at the sample. If I don't like the sample, I don't buy. I just wish it was easier to delete those suckers off my nook. It's amazing how fast you can click to get samples. So I click on this one, and this one, and this one. Then I just pour through them after they have downloaded, and I say, nah, nah, nah, ok, maybe, bingo, and so on.

Jodi

aruna
03-23-2011, 06:15 PM
Well said. I think a literary agent once said that no one knows quite how to promote the book as the author of it. I want to say Donald Maass said that, but I can't find it in the book off hand. Speaking of Maass, he says in his breakout series, "Promotion is cumulative. It only really works to reinforce a preexisting relationship between a reader and an author." So it's that initial step--getting the book in reader's hands or nook/kindle--that matters first and foremost. Not an easy thing for anyone to do.

Jodi

Quite how I would ever go about setting up the promotion my publisher gave me, I've no idea. When xxxx number of self-published authors go knocking on Sky TV's door for an interview, how many do you think are going to get that interview? That alone tells me that promotion through a regular publisher and a self-publisher is anything but the same. There are huge amounts of self-published authors flying around the place at any given time. It's the publisher's credentials (unless the self-pubbed author, like Joe Konrath, already has sales behind him) that gets you that essential foot in the door.
Once I do get that interview, though, I agree with Maass, or whoever it was said that line about no-one being able to promote as well as the author.

ios
03-23-2011, 06:25 PM
I forgot to add that anyway most book buyers don't do like I do--i.e., browse. They already know the author and are familiar with his work, or someone told him to try this author out.

Donald Maass wrote in his breakout series that "roughly two-thirds of all fiction purchases are made because the consumer is already familiar with the author." He means the consumer read and liked the author's work so he or she keeps buying from that author. Maass also says the next biggest reason is personal recommendations (word of mouth)--personal meaning by friends, family, and even the bookstore employee.

I agree with this. Most folk will never have a problem with needing a gatekeeper because they don't browse to find new authors in the first place. They just read what was recommended to them or who/what they already like.

Jodi

Ineti
03-23-2011, 06:26 PM
Right now it's a loss leader for Amazon as they try to corner the market on ebooks

Corner the market? Last I checked there are a number of ebook distributors, with more popping up regularly. Amazon happens to be one of the best at the moment short of a writer selling their stuff off their own website.

Amazon's been around for 15 years and hasn't cornered the market on anything. I don't see ebooks being any different.

Mr Flibble
03-23-2011, 06:26 PM
This brings up an important point. I'm assuming you are talking about ebooks, since there aren't a lot of self-published books mingling on the brick-and-mortar store bookshelves with traditionally published books. So my point: how do you find an ebook you like to read?

Personally, I look at titles first (in the genre/sub-genre I have selected). Then I look at the sample. If I don't like the sample, I don't buy. I just wish it was easier to delete those suckers off my nook. It's amazing how fast you can click to get samples. So I click on this one, and this one, and this one. Then I just pour through them after they have downloaded, and I say, nah, nah, nah, ok, maybe, bingo, and so on.

Jodi


Well, normally I go to certain epubs directly, because I like what they put out. Also because if I go to amazon etc type in the genre I'm after...and I get thousands of books to flick through! I just went to amazon uk kindle store, typed in fantasy and got 25k hits. Click on the fantasy genre, that's till 12k. That's a lot of books...I might sort by bestselling I suppose. If there's a particular subject I'm after (if for instance I wanted fantasy pirate books) then I'll search that on Amazon and see what pops up. Look at the cover copy first, try a sample.

But I try epubs first - I know there will be a certain level of editing, I know the product they put out and generally like it. (ETA: I also know what their guidelines are, so I know that say a certain element I really don't like reading won't suddenly pop up. More than I can say for print books in Waterstone's!)I know and like certain authors, but they often have someone new to try. Amazon is for when I'm feeling in a potluck mood.

That's me though. I suspect I'm not exactly average.

ios
03-23-2011, 06:38 PM
That's me though. I suspect I'm not exactly average.

Same here. I'm a browser, which makes me unusual anyway--and in a bookstore, most people will come in and look for their author and leave. I will go down the entire aisle of books twice looking for something to catch my eye, something new. I do pick my favorite authors, but there is always a long time between books so I have to have something or someone new. Or my mood changes. Maybe I'm in a zombie kick. Maybe I'm in a vampire kick.

Oh, and I forgot a step in between title and sample--the blurb. I look at the blurbs too, so that cuts out quite a few. Can't believe I forgot to mention I looked at the blurb, lol. I'll have to go back and edit that.

I also have to admit covers do sway me sometimes. But even more than covers, I love fonts. If it is a choice between two equally interesting books, and one has a pretty cover, normal font, and the other has an ugly cover, pretty font, I'm picking the pretty font. Because I won't be looking at the cover forever, but I will be looking for weeks at a time at the same font.

I also tend to look at Wikipedia. Like if I wanted to find zombie books, I try to find any listed and then check them out.

Jodi

Ineti
03-23-2011, 07:02 PM
I browse as well. I love that Amazon makes samples available for many ebooks. I can wander through the many tags and categories, see something that looks interesting, and sample before buying. A book cover isn't that important to me, but I admit the good covers draw my attention more than the weaker covers. A bad cover hasn't stopped me from buying an ebook, though. The writing and the storytelling is what grabs me.

PulpDogg
03-23-2011, 08:27 PM
True. This is PublishAmerica math. While a few may succeed, most will fail.

How is this different from "traditional" publishing, i.e. going through a publishing house?


That list represents a drop in the bucket. That's 20 authors. I know that the number of successful self-e-pubbed authors is greater than that. Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that it's 100 times that....let's imagine that there are 2,000 successful self-e-pubbed authors selling those kinds of numbers.

How does that compare to the hundreds of thousands of self-e-pubbed authors? Weren't there something like 500,000+ self-pubbed books last year?

2,000 is .4% of 500,000.

Yes, my numbers aren't necessarily correct. I haven't found accurate numbers. But I've been conservative. I bet there are substantially fewer than 2,000 self-e-pubbed authors selling tens of thousands of copies, and I low-balled my guess on the number of self-pubbed books.

But it shows -- again -- that all this hoopla is over people who are on the extreme tippy-tip-top point of the iceberg. I think it's safe to say that more than 99% of self-pubbed (e- and otherwise) authors will STILL see sales of fewer than 100 books, and all the shouting and proclaiming about the outliers isn't going to change that fact.

If you are applying that math you'd also have to compare the number of published authors to the number of rejected authors or books on shelves vs. the Slushpile ... and I bet you get the same result. So again the question ... how is this different from "traditional" publishing, i.e. not self publishing? I seriously doubt the majority of published authors can make a living through their writing.

You have the same extreme outliers in non-self publishing, the Rowlings, Pattersons, Kings of this world, as you have in self pubbing. And you have the same mass of midlist to lowlist authors who won't make enough to quit their day job. How many published authors are not earning out their meager advances, if they are getting any in the first place?

I am not saying self or e-pubbing is the end all, be all ... but your math up there applies the same to "traditional" publishing. On top of the harder to get into issue and the long process.



My biggest fear for the self-pubs? When Amazon takes BACK the 70% royalties on books costing more than $2.99. Right now it's a loss leader for Amazon as they try to corner the market on ebooks, meaning that they make up the money with other products. But there will come a time when they yank that sweet number away from the self-pubs and then all the calculations won't mean diddly.

How can something that costs Amazon nothing to aquire, costs them nothing in shelfspace, costs them nothing to produce additional copies, costs them nothing to distribute and where they are taking 30% of every unit sold be a loss leader?

A loss leader is something you sell at a price below the one you bought it for ... they pay nothing to aquire these ebooks.

AlwaysJuly
03-23-2011, 09:45 PM
Personally, if I had my druthers, I would build my career through "legacy publishing" and then, if I were unhappy, I'd move over to e-pubbing on my own. But I really like many things about traditional publishing - I'd rather go through the gatekeeper, have help with editing, with marketing, etc.

I'm open to other options as e-publishing develops (and depending on what path my writing life takes!) but I know what I'd prefer. And it's not going it all on my own, as much as my books are still inherently my responsibility, kwim?

Eddyz Aquila
03-23-2011, 09:55 PM
How can something that costs Amazon nothing to aquire, costs them nothing in shelfspace, costs them nothing to produce additional copies, costs them nothing to distribute and where they are taking 30% of every unit sold be a loss leader?

They basically charge for the "shelf space" on their website, and the guaranteed promotion that comes with having your book on Amazon.

PulpDogg
03-23-2011, 10:37 PM
They basically charge for the "shelf space" on their website, and the guaranteed promotion that comes with having your book on Amazon.

And how much are they charging? And how much does it cost Amazon, so that they can calculate what they charge?

Namatu
03-23-2011, 11:10 PM
And how much are they charging? And how much does it cost Amazon, so that they can calculate what they charge?I don't know the answer to either question, but as far as the latter goes, the more relevant question is: How much does Amazon think people will pay for the shelf space? They're in the business to make money, not to generously offer "shelf space" at any kind of a real deal.

PulpDogg
03-23-2011, 11:43 PM
So they are not making money with the 30% they take off every sale?

thothguard51
03-23-2011, 11:55 PM
And how much are they charging? And how much does it cost Amazon, so that they can calculate what they charge?


Shelf space in the electronic publishing industry is the servers the books are stored on. Someone has to pay to maintain those servers, the connections, the buildings they are housed in and the people who do all the work on them. And lets not forget page space. Yes - page space - because every book listed on a page is a space that could be rented to someone else, just like in a magazine or newspaper.

PulpDogg
03-24-2011, 12:06 AM
Which still doesn't explain how this is a loss leader ... but lets drop this discussion, because I am either not making myself clear, or nobody can answer the original question ... plus, I am new here and don't want to wear out my welcome too quick :).

DeadlyAccurate
03-24-2011, 12:35 AM
Even with server space, developers to write the code, and network admins to maintain the servers, I doubt it's a loss leader. That usually means buying from the manufacturer for less than you sell something in order to generate other sales (like offering milk for $1/gallon in order to generate sales of everything else you pick up "because you're already at the store"). So while they might not be making large profits, they probably are still making a profit.

Sheryl Nantus
03-24-2011, 12:53 AM
I can't find the link to where I thought I read about the loss leader, so I'll retract that statement. I did find mention of how the Kindle's drop in price is going to be a loss leader as it costs more to make the Kindle than it is to sell it and they make the money back on ebooks, but that's not what I said or remembered.

Please, continue to discuss how great self-pubbing is.

(I do believe that at some point Amazon will yank that 70% royalty. But that's just me)

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 01:32 AM
No. These are fantasy numbers. You have absolutely no proof that this is anything close to typical. None at all. Period. Full stop.

You're right no proof whatsoever...Oh wait see below:

Go over to Kindle boards - many writers publish their numbers. I also have sales numbers from my husband's books (Michael J. Sullivan), Nathan Lowell (Ridan Author), and Todd Fonesca (Ridan Author) - all of whom have broke the 1,000 books a month levels. There's some data:

Nov 1000+ Month sales (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,43931.0.html)
David McAffee, Michael Sullivan (7,500), Nathan Lowell, Ellen Fisher, Valmore Daniels, David Dalglish, Terri Reid, Victorine Lieske, Richard Jackson, Amanda Hocking (20,000), J. A. Konrath (9,000), Karen Cantwell, Margaret Lake, HP Mallory, KA Thompson, Beth Orsoff, Lexi Revellian*, Tina Folsom*, Bella Andre, B. V. Larson, Ty Johnson*, Vicki Tyley*, Marilyn Lee*, Felicity Heaton*, LJ Sellers*, Jeremy Bishop*, Robert Wilson*, Susan Bishoff, Edward C. Patterson, Christopher Smith
Imogen Rose, Walter Knight*, Kendall Swan

*Indicates from J.A. Konrath Blog

Dec 1000+ (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,47263.0.html) a month list:
Amanda Hocking*, Michael Sullivan*, J.A. Konrath*, Victorine Lieske,
H.P. Mallory*, Lauren Saga, Terri Reid*, Imogen Rose, Nathan Lowell*
Ellen Fisher*, Vianka Van Bokkem, David Dalglish, Sandra Edwards,C. S. Marks, Sibel Hodge, Julie Christensen, Holly A. Hook, David McAfee, Danielle Q. Lee, Valmore Daniels, Steven L. Hawk, Edward C. Patterson, William Meikle, Maria Hooley, M. Louisa Locke, Beth Orsoff*, Eric Christopherson*, Monique Martin, Ellen O'Connell, Karen Cantwell*, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Aaron Patterson*, B. Tackitt, Bella Andre *, Blake Crouch, David McAfee, J.R. Rain, James Swain, Karen McQuestion*, L.J. Sellers, Lee Goldberg*, Lexi Revellian, Melanie Nilles, Paul Levine, Robert Burton Robinson, Robert W. Walker, Scott Nicholson*, Simon Wood, Tina Folsom*, Zoe Winters, Chris Graham, AlexisHarrington

* indicates more than one book exceeding 1000+

Jan 1000+ Month list: (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php?topic=49858.0)
Jenna Anderson, Bella Andre, C.S. Archer, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Vianka Van Bokkem, J.L. Bryan, Karen Cantwell, Eric Christopherson, David Dalglish, Valmore Daniels, Stephen Davidson, Sandra Edwards, L.C. Evans, Ellen Fisher, Tina Folsom, Michael Gallagher, Chris Graham, Allan Guthrie
Steven L. Hawk, Maria Hooley, D.B. Henson, Amanda Hocking, Siebel Hodge, Holly A. Hook, Nancy C. Johnson, Lucy Kevin, J.A. Konrath, B.V. Larson, Matt Laube, Victorine E. Lieske, John Locke, Nathan Lowell, H.P. Mallory, Cort Malone, Wiliam Meikle, Andy Merrit, David McAfee, Karen McQuestion, Joseph Nassie, Scott Neumyer, Scott Nicholson, Melanie Niles, Ruth Ann Nordin, Ellen O'Connell, Beth Orsoff, Richard Phillips, J.R. Rain, Teri Reid, Lexi Revellian,Imogen Rose,Kenneth Rosenberg, M.H. Sargent, Christopher Smith, Michael J. Sullivan, C.J. West

Feb 1000+ month list: (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php?topic=53452.25)
Bella Andre, S.W. Benefiel, Julie Christensen, Eric Christopherson*, Blake Crouch, Michaelbrent Collings*, David Dalglish, Thomas DePrima*, Saffina Desforges, Valmore Daniels, Robert Duperre, Lee Doty*, Sandy Edwards, Ellen Fisher, Tina Folsom, Tim Frost, Tom Godwin*, Chris Graham, Allan Guthrie, Steven L. Hawk, D.B. Henson*, Amanda Hocking*, Sibel Hodge, Jan Hurst-Nicholson, Lucy Kevin, Heather Killough-Walden*, Selina Kitt, Brian Kittrell, J. A. Konrath, Randolph Lalonde*, B.V. Larson*, Matt Laube, Abigail Lawrence, Jason Letts, Victorine Lieskie, Nathan Lowell, Joseph Nassie, Sandy Night, Melaine Niles, Michael E. Marks*, Cara Marsi, Monique Martin, H.P. Mallory*, David McAfee, Ellen O Connel, Beth Orsoff, Richard Phillips*, J.R. Rain*, Terri Reid, Lexi Revellian, Imogen Rose, Kenneth Rosenberg, Kadie Salidas, MH Sargent, Martin Sharlow, Christopher Smith*, Michael J. Sullivan, Willem Thomas, Michael Wallace

*Not self-reported but based on Amazon Rankings

Library4Science
03-24-2011, 01:55 AM
I have published on Amazon so I know a bit about the process. As far as the cost of the servers and pages etc., it is a very trivial cost. A larger but still small cost is the bandwidth to deliver the web pages to the users browser. The pages are generated by code so there is an 'infinite' number of pages. I run a small server farm that delivers about 50K files a day and the load on an old Dell 2610 server is very very small. It probably costs much less then a penny to support a book on Amazon. There is however a fairly large cost associated with the publishing process, when you hit the 'Publish' button the book goes into a 'review' state. I suspect part of the review is AI and part is human and the major expense to Amazon is the human part of the review.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 01:58 AM
While I really admire your maths, these are complete fantasy numbers. Let's be honest here, around 90% of books published sell less than 1000 copies in thier entire lifespans, 1000 books a month is a serios amount of books. I really don't know where you got your figures from, but this is why people need to be realistic.


Everyone doubts my numbers but are willing to throw out a number like 90% sell less than 1,000? Where does this number come from? All I can tell you is these are "old school numbers". And there was a BIG change since November 2010. Here is some sales numbers of Michael J. Sullivan (My husband to demonstrate)

Jan - Sep 2010 800 - 1,200 a month
Oct 2010 - 2,600 a month
Nov 2010 - 7,500 a month
Dec 2010 - 10,500 a month
Jan 2011 - 11,500 a month
Feb 2011 - 8,000 a month (post X-mas boom)

There are outliers in the self-published world: Amanda Hocking, John Locke, but there are many "midlisters" who sell more than 1000 a month - see my other post. But what's even more telling is the Amazon Top 100 Kindle List which has been averaging about 36% Indie

If you back out the periodicals, games, and magazines you'll see:
fiction titles (73 titles):

2 - Small Press (3%)
27 - Indie Authors (37%)
44 - Traditional Authors (60%)

Soccer Mom
03-24-2011, 02:04 AM
I can't find the link to where I thought I read about the loss leader, so I'll retract that statement. I did find mention of how the Kindle's drop in price is going to be a loss leader as it costs more to make the Kindle than it is to sell it and they make the money back on ebooks, but that's not what I said or remembered.

Please, continue to discuss how great self-pubbing is.

(I do believe that at some point Amazon will yank that 70% royalty. But that's just me)

I know Amazon certainly makes their money back on me. I've bought hundreds of ebooks since I got my Kindle. One-click buy is my crack.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 02:07 AM
I have published on Amazon so I know a bit about the process. As far as the cost of the servers and pages etc., it is a very trivial cost. A larger but still small cost is the bandwidth to deliver the web pages to the users browser. The pages are generated by code so there is an 'infinite' number of pages. I run a small server farm that delivers about 50K files a day and the load on an old Dell 2610 server is very very small. It probably costs much less then a penny to support a book on Amazon. There is however a fairly large cost associated with the publishing process, when you hit the 'Publish' button the book goes into a 'review' state. I suspect part of the review is AI and part is human and the major expense to Amazon is the human part of the review.

Don't forget credit card processing fees - usually every time a charge is made there is a "base" amount + % of bill. When you are dealing with low cost orders (like $0.99) the "base" amount might be substantial.

thothguard51
03-24-2011, 02:52 AM
Ms Sullivan, is Ridan a self publishing venture or a small indie publisher?

I understand you are proud of your authors sales and efforts, but is it because they are self published or because Ridan helped to push those sale numbers. If the later, then their numbers have nothing to do with self publishing numbers.

For every self published writer you list selling over 1000 books a month, you can also find 1000 self pubbed authors barely selling 20 books a month. No one has said it is not impossible, but it is not a general fact.

In the cases you site here and elsewhere, is Ridan is not involved in their authors success, if not, then why do your authors need Ridan?

Terie
03-24-2011, 03:07 AM
You're write no proof whatsoever...Oh wait see below:

Go over to Kindle boards - many writers publish their numbers. I also have sales numbers from my husband's books (Michael J. Sullivan), Nathan Lowell (Ridan Author), and Todd Fonesca (Ridan Author) - all of whom have broke the 1,000 books a month levels. There's some data:

Nov 1000+ Month sales (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,43931.0.html)
David McAffee, Michael Sullivan (7,500), Nathan Lowell, Ellen Fisher, Valmore Daniels, David Dalglish, Terri Reid, Victorine Lieske, Richard Jackson, Amanda Hocking (20,000), J. A. Konrath (9,000), Karen Cantwell, Margaret Lake, HP Mallory, KA Thompson, Beth Orsoff, Lexi Revellian*, Tina Folsom*, Bella Andre, B. V. Larson, Ty Johnson*, Vicki Tyley*, Marilyn Lee*, Felicity Heaton*, LJ Sellers*, Jeremy Bishop*, Robert Wilson*, Susan Bishoff, Edward C. Patterson, Christopher Smith
Imogen Rose, Walter Knight*, Kendall Swan

*Indicates from J.A. Konrath Blog

Dec 1000+ (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,47263.0.html) a month list:
Amanda Hocking*, Michael Sullivan*, J.A. Konrath*, Victorine Lieske,
H.P. Mallory*, Lauren Saga, Terri Reid*, Imogen Rose, Nathan Lowell*
Ellen Fisher*, Vianka Van Bokkem, David Dalglish, Sandra Edwards,C. S. Marks, Sibel Hodge, Julie Christensen, Holly A. Hook, David McAfee, Danielle Q. Lee, Valmore Daniels, Steven L. Hawk, Edward C. Patterson, William Meikle, Maria Hooley, M. Louisa Locke, Beth Orsoff*, Eric Christopherson*, Monique Martin, Ellen O'Connell, Karen Cantwell*, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Aaron Patterson*, B. Tackitt, Bella Andre *, Blake Crouch, David McAfee, J.R. Rain, James Swain, Karen McQuestion*, L.J. Sellers, Lee Goldberg*, Lexi Revellian, Melanie Nilles, Paul Levine, Robert Burton Robinson, Robert W. Walker, Scott Nicholson*, Simon Wood, Tina Folsom*, Zoe Winters, Chris Graham, AlexisHarrington

* indicates more than one book exceeding 1000+

Jan 1000+ Month list: (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php?topic=49858.0)
Jenna Anderson, Bella Andre, C.S. Archer, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Vianka Van Bokkem, J.L. Bryan, Karen Cantwell, Eric Christopherson, David Dalglish, Valmore Daniels, Stephen Davidson, Sandra Edwards, L.C. Evans, Ellen Fisher, Tina Folsom, Michael Gallagher, Chris Graham, Allan Guthrie
Steven L. Hawk, Maria Hooley, D.B. Henson, Amanda Hocking, Siebel Hodge, Holly A. Hook, Nancy C. Johnson, Lucy Kevin, J.A. Konrath, B.V. Larson, Matt Laube, Victorine E. Lieske, John Locke, Nathan Lowell, H.P. Mallory, Cort Malone, Wiliam Meikle, Andy Merrit, David McAfee, Karen McQuestion, Joseph Nassie, Scott Neumyer, Scott Nicholson, Melanie Niles, Ruth Ann Nordin, Ellen O'Connell, Beth Orsoff, Richard Phillips, J.R. Rain, Teri Reid, Lexi Revellian,Imogen Rose,Kenneth Rosenberg, M.H. Sargent, Christopher Smith, Michael J. Sullivan, C.J. West

Feb 1000+ month list: (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php?topic=53452.25)
Bella Andre, S.W. Benefiel, Julie Christensen, Eric Christopherson*, Blake Crouch, Michaelbrent Collings*, David Dalglish, Thomas DePrima*, Saffina Desforges, Valmore Daniels, Robert Duperre, Lee Doty*, Sandy Edwards, Ellen Fisher, Tina Folsom, Tim Frost, Tom Godwin*, Chris Graham, Allan Guthrie, Steven L. Hawk, D.B. Henson*, Amanda Hocking*, Sibel Hodge, Jan Hurst-Nicholson, Lucy Kevin, Heather Killough-Walden*, Selina Kitt, Brian Kittrell, J. A. Konrath, Randolph Lalonde*, B.V. Larson*, Matt Laube, Abigail Lawrence, Jason Letts, Victorine Lieskie, Nathan Lowell, Joseph Nassie, Sandy Night, Melaine Niles, Michael E. Marks*, Cara Marsi, Monique Martin, H.P. Mallory*, David McAfee, Ellen O Connel, Beth Orsoff, Richard Phillips*, J.R. Rain*, Terri Reid, Lexi Revellian, Imogen Rose, Kenneth Rosenberg, Kadie Salidas, MH Sargent, Martin Sharlow, Christopher Smith*, Michael J. Sullivan, Willem Thomas, Michael Wallace

*Not self-reported but based on Amazon Rankings


And what about the hundreds of thousands (heck, maybe over a million) other self-e-pubbed authors whose sales figures are far, far lower? Are you unfamiliar with what the word typical means?

Or is it that you're unfamiliar with the differences between self-e-pubbing and commercial e-pubbing? After all, you keep talking about authors such as, oh, say, Michael J Sullivan and Nathan Lowell who are actually published by, well, YOUR commercial publishing company.

Interestingly, Jim C Hines made a post (http://jimhines.livejournal.com/549011.html) on his blog about factual errors he discovered in a guest post on JA Konrath's blog. I remembered reading that and just dug it out of his archives. Only to make a very intriguing discovery about who the author of that guest post was. If someone checks, how many of the authors you listed above will turn out to be commercially published?

Just because a few hundred people are doing quite well with Kindle self-e-pubbing does not mean that the typical writer can expect the same success.

Exactly like just because a few hundred commercially published author are multi-millionaires does not mean that the typical writer can expect the same success.

And now that it's clear that at least some of these people you put forth as self-e-pubbed actually, well, aren't, it begs the question of how many other facts you've got wrong. After all, surely you of all people ought to know that Michael J Sullivan is NOT self-e-pubbed, shouldn't you?

Unless, of course, Ridan Publishing really is a self-publishing company.

ETA: Randomly selecting names from the list, David McAffee was published by Coelacanth Press; Ellen Fisher was published by New Concepts Publishing, Samhain, and more; Felicity Heaton was published by Alinar Publishing. Pesky ol' facts.

Ava Glass
03-24-2011, 03:22 AM
And what about the hundreds of thousands (heck, maybe over a million) other self-e-pubbed authors whose sales figures are far, far lower? Are you unfamiliar with what the word typical means?


I thought Robin Sullivan already addressed this point:



A valid point - but realize that many people who self-publish are doing it as a hobby - or to give books to friends and family - they don't market nor do they have any intention to be a "real writer".

So...lets compare apples and apples. A new writer who wants to make a "living wage" and has talent and skill and the ability to put out a good book. These are the people that we need to address. Which is better for them to go "traditional" or "indie".

These numbers are NOT difficult to achieve there are MANY authors are selling mor than 1,000 books a month - these are not outliers these are the "midlist" of the "indie publishing" world.

The bold is important. There are the weekend hobbyists and the shortcutters, and then there are the previously unknown writers who put out a good book with a good cover. How are they doing? That is the question.

Terie
03-24-2011, 03:33 AM
I thought Robin Sullivan already addressed this point:

The bold is important. There are the weekend hobbyists and the shortcutters, and then there are the previously unknown writers who put out a good book with a good cover. How are they doing? That is the question.

Robin herself, as I've shown above, is not comparing apples to apples. She's lumping Kindle editions from commercial (albeit small) publishers together with Kindle editions by authors who are exclusively self-pubbers along with Kindle editions by self-pubbers with a well-established footprint in commercial publishing. That's not 'apples to apples'.

Ava Glass
03-24-2011, 03:42 AM
Robin herself, as I've shown above, is not comparing apples to apples. She's lumping Kindle editions from commercial (albeit small) publishers together with Kindle editions by self-pubbers .

For that, the question is: do these particular publishers behave as typical publishers, or are they author collectives, or even a single author setting up a "doing business as" to manage several pen names? The last two aren't the same as the first.

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 03:44 AM
Ridan (http://www.ridanpublishing.com/ridan_publishing_about.html), for one, claims to be a small press. (It also says 'sometimes known as an indie press' but that's confusing the issue as indies aren't always small)

thothguard51
03-24-2011, 03:51 AM
Precisely... Which is why I am trying to figure how Ms Sullivan can compare her stable of authors to the topic at hand...self publishing.

Surely, Ridan has something to do with their success?

Eddyz Aquila
03-24-2011, 04:43 AM
Can anyone enlighten me what's the difference between a small press and an indie press?

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 05:47 AM
Ms Sullivan, is Ridan a self publishing venture or a small indie publisher?

I understand you are proud of your authors sales and efforts, but is it because they are self published or because Ridan helped to push those sale numbers. If the later, then their numbers have nothing to do with self publishing numbers.

For every self published writer you list selling over 1000 books a month, you can also find 1000 self pubbed authors barely selling 20 books a month. No one has said it is not impossible, but it is not a general fact.

In the cases you site here and elsewhere, is Ridan is not involved in their authors success, if not, then why do your authors need Ridan?


Technically - Both...I have 6 authors, and 3 under development 1 of them is my husband so I'll classify that as self. But the other ones would be "traditionally published" with a small press. And no they don't pay us anything - money flows to the author not to Ridan.

I actually have my "feet" in all three publishing options: self, small press, traditional press. So I can speak with a fair amount of authority on each and the plusses and minuses of each.

For the long list of authors I had in a previous post the only authors on that list are Michael J. Sullivan (my husband) and Nathan Lowell. All the others true "self-published" most have no publishing experience though a few of them HAVE been traditionally published at one time but are now going "indie". For instance Julianne McLean has several dozen books from traditional presses but she released Color of Heaven as a self-published author.

As for why my authors need Ridan...no different then any author who selects to traditionally publish. They want someone to do the cover design, editing, book layout, ebook formatting, marketing, distribution, and all the other things that I do and they are willing to pay me (by foregoing 100% of their potential income) to do this for them for a “cut of the pie”.

All three options have plusses and minuses - that was not the case even six-months ago - I just want to point out that the self-publishing industry has changed to the point where ... I believe for a new author starting out they can reach “living wage” faster than traditional which is why Barry’s move from traditional to self makes a lot of sense. I see all the time that this is only “viable” for people who already have an audience so I just wanted to point out that many indie authors with NO traditional publishing platform are doing very well with self-publishing.

thothguard51
03-24-2011, 06:05 AM
Ms. Sullivan, thank you for clarifying...

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 06:52 AM
And what about the hundreds of thousands (heck, maybe over a million) other self-e-pubbed authors whose sales figures are far, far lower? Are you unfamiliar with what the word typical means?

First, I never used the word typical (or if I did - I apologize because that is not what I meant) - I was speaking of possible.

What I was discussing was limited to the “serious writer” – someone who has skill, talent, and perseverance. My illustration was to show FOR THESE PEOPLE how the two paths (self or traditional) was likely to “pay off” from a monetary standpoint. My discussion was focusing on “midlist” and ran my numbers based on a midlist “traditional” - $5,000 - $10,000 advance and a “midlist” self-pub – which is starting out with 100 books a month, growing that to 500 at six months and to 1,000 at a year.

Yes there are "many" that don't sell well....there are (I would bet) a similar number of authors who are self-publishing and selling next to nothing as there are "traditionally published wannabes” (i.e. sending queries and getting rejected). Neither are making money, neither have an audience, neither should be classified as “authors” so I cancel them both out equally.




Or is it that you're unfamiliar with the differences between self-e-pubbing and commercial e-pubbing? After all, you keep talking about authors such as, oh, say, Michael J Sullivan and Nathan Lowell who are actually published by, well, YOUR commercial publishing company.

My list came from Kindle Board where the vast majority of people would classify themselves as "indie published" which is "self published" (Some have formed their own companies like ... me!). There is to my knowledge one that doesn't fit that category - Nathan Lowell but he is a frequent contributor to that site so his sales were listed. If it makes you feel better you can toss his name of the list.



Interestingly, Jim C Hines made a post (http://jimhines.livejournal.com/549011.html) on his blog about factual errors he discovered in a guest post on JA Konrath's blog. I remembered reading that and just dug it out of his archives. Only to make a very intriguing discovery about who the author of that guest post was. If someone checks, how many of the authors you listed above will turn out to be commercially published?

I didn't know about the Jim Hines post - so thanks for that - as for "fact checking..." he should have fact checked himself because he brought into question my creditability based on a list at the top of the post that was “inaccurate” – but it was also NOT MINE!! This was Joe’s so I’m not sure why I lack credibility because the author of the site posted some data before my guest post.



Just because a few hundred people are doing quite well with Kindle self-e-pubbing does not mean that the typical writer can expect the same success.

What is "typical" - is this anyone who WANTS to be an author? There are lots of people both in self-pub and the query-go-round who don't have what it takes to be successful no matter how much they "want" it to be.

Let's instead talk about "capable". A capable writer is one who has talent, perseverence, and skill. I content that someone with these three skills WILL be published one way or another (self, small press, large press). I was addressing this sub-set of the writing community and giving them some data that might help them decide on a path.



Exactly like just because a few hundred commercially published author are multi-millionaires does not mean that the typical writer can expect the same success.

There is no question that an outlier should not be held up as a resonable expectation - that's what makes them OUTLIERS...Amanda is an outlier in self-publishing and Stephanie Meyer is an outlier in traditional. I'm not saying that either path will produce multi-millonaires...in truth I don't care about seven figure incomes. What I'm interested in is high five and six-figure income because that is "living wage" and I think what most authors here are striving for.



And now that it's clear that at least some of these people you put forth as self-e-pubbed actually, well, aren't, it begs the question of how many other facts you've got wrong. After all, surely you of all people ought to know that Michael J Sullivan is NOT self-e-pubbed, shouldn't you?

I don’t recall ever saying the people on MY LIST were authors that have ONLY self-published--So yes I stand by my facts and confidence in them. What I CAN say about them is they are self-publishing NOW, and are not outliers like Hocking and Locke. Yes, some have backgrounds at small presses, some have backgrounds at traditional presses, and some have only self-published. But this just goes to prove my point that self publishing is a viable choice because they HAVE other options available to them and the CHOOSE to self publish.

As to Michael not being self-e-pubbed...what is he? If I tried to "pass him off" as non-self-published people would cry foul...his wife owns the publishing company for Pete's sake!! At this moment is he self-published. In 2008 he was "traditionally published through a small press (AMI - no affiliation with Ridan or ourselves) and soon he will be published through a traditional publisher (Orbit).



Unless, of course, Ridan Publishing really is a self-publishing company.

ETA: Randomly selecting names from the list, David McAffee was published by Coelacanth Press; Ellen Fisher was published by New Concepts Publishing, Samhain, and more; Felicity Heaton was published by Alinar Publishing. Pesky ol' facts.

For Michael - yes we are self-publishing (no third party validation of talent) for the other Ridan authors -THEY are traditionally published -- we invest in them and their talents and don't ask for money from them and all money flows to them not the other way around.

As to the Pesky ol' facts...All I ask is that you please read what I WRITE and don't read what others wrote (in the header of a blog post of mine) or what you "think" I said.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 06:58 AM
Robin herself, as I've shown above, is not comparing apples to apples. She's lumping Kindle editions from commercial (albeit small) publishers together with Kindle editions by authors who are exclusively self-pubbers along with Kindle editions by self-pubbers with a well-established footprint in commercial publishing. That's not 'apples to apples'.

The authors at Kindle board are "apples and apples" - they are largely talented people who have decided to self-publish regardless of their background. Yes, some of them might form their own companies to do so - such as myself - but that doesn't make it any less "self". And yes there are SOME who have footprints in commercial publishing...but why are they foregoing traditional to self publish? Is it because they can't get past the gatekeepers? Or are they like Barry who CAN get published through others (small press and large press alike) but hoave OPTED not to?

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 07:04 AM
Can anyone enlighten me what's the difference between a small press and an indie press?

From Wikipedia...
Small press is a term often used to describe publishers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publisher) with annual sales below a certain level. Commonly, in the United States (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States), this is set at $50 million, after returns and discounts. Small presses are also defined as those that publish an average of fewer than 10 titles per year,[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_press#cite_note-0) though there are a few who manage to do more.
The terms "small press", "indie publisher", and "independent press" are often used interchangeably, with "independent press" defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multinational_corporation). Defined this way, these presses make up approximately half of the market share (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_share) of the book publishing industry.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_press#cite_note-defined-1) Many small presses rely on specialization in genre fiction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genre_fiction), poetry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry), or limited-edition books (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book) or magazines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magazine), but there are also thousands that focus on niche non-fiction markets.

Many "self-published authors" have started using the term "indie author" to describe themselves as an indication that they are "independent" from a publisher and to distance themselves from a term that has a history of taint to it.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 07:10 AM
Precisely... Which is why I am trying to figure how Ms Sullivan can compare her stable of authors to the topic at hand...self publishing.

Surely, Ridan has something to do with their success?

It's funny if I were to try to pass of Michael as "non-self published" I would think many would jump all over me and cry fowl.

I really wasn't comparing my "stable of authors" with the topic at hand...I was writing with regard to my self-publishing experience with Michael - which is on topic.

But I did mention Nathan Lowell who is small press published but he is a frequent contributor to Kindle Board's Writer's Cafe so he does show up on the list where people are reporting sales. And yes...I have no doubt that Ridan has had an impact on his success so if it makes everyone feel better - strike him from the lists I posted. But the fact still remains...that there is an increasing number of "non-outlier" people (from many backgrounds) who are all opting to self-publish and are making more money in doing so.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 07:38 AM
Commercial publishers do need to fix some things. The ebook royalty rate is pathetic, and as downloads more consistently outsell print books, that will become even more apparent to authors. If there's one thing I hope Eisler's decision does do is get publishers talking on how they can retain good talent. They're going to be hurting if published authors keep jumping ship once they've established a foothold in the industry. If authors use a commercial publisher only as a jumping off point for their self-pub career, they're going to find it harder to end up with more James Pattersons and J.K. Rowlings.

I couldn't agree more!! It will take Eisler and many others leaving to convince large publishers that 75%/25% split is NOT ACCEPTIBLE!! This is precisely why the self-publishing revolution is exploding. Authors now have a choice and many (regardless of previous publishing experience) will decide (with good reason) that they can make MUCH more with self-publishing.

It's not hard to imagine an exodus of authors based on this fact alone - Barry is the first - I expect there will be others. As more talent leaves...who will be left? For the most part people who aren't comfortable hiring out (or doing for themselves) the cover design, formatting, and editing. Or "new authors" who are trying to get a stamp of legitmacy. But even those content providers will be fleeting as once they have the "golden ticket" subsequent books are likely to be self-published. When faced with losing serious money (five and six figures) to the difference between 14.9% vs 52.5% royalties I think many will take some of their money they've made from traditional to hires someone else to do the editing/cover design/formatting) and pocket a good bit of differential.

aruna
03-24-2011, 11:42 AM
The two separate topics of e-publishing and self-publishing seem again and again to be used synonymously on this thread.

Anyway, back to the the page two question of all the crap that is self-pubbed:

That's fine. Nobody is forcing you to (buy crap). In fact, no one is even asking you to. If you choose to assume that all self published books are crap you should simply ignore them the same way you ignore other crap that you see on sale in your daily life. What's the problem?

It's not about my reading/book-buying habits. It's about writing a book and having it out there in an ocean of mostly crap. And it IS mostly crap, and the crap is going to increase. How can you ignire it, if you are trying to swim to the top?

I've been published by (and am technically still with) a top 6 publisher. I've listed all the help I've had in marketing. And yet still, it was so very, very hard to get my books noticed. Even with them being in bookstores, quite prominently displayed. Even with print, radio and TV interviews.
My problem with the crap is how the heck, if you have a decent, or even marvellous book, would you ever get picked out by a reader? How do readers find you, without you pulling out an arm and a leg to self-promote? All I can say is no thanks. No money is as valuable as my time.

I don't think all the success in the world would want me to dive into the soup of self-publishers. Yes, I know there are good books in that soup but they too are drowning.



It's not hard to imagine an exodus of authors based on this fact alone - Barry is the first - I expect there will be others. As more talent leaves...who will be left? For the most part people who aren't comfortable hiring out (or doing for themselves) the cover design, formatting, and editing. Or "new authors" who are trying to get a stamp of legitmacy. But even those content providers will be fleeting as once they have the "golden ticket" subsequent books are likely to be self-published. When faced with losing serious money (five and six figures) to the difference between 14.9% vs 52.5% royalties I think many will take some of their money they've made from traditional to hires someone else to do the editing/cover design/formatting) and pocket a good bit of differential. Only time will tell. Even if you've been succesful with a big publisher, anyone with a few years in the business can tell you how flighty that success can be. It's here today and gone tomorrow. I suspect that most traditionally published writers, especially if they have a family to support, will want to play it safe in the arms of their publisher.

In other words: I don't see such an exodus happening at all. But like I said: time will tell.

CoriSCapnSkip
03-24-2011, 12:26 PM
I think in general, the world is turning into a place where we'll rely on each other for entertainment instead of corporations, and social networks will be our filters. I don't think that's such a bad thing.

Nicole

What, you mean back to the days of sitting around the parlor playing instruments, singing, and swapping stories?

PulpDogg
03-24-2011, 12:40 PM
The two separate topics of e-publishing and self-publishing seem again and again to be used synonymously on this thread.

Anyway, back to the the page two question of all the crap that is self-pubbed:


It's not about my reading/book-buying habits. It's about writing a book and having it out there in an ocean of mostly crap. And it IS mostly crap, and the crap is going to increase. How can you ignire it, if you are trying to swim to the top?

I've been published by a top 6 publisher. I've listed all the help I've had in marketing. And yet still, it was so very, very hard to get my books noticed. Even with them being in bookstores, quite prominently displayed. Even with print, radio and TV interviews.
My problem with the crap is how the heck, if you have a decent, or even marvellous book, would you ever get picked out by a reader? How do readers find you, without you pulling out an arm and a leg to self-promote? All I can say is no thanks. No money is as valuable as my time.


But the publishing corporations are putting out tons of crap as well and you have to wade through that as well.

Publishers are not in the business of publishing good books ... they are in the business of selling books, not matter the quality. The publish what they can sell.

Granted ... the amount of crap in self publishing might be higher, but in traditional publishing only those get noticed that yell the loudest. Everybody else has to be found the same way as a good self pubbed book ... by word of mouth and recommendations.

I can understand people not wanting to deal with everything that comes with self pubbing ... but "there is too much crap" is IMHO not a valid main argument against it.

Besides, crap sells as well ... otherwise Snooki wouldn't have gotten a book deal. Dan Brown's novels are not high literature, and you can find tons of people who say Twilight is absolute crap (can't judge myself, haven't read it yet). One mans crap is anothers treasure.

gothicangel
03-24-2011, 12:48 PM
But the publishing corporations are putting out tons of crap as well and you have to wade through that as well.

Publishers are not in the business of publishing good books ... they are in the business of selling books, not matter the quality. The publish what they can sell.

Granted ... the amount of crap in self publishing might be higher, but in traditional publishing only those get noticed that yell the loudest. Everybody else has to be found the same way as a good self pubbed book ... by word of mouth and recommendations.

I can understand people not wanting to deal with everything that comes with self pubbing ... but "there is too much crap" is IMHO not a valid main argument against it.

Besides, crap sells as well ... otherwise Snooki wouldn't have gotten a book deal. Dan Brown's novels are not high literature, and you can find tons of people who say Twilight is absolute crap (can't judge myself, haven't read it yet). One mans crap is anothers treasure.

Those titles have been put through a series of tests, through editing, copyediting, proofreading, typesetting, and judged to be marketable. What Aruna is talking about is a writer taking a book that has been rejected by every agent and editor, and publishing it on Kindle with a few clicks.

There is the Twlight/DVC standard, then a whole lot of crud below that.

gothicangel
03-24-2011, 12:50 PM
Many "self-published authors" have started using the term "indie author" to describe themselves as an indication that they are "independent" from a publisher and to distance themselves from a term that has a history of taint to it.

They can call themselves what they like, it takes me less than two minutes to discover the true nature of their publishing history. It's a very weak linguistic game, fooling no-one.

aruna
03-24-2011, 01:01 PM
But the publishing corporations are putting out tons of crap as well and you have to wade through that as well.

As an author? Not really. I was totally able to ignore whatever "crap" (if any) my publisher published; the people I had to beat were the ones above me, who perhaps had more backing than I did. For instance, in the frst two years I was published, they brought out a book by Tony Parsons on the very same day: Man and Boy the first year, I've forgotten what it was the second year. I thought they were crap, but Tony Parsons was a Daily Mail jouranilst at the time and everyone was falling over him because he was already famous; they gave him huge launch parties, for instance, and for me just a launch lunch. In my mind, he was the one I had to somehow swim past, though I never did.




Granted ... the amount of crap in self publishing might be higher, but in traditional publishing only those get noticed that yell the loudest. Atronomically higher. No comparison.
And since I am not someone who yells well, I'm concentrating on writing a book so good it can't be ignored. I might not manage it, but it's an excellent goal, and good for my writing.


Everybody else has to be found the same way as a good self pubbed book ... by word of mouth and recommendations.See above: write that wonderful book! Word of mouth and recommendations will follow. But I can guarantee you: it's much, much MUCH harder on your own. My publisher thought my first book would sell by word of mouth. But first you have to get it into the right hands, find those first readers --- in their thousands, not in their hundreds. That's when word of mouth kicks in. How is a self-pubbed author to do that, when it was so hard even with the full backing of a major publisher? Unless you already have a name and a following, that is.


I can understand people not wanting to deal with everything that comes with self pubbing ... but "there is too much crap" is IMHO not a valid main argument against it.I'm a snob. I don't like to mix with the hoi-polloi! :) So IMHO it's a perfectly valid argument.

gothicangel
03-24-2011, 01:26 PM
I'm a snob. I don't like to mix with the hoi-polloi! :) So IMHO it's a perfectly valid argument.

You just made my day. :tongue

shaldna
03-24-2011, 03:09 PM
It seems to me that there are an awful lot of brand spanking new members on this board who haven't posted anywhere else but all have a lot to add to the self publishing debate....just saying.

I would also say that the numbers cranked out here as gospel are exceptions, and NOT typical - a distinction which I would expect anyone who works or claims to work in publishing to be aware of.

Just to make sure I was correct in my assumptions, I spoke to several publisher friends on this topic, and directed several of them to have a look at this post. One of them - who runs a small press and has several top 10 bestselling authors on his books - actually snorted when he read the 'typical figures' and then expressed his concern over whether those figures were the ones the people believed as that would be misleading.

Let's bear in mind something that has been mentioned several times in this thread and that's ebook sales only account for about a quarter of the market and if all self pubed ebook authors got the figures you quoted then those in print must be getting them too right? but they don't.

A point that was made by several of those I spoke to was that the increasing sales over a period of a year are not necessarily correct, most said that a typical book tends to peak at around three to six months. There are, of course exceptions, as I'm certain you will be at pains to point out, so lets just say that I'm aware of them, where the book will be something of a sleeper hit, taking off a year or even 18 months after it is published, but on the most part the people I talked to said that interest tended to decline very quickly, and that sales usually settle to a steady rate at around the six month mark - mainly because in print books are competeting for shelf space, and older books get shunted to make room for new titles.

Now, in e-books that is a less urgent event, with the potential for unlimited 'shelf' space, so the potential for longer term grown exists in e-books in a way that it does not in print books. HOWEVER, we should bear in mind that there are not unlimited numbers of readers, so at some stage the numbers will still slow and steady.

In self publishing it takes a huge amount of work to keep a book in people conscious, this takes effort and time and work and often a lot of money, with the author having to do the work themselves. I don't think people realise sometimes how hard self published authors have to work to be sucessful. There are a couple who take off, but for every self pub author who does there are thousands of other who don't. And a big reason for that is that the author has underestimated the commitment involved.

At the end of the day you can believe what you like, and cite all the 'typical' examples, but they are a handful of authors among the tens of thousands who only sell a handful of copies. Most people who publish hoping, or expecting, those sales figures are going to be very disapointed.

Self publishing CAN work for some people, no one is disputing that. But it WILL NOT work for everyone, and to mislead people, or yourself, into thinking that it will is not going to make it so.

AP7
03-24-2011, 05:17 PM
Anyway, back to the the page two question of all the crap that is self-pubbed:




Aruna, you are entitled to pursue your dreams and aspirations with traditional publishing. I wish you nothing but success. But I dont understand this obsession with crappy self published books. They dont matter. Crossing your arms and wagging your finger and reveling in being a snob is not going to stop the tide from washing over the beach. Those books will continue to be published, and by and large, if they are crap, they will fail. Why does everyone care?

The question at hand for serious writers with talent, drive and a good product is simple. What is best for me? The case for self publishing gets stronger every day. Ignoring it only hurts you and your work.

ios
03-24-2011, 05:19 PM
As an author? Not really. I was totally able to ignore whatever "crap" (if any) my publisher published; the people I had to beat were the ones above me, who perhaps had more backing than I did.

This attitude might be holding you back. Read Dean Wesley Smith's post on the competition. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=2725) After all, it doesn't make too much sense to try to feel in competition with another writer or writers--especially if you don't have concrete data on what they sold and over what time frame and to which audience. Instead, focus your energy on positive things, such as on writing your best product and studying writing. It's amazing how much things improve when you focus on the positive instead of the negative :-)


I'm a snob. I don't like to mix with the hoi-polloi! :) So IMHO it's a perfectly valid argument.

Oh, wow. I don't know if you are joking or not, but I am assuming not. You do realize "hoi-polloi" means common people. This feels like a Freudian slip. After all, common people, not other writers, are you audience. Holding that kind of attitude, disliking the common people, disliking your audience, is definitely going to hold you back. Wow.

Jodi

gothicangel
03-24-2011, 05:19 PM
The question at hand for serious writers with talent, drive and a good product is simple. What is best for me? The case for self publishing gets stronger every day. Ignoring it only hurts you and your work.

:rolleyes:

shadowwalker
03-24-2011, 05:40 PM
The case for self publishing gets stronger every day.

I don't know that this is true. Toss out the few Amanda Hockings, and those who are trading in on a name already made through traditional publishing, and what do you have left? Again, I have to wonder if people are mixing self-publishing with e-books, muddying the real issue.

As I noted on another discussion, I'd really like to see the hardcore business facts. http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5955716#post5955716

AP7
03-24-2011, 05:47 PM
I'd really like to see the hardcore business facts.

We all would. But you'll never truly get that. Like any business decision, you have to analyze what's available and take a leap of faith one way or another.

Rhoda Nightingale
03-24-2011, 05:51 PM
I'm....hesitant at best to dip my toe into this debate here, but I'm flummoxed as to why it's a "debate" at all.

So some self-published authors are gaining success and excited about it. Good for them.

So some legacy/traditional/whatever-we're-calling-it published authors are happier to let publishing houses handle their work, and are also gaining success and excited about it. Good for them.

WHY is it necessary for anyone, on either side, to try to convince the other that they're wrong? There are a tiny handful of wildly successful authors, and a ginormous mound of total failures, in both camps.

People, this is not a contest! Stop making it one.

Momento Mori
03-24-2011, 05:52 PM
AP7:
Those books will continue to be published, and by and large, if they are crap, they will fail. Why does everyone care?

I can't speak for Aruna but the reason why I care is because so many people go into self-publishing with unrealistic expectations - expectations that are fed into by people like J. A. Konrath and Barry Eisler who keep going on and on about how much money there is to be made from in. When a self-published author then fails (and many of them will), then in a worst case scenario they can find themselves out of pocket and discouraged from writing.

What interests me is the trend of authors who have started off as self-published, worked hard to make their work a success and then gone over to commercial publishing because they don't want to be doing the endless marketing and promotion etc etc that got them their success. It strikes me that people like Amanda Hocking, William P. Young, Christopher Paolini, Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams etc want to be first and foremost writers rather than business people. That's why they went over to commercial publishing when they got given the opportunity and what's particularly telling about Young, Paolini, Gordon & Williams is that I don't see them rushing back to embrace the self-publishing eculture. They made a good living as it is and other people take the strain and the financial risk.


AP7:
The question at hand for serious writers with talent, drive and a good product is simple. What is best for me? The case for self publishing gets stronger every day. Ignoring it only hurts you and your work.

I agree that the question has to be what is best for you as a writer.

I disagree that the case for self-publishing gets stronger every day. What we're seeing is an epublishing market that's still in the early stages of development. There isn't a dominant technology yet and it's not clear to what extent there is a sea-change in consumer thinking or whether the numbers will flatten out.

Self-publishing is hard and there haven't (to my mind) been enough break out authors who started as self-published (as opposed to people like Eisley and Konrath who are building on existing audiences from their commercially published books) to determine whether it's had the impact being claimed.

ETA:


AP7:
Like any business decision, you have to analyze what's available and take a leap of faith one way or another.

Just to pick up on this - no business decision should ever be made on a leap of faith. They should be made on the basis of an informed risk with the decision maker understanding those risks and being confident of managing and/or mitigating the same.

MM

ChaosTitan
03-24-2011, 05:57 PM
WHY is it necessary for anyone, on either side, to try to convince the other that they're wrong? There are a tiny handful of wildly successful authors, and a ginormous mound of total failures, in both camps.


If I had a nickel for every time I've wondered that.....

AP7
03-24-2011, 06:00 PM
Konrath and Eisler have nothing to gain by encouraging others to self publish. There may be some bravado going on there but nothing underhanded. They believe in what they are espousing and have put their careers on the line.

As to aspiring authors blowing money on self publishing, this has been going on for years. They also blow money on conferences and pitch meetings with agents. If their books are dreck, do they have any real shot at those pitch meetings? Where is your outcry to protect writers there?

There is always some leap of faith in a business decision. You may succeed, you may fail.

AP7
03-24-2011, 06:00 PM
If I had a nickel for every time I've wondered that.....

Because we are passionate and sometimes obsessive people! That's why we're writers...

Namatu
03-24-2011, 06:05 PM
A point that was made by several of those I spoke to was that the increasing sales over a period of a year are not necessarily correct, most said that a typical book tends to peak at around three to six months. There are, of course exceptions, as I'm certain you will be at pains to point out, so lets just say that I'm aware of them, where the book will be something of a sleeper hit, taking off a year or even 18 months after it is published, but on the most part the people I talked to said that interest tended to decline very quickly, and that sales usually settle to a steady rate at around the six month mark - mainly because in print books are competeting for shelf space, and older books get shunted to make room for new titles.

Now, in e-books that is a less urgent event, with the potential for unlimited 'shelf' space, so the potential for longer term grown exists in e-books in a way that it does not in print books. HOWEVER, we should bear in mind that there are not unlimited numbers of readers, so at some stage the numbers will still slow and steady.This.


The question at hand for serious writers with talent, drive and a good product is simple. What is best for me? The case for self publishing gets stronger every day. Ignoring it only hurts you and your work.The case for self-publishing is getting stronger in some regard, but is it established and thoroughly reputable yet? No. It's more like the Wild West of publishing right now, and that's going to keep a lot of people away until the boundaries are better established and trails have been well and thoroughly blazed.

As shalda points out, only a quarter of books sales today are ebooks. What percentage of those ebook sales are self-pubbed books? I'm not asking to be argumentative, but I suspect the answer to my question is "a small portion of that quarter", which reinforces my statement above that trails are being blazed, but it's very early days.

What's been clearly stated in this thread is that self-publishing is not for everyone. Not everyone wants to take on all of the work required to give a self-pubbed book a chance of success. They want the established network that comes from a traditional publishing house. They're saying that is what's best for them and that they're willing to take a hypothetical cut in money to have it. Rather than telling people they're hurting themselves by not embracing self-publishing, perhaps we can all acknowledge that there's more than one path to follow, each with its own costs and benefits, and respect both sides.

ChaosTitan
03-24-2011, 06:07 PM
Because we are passionate and sometimes obsessive people! That's why we're writers...

True. But I find it a better use of my energy to spend my passion on my books and words. Not on arguing why I chose my particular path, and not on trying to convince others why their path is the "wrong" one, or why they're a fool for not seeing "the big changes coming."

veinglory
03-24-2011, 06:08 PM
Konrath and Eisler have nothing to gain by encouraging others to self publish.

I would argue that is it is a pretty key part of Konrath's overall brand these days.

swvaughn
03-24-2011, 06:10 PM
I have way too much to say on this subject for a single message board post, so I'll just limit my two cents to something that hasn't been covered in this thread, although it's a mortifying admission for me considering the success of other published authors.

I'm commercially published by Simon & Schuster, and also small-press published (Loose Id, Lyrical Press). So, having made it past the "gatekeepers" (and oh, how I hate that term), one would think I'm a fairly competent writer. I might even be one of those midlist authors some day, after I change my name again, but that's a whole 'nother story I won't get into.

For anyone who spends any amount of time on the internet, it's impossible not to notice all the buzz and hoo-rah about the e-self-publishing revolution. Since I'm a battered author and all (having learned the hard way about every possible thing that can and DID go wrong over the course of a publishing "career"), I got all paranoid that the years of work I've put into learning my craft and getting better so I could be published and stuff might just vanish when everyone went e and it became impossible to sell anything unless you were already a known quantity.

So I decided to give e-self-pubbing a go. I figured, if other commercially published authors were having such a great time and selling hundreds and thousands of copies, maybe I could, too. I had a novella that had already been published in a commercial anthology, but to which I had do-whatever-you-want-with-it rights (I checked with the editor on this). I had a cover designed for me, got all the formatting hammered out, made this nice pretty package and put it up on Smashwords (and Amazon and the iBook store and every other digital sales venue I could). I even did some promotion for it.

And in the three months or so it's been available, I've sold maybe 20 or 30 copies.

Take from that what you will. I'm gonna go slink back under my failure rock now. :tongue

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 06:13 PM
Because we are passionate and sometimes obsessive people! That's why we're writers...


We're writers, we can spend days arguing about semi colons....

I posted this in the other thread on this here



I can see both sides. In certain respects I AGREE with both sides. Any author making an informed choice - cool with me


But this sort of stuff gives credence to all those 'Hey I can sorta string a sentence together, I R Author now I will be rich!' things. It ain't pretty or nice to delude people into thinking that they'll be the next Hocking when it's a million to one shot. Inform them yes. Make sure they work at their craft, yes (Hocking has intelligent posts on the matter, and in the amount of work she had to put in to get her success). But encouraging 'ooh look, self pubbing means I'm sticking it to the man cos an agent won't take me cos I'm too avant garde and I'm a genius!!!!' Maybe not. There are absolutely times when traditional is the way to go. And there are absolutely times when self-pubbing is the way to go. The trick is to inform authors as to which it is with the book they have and how to achieve the success that is touted.

I think the problem possibly (maybe, perhaps lol) that some of the 'self-pubbing it's wonderful stuff' is coming across as (intentionally or not) 'it's better than any other sort and of you don't consider it you're stupid' with the occasional whiff of 'We're sticking it to the man, and if you're trad pubbed, you ARE the man'. Like I said, this may not be the intention, but it comes across that way at times. ETA: I suppose all the 'crap' stuff comes across the other way not to well either, but there is crap there. You can't ignore it.


I think we'd do better informing people of the realistic advantages and disadvantages of all sorts of publishing, and then letting authors make their own choices.

Part of that informing re self-publishing is acknowledging (not ignoring, because that doesn't make it go away or not be a problem) that there is a lot of crud out there, and how the author can make sure both that theirs isn't one of those bits of crud and how to rise above the crowd and get noticed.

I asked over on the kindle boards too, but I would dearly love someone to write me a balanced guest blog about trad v self, the pros and cons of each.

Alitriona
03-24-2011, 06:17 PM
The question at hand for serious writers with talent, drive and a good product is simple. What is best for me? The case for self publishing gets stronger every day. Ignoring it only hurts you and your work.

I've been following this entire thread. I find it difficult to understand how anyone can simply discount all the crud and mediocre in self-publishing when speaking it's merits overall. Crud and mediocre is what makes up the vast majority of self-publishing. It can't be discounted to make the numbers fit.

I have a lot of respect for those who self-publish well but those are few and far between in the overall numbers. The overall numbers are what count, not the select few being highlighted for the sake of argument. As we all know a number of factors outside the writers control contribute to a book selling regardless of how it's published, such as the right reviews from the right places, what's hot for readers at the time and maybe luck. A well written, well edited and well put together self-published book may still not sell even when the author puts their entire heart and soul into it. Why should they be discounted from figures simply because they don't bump up the pro self-publish side? So who is to decide what is and isn't counted, what is crud and what is a overlooked diamond? All self-published books must be included which makes the number of successful ones very low.

Again, while I respect people who self-publish well, I believe some people see figures quoted in this thread and see it as an easy option it isn't. It's deliberately misleading and damaging to new authors who will decide to self-publish based on them. I wouldn't self-publish because I don't have the know how to do it right and I believe most people don't. That is unless they are previously published or have several years experience learning the process of producing and selling a quality piece of writing. Producing a quality, well crafted and beautiful book takes time and experience. I believe there are a lot of people selling themselves short because they are in a rush to be published and a small number of self-publishing advocates are promoting it as a yellow brick road for all to a life long career.

Terie
03-24-2011, 06:21 PM
I can't speak for Aruna but the reason why I care is because so many people go into self-publishing with unrealistic expectations - expectations that are fed into by people like J. A. Konrath and Barry Eisler who keep going on and on about how much money there is to be made from in. When a self-published author then fails (and many of them will), then in a worst case scenario they can find themselves out of pocket and discouraged from writing.

This. I've seen so many writers over the past decade buy into the hype and then get discouraged and even quit writing when the hoopla doesn't happen for them.

That's why I get worked up about being realistic and not citing the extreme successes as if they're typical, as if, to quote Robin Sullivan, 'it's not that hard'. It's extremely hard to be successful self-e-pubbing -- just ask Amanda Hocking -- and loads of people who work very VERY hard at it still end up with few sales.

I see this constantly, and it bothers the socks off me. There are several extremely good reasons to self-publish, and people who have those reasons and go in with eyes wide open...more power to them. But a substantial majority of folks don't have those good reasons, and many of them get hurt by the less-then-expected outcome because they believed the hype.

And writers getting hurt hurts my heart.

AP7
03-24-2011, 06:25 PM
I've been following this entire thread. I find it difficult to understand how anyone can simply discount all the crud and mediocre in self-publishing when speaking it's merits overall. Crud and mediocre is what makes up the vast majority of self-publishing. It can't be discounted to make the numbers fit.

I have a lot of respect for those who self-publish well but those are few and far between in the overall numbers. The overall numbers are what count, not the select few being highlighted for the sake of argument. As we all know a number of factors outside the writers control contribute to a book selling regardless of how it's published, such as the right reviews from the right places, what's hot for readers at the time and maybe luck. A well written, well edited and well put together self-published book may still not sell even when the author puts their entire heart and soul into it. Why should they be discounted from figures simply because they don't bump up the pro self-publish side? So who is to decide what is and isn't counted, what is crud and what is a overlooked diamond? All self-published books must be included which makes the number of successful ones very low.

Again, while I respect people who self-publish well, I believe some people see figures quoted in this thread and see it as an easy option it isn't. It's deliberately misleading and damaging to new authors who will decide to self-publish based on them. I wouldn't self-publish because I don't have the know how to do it right and I believe most people don't. That is unless they are previously published or have several years experience learning the process of producing and selling a quality piece of writing. Producing a quality, well crafted and beautiful book takes time and experience. I believe there are a lot of people selling themselves short because they are in a rush to be published and a small number of self-publishing advocates are promoting it as a yellow brick road for all to a life long career.

The overall numbers dont matter to me. What matters it which option is better for my book.

As to the unrealistic expectations of new authors, that happens in traditional publishing too. I can't tell you how many times early in my career I spent money on airfare, hotel, conference. Got a pitch meeting with an agent. I had no shot. I wasnt ready. My book wasnt ready. There was no outcry for me. My expectations werent realistic. I learned and kept at it. It's part of the process. People will learn and improve or they'll get a new hobby.

What of all the books that New York passes on for one reason or another? NY never misses one? NY is perfect? That's a silly assumption.

AP7
03-24-2011, 06:28 PM
And writers getting hurt hurts my heart.

So are you running to Backspace Conference and AgentFest where writers dump buckets of money and making sure they are truly ready for this step? Most of them arent. Heck, many of them are the same unwashed masses who after failing at AgentFest stick their crap up on Kindle!

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 06:34 PM
So are you running to Backspace Conference and AgentFest where writers dump buckets of money and making sure they are truly ready for this step? Most of them arent. Heck, many of them are the same unwashed masses who after failing at AgentFest stick their crap up on Kindle!


I donlt know those conferences, but I've been to a (singular) conference and while I did get to pitch, that wasn't what was so helpful about it. There were creative workshops, critique workshops and panels on writing and worldbuilding (SFF conference) and all sorts of other things that help the writer in their craft. I didn't snag an agent, but that was still money well spent just from the amount I learnt. So much so I'm going back this year.

Sheryl Nantus
03-24-2011, 06:40 PM
So are you running to Backspace Conference and AgentFest where writers dump buckets of money and making sure they are truly ready for this step? Most of them arent. Heck, many of them are the same unwashed masses who after failing at AgentFest stick their crap up on Kindle!


Nope.

I just write a book, rewrite it to the best of my ability and then send it off to a publisher.

As I've pointed out in other threads, my biggest fear is that the self-pub newbie will be victimized by everyone trying to sell services with the promise of big money down the line.

Spend $100 on a cover for a story you're selling for $0.99? Go ahead - but remember that at Amazon's 35% royalty you'll have to sell a hell of a lot of copies to just break even on the cover. Add in "professional editing" and you end up spending a lot of money that it may take forever to earn back, if you ever do.

I don't self-pub because I can't afford to put money up on the *chance* I might get rich. I'd rather let the publisher take the chance and deliver quality cover art and editing, along with distribution and the connections that a self-pub can't get.

For all the success stories I'm willing to bet there's thousands of authors weeping because they spent hundreds of dollars on the self-pub lottery and lost.

That's the harsh reality.

Terie
03-24-2011, 06:40 PM
So are you running to Backspace Conference and AgentFest where writers dump buckets of money and making sure they are truly ready for this step? Most of them arent. Heck, many of them are the same unwashed masses who after failing at AgentFest stick their crap up on Kindle!

None. I've never EVER, in writing experience spanning 35 years, encountered a single writer who QUIT WRITING after attending a conference. Most are energised and enthused, whether they're ready for the big league yet or not.

On the other hand, in other online forums, I see at least a dozen writers with unrealistic self-pubbing expectations QUIT WRITING, either permanently or temporarily, every single year.

Please don't suggest that I don't have a right to be concerned over self-pubbing hype (as opposed to self-pubbing fact, with which I have no problem at all). You don't have to share my concerns, but I'm entitled to have them. After all, I quite literally deal with these disillusioned writers constantly.

AP7
03-24-2011, 06:41 PM
I donlt know those conferences, but I've been to a (singular) conference and while I did get to pitch, that wasn't what was so helpful about it. There were creative workshops, critique workshops and panels on writing and worldbuilding (SFF conference) and all sorts of other things that help the writer in their craft. I didn't snag an agent, but that was still money well spent just from the amount I learnt. So much so I'm going back this year.

I understand and agree. I've been to many great conferences. My point is that aspiring writers are seperated from their money in a host of different ways. They are disappointed in a host of different ways, too. If someone self publishes with unrealistic expectations and blows a few dollars, how is this so much worse?

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 06:44 PM
If someone self publishes with unrealistic expectations and blows a few dollars, how is this so much worse?


It depends if they did it because of a lot of hype all over the net. It's misleading and as Terie says it can lead people to quit writing. Do you support that? I don't think you really do. In which case informed debate and reaching out and informing authors of the true reality isn't a bad thing, and that's all people like Terie etc are trying to so. Inform authors so they acn make their own choice, and then say huzzah to them.

shadowwalker
03-24-2011, 06:50 PM
The overall numbers dont matter to me. What matters it which option is better for my book.

As to the unrealistic expectations of new authors, that happens in traditional publishing too. I can't tell you how many times early in my career I spent money on airfare, hotel, conference. Got a pitch meeting with an agent. I had no shot. I wasnt ready. My book wasnt ready. There was no outcry for me. My expectations werent realistic. I learned and kept at it. It's part of the process. People will learn and improve or they'll get a new hobby.

What of all the books that New York passes on for one reason or another? NY never misses one? NY is perfect? That's a silly assumption.

It costs nothing to email queries. It costs nothing to email partials. I would not spend money on conferences with the soul expectation of signing with an agent. It's just not realistic or cost effective. So no, I wouldn't expect an 'outcry' on your behalf.

No one is saying NY is perfect - where did you get that? There are innumerable posts/discussions about the difficulties involved in getting published traditionally. No one is trying to sugarcoat it. And that's where the problem comes with self-publishing blogs/articles/interviews. They aren't forthcoming about the time and money spent getting started and marketing, the actual chances of making it big, and spend soooo much time venting about Big Bad Traditional Publisher. Proponents should be just as honest about the negatives as the 'traditionalists' are, so writers can truly make an informed decision about what is best for their book.

AP7
03-24-2011, 06:52 PM
None. I've never EVER, in writing experience spanning 35 years, encountered a single writer who QUIT WRITING after attending a conference. Most are energised and enthused, whether they're ready for the big league yet or not.

On the other hand, in other online forums, I see at least a dozen writers with unrealistic self-pubbing expectations QUIT WRITING, either permanently or temporarily, every single year.

Please don't suggest that I don't have a right to be concerned over self-pubbing hype (as opposed to self-pubbing fact, with which I have no problem at all). You don't have to share my concerns, but I'm entitled to have them. After all, I quite literally deal with these disillusioned writers constantly.

I know all about disillusioned writers....I am one! I've been through my share of heartache. It's not that I'm not sympathetic, but at the end of the day, you take your lumps and move on. We all do. I think we want the same thing, the facts not the hype. But that's never easy to get.

Momento Mori
03-24-2011, 06:54 PM
AP7:
Konrath and Eisler have nothing to gain by encouraging others to self publish. There may be some bravado going on there but nothing underhanded. They believe in what they are espousing and have put their careers on the line.

I don't believe it's been suggested that Konrath or Eisler either have something personal to gain through advocating self-publishing or are being underhanded. I also believe it's accepted that they do believe in what they're saying.

Whether they putting their careers on the line is open to question. If self-publishing doesn't work for either of them, then I doubt that a publisher would automatically turn down their next book if they thought it could sell. They both have established readerships and, in the case of Eisler especially, if someone was willing to lay down 500k for a manuscript(s) once then he should still get a decent offer the next time.

Where I take issue with Konrath and Eisler is that their conversations emphasise the ability to make money and make it sound so easy. That kind of unguarded remark is what entices people to think it's all plain sailing, whereas people like Amanda Hocking are proof that it isn't.

This doesn't mean that I wish either Konrath or Eisler ill. It does mean that I wish they'd be a little more even handed about the benefits/pitfalls because their attitude does risk blinding people with the glittery allure of easy money.


AP7:
If their books are dreck, do they have any real shot at those pitch meetings? Where is your outcry to protect writers there?

You should check out my posts on the Algonkian thread in Bewares and Background Check sometime.

Conferences and self-publishing are not the same thing. People go to conferences for many reasons - socialising, researching the industry, the chance to meet their favourite authors and also as a way to increase their chances of getting an agent and/or publishing deal - i.e. as a step on the pathway, not as an instant means of bringing money in.

Self-publishing is being "sold" (for want of a better term) as an easy way to make money - i.e. you get a cover, get the formatting right, put it on Amazon and watch those sales grow.


AP7:
I can't tell you how many times early in my career I spent money on airfare, hotel, conference. Got a pitch meeting with an agent. I had no shot. I wasnt ready. My book wasnt ready. There was no outcry for me. My expectations werent realistic. I learned and kept at it. It's part of the process. People will learn and improve or they'll get a new hobby.

I'm presuming that you learnt from each of those experiences though - i.e. you learned to hone your manuscript, work on your query, think about your structure until the book was ready? And if that didn't work then you started work on another book and applied the lessons learnt?

If you self-publish then you're losing potentially a good manuscript by pushing it out too early and then trying to learn from the mistakes for the next book, i.e. you're having to produce a whole new product each time, during which time you're not necessarily making any money. That might work for some people, but it's one hell of an expensive learning curve both in time and money.

MM

Alitriona
03-24-2011, 07:08 PM
The overall numbers dont matter to me. What matters it which option is better for my book.


What of all the books that New York passes on for one reason or another? NY never misses one? NY is perfect? That's a silly assumption.

I fully agree with the first part, that what is best for the book is most important. Although to make an informed decision on what is best an author must have the correct information. Being mislead by cooked figures do not achieve this.

I presume you are talking about an assumption you are making since I never mentioned NY in a silly or otherwise assumption. Yes, I'm sure they do pass on great books, I'm sure all traditional publishers are not based in new York. However to add every unpublished manuscript into the figures is silly. Much the same as saying lets add every book never written. Counting self-published books that fail is not the same as books that were rejected and never published.

I don't know how to multi-quote so excuse me for addressing your comment about standing up for writers who are repeatedly turned down and disillusioned by traditional publishing. That does happen here at AW. AW is a place writers can come to for honest advice on writing and the publishing industry. It shows them the reality of publishing and what to expect, people that are here regularly are less likely to become disillusioned because they understand how hard publishing and writing is. It is part of the reason there is a backlash against information that may not reflect reality. Hopefully they find AW before unrealistic illusions are in place to begin with. For those that are disillusioned when they arrive there are always options and support here, such as help with queries, SYW and finding decent publishers and agents. I believe anyone who is a regular contributor is doing their part to help those writers who are weary of rejection.

DeadlyAccurate
03-24-2011, 07:16 PM
I'm....hesitant at best to dip my toe into this debate here, but I'm flummoxed as to why it's a "debate" at all.

So some self-published authors are gaining success and excited about it. Good for them.

So some legacy/traditional/whatever-we're-calling-it published authors are happier to let publishing houses handle their work, and are also gaining success and excited about it. Good for them.

WHY is it necessary for anyone, on either side, to try to convince the other that they're wrong? There are a tiny handful of wildly successful authors, and a ginormous mound of total failures, in both camps.

People, this is not a contest! Stop making it one.

It's not about trying to convince the other side that you're right. It's about presenting your position for the fence-sitting lurkers. Those are the people who are watching this conversation and coming to a conclusion. If they only heard one side of the debate, there's nothing to compare it to.

Re: Eisler's situation. I wonder if he has a plan for keeping his name in the public consciousness after the first couple of years. That's a huge part of marketing. An example used in my business case class in college: there's not a person here who doesn't know who Coke is, and it's probably in the consciousness of 90% of the western world. Everyone knows what a Coke is and has formed an opinion about it as a product. But the corporation still spends tens of millions every year on advertising solely to make sure you never forget about it. If they didn't, Pepsi would overtake the corporation in soft drink market share.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 07:37 PM
Wow....for people who use "words for a living" you don't read very carefully. I'll try just one more time.....

I'm not saying these results are typical. I'm saying these results are POSSIBLE. For the following people....

A writer who wants to make a "living wage" and has talent and skill and the ability to put out a good book.

Since that doesn't seem to be sinking in ... let me put it another way... For people whose works would "pass a gatekeeper" - i.e. they COULD get a traditional publishing contract...SHOULD they...or will they be better off (financially speaking ONLY) going through self publishing (assuming of course that they will need to hire some people for an investment of $1,000/book - as noted in the the post that started this whole thing)

Two people called my number of 1,000 a month as BS and totally not possible. I listed the names of people who ARE doing this to prove they are not fiction. Yes some of them have HAD small and large press in the past - but have decided that self is more financially sound. And a fair number (H.P. Mallory, Victorine Lieskie, Nacey Cartwright, David Dalglish, on and on and on) HAVE NEVER been published traditionally and they are NOT outliers - they are "midlist" self-published authors.

That's all I was trying to say. And BTW...I'm not just a self-pub rah-rah girl. I BELIEVE IN and support an author's right to chose between three very different and very valid choices. For the record:

- I've self published 5 books
- I've small press published 13 books
- I'm traditional big-six publishing 3 books

The times are changing and I'm just trying to offer up some recent and relevent information.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 07:50 PM
There are absolutely times when traditional is the way to go. And there are absolutely times when self-pubbing is the way to go. The trick is to inform authors as to which it is with the book they have and how to achieve the success that is touted.

I asked over on the kindle boards too, but I would dearly love someone to write me a balanced guest blog about trad v self, the pros and cons of each.

I so totally agree with your statement. I was doing a podcast interview last night and the leader of the site asked me to a blog just on that. I'll post it when it goes live.

Sheryl Nantus
03-24-2011, 07:58 PM
- I've self published 5 books
- I've small press published 13 books
- I'm traditional big-six publishing 3 books
.

What titles are your "traditional big-six published 3 books"?

Terie
03-24-2011, 08:07 PM
Two people called my number of 1,000 a month as BS and totally not possible.

I'm one of the people who called your numbers 'fantasy numbers'. 1) I did not say 'BS', and 2) I was not referring to '1,000 a month' as 'fantasy numbers'. Let's go back and look at what I said and what I quoted.



Person #2 - Invests $200 in cover design, does their own formatting (easy) and $800 in editing - so a $1,000 investment. They price the book at $2.99 (standard price for most indies) and in the first month sell 100 books and by month 6 are up to 500 books per month (these are NOT hard numbers to reach!!) At 1 year they are selling 1,000 books a month (again not hard numbers most "professional" writers who are indie are doing this so over 3 years their sales are: 100, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000. 6100 first year and 12,000 year 2 and year 3. Thats 30,100 books * 2.99 * .70 = $63,000 - $1,000 investment = $62,000.

No. These are fantasy numbers. You have absolutely no proof that this is anything close to typical. None at all. Period. Full stop.

Now let's be clear. I would also say that a writer earning $25 million on the day of a book's release is a 'fantasy number'. By that, I mean, it's a number fantasies are made of. Because we all know that there actually are writers who have done exactly that.

And in that light, I still say the numbers YOU PRESENTED AS QUOTED ABOVE are fantasy numbers. Sure, there are a few writers who have done this, and a few who've done better.

But they're still numbers that fantasies are made of.

I write fantasy. I live in the real world and base my business and professional decisions on real-world likelihoods, not on fantasies.

shaldna
03-24-2011, 08:10 PM
Two people called my number of 1,000 a month as BS and totally not possible.


No one is saying that it's not possible, but we are saying that it's highly, highly unlikley for most self published writers and to say it is is misleading.

What I would like to point out now is that nowhere in this thread has anyone here said that SP is to be avoided at all costs, it was simply said that it's not for everyone, and those who said it gave very eloquent reasons why they thought that, and what their personal views are.

I'm starting to feel like we are going around in cirlces here.

Namatu
03-24-2011, 08:13 PM
Two people called my number of 1,000 a month as BS and totally not possible.I'm not going back to look, but my recollection is more that they said it wasn't typical.

I think it's clear that those who hold strong views one way or another are not going to be swayed from those views. This is such a thoroughly circular conversation. We need some levity. How about some zombies (http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/02/getting-revenge-on-zombies.html)?

Alitriona
03-24-2011, 08:13 PM
Since that doesn't seem to be sinking in ... let me put it another way... For people whose works would "pass a gatekeeper" - i.e. they COULD get a traditional publishing contract...SHOULD they...or will they be better off (financially speaking ONLY) going through self publishing (assuming of course that they will need to hire some people for an investment of $1,000/book - as noted in the the post that started this whole thing)



I'm curious, can you please explain how a new, unpublished writer knows they can "pass a gatekeeper" without first going through the entire process of querying and acceptance to a publisher? If they are talking about a major publisher where they have the best chance of big sales and clout behind promotion, they would probably need to get an agent first to submit on their behalf. It doesn't seem very respectful to other writers or the industry they want to be part of to do all this with the clear intention of testing the water. Who is even to say if the writer then decides to self-publish it will be the same end result from an unknown once editing, cover art and marketing are taken into consideration.


Then it goes back to the majority of success stories in self-publishing coming from people who have previously established themselves in traditional publishing. So again, quoting pie in the sky possible numbers is not helpful to the vast majority.

I do understand that you want to show that anything is possible, of course it is. It's commendable to want to encourage people to achieve success. But the figures and leaving out a huge number of writers from those figures on the assumption of the standard of their book and the reason it didn't sell, it then comes across as probable rather than possible. Basically cooking the books in the favor of self-pub instead of offering a balanced view.

swvaughn
03-24-2011, 08:26 PM
I'm not saying these results are typical. I'm saying these results are POSSIBLE. For the following people....

A writer who wants to make a "living wage" and has talent and skill and the ability to put out a good book.

Since that doesn't seem to be sinking in ... let me put it another way... For people whose works would "pass a gatekeeper" - i.e. they COULD get a traditional publishing contract...SHOULD they...or will they be better off (financially speaking ONLY) going through self publishing (assuming of course that they will need to hire some people for an investment of $1,000/book - as noted in the the post that started this whole thing)


See my previous comment (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5959115&postcount=168).

It doesn't always happen like that, even for writers in the group you mention.

Everyone here is just trying to point out the very real possibility that a self-published ebook is not guaranteed even minimal success, much less a living wage.

Sure, I could have invested a few grand in promotion and a more expensive cover. But my living isn't *that* great, where I can afford to spend that much money on something that may or may not succeed.

The midlist writers you mention who should be looking to self-publishing as a viable alternative are all in pretty much the same boat. The investment is too risky for "maybe" more money.

And there's even less of a chance for brand new writers, who are being assured that e-self-publishing is the wave of the future.

Momento Mori
03-24-2011, 08:26 PM
Just to throw it into the mix, Publishers Marketplace has just announced that Amanda Hocking has signed with St Martin's Press for her next YA paranormal series (due autumn 2012). English worldwide rights went for more than US$2 million. She explained that the reason she wanted to be commercially published was because she "didn't want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors etc".

MM

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 08:27 PM
I think though Robin, that your posts are a bit skewed (which is probably natural, considering but doesn't really help matters). It's possible yes. But it's just as (probably more at the current time though it may change) possible with trad publishing too, the amount of stuff out there (plenty of which is sub standard, but still has to be sifted) which has to be sifted through by readers and other pitfalls and stumbling blocks which you aren't really acknowledging. Though to be sure trad publishing has those, and they are often discussed here.


It's all changing, for sure. But Eisler aside, I can't see any reason for me to go self publishing over trad publishing. I know of many more people who make a decent income from publishing with an established publisher (large or small, e-first or print only) than you have listed as doing that well in self-pubbing. I know more in one genre than you have listed. And most of them haven't had to do anywhere near as much work promoting etc (though I expect they did their share).

So it's changing, yes. None of us can see the future, but at present, going with an actual publishing house makes more for financial sense for the majority of writers (from what I can see anyway. I may be biased in the opposite direction :D).

If I have talent and skill and ability, I want the most people possible to see and hopefully buy my book, not just online but in stores too, and currently, that means as much distribution as possible, which means traditional publishing. For me.

So when I said I wanted a balanced post (for my blog or heck just to read, cos I haven't seen one yet!), what I meant is someone who has no finger in either pie, or no agenda to push but someone who can dispassionately sift the facts from all sides. Which isn't going to be me because me and reality don't talk all that often. :D But it isn't going to be anyone who pushes self-pubbing over anything else either. I want a post that doesn't push either, but merely presents accurate facts and statistics (as far as is possible) and leaves the reader of the article to decide.

Sheryl Nantus
03-24-2011, 08:31 PM
Just to throw it into the mix, Publishers Marketplace has just announced that Amanda Hocking has signed with St Martin's Press for her next YA paranormal series (due autumn 2012). English worldwide rights went for more than US$2 million. She explained that the reason she wanted to be commercially published was because she "didn't want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors etc".

MM

(totally Off-Topic)

Yay! You go, Amanda!

:hooray:

I admit I haven't read any of her work but it's good to see her years of hard work paying off.

Momento Mori
03-24-2011, 08:32 PM
Sheryl Nantus:
I admit I haven't read any of her work but it's good to see her years of hard work paying off.

Agreed - she's clearly worked like a Trojan for it.

MM

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 08:33 PM
Agreed - she's clearly worked like a Trojan for it.

MM


I concur.

Phaeal
03-24-2011, 09:37 PM
I'm a snob. I don't like to mix with the hoi-polloi! :) So IMHO it's a perfectly valid argument.

Oooh, while you're hanging out with the trad-pubbed elite, will you get Snooki and Katie Price's autographs for me?

;)

Phaeal
03-24-2011, 10:00 PM
I'm not going back to look, but my recollection is more that they said it wasn't typical.

I think it's clear that those who hold strong views one way or another are not going to be swayed from those views. This is such a thoroughly circular conversation. We need some levity. How about some zombies (http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/02/getting-revenge-on-zombies.html)?

Zombies prefer self-publishing, as most trad publishers won't consider a 500,000 word MS consisting entirely of "Braaaaaaaains, ugh mumph, braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiinsssss..."

aruna
03-24-2011, 10:28 PM
This attitude might be holding you back.

Mark my words: nothing, and I repeat NOTHING, is holding me back. I'm more geared up right now than ever in my writing career. I have a good attitude, I'm positive, and wish other authors well, even Tony Parsons. The fact that I wished, back then, that my publishers had given me as much attention as they did him is a human one, and very legitimate. But that was 12 years ago. The Aruna you see today is a new one!



Oh, wow. I don't know if you are joking or not, but I am assuming not. You do realize "hoi-polloi" means common people. This feels like a Freudian slip. After all, common people, not other writers, are you audience. Holding that kind of attitude, disliking the common people, disliking your audience, is definitely going to hold you back. Wow.

In case you didn't notice, there was a smiley next to those words. That's Aw speak for... oh, never mind. Think of me as a grumpy old bitch if you like. :tongue

aruna
03-24-2011, 10:35 PM
Aruna, you are entitled to pursue your dreams and aspirations with traditional publishing. I wish you nothing but success. But I dont understand this obsession with crappy self published books. They dont matter. Crossing your arms and wagging your finger and reveling in being a snob is not going to stop the tide from washing over the beach. Those books will continue to be published, and by and large, if they are crap, they will fail. Why does everyone care?
.

For a start, I don't have dreams. I just put in the work, and let the chips fall where they may. I do know self-publishing is not for me.

I am not at all "obsessed with crappy self-published books". That is your interpretation. I do know that a lot of beginning writers might gett their heads turned by a few magical figures, and they may be reading this thread. and I feel we have a duty to warn them of the hard reality -- before they upload their first-time efforts (which, one really has to admit, is 99% of the time crap, so was mine!) and build their dreams on that.

Believe it or not: outside of this thread I don't spend a single thought on self-publishing or crappy books. It''s an online discussion. That's all. My soul is not revealed by the couple of opinons I throw out here. Apart from warning off a few newcomers, I just don't care.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 10:36 PM
What titles are your "traditional big-six published 3 books"?

They are not released yet - but are "done" i.e. covers created, editing performed, arc's going out. Here is the announcement from Orbit (http://www.orbitbooks.net/2011/02/22/orbit-acquires-self-published-ebook-bestseller/).

Theft of Swords (November 2011)
Rise of Empire (Dec 2011)
Heir of Novron (Jan 2012)

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 10:43 PM
[QUOTE=shaldna;5959491]No one is saying that it's not possible, but we are saying that it's highly, highly unlikley for most self published writers and to say it is is misleading. [\QUOTE]

So we've moved from "typical" to "most"...neither were EVER the issue. Regardless of whether you persue self or legacy publishing this is what we can say about "most"

Most writers won't get published in ANY form.
Most writers won't ever make a living wage writing.
I'm not concerned with "most" or "typical" - I'm speaking to those that "have the right stuff". (talent, skill, perseverence) the ones that WILL be published (by definition not most).

Namatu
03-24-2011, 11:01 PM
Zombies prefer self-publishing, as most trad publishers won't consider a 500,000 word MS consisting entirely of "Braaaaaaaains, ugh mumph, braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiinsssss..."You know all the zombies out there would be lining up for a book like that! The agent/editor who passes on such genius is blind.

Why don't we have a zombie smiley? I'll go with this guy :e2bouncey and pretend his agility is the result of anti-gravity forces on his invading spaceship. It's coming to Earth (http://www.amazon.com/Down-Home-Zombie-Blues/dp/0553589644/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300993274&sr=8-1).

Ava Glass
03-24-2011, 11:05 PM
For the following people....

A writer who wants to make a "living wage" and has talent and skill and the ability to put out a good book.



With a good cover. That part is so important. I'm amazed at how many trad and indie covers fail the thumbnail test, especially the kindle greyscale thumbnail test. The thumbnail is a buyer's first impression. It is the eyecatcher.

Trad writers, to varying degrees, have bookstores, promotions and reviews to fall back on if the thumbnail doesn't look good, but the self-pubbed have it much harder. Much more important for them to catch eyes and convey their product's story and genre in an instant.

Whenever I hear of self-pubbed writers doing well or poorly, the first thing I do is look at their covers. Victorine Lieske has a good thumbnail. She studied graphic design and made her cover in Illustrator. I have no doubt it contributed to her success along with her low price.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 11:05 PM
I'm curious, can you please explain how a new, unpublished writer knows they can "pass a gatekeeper" without first going through the entire process of querying and acceptance to a publisher?

By selling a lot of books. The readers provide the validation that a book has commercial value. You have two choices to get the validation.

a) submit queries to agents and submit to publishers - which I submit is usually a VERY long process.

or

b) self publish and let the market decide


If your book is no good - you'll not "win" in either path. If your book "is good" you'll make some good - and sometimes VERY good money. PLUS if you still want to go traditional you can leverage that success into a deal.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 11:09 PM
Then it goes back to the majority of success stories in self-publishing coming from people who have previously established themselves in traditional publishing. So again, quoting pie in the sky possible numbers is not helpful to the vast majority.

But this is the point of contention. While there are "some" who have established themselves my point is there are also many others who have started without that. 12 months ago it was "pie int he sky". Since Nov 2010 it is happening more than most people (especially those here) seem to realize so I was trying to point out that authors now have TWO viable paths to a living wage.

Alitriona
03-24-2011, 11:11 PM
I was going to comment again, but it seems we are walking in circles and have gone way off track.

I believe this thread is a testament to new writers about being careful of advice offered by so-called experts.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 11:24 PM
I think though Robin, that your posts are a bit skewed (which is probably natural, considering but doesn't really help matters). It's possible yes. But it's just as (probably more at the current time though it may change) possible with trad publishing too, the amount of stuff out there (plenty of which is sub standard, but still has to be sifted) which has to be sifted through by readers and other pitfalls and stumbling blocks which you aren't really acknowledging. Though to be sure trad publishing has those, and they are often discussed here.

Nice some headway :). Now that we can believe possible. Let's go to the next level. Which is....which path is more PROBABLE to producing a living wage? I think we can all agree that Michael (my husband) is not an outlier like Amanda Hocking or John Locke. He's never been on the Amazon Top 100 (though he got close at 102 for a few hours). He took a six-figure contract and I predict we'll lose $100,000 - $200,000 by doing so. But there are other thigns we want more than just money wo we're willing to take the cut as it were.




It's all changing, for sure. But Eisler aside, I can't see any reason for me to go self publishing over trad publishing. I know of many more people who make a decent income from publishing with an established publisher (large or small, e-first or print only) than you have listed as doing that well in self-pubbing. I know more in one genre than you have listed. And most of them haven't had to do anywhere near as much work promoting etc (though I expect they did their share).


And I so don't want you to -- if traditional is right for you - then perfect. We obviously circulate with different people. You know "many" doing better with trad. publishing. I know "many" who do well with self publising. So can we agree that that both options have value?



So it's changing, yes. None of us can see the future, but at present, going with an actual publishing house makes more for financial sense for the majority of writers (from what I can see anyway. I may be biased in the opposite direction :D). [\QUOTE]

We'll just have to agree to disagree ont his one. Although I would love to share and compare numbers...something that few authors do.

[QUOTE=IdiotsRUs;5959547]
So when I said I wanted a balanced post (for my blog or heck just to read, cos I haven't seen one yet!), what I meant is someone who has no finger in either pie, or no agenda to push but someone who can dispassionately sift the facts from all sides. Which isn't going to be me because me and reality don't talk all that often. :D But it isn't going to be anyone who pushes self-pubbing over anything else either. I want a post that doesn't push either, but merely presents accurate facts and statistics (as far as is possible) and leaves the reader of the article to decide.

Why don't you wait until I post it before you decide it will be biased...If then you want to poke at it - I say bring it on.

thothguard51
03-24-2011, 11:34 PM
Since Nov 2010 it is happening more than most people (especially those here) seem to realize ....

Ms Sullivan, you keep using the Nov. 2010 date as if something magical happened on that date that suddenly opened the window to self publishing...

What is so special about that date...

Sheryl Nantus
03-24-2011, 11:38 PM
He took a six-figure contract and I predict we'll lose $100,000 - $200,000 by doing so.

Yeahsureyoubetcha.

Meanwhile, Amanda Hocking is being shredded on her own blog for daring to take the deal with a publisher.

Fantasy money may be nice in theory but there are still bills to be paid and whatnot.

At least your husband seems to have a good head on his shoulders. I can only assume he's been berated for refusing to gamble more on self-publishing.

rsullivan9597
03-24-2011, 11:48 PM
Since Nov 2010 it is happening more than most people (especially those here) seem to realize ....

Ms Sullivan, you keep using the Nov. 2010 date as if something magical happened on that date that suddenly opened the window to self publishing...

What is so special about that date...

On kindle boards (as I mentioned) many people post their sales numbers. And before November 2010 they were all very "meh". Sure a few hundred here and a few hundred there but starting in Nov 2010 a VERY large number of people started posting numbers in the thousands...and tens of thosands. It wasn't just isolated to one "break out" it was "across the board". (For those already selling well).

There is no doubt that we were seeing a X-mas bubble that ran Nov - Feb). I suspect ebook readers were "big gifts" and many people "stocked up". But even so....there is still a lot of strength in those numbers.

At the "peak" January Michael sold 11,000+ books. March will finish out with about 5,000 - So a huge falling off but... even at 5,000 sales he is making $20,500 a month so a good six-figure wage.

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 11:48 PM
Why don't you wait until I post it before you decide it will be biased...If then you want to poke at it - I say bring it on.

Okay, sure, I'll wait and see. But from your posts already it's fairly obvious you're pushing towards self-pubbing, your own trad publishing notwithstanding (and like I said, considering your husband's books, that probably only natural). I mean fair enough, you like self-pubbing. You think it's the next big thing. That doesn't mean I (or anyone else)should jump up and down singing hallelujah until it's shown that it's not just the odd one or few that can make a living at it, or that you don't have to spend x hours a day promoing so that you don;t sink among the crud and then you can't write any more because you don't have time.


I'd just like some plain ol' out in the open facts. From both sides would be tres cool. What % of self pubbers get 1000 sales a month? What % of trad pubbed authors get the same? Compare the amount of promo and sheer work they have to put in for those results. Really and truly compare apples with apples rather than extrapolations of what could/might/possibly be in the future we don't know yet so let's face it, it's a guess. Just for starters. Preferably by an impartial statistician but I can't see that happening any time soon :D

Soccer Mom
03-24-2011, 11:59 PM
We seem to have devolved into a personal debate. Feel free to discuss the specifics of Ridan in their thread in B&BC. If anyone wants to discuss their self-pub experience in detail, you can start a thread in the self-pub forum.

Locking this now.