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View Full Version : Traditional Versus Self-publishing Online Conversation with Barry Eisler and Amanda Hocking



rsullivan9597
03-29-2011, 03:31 PM
While I've not yet read this (http://www.twliterary.com/selfpub.html) - I thought I would post as I'm sure it is going to be a VERY interesting conversation.

Cyia
03-29-2011, 03:56 PM
Is this a hypothetical conversation? If not, your link is missing.

izanobu
03-29-2011, 04:26 PM
http://www.twliterary.com/selfpub.html

Here's the link :)

Rhoda Nightingale
03-29-2011, 06:06 PM
My respect for that girl grows and grows every time she submits an opinion on this whole debate.


Ted: Let's look ahead: many questions have come in from authors who have not yet had the kind of success both of you have achieved. Looking at what you each have done, is the "new model" as one's success grows going to be "self publish, then get a deal from a traditional publisher, and then go back to self-publishing"?

Amanda: I don't view them as entirely separate entities, and I never have. So much of what you read about it is an "us vs. them" mentality, but I've never looked at that way. Each option strengthens the other. Having a presence in bookstores feeds your ebook sales, and having inexpensive ebooks feeds your print sales.

gothicangel
03-29-2011, 06:46 PM
What is with the 'us vs them' debate?

Seriously guys, no-one in traditonal publishing is scared of self-publishing. FYI: traditional publishers release ebooks too.

Cyia
03-29-2011, 07:46 PM
My respect for that girl grows and grows every time she submits an opinion on this whole debate.

Yep. Very savvy, classy lady.




What is with the 'us vs them' debate?

Seriously guys, no-one in traditonal publishing is scared of self-publishing. FYI: traditional publishers release ebooks too.

Because, contrary to the titles of several threads here, the greatest number of self-publishers are people the commercial system passed on. And all too often, those afflicted with Golden Word Syndrome have a very large (and by this point dull) axe to grind. They want the commercial system to topple so they can "prove" their way is superior.

Peaceful co-existence and mutual market share blows the illusion the same way netting rejections blew the illusion that their words were perfect.

That doesn't, of course, apply to all self-publishers. Those with a sound business plan and expectations of what they'll have to do to make a go of it, etc. But for the others - so long as commercial books are being put out (even ebooks) they're having to compete with a standard they can't achieve on their own, and one they're unwilling to allow anyone to edit them toward.

efkelley
03-29-2011, 09:16 PM
Golden Word Syndrome

Heh. I like that.

An example: http://ereads.com/2011/03/greek-seaman-runs-aground-on-treacherous-typos.html

I hate seeing shots fired in either direction, but it still happens. We even had a thread closed here on AW when the flames got too hot while discussing the terminology alone (calling self-pubbed 'Indie' and vice-versa).

Everyone wants to believe they're doing it the 'best way,' especially when what they're doing is scary. What the heavily-entrenched on both sides don't seem to realize is that both ways are scary. And for many of the same reasons!

rsullivan9597
03-29-2011, 09:45 PM
Is this a hypothetical conversation? If not, your link is missing.

No not hypothetical - it is a real conversation moderated by Ted Weinsten.

PulpDogg
03-29-2011, 11:22 PM
No not hypothetical - it is a real conversation moderated by Ted Weinsten.

But you didn't provide the link in your original post ;)

rsullivan9597
03-30-2011, 02:13 AM
But you didn't provide the link in your original post ;)

So sorry - thoguht the link was there. I've updated the top and it is repeated here (http://www.twliterary.com/selfpub.html).

FocusOnEnergy
03-30-2011, 12:00 PM
A very interesting conversation, thank you for posting the link. There have been many flame wars breaking out over Ms. Hocking's decision to go with a "house" to publish four of her books, much due to the whole "us vs them" mentality that I've observed when it comes to self-publishing vs legacy publishing (or whatever terminology you wish to use). And depending on which faction you are part of, the us and them changes.

Each side has members who believe that the way that "us" do it is far superior to the way that "them" do it. And who make rather pointed remarks about it. It's like watching a group of Unix sysadmins fighting it out with Windows server admins over which is superior. Unix is a far better server OS, btw.

One would hope that there would be some calming influence on this situation due to the discussions being published by people who have made very reasoned choices to go one way, the other, or utilize both as in the case of Ms. Hocking, who continues to self-publish as she's quite prolific and has only sold 4 books to SMP. It will be interesting to see how hear earnings from them stack up to her self-publishing earnings.

It will be even more interesting to see how this affects the whole "my way of publishing is better than yours" mentality I've seen since joining this forum. I think it would be nice to be able to discuss to discuss self-publishing without being trolled by people who are not involved in self-publishing at all, but have very strong opinions about it and the people who utilize it.

One thing it is doing, is causing newspaper editors (like mine) to revisit their policies of not reviewing self-published books or writing about their authors and book signings.

Focus

gothicangel
03-30-2011, 01:24 PM
One thing it is doing, is causing newspaper editors (like mine) to revisit their policies of not reviewing self-published books or writing about their authors and book signings.



I going to guess that you work on a small, local newspaper then. The Guardian or Times aren't going to change their policy - ever.

AmsterdamAssassin
03-30-2011, 02:58 PM
The Guardian or Times aren't going to change their policy - ever.

Shall we see about that in five years?

gothicangel
03-30-2011, 03:26 PM
Shall we see about that in five years?

I bet my five years of salary on it.

AmsterdamAssassin
03-30-2011, 05:29 PM
Well, I'm pretty much convinced that newspapers keep to their principles until those principles get overruled by greed. They're in the business of selling newspapers. If their subscribers want reviews of self-published books because the subscribers don't want to miss the next Amanda Hocking, I doubt those newspapers will adhere to their principles at the risk of losing subscribers. Especially since they will still be able to review the pick of the litter. And it's doubtful their subscribers will cancel their subscription because their newspaper changes their policy to include reviews of the Kindle top ten self-publishing writers.

Except that they'll probably have to do without your patronage, but I think they will be able to live with that loss.

efkelley
03-30-2011, 05:29 PM
I would not take that bet.

EDIT - I should clarify to say that NYT is adding a section for electronic titles. My money says that all major newspapers eventually follow suit. Five years is a very long time in this business (apparently).

Sheryl Nantus
03-30-2011, 05:35 PM
The problem is that most book reviewers are NOW already inundated with self-pub print writers sending their latest PublishAmerica masterpiece or Tate Publishing tome in for reviews.

It's hard for even a small press to get reviews - I doubt that's going to change much now with so many more players in the game. There might be an exception here and there, but for the most part most newspapers are going to continue to do the big name authors because that's what the public knows. The majority of readers outside of the online world don't know who Amanda Hocking is and don't care - until they see the book on the shelves.

Add to that the disappearance of many book reviewers period and a move towards buying syndicated reviews and I don't see much hope for a newspaper reviewing a self-pub online book.

But what do I know? JMO...

AmsterdamAssassin
03-30-2011, 05:49 PM
Okay. IF the guardian and times still exist in five years, and IF they still do book reviews... then I think that self-publishing will be big enough to warrant attention from them... IF they want to survive...

AFAIK, newspapers are desperately clinging to subscribers, whose number has been dwindling fast in the last decade. And many newspapers are now slowly transforming from paper into electronic versions. If they only carry news, they will become extinct - you can get news everywhere. People read the NYT for the opinions on the news and on other media, so that's where the money is.

AmsterdamAssassin
03-30-2011, 05:51 PM
The problem is that most book reviewers are NOW already inundated with self-pub print writers sending their latest PublishAmerica masterpiece or Tate Publishing tome in for reviews.

I wasn't talking about that. I'm talking about the duty of newspapers to inform the public with their opinionated reviews. A newspaper that selects a few best-selling self-publishing writers to review every month, that would be an interesting experiment and one that might be followed by other newspapers.

shadowwalker
03-30-2011, 05:57 PM
I can't see the bigger newspapers even attempting to look at self-pubs. Again, an Amanda Hocking, maybe. But Joe Schmo #2597? Not likely. I don't see them slogging through un-vetted material, hoping they can meet their deadlines...

Alitriona
03-30-2011, 06:00 PM
It will be even more interesting to see how this affects the whole "my way of publishing is better than yours" mentality I've seen since joining this forum. I think it would be nice to be able to discuss to discuss self-publishing without being trolled by people who are not involved in self-publishing at all, but have very strong opinions about it and the people who utilize it.


Focus

From Wiki - not a font of all knowledge but to the point in this case.

In Internet slang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_slang), a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/extraneous#Adjective), or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_forum), chat room (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chat_room), or blog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog), with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotion) response[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29#cite_note-PCMAG_def-0) or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

The published authors posting on this forum are not trolling. They are experienced writers or at the very least educated in the professional publishing industry. Self publishing well involves doing everything a publisher would do, such as a full editing, marketing, investing in cover art to begin with. The people you refer to as troll are attempting to educate others on what is involved in producing a quality book, a book that isn't simply written, read through and posted on amazon. There is a huge number of self-published writers who don't know the difference between ebooks and self-publishing or self-published and indie writers.


I've certainly seen more "our way is better" from self-publishers on the net and here lately than from writers signed to publishers. But then, they are too busy writing and selling.

Personally I want to write, not be a publisher. The self-published verses published situation(which doesn't exist to the degree many self-published people believe) comes from published writers and indie writers horror at the unprofessional behavior and inferior writing that comes, in the most part, from self-published writers.

efkelley
03-30-2011, 06:01 PM
Okay. IF the guardian and times still exist in five years, and IF they still do book reviews... then I think that self-publishing will be big enough to warrant attention from them... IF they want to survive...

I wouldn't take that bet either.

I have a feeling they won't distinguish between traditional and indie publications. If you're staying high in the electronic rankings (or solicit them citing strong sales) you may get a review. Otherwise, no, I really don't think they'll go looking through anything below the 10,000 rank. That's just a simple matter of cost and time.

efkelley
03-30-2011, 06:06 PM
The published authors posting on this forum are not trolling.

Note, I am not pointing a scaly green finger at you, Alitriona.

It can be safely said that the trolling in these particular subforums is coming from both sides. If need be, I can link to the multiple closed threads of shame.

By now it's pretty obvious which posters are grinding axes, which ones feel strongly, and which ones are behaving professionally.

Sheryl Nantus
03-30-2011, 06:14 PM
I wasn't talking about that. I'm talking about the duty of newspapers to inform the public with their opinionated reviews. A newspaper that selects a few best-selling self-publishing writers to review every month, that would be an interesting experiment and one that might be followed by other newspapers.

I don't see it happening.

Right now the book review columns are shrinking as newspapers cut back their resources, with only the big names getting reviews and even THEN it's usually a syndicated service where they reprint reviews.

I'm not sure what you're talking about with "opinionated reviews". A newspaper can choose what to review and what not to review and I can tell you from personal experience that most book reviewers, those that are left, have huge slush piles of self-pub books at their feet waiting to be reviewed. They don't review self-pub/small press books NOW in print, why would they want to do online pubbed work?

Again, the market for book reviews is shrinking now. I have no idea why you think that suddenly papers would jump to review online self-pub works.

The first professional review of Amanda Hocking's work next year when it comes out from St. Martin's Press will be interesting. But I venture that'll be more out of novelty than an effort to promote self-pub authors.

movieman
03-30-2011, 08:25 PM
I have no idea why you think that suddenly papers would jump to review online self-pub works.

I doubt they will. But I also wonder whether it matters.

I don't remember the last time I read a book review in a newspaper, and I wonder how many people who buy ebooks would read reviews in newspapers rather than their favorite web sites? I'm certainly more likely to buy something because it gets a good review on a web site I read than because it gets a good review in the NYT (which I can't even read now because of the payawll).

ColoradoMom
03-30-2011, 08:30 PM
While I've not yet read this (http://www.twliterary.com/selfpub.html) - I thought I would post as I'm sure it is going to be a VERY interesting conversation.


Great conversation. Thanks! I love this - it is pretty cool how things are moving so fast on (literally) a daily basis. I'm not an "us vs them" person but I think it is funny how defensive some of you guys get about the whole traditional publishing thing.

gothicangel
03-30-2011, 10:20 PM
Great conversation. Thanks! I love this - it is pretty cool how things are moving so fast on (literally) a daily basis. I'm not an "us vs them" person but I think it is funny how defensive some of you guys get about the whole traditional publishing thing.

Oh, so it's us getting defensive, and not the SPers being aggressive. My mistake.

Alitriona
03-30-2011, 10:35 PM
Note, I am not pointing a scaly green finger at you, Alitriona.



Noted and appreciated.;)

valeriec80
03-31-2011, 12:16 AM
Oh, so it's us getting defensive, and not the SPers being aggressive. My mistake.

Aggressive in our own forum? A place where until two months ago we could have discussions about whether or not Lulu was a good POD publishing company to go with without having pro-legacies jump into every discussion explaining why self-publishing is not their own choice?

I've been trying to keep my mouth shut because I respect your decision not to self-publish and I respect your right to explain why you have made that decision.

But I don't think it's fair to say we are being aggressive in the self-publishing forum. This is supposed to be a place where we can talk about self-publishing. And recently, I feel we've mostly been defending it.

shadowwalker
03-31-2011, 05:31 AM
My only problem with some self-publishers is that they are saying things that, to a new aspiring writer, make it seem as if self-publishing is the only smart way to fame and riches. They do not distinguish between self-publishing and e-publishing; they act as though fiction and nonfiction are equally viable for successful self-publishing; they do not look at the majority of writers (either self or commercial), but cling to the exceptions; they make comments and claims about the dinosaur of commercial publishing heading towards extinction.

If a writer decides to self-publish, I'm not going to call them foolish. I just hope they are doing it with eyes wide open and not based on some pie-in-the-sky notions the above creates.

gothicangel
03-31-2011, 01:19 PM
Aggressive in our own forum? A place where until two months ago we could have discussions about whether or not Lulu was a good POD publishing company to go with without having pro-legacies jump into every discussion explaining why self-publishing is not their own choice?

I've been trying to keep my mouth shut because I respect your decision not to self-publish and I respect your right to explain why you have made that decision.

But I don't think it's fair to say we are being aggressive in the self-publishing forum. This is supposed to be a place where we can talk about self-publishing. And recently, I feel we've mostly been defending it.

Your forum? So when self-publishing post appear in threads about traditional publishing I can turn around and say 'get outta our forum.' Those of us here have experience in publishing, if you feel a need to defend against people who have 10+ experience in publishing, then there is something wrong.

gothicangel
03-31-2011, 01:20 PM
My only problem with some self-publishers is that they are saying things that, to a new aspiring writer, make it seem as if self-publishing is the only smart way to fame and riches. They do not distinguish between self-publishing and e-publishing; they act as though fiction and nonfiction are equally viable for successful self-publishing; they do not look at the majority of writers (either self or commercial), but cling to the exceptions; they make comments and claims about the dinosaur of commercial publishing heading towards extinction.

If a writer decides to self-publish, I'm not going to call them foolish. I just hope they are doing it with eyes wide open and not based on some pie-in-the-sky notions the above creates.

This.

Old Hack
03-31-2011, 04:38 PM
It can be safely said that the trolling in these particular subforums is coming from both sides. If need be, I can link to the multiple closed threads of shame.

By now it's pretty obvious which posters are grinding axes, which ones feel strongly, and which ones are behaving professionally.

It should also be pretty obvious that if anyone feels that another poster has gone too far there's a little "report post" button on every post which you can click to draw it to the attention of the mods. I sometimes wish AW's members made more use of the function: it would certainly save some hurt feelings and closed threads.


Aggressive in our own forum? A place where until two months ago we could have discussions about whether or not Lulu was a good POD publishing company to go with without having pro-legacies jump into every discussion explaining why self-publishing is not their own choice?

With the exception of the Mod Room and a few banned members, all of AW is open for all comers. It's good that you feel attached to this part of it; and I hope you continue to enjoy it here. But no one but Mac and the Admins has the right to restrict anyone's access to any part of AW, or to claim certain parts of it for their own.

As for your comments regarding writers who publish via trade publishing: why shouldn't they express their opinions here? So long as people explain their choices respectfully then I see no problem with anyone doing so. But if you feel they've gone over the top, there's always that "report post" button.

Now: no more bickering about who has a right to post here, or who "owns" the self-publishing section of AW. If it continues I'll lock this thread which would be a shame, because there's an interesting discussion going on here.

CaoPaux
03-31-2011, 07:25 PM
IOW, this is AW's Self-Publishing forum, and as such this is where the AW community counters the myths, misinformation, and marketing doublespeak seeded by folks selling "self-publishing" services to the naive. Those with the education and experience to know better have plenty of space to discuss actual self-publishing -- and absolutely no obligation to join any "Publishing is dead! OMG, he made millions selfpublishing, I can du it 2!!!1!!" thread to interject the reality of effective self-publishing.

Sheryl Nantus
03-31-2011, 08:32 PM
I think it's important to have a neutral ground where both the pros and cons of self-pubbing can be discussed without the hyperbole that tends to exist on other boards *coughKindleboardscough* where it's biased one way or the other.

I've said in numerous posts that self-pubbing is an excellent option in some cases. But I think it's also the newest area for people to take money FROM authors for services such as cover art, editing, etc. and the author end up with nothing or even less, going into debt, based on misinformation.

At least that's my take.

rsullivan9597
04-02-2011, 05:36 PM
It will be even more interesting to see how this affects the whole "my way of publishing is better than yours" mentality I've seen since joining this forum. I think it would be nice to be able to discuss to discuss self-publishing without being trolled by people who are not involved in self-publishing at all, but have very strong opinions about it and the people who utilize it.



While most on this forum would classify me as being "firmly" in one of these camps - the reality is I totally don't believe that one is better than the other - it all depends on what your skills are and your goals.

As I mentioned before I skin in all aspects of this game:

5 self-published books
Run a small press where I have 13 "other" people's books out
Signing a six-figure contract with a big-six publisher
I do "promote" the self-published on this forum more as a way of providing counter-balance as so many here seem to think that traditional is the "only choice".

rsullivan9597
04-02-2011, 05:41 PM
The problem is that most book reviewers are NOW already inundated with self-pub print writers sending their latest PublishAmerica masterpiece or Tate Publishing tome in for reviews.

It's hard for even a small press to get reviews - I doubt that's going to change much now with so many more players in the game. There might be an exception here and there, but for the most part most newspapers are going to continue to do the big name authors because that's what the public knows. The majority of readers outside of the online world don't know who Amanda Hocking is and don't care - until they see the book on the shelves.

Add to that the disappearance of many book reviewers period and a move towards buying syndicated reviews and I don't see much hope for a newspaper reviewing a self-pub online book.

I agree - there are too few 'slots' and the process is too time consuming for there to be any major movement in this respect....but...book blogging sites are becomming a major influence on buying habits - particular for those that focus on a particular genre. One of the biggest things that propelled my husband's self-publishing success is the fact that so many sites reviewed his series well. I credit Fantasy Book Critic as one of the major contributor's to the Riyria Revelation's success.