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Hilldawg
01-21-2012, 07:23 AM
I'm curious about those published authors who have chosen the self-published path over the traditional path. Why did you choose this path? For those who are traditionally published - did you ever consider self-publishing?

As a librarian, I'm trained not to trust self-published books. There just aren't enough sources for reviews of the self-published market. Further, as a reader, I've found many of them to be disappointing or downright terrible. However, self-published books are rapidly taking over the market while traditional publishing houses are shrinking and disappearing daily. If self-publishing is the future, how can the consumer select the meat from the gristle? How do self-published authors ensure their works are ready for the public eye without a team of professional editors looking them over?

Hill

Cyia
01-21-2012, 07:26 AM
You might want to ask those in the self-publishing sub forum, as that's where people with the most experience hang out.

(And, FWIW, self-published books are not "taking over" the market. Very few sell enough copies to even get noticed; those that have sold exceptionally well are making news because it's the "new" thing of the moment.)

Hilldawg
01-21-2012, 07:47 AM
(And, FWIW, self-published books are not "taking over" the market. Very few sell enough copies to even get noticed; those that have sold exceptionally well are making news because it's the "new" thing of the moment.)

Here's a very interesting article on the topic:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704912004575253132121412028.html

Toothpaste
01-21-2012, 08:47 AM
There's a difference between ebooks and self publishing. Publishers are taking full advantage of the new technology. Even Amazon has its own traditional imprint now. If self publishing was taking over and publishers were losing out, Amazon in no way would be investing in paying for such quality editors to come on board, or such high advances to its authors.

Further, of course you're likely to have self published books dwarf traditionally published books. There are more authors who couldn't get publishers than those that could. Everyone who was ever rejected now just puts their stuff out there. Because of course it wasn't rejected because it was bad, it was rejected because publishers are idiots /sarcasm. (okay, that's me being very mean - I am well aware publishers are far from perfect - two of the best books I've read recently have been treated horribly by publishers. One had the rights reverted recently, the other couldn't find any kind of home until a small press took it on. My point is simply I am really sad that many writers these days don't take the time to evaluate their own work and see if maybe there was a reason it was rejected, and work to improve it, as opposed to just assuming it's perfect and posting it online).

Now, that's absolutely not saying that there aren't best selling self published authors out there, and that self publishing isn't a viable alternative for some authors. A viable alternative even for me maybe, I'm definitely thinking about it for one of my books which suits the ebook format I think. But the numbers don't always say what some with a vested interest think they are saying.

Witness the interview interviewing a one Mr. Konrath. That's all the evidence I need of a biased article. Oh, also Mr. Konrath signed a publishing deal with Amazon, so clearly he doesn't feel that self publishing - despite all his success - is the only way to go. No matter what he insists elsewhere.

I should also point out that when someone is hugely successful, or even decently successful with a self published work, the news is spread like wildfire. By the industry, but also by all those hopefuls who want to use the news as validation that they too will be that successful when they self publish. The fact is, you still have traditionally published authors doing just fine, but that isn't news. And it's fairly common in fact. Because success in self publishing is so new and rare, you hear about it more. Giving the impression that publishers are suffering horribly.

Now I'm not saying that things aren't changing. And I will admit to getting frustrated with some publishers for not being more forward thinking. Especially with regards to ebook royalty rates and pricing. But things aren't always how they seem.

I guess for me what it comes down to is an article that is all speculation. And interviews with people clearly invested in the self publishing niche. Though I will admit this is a more balanced article than most, you still notice not one of the Big Six was interviewed.

Anyway . . . all this is in response to your posting this article link.



To answer your actual question:

I chose traditional because I wanted to focus on being a writer first. I wanted to work with a team, an editor, a marketing department, a design team. I wanted people who were good at their jobs helping me make the best book I could. And all for free. Further, I actually got paid to write. AND my book will exist as a physical book. And say what you will about ereaders (I do love my Kobo), there's nothing quite like a real live book. :)

Cyia
01-21-2012, 09:04 AM
. A viable alternative even for me maybe, I'm definitely thinking about it for one of my books which suits the ebook format I think.


Ditto this. I have a book that I know won't make it in the current commercial market, but I love the story and refuse to give up on because it's not something I can sell the usual way.

Everything else (so far), however - commercial publication all the way.

blacbird
01-21-2012, 09:32 AM
The poll lacks a very important option, which makes it impossible for me to vote in:

NOT published.

I would choose this over "self-published", for a novel. "Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing. I can deal with the endless rejection in attempt to get something published via a traditional route, though it most certainly doesn't make me happy. But the point is that that response is the judgment of an impersonal audience. Self-publication of a novel is nothing but vanity publication, and that's not my goal.

There are things worthy of self-publication, but I can't see a novel being one of those, in any form. If I can't get a novel accepted for traditional publication, it means the damn thing isn't good enough to interest readers. Readers is what I want. If I can't interest those, it means, simply, the stuff I write ain't good enough.

caw

SBibb
01-21-2012, 10:40 AM
The poll lacks a very important option, which makes it impossible for me to vote in:

NOT published.

I would choose this over "self-published", for a novel. "Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing. I can deal with the endless rejection in attempt to get something published via a traditional route, though it most certainly doesn't make me happy. But the point is that that response is the judgment of an impersonal audience. Self-publication of a novel is nothing but vanity publication, and that's not my goal.

There are things worthy of self-publication, but I can't see a novel being one of those, in any form. If I can't get a novel accepted for traditional publication, it means the damn thing isn't good enough to interest readers. Readers is what I want. If I can't interest those, it means, simply, the stuff I write ain't good enough.

caw

I disagree. While traditional publishers act as gatekeepers, it's important to remember that what gets published through them goes through many subjective opinions, and therefore, a perfectly good book may never be picked up by an agent because it wasn't queried to the right people, or they had similar projects, or what have you.

While I'll admit that there's a lot of poorly written self-published books out there, there's also a lot of traditionally published books that are seen as just as bad. It's all a matter of opinion.

Though I'm trying the traditional route first (I've just begun querying), I'm very interested in self-publishing. The idea of complete control of the novel, from start to finish, intriques me. However, I'd much rather have someone else do the marketing, and let someone else deal with some of the finer intricacies. If I self-published, I'd want to hire a formal editor to look over the work, find a substantial number of beta readers, decide whether my illustation style fits for the book as a cover or not, and whether I should hire someone, as well as what sort of marketing techniques I'd need to go through to fully push the book to its full potential.

So I lean both ways. I'm interested in both. Both take a lot of work, and both have thier pros and cons. Not published yet, but I'm querying now. :-)

Mr. Anonymous
01-21-2012, 10:51 AM
The poll lacks a very important option, which makes it impossible for me to vote in:

NOT published.

I would choose this over "self-published", for a novel. "Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing. I can deal with the endless rejection in attempt to get something published via a traditional route, though it most certainly doesn't make me happy. But the point is that that response is the judgment of an impersonal audience. Self-publication of a novel is nothing but vanity publication, and that's not my goal.

There are things worthy of self-publication, but I can't see a novel being one of those, in any form. If I can't get a novel accepted for traditional publication, it means the damn thing isn't good enough to interest readers. Readers is what I want. If I can't interest those, it means, simply, the stuff I write ain't good enough.

caw

I think there's a distinction that needs to be made, between what readers actually like, and what editors think readers will like, and what agents think editors will think readers will like.

Off the top of my head, I know that The Princess Diaries took something like a year to sell, got plenty of rejections. Some agents would have given up by then, in which case the novel wouldn't have sold. There are just so many different factors that go into whether a novel gets picked up or not.

Say what you will about self-publication, but the impersonal audience is still there. Whether said audience will know that your book even exists is another question entirely.

Old Hack
01-21-2012, 12:24 PM
I'm curious about those published authors who have chosen the self-published path over the traditional path.

It's "trade publishing", not "traditional publishing".


self-published books are rapidly taking over the market while traditional publishing houses are shrinking and disappearing daily.

Trade publishers are enjoying these difficult financial times about as much as any other business but most are pretty sound.

There are now more books self-published each year than the trade publishers put out: but the average sales per title of trade-published books outranks the average sales per title of self-published books by a considerable factor (I don't have statistics on this but I'd guess that trade published books sell on average ten times as many copies as self-published books, title for title). And that's being conservative.


"Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing. I can deal with the endless rejection in attempt to get something published via a traditional route, though it most certainly doesn't make me happy. But the point is that that response is the judgment of an impersonal audience. Self-publication of a novel is nothing but vanity publication, and that's not my goal.

Blacbird: respect your fellow writer. You know better than that.

gothicangel
01-21-2012, 12:26 PM
I'm not that interested in self-publishing in the slightest. It's not just the promotion, but the time, effort and expense of putting together a industry standard book

I downloaded an app yesterday so I can read Kindle on my PC [I have a Sony Reader] so I could download Nicola Morgan's new book. I'm considering whether to download a few SP'ed Kindle books similiar to mine [Roman historicals] to see what the competition are up to, and why they where rejected. But that's as far as my interest goes.

IMHO: I bought my sister Amanda Hocking's [I]traditional edition of Switched yesterday.

DancingMaenid
01-21-2012, 01:35 PM
I'm not published, but I'm interested in both "traditional" and self-publishing.

I love the idea of self-publishing. I love the idea of having full control over the process. So I can't see myself going my whole life without self-publishing anything, especially since I have some projects that may be niche enough that it could be tough to find a publisher for them.

But I also recognize that working with a publisher has a lot of benefits, and that I don't have the means right now to publish a book up to industry standards. I also know that with the amount of competition out there and the lack of gatekeepers with self-publishing, it can be really challenging to get your book noticed. I don't need thousands of readers, but more than 10 or 20 would be nice. :p

Captcha
01-21-2012, 04:46 PM
I've published with e-publishers (m/m romance, so a niche market) and plan to continue doing so, but I'd like to experiment with self-publishing as well. I've got a bit of a name, so hopefully I can use that to persuade readers to give my self-pubbed stuff a try. If they read something they like from me, I think mostly they'd look for more stuff written by ME, not for more stuff from the same publisher.

It'll be an interesting experiment. If it took me years to write a single book, I'd be less inclined to take a risk, but I write pretty quickly, so I'm okay with risking a couple months' work. I'll pay for cover art and editing, but I've formatted a few freebies myself without much trouble, so I can handle that part.

seun
01-21-2012, 04:57 PM
I don't think self-published automatically means the book is of poor quality but after eight years of working in a library, I have yet to come across a self-published book that I would consider good enough for a trade publisher to accept.

crunchyblanket
01-21-2012, 05:15 PM
I'm a little leery of self-publishing...my experience has been that it's a perfect example of Sturgeon's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon%27s_Law) - most of what I've read has been mediocre at best, or has had great potential but lacks the polish and fine-tuning it needs to be great. (Of course, I've also read traditionally published stuff that has been appalling, so...)

Of course, I'm still terrified of Kindles, so what do I know? ;)

VoireyLinger
01-21-2012, 06:16 PM
Here's a very interesting article on the topic:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704912004575253132121412028.html

That article is a year and a half old. That's like dog years in the digital self-pub world.

ChaosTitan
01-21-2012, 07:29 PM
It's "trade publishing", not "traditional publishing".

This bears repeating. If we're going to compare methods, let's at least use the correct terms.

The poll also lacks another selection that breaks down trade publishing even further, which is print versus digital.

And considering the fact that during the holidays, ebook sales evened out while print sales increased, it's illogical to continue to argue that ebooks are taking over and nudging out print houses. In this rapidly changing market, any data older than a few months is practically useless.

That said, however, I'm shifting this out of novels and down to Round Table for wider discussion. Nonfiction and poetry authors have to make the same kinds of decisions with regards to publication. :)

profen4
01-21-2012, 08:06 PM
I think a combination of the two paradigms seems an attractive option.

Admittedly, I tend to avoid self published books, but when I see an author with a self published book who also has books published through more established presses, I purchase happily. And in those cases, I have actually been very satisfied with what I read. In a way, I think a book requires less vetting than does an author.
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ETA: Lately, I have taken a chance on some self published authors who didn't have any commercial publishing credits, and again, I was pleasantly surprised. Good self-published books are out there. Amazing ones are out there, in fact, its just sometimes difficult to find them.

Calle Jay
01-21-2012, 08:27 PM
I do both. I am traditionally published through an epublisher and I have chosen to self-pub a few other works that don't fit the publisher's requirements. But...

I am a content editor for the epublisher now. I was hired four months after my first novel was published through them. I am good friends with two other editors--a copy editor and another content editor. They edit for me, ruthlessly. I return the favor or design covers for them for their own self-pubbed works.

I realize my situation is a bit different, but my books are going through at least two or three rounds of harsh edits by industry professionals before being self-pubbed.

I don't see that as an admittance of failure at writing. After all, I am published and I am achieving my ultimate goal of working in the publishing industry.

Just my two cents.

dangerousbill
01-21-2012, 08:40 PM
"Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing.


Screw that. Getting traditionally published is 50-90% luck or perhaps connections. Just the right editor is in just the right mood when s/he picks it up, or they have a hole in their publishing schedule that your book happens to fill, or your shit happens to appeal to a large enough segment of the perceived market.

So you get published. Your book gets 60 days shelved spine outward, in competition with the latest lineup of big-name blockbusters with their own display stands. Then it's off to the shredder, to be turned into paper plates and cardboard box liner.

Finally, you get your royalty statement, with no way of telling whether it's honest or manipulated. With that sneaky 'net' term in your contract, you'll be lucky to earn out your advance no matter how many you sell.

I have two books published with a small niche e-publisher (does that count?), but the paper versions are self-published (upfront cost $19). So far the two channels are earning about the same.

Toothpaste
01-21-2012, 09:05 PM
Uh . . . you do know that trade publishers are also publishing in ebook format now too right?

And that not all publishers are lying scum who cheat their authors on their royalty statements?

In your attempt to counter blacbird's admittedly offensive and ignorant post, you managed to be just as offensive and ignorant yourself.

Anne Lyle
01-21-2012, 09:39 PM
I'm trade-published at the moment - I wanted to see my book in the shops alongside my teen idols like Tolkien and Asimov :)

Also, we're still in a situation where self-pubbers are second-class citizens unless they are amazing breakout bestsellers like Amanda Hocking. Even though my book isn't out yet, my publishers can get me onto panels at major conventions, and their name on the cover can get my book reviewed by popular print magazines - all sorts of little promotional things that are still off-limits to the self-pub crowd.

I haven't ruled out self-pubbing stuff that's not suitable for a trade house, e.g. if I wrote a novella or novelette, there's very little commercial interest in that length. But I don't have the time and energy to self-pub everything on top of a day-job and the actual writing, so I'm happy to hand over a big chunk of my royalties in return for cash up front and someone taking care of the business side for me.

dangerousbill
01-21-2012, 11:11 PM
you managed to be just as offensive and ignorant yourself.

Heh. I prefer 'provocative'. Blacbird may agree with me.

Toothpaste
01-21-2012, 11:19 PM
I see no advantage in perpetuating the absurd notion that there ought to be this war going on between the self published and the trade published. That people on both sides think it's just dandy insulting the other (and yes, implying the main reason I have a publishing deal has nothing to do with my writing, is an insult, just as blacbird implying anyone who self publishes is an imbecile is also one).

Why they hell can't we respect each other? And why would you stoop to "provoke"? What's the point? Now no one respects the core of your point - that blacbird is wrong and there are plenty of valid reasons for someone to choose to self publish - because you've gone so extreme in your own post. So I guess if the only point of your post was to provoke emotion, well done, I'm pissed. But I prefer to use these forums in a constructive manner, to educate and to try to bring people together. Not to push people further apart.

dangerousbill
01-21-2012, 11:26 PM
Also, we're still in a situation where self-pubbers are second-class citizens unless they are amazing breakout bestsellers like Amanda Hocking.


I think you're second-class only if you've bought into the propaganda from the already-published, who maintain that you will surely be published if only you are good enough, and that self-publication is for losers or the terminally impatient.

I see polarization happening between those who 'believe' in self-publishing and those who 'believe' in the traditional route.

On one side, you're fighting against a lumbering dinosaur of an industry that's focused on finding the next John Grisham, or of creating the next blockbuster from a pile of soggy dog doo, like The Davinci Code. To hell with talent or creativity, it's the name and the synthetic credibility that count.

On the other side, you're faced with making your diamond stand out in a vast and smelly cesspool of published garbage, and of resisting the lure of predators labeling themselves as 'self-publishers' or 'subsidy publishers'.

In the middle is the great crowd of would-be authors, who have been advised to think there is just one correct answer to the traditional/self-pub decision. At the moment, the decision itself is an illusion, or else it's an irrational choice, like choosing a political party. People have been successful, and failed, either way, and sometimes both ways.

EDIT: Toothpaste, could we be arguing in violent agreement here?

Jonathan Figaro
01-21-2012, 11:28 PM
I've taken the self publishing route. More control, more power, more profit!

COchick
01-21-2012, 11:29 PM
I fit in to the "both" category. My first novel, which is what got my agent, never sold in the US, although it did sell in foreign markets. I ended up self-publishing it in the US, and I've seen a fair amount of success. In the meantime I've self-published a second book, and my agent has another one out on submission with publishers.

Toothpaste
01-21-2012, 11:46 PM
I think you're second-class only if you've bought into the propaganda from the already-published, who maintain that you will surely be published if only you are good enough, and that self-publication is for losers or the terminally impatient.

I see polarization happening between those who 'believe' in self-publishing and those who 'believe' in the traditional route.

On one side, you're fighting against a lumbering dinosaur of an industry that's focused on finding the next John Grisham, or of creating the next blockbuster from a pile of soggy dog doo, like The Davinci Code. To hell with talent or creativity, it's the name and the synthetic credibility that count.

On the other side, you're faced with making your diamond stand out in a vast and smelly cesspool of published garbage, and of resisting the lure of predators labeling themselves as 'self-publishers' or 'subsidy publishers'.

In the middle is the great crowd of would-be authors, who have been advised to think there is just one correct answer to the traditional/self-pub decision. At the moment, the decision itself is an illusion, or else it's an irrational choice, like choosing a political party. People have been successful, and failed, either way, and sometimes both ways.

EDIT: Toothpaste, could we be arguing in violent agreement here?


Doubt it. You are still determined to perpetuate un-true stereotypes of the publishing industry. Oh yes, you attempt to even the balance by pointing out there is bad stuff in self publishing and scam artists, but you don't in one fell swoop dismiss the entire concept the way you do with trade publishers. You focus on the bad within self publishing, but don't say that it is entirely bad. However you will insist that trade publishing in its entirety is a lumbering dinosaur that has no interest in creativity or talent.

Again, do you not see how offensive that is to people who are being published by trade publishers?

I get that you actually do, like me, wish to promote that there is no one right way to publish as an author, and we need to find the happy middle ground. So yes, on that we agree. We also agree on the false notion of choice. But I vehemently disagree with the manner with which you are presenting this argument.

Mine, for the record is this: there are pros and cons with both. There are people who are passionate on both sides, and work of striking talent and originality on both sides. There is also dreck on both sides. There are people on both sides who are smart and savvy and who have very good advice to give the new writer. And there are people with vested interests on both sides who will lie to you. Authors have to take care of themselves, ask a lot of questions, and make smart informed decisions not based on false absolutes (about either form of publishing).

Anne Lyle
01-22-2012, 12:20 AM
I think you're second-class only if you've bought into the propaganda from the already-published, who maintain that you will surely be published if only you are good enough, and that self-publication is for losers or the terminally impatient.


Sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm not saying that I think self-published authors are automatically lesser beings - I'm saying that that's how they are perceived by the wider genre community. Self-pubbed authors just don't have easy access to the promotional outlets that trade pubbed ones do, because they're all tarred with the same brush.



On one side, you're fighting against a lumbering dinosaur of an industry that's focused on finding the next John Grisham, or of creating the next blockbuster from a pile of soggy dog doo, like The Davinci Code. To hell with talent or creativity, it's the name and the synthetic credibility that count.

Not at my publishers you aren't. Admittedly they aren't "Big Six", because they aren't owned by a multinational media conglomerate, but they put books into all the big chains, online and off, and are in most respects indistinguishable from a big house - apart from their innovative approach to genre fiction. Look them up some time :)

I agree that the megalithic houses have been pressured by their parent companies into focusing on the bottom line, but to say that all trade-published authors are in the same boat - and by implication are downtrodden peons - is neither accurate nor respectful.

Toothpaste
01-22-2012, 12:32 AM
(in case people decide that it's okay to assume the Big Six at least have no room for talent and creativity, I'm being published with Penguin . . . now I guess you can make an assumption about my abilities, but, just wanted to point that out. For the record, I haven't for a moment felt stifled creatively or made to conform. Heck, I was really worried that because I was writing YA that my editor would have a problem with there not being tons of romance in my book [there is some, but it's not the main plot of the book, unlike most YAs right now]. But nope, not a word.)

Anne Lyle
01-22-2012, 12:38 AM
I can only speak for my personal experience. I have friends being published by major houses, but I don't know all the ins and outs of their experience. They all seem pretty happy with the way they're treated, though.

Cyia
01-22-2012, 12:41 AM
I've taken the self publishing route. More control, more power, more profit!


This is the argument that always baffles me.

COMPARED TO WHAT?

More control than an editor who makes suggestions to better your book, yet changes nothing without your express consent?

More power than creating the book, characters, plot, beginning, middle, end, etc.?

More profit than an advance you never have to pay back whether the book earns out or not?

I get that there are people banking on self-publishing, and that it definitely has legitimate uses and success stories (as I've said, I've got at least one, maybe two, projects that would work well as SP) but it's not a concrete "This is the only way!!!" sort of situation, and that's how comments like the above make it sound.

Toothpaste
01-22-2012, 12:42 AM
I can only speak for my personal experience. I have friends being published by major houses, but I don't know all the ins and outs of their experience. They all seem pretty happy with the way they're treated, though.

Of course of course. That's all any of us can speak from, which is why absolutes based on personal experience, or stories of the experiences of others, can be dangerous. I pointed out what I did because I could see people coming in and going, "Well, of course, smaller presses are different, what I meant was the Big Six are evil."

For the record, while I and some of my friends have had positive experiences with the big six, I also know of others who have had quite the opposite. So I'm not saying they are perfect. It's just I think it's easy for people to diss the Big Six because they seem them as large impersonal corporations and it doesn't matter if they insult them. What they sometimes forget is that there are humans who work for these corporations, and authors published with them, who can have their feelings hurt.

Toothpaste
01-22-2012, 12:45 AM
This is the argument that always baffles me.

COMPARED TO WHAT?

More control than an editor who makes suggestions to better your book, yet changes nothing without your express consent?

More power than creating the book, characters, plot, beginning, middle, end, etc.?

More profit than an advance you never have to pay back whether the book earns out or not?

I get that there are people banking on self-publishing, and that it definitely has legitimate uses and success stories (as I've said, I've got at least one, maybe two, projects that would work well as SP) but it's not a concrete "This is the only way!!!" sort of situation, and that's how comments like the above make it sound.


I agree totally. I've never really understood the "more control over my work" kind of thing. I WANT an editor. I don't think what I write is flawless. I make some really stupid mistakes (I'm on round two of my edits combined with copy edits right this moment, and OMG, how did I miss some of this stuff?). I love working with someone else to make my story the best it can be.

Also, I get the final say. For example, my editor and I are very much disagreeing on a major point in the book, and in the end she has said that I have final say on the subject. Despite the fact that she clearly has issues with this point.

Anyway . . . I like having an editor is my point :) .

Anne Lyle
01-22-2012, 12:52 AM
This is the argument that always baffles me.

COMPARED TO WHAT?

More control than an editor who makes suggestions to better your book, yet changes nothing without your express consent?

More power than creating the book, characters, plot, beginning, middle, end, etc.?

More profit than an advance you never have to pay back whether the book earns out or not?

I get that there are people banking on self-publishing, and that it definitely has legitimate uses and success stories (as I've said, I've got at least one, maybe two, projects that would work well as SP) but it's not a concrete "This is the only way!!!" sort of situation, and that's how comments like the above make it sound.

Agreed. I have a lovely editor who prompted me for ideas to make the book better - then left me to implement them; who allowed me to write my own back cover copy when I pointed out the one they provided was inaccurate; who used my typography suggestions in the cover design (whilst admittedly improving on them with superior quality fonts).

OK so it helps that I have insider experience in publishing, so I know how to present my case, but editors aren't all tyrants riding rough-shod over unhappy authors' feelings. But as with anything, you tend to hear the small percentage of complaints, not the happy experiences of the majority.

As for money, I'd like to see the average self-pub author make four figures on a book without lifting a finger :)

MarieSalvros
01-22-2012, 04:57 AM
NOT published.

I would choose this over "self-published", for a novel.


And have you done so? Have you had any novels published?



"Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing.

Um, no, I think the utter abysmal failure at writing would be your previous suggestion: NOT PUBLISHED. Haha. Seriously, mr. Blackbird, that was the silliest thing I've read in a long time, and I've been to the PA message boards.

Linda Adams
01-22-2012, 06:21 AM
I'm opting for self-published through eBooks. When the option first came up, I didn't want anything to do with it. But as I thought about, I was able to come up with several reasons why I should (none of them being "It's hard to get published.").

Based what I've seen in my reading, the publishers have narrowed what they take. Frankly, I'm outside of it. Waaay outside of it. Three different books, and I was reduced to simply picking agents by genre because I could not find any repping anything similar that had been published. Yes, every story has been done before, but there is one element in it that are part of my brand that the publishers aren't touching. I would likely be asked to change it if they did accept a book, and it's the reason I write.

My word count also runs short for the genre. It's an awful nightmare trying to write upwards, especially problematic with tight deadlines publishers are now requiring. eBooks can either be short or long, so I could produce more without having to worry about word count.

And I actually have a plan. The first part is simply getting the book to where it needs to be, so I'm working through edits. I'm also building my brand through Twitter and my blog, and considering how to work my brand on the cover. I'm also planning on going to about four science fiction conventions in 2010 -- for the writing workshops, and also to find out about how to promote it.

Bogna
01-22-2012, 06:36 AM
My goal is to be traditionally published but I do plan on self e-publishing a few novellas/short stories that I have. I'm just impatient and I really want my name out there, even if it isn't much.

darkelf
01-22-2012, 06:55 AM
I'm also planning on going to about four science fiction conventions in 2010

Wow, you perfected time travel! Is it documented in your novels?

(I'm sorry, I had to. That just tickled me. :D )

jonaki
01-22-2012, 07:22 AM
My agent was the judge for a self pub contest. She said out of the hundred of books (boxes and boxes) of books she received there was only one that stood out. The rest were soooooo bad she did not even feel like reading them. This author went on to win the prize and is getting feted at the WD Conference at NYC at the moment. I asked my agent what she did right. My agent said for one the cover was terrific and the book was impeccably edited and put together and, not least, the writing was amazing.
The conclusion: Self publication has to be done right. And it is very hard and takes a certain kind of savvy. Most writers are just in a big hurry to get their book out.
My agent is still actively shopping my manuscript (it's been 3 months now). I am hoping I get picked up because I dread the thought of self publication. It takes a lot of steam to market novels. Without marketing you are dead in the water.
Good luck with your decisions - y'all!

blacbird
01-22-2012, 07:55 AM
And have you done so? Have you had any novels published?

Self-published my own novels? No. Nor will I. I have "self-published" a number of public-domain texts which I consider worthy, so I very much know how the process works. I used to maintain a free public-domain literature site, and drifted into getting some of these old out-of-print titles back into availability via Lulu. Maybe 100 of these have sold, over several years. I might do more. But my own novels? When the sun gets big and red and fries the Earth.


Um, no, I think the utter abysmal failure at writing would be your previous suggestion: NOT PUBLISHED. Haha. Seriously, mr. Blackbird, that was the silliest thing I've read in a long time, and I've been to the PA message boards.

My failure, in the original post, was to not indicate clearly that the response was directed at my own personal agenda, and not aimed at those of others. I got accused here of "not respecting my fellow writer". Nothing could be farther from the truth. I never pointed any finger at any other spelcific writer, here or elsewhere. Others in this thread have aimed barbs at Stephanie Meyer and Dan Brown. I never do that, and never will. They are successful writers. Which means, in the equations that govern my thinking, that both are much better writers than I am, by any standard of objective evidence.

I also, specifically, applied by comment to novels, and made the point that there are other kinds of books for which self-publication is a sensible option.

Now, go back and read my post, and see exactly where it is "ignorant and offensive" (two other epithets given it in this thread). I said "any imbecile can accomplish" self-publication. Does anyone here question that statement? I didn't accuse anyone who has self-published of being an imbecile, but I have seen self-published novels, and the population of such is really grim.

Point being, that if you opt for self-publishing your novel, you really really really need to take a hard look at the pile of manure you're diving into, and hoping somebody will dig through to find your masterpiece. That's the reality.

Are crappy novels (my comment only applied to novels) published by big traditional publishers? Sure. Is the ratio of good v. bad novels published by trad publishers equal to the ratio of good v. bad books self-pubbed? Does a poll need to be made from this question? Really?

For me, it's a matter of respect. If my work isn't respectable enough to clear the hurdle of standard objective publication judgment, I regard that as a valuable objective assessment, and prefer that nobody ever see it.

I know a couple of people who have self-published novels, at considerable personal expense. I reviewed these things in manuscript, in a writer's group. They were cosmically terrible, and the writers were immune and hostile to any form of criticism.

I really don't want to be in that manure pile. I'll maintain my own personal little manure pile, thank you.

caw

MarieSalvros
01-22-2012, 08:14 AM
Self-published my own novels? No. Nor will I. I have "self-published" a number of public-domain texts which I consider worthy, so I very much know how the process works. I used to maintain a free public-domain literature site, and drifted into getting some of these old out-of-print titles back into availability via Lulu. Maybe 100 of these have sold, over several years. I might do more. But my own novels? When the sun gets big and red and fries the Earth.



I was asking if you have a novel published at this time. Not selfpublished. Just published? Your previous post seemed to imply that you had some insider knowledge. I was checking to see if that was the case.

c.m.n.
01-22-2012, 08:43 AM
I hope to do both, but right now I'm self-published.

Honestly, it's been fun, at best, and a good learning experience. But I'd love it if one of my subs got picked up by a press.

Notice here I didn't say anything about $, which isn't really anything to hoot over in my case. With the lack of a press to help with efficient advertising, I have pretty much not advertised at all, besides for a blog post here and there.

Really, as of right now, I'm using the time that I do self-publish to refine my writing voice and learn, learn, learn. I have several beta's who look over my work before I publish, to insure a decent product too, and will probably continue to count on helpful beta readers even if/when I get picked up by a house.

blacbird
01-22-2012, 08:46 AM
I was asking if you have a novel published at this time. Not selfpublished. Just published? Your previous post seemed to imply that you had some insider knowledge. I was checking to see if that was the case.

Nope.

caw

Al Stevens
01-22-2012, 08:50 AM
"Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing.Well, I self-published one novel, and I'm not admitting to anything. :)

Linda Adams
01-22-2012, 04:24 PM
The conclusion: Self publication has to be done right. And it is very hard and takes a certain kind of savvy. Most writers are just in a big hurry to get their book out.

Very true. I was asked to review an anthology of short stories by an indie author. He noted in the author's comments that all the stories had been rejected by magazines. Evidently, he never asked why they had been rejected, and I felt like I was just reading his slush pile. The grammar and punctuation were fine (a common complaint in indie, BTW), but he lacked basic skills.

scarletpeaches
01-22-2012, 05:36 PM
For those who are traditionally published - did you ever consider self-publishing?Never have, never will.
As a librarian, I'm trained not to trust self-published books. As a rule, I don't trust them either. I'm a die-hard 'gatekeeper system' fan.

I can't see self-publishing ever taking over the market...at least, I hope it doesn't.

Dani
01-22-2012, 05:58 PM
You know a lot of people asked me this question and why I wasn't going to submit this to an epublisher. I not only write in a small niche, it's a developing niche where it seems relatively easy to get published.

For me, the profit margin will be greater than e-publishing, mainly because the audience is smaller and the publishers that are involved in the m/m market are still on a learning curve. That's my opinion.

But let's fast forward a few years and say the m/m market grows bigger (considering in the last year that my goodreads group grew by 4,000 members, that's a good bet). And as the market grows, so does the demand for better editing and quality (something sorely lacking in a lot of the smaller publishing houses in this genre.) Would I consider self-publishing then? I'm not sure.

I love trade publishers. My love of reading came from trade publishers giving me Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwall, Kathy Reichs, James Patterson, Jonathan Kellerman and Cody McFadyen. Cody. Mothereffing. McFadyen. I could worship trade publishers just for giving me his Smokey Barrett.

I get really ticked off at people like blacbird who paint self-pubbers as imbecilic and nonpunishable failures. I get equally upset at self-publishers who tarnish what I consider great books. I loved the Da Vinci code. I'm sorry you didn't, but I don't consider it drivel or nonsense or crap. So please, don't insult me, either of you.

Besides profit, why would I self-publish? To be quite honest, I love the idea as starting as the underdog. I love that I'll have to work hard and I love that I have to be driven by my own power to succeed.

There was something said earlier in this thread about loving their editors. It might surprise you to know that I have an editor. We've grown quite close in the year we've been working together. He's a total sweetheart and has really helped me develop my story.

I also have a great beta reader who I met on this board, and two others who I met on gay forums.

We don't all rush to publish. It's tempting to say that a successful, well-written self-published book is a diamond in the rough, but I disagree. I think there's plenty to enjoy. I think that even some of what you might call drivel, I might love.

scarletpeaches
01-22-2012, 06:05 PM
We don't all rush to publish. It's tempting to say that a successful, well-written self-published book is a diamond in the rough, but I disagree. I think there's plenty to enjoy.I would compare a good self-published book more to a needle in a haystack. And sometimes there isn't even a needle.

I stand a far greater chance of finding something I like by going through the gatekeeper system. Now, if a self-published book is a good 'un, yes, I'm one of those people who asks, "Why didn't you go the traditional route?"
I think that even some of what you might call drivel, I might love.And therein lies the problem. We have different standards. (I know I'll probably get ripped for saying that, but notice I said different.)

I can't enjoy drivel. And yes, there is drivel published through the traditional route. But like I said, my chances of finding something I'll enjoy are far smaller if I look through a catalogue of self-published books.

As for why I would never self-publish, I want to know that whatever I put out there with my name on it, is good enough to make it past not just one gatekeeper, but several. If publishers or agents keep turning down my work, I won't publish it myself. If it's not good enough for the gatekeepers, it's not good enough for readers.

(PS: If anyone's wondering, SP, you're anti-self-publishing so why are you in the self-publishing forum, it's because I click on 'new posts' the first time I sign in to AW each day and besides which, I'm a forum-whore.)

Darkshore
01-22-2012, 06:18 PM
Disclaimer: Nothing I say is intended to insult anyone that goes the self-publishing route.

I am of the belief that most self-pubbed things are of bad quality. That's sadly more of a fact than an opinion. Anyone and their mother can self-publish, which is what causes this flooding of bad writing into the self-pub market. All those new AW'ers with golden word syndrome? Yeah, a lot of them end up self-publishing.

But on the other hand I do believe it can be a good thing as well. Harry Connolly just self-pubbed his prequel novel and Michael J. Sullivan managed to get traditionally published after the huge sales of his e-books (which is extremely rare).
If my blog-series takes off in popularity (longshot I know) I would like to write a few novellas or collections of shorts following those characters for people to buy if they were interested.

So in my honest opinion, it really depends on how it's done.

Captcha
01-22-2012, 06:22 PM
For me, the profit margin will be greater than e-publishing, mainly because the audience is smaller and the publishers that are involved in the m/m market are still on a learning curve. That's my opinion.

I'm not disagreeing with your decision, but I'm not sure I'm following the logic, either. I mean, I agree that the profit margin will be higher with self-pub, but do you really care about the profit margin, or just the profit? Like, if you get 70% of $100, that's something, but it would be better to get 40% of $10 000, right? Do you have reason to believe that your actual profits will be higher with self-pubbing, or just the margin?


But let's fast forward a few years and say the m/m market grows bigger (considering in the last year that my goodreads group grew by 4,000 members, that's a good bet). And as the market grows, so does the demand for better editing and quality (something sorely lacking in a lot of the smaller publishing houses in this genre.) Would I consider self-publishing then? I'm not sure.

Again, your book your call, but are you suggesting that e-publishers actually ADD editing errors to the books they put out? Otherwise, I'm not sure how the editing of your self-pubbed book would be better than the editing of the same MS sent through a publisher...?


Besides profit, why would I self-publish? To be quite honest, I love the idea as starting as the underdog. I love that I'll have to work hard and I love that I have to be driven by my own power to succeed.


Wow. Most people think that being a successful writer is challenging enough all on its own, without adding in extra obstacles! I appreciate your approach, treating it all as a challenge and a game... I feel the same way. I guess we're just using different strategies.

Monkey
01-22-2012, 07:32 PM
I get really ticked off at people like blacbird who paint self-pubbers as imbecilic and nonpunishable failures.

That's not what Blackbird said, though.

Any imbecile can self-publish. That's a fact. Even if you couldn't read and write, you could narrate a story to your computer and pay someone else to run the text through Lulu.

What was not as clear--but what Blackbird clarified in another post--was that to him self-publishing one of his novels would be an admission of failure, because self-publishing was never his goal for those particular books.



Besides profit, why would I self-publish?

I'm using this quote, but I don't mean to pick on you. Others have suggested self-publishing is more profitable than trade publication, as well, and I just can't let that slide.

Average advance for a first trade-published book is in the four figures.

Average total profit for a self-published book, first or not, is... what? From what I've seen, the AVERAGE self-pubbed book makes somewhere in the two-to-three figure range. Many, many self-published books end up costing their authors money, sometimes LOTS of money. Sadly, everyone I know who has self-published has ended up in that "losing money" range. A couple went through costly vanity publishers; a couple chose to spend money on T-shirts, business cards, and other advertising gizmos plus stock. Publish America, though it claims to be traditional, is actually back-end vanity--they make money off their authors by selling them their own books. Looking at their sales and the costs of the books, and listening to PA authors (disaffected and not) it seems that they are often losing money or coming out just far enough ahead for a Big-Mac.

This is not to say that no self-published book ever makes money or that no author should ever self-publish. My point is, if you want to play averages, trade publishing wins the monetary game hands down.

And if you want to look only at the outliers... the Rowlings and Kings out there got a better deal than the Hockings, IMO. So, "I'm self-publishing for the money" just doesn't ring true to me.

___

Another issue Blackbird hit on and I agree with is the idea that not publishing can be better than self-publishing. It was called ridiculous upthread...but it's not.

If you write a novel, send it out to every venue under the sun, and no one will take it...perhaps there's a reason?

Maybe it wasn't that your concept was "edgy" or dealt with religious themes. Maybe--just maybe--there is something fundamentally flawed in the book.

What if there IS something wrong with it?

Then self-publishing that book means that there is a fundamentally flawed piece of work out there with your name sprawled across it. You know how word-of-mouth can be an author's greatest advertising, right? Well, it works in reverse, too. And once a reader gets ahold of a really awful book, they're unlikely to pick up anything by that author ever again. Hate Twilight? If so, what are the chances you'll love Stephanie Meyer's new book about Zombies? Would you spend money to find out?

I doubt it. And that goes triple for relatively unknown authors.

And not only does self-publishing a sub-par piece of work potentially give readers a bad first impression of you, it can also burn a lot of your promotional opportunities. Say I self-pub an awful work that I just love. I push it hard...to family, to friends, to the local book store, to people who fall into the category I think will love this book (everyone, amiright?)

Some will buy it. Some will think I'm a jerk for looking at them like marks. But especially if the book simply isn't that good, what are the chances those people are going to be interested in hearing about my NEXT book, or the one after that?

So how do you know whether your book is just not getting hits or if it's simply not that good?

I believe in gatekeepers, but I think it's even simpler than that. And my rubric works even for short stories.

Will someone you don't know pay you money to publish it?

If they will, it's because someone other than you believes this is a story people will lay down cash for.

If they won't...why can't you find ANYONE other than yourself who believes others will lay down money for this story?

Note that not everyone seeks trade/commercial publication. Some perfectly salable novels go through self-publishing. But if they're salable, why not go for the better bet, money and publicity wise?

lwallace
01-22-2012, 08:00 PM
As a librarian, I'm trained not to trust self-published books. There just aren't enough sources for reviews of the self-published market. . . . If self-publishing is the future, how can the consumer select the meat from the gristle? How do self-published authors ensure their works are ready for the public eye without a team of professional editors looking them over?

Hill[/QUOTE]

You've pointed out the basic problem with self-published book: They are not vetted in the way that traditionally published book are. That's not to say that many of the traditionally published book aren't awful, but at least the traditional route does guarantee some sense that more than one person has made some kind of qualitative decision. On the other hand, there are some fine self-publ books. The reader (who it seems is less and less capable of recognizing a mediocre book from a good or great one) needs all the help he can get. The downside of the traditional publishing process is that much of it is smoke and mirrors, a slick cover, extravagant blurbs on the back cover . . . The big change to publishing came when the publishing houses were bought up by corporations whose only real concern is the bottom line of profit, whereas before that change, stand-alone publishing houses were mostly concerned about quality writing, which they believed sold itself. Readers trusted and believed in that quality-driven process. No more. Quality is harder to spot, given all the noise, the garish covers, carnival-hawker promotions, and extravagant claims.

lwallace
01-22-2012, 08:16 PM
So how do you know whether your book is just not getting hits or if it's simply not that good?

I believe in gatekeepers, but I think it's even simpler than that. . . .
Will someone you don't know pay you money to publish it?

If they will, it's because someone other than you believes this is a story people will lay down cash for.

If they won't...why can't you find ANYONE other than yourself who believes others will lay down money for this story?

[/QUOTE]

The above is exactly right. Most writers don't believe in the long and arduous process of apprenticeship--an idea that seems to have been lost in the era of instant success and instant gratification. If someone is really a writer, the prospect of 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years laboring at this difficult craft will not be a deterent. My problem with trade publishing, however, is not that the process provides vetting for writing, but that that process produces SO MANY plainly mediocre books. There is a glut of mediocrity. And I fear that most readers can scarcely tell the difference between mediocrity and excellence in writing. This glut of published work simply makes the chances of anything getting noticed even more difficult than it might be. Everyone fashions him or herself a writer. Witness Snooki. And publishers will pay huge advances for some of this mediocre writing because notoriety sells. There's much more to say here, but I wanted to get a few points down. I agree with the main point: Self-publishing is an admission of defeat. For the most part, self-publishing is an excellent way to consign a minimally vetted book to oblivion.

lwallace
01-22-2012, 08:34 PM
I'm not published, but I'm interested in both "traditional" and self-publishing.

I love the idea of self-publishing. I love the idea of having full control over the process. :p

Having full control over the whole process might be a curse for most writers. Sure, individuals know what they like, but can most writers design a cover that has reader appeal? Unlikely. Does a writer understand book layout? Can a writer set up the text properly for purely print company? Can the writer (or his family/friends) guarantee that the writing is well-edited? So many of the necessary skills are outside the skill set of nearly all writers. True, writers can learn all this, but it might well require a learning period of YEARS, not weeks or months. Most self-published writers are in a hurry. That point in itself is probably the most telling comment on self-publishing writers. There are exceptions, of course. If you pursue self-publishing, closely and honestly question your own drives and motives. Truly, ANYONE can have a book. What is the point in having a book?

Captcha
01-22-2012, 08:38 PM
I agree with the main point: Self-publishing is an admission of defeat. For the most part, self-publishing is an excellent way to consign a minimally vetted book to oblivion.

I think you're overgeneralizing. For some writers in some genres with some goals, sure, "self-publishing is an admission of defeat". For other writers in other genres with other goals, I think it's a valid strategy.

I agree that too many people are getting into self-pubbing with wrong ideas, and I worry that they will end up disillusioned. But if they do, it's a learning experience, and they can add it to their "30 years of laboring at this difficult craft", or they can get discouraged and quit.

We don't all have the same destination in mind for our writing, and even those of us who are trying to get to the same place will take different routes to get there. Some routes will be successful, others will dead end. It's all part of the game.

aruna
01-22-2012, 09:08 PM
I fit in to the "both" category. My first novel, which is what got my agent, never sold in the US, although it did sell in foreign markets. I ended up self-publishing it in the US, and I've seen a fair amount of success. In the meantime I've self-published a second book, and my agent has another one out on submission with publishers.


I too am in the "both" box.
My three novels were published by a Big Six publisher in the late 90's. I wrote several more novels, a memoir, and a non-fiction book since then, and finished up my big 40-year project, a new version of the Mahabharata.

My first HarperCollins novel went out of print in 2008 and I got the rights reverted. It was only published in the UK, so I thought I would self-publish it as an e-book so as to maybe get US sales as well. However, I have now changed my mind as i have started a new novel and hope I can sell both in the USA. My agent is American so that's a good possibility.

I self-published my big 40-year project last Christmas (see my blog for more info). It's an ideal book to self-publish: it will always sell even without promotion as it is a classic story that will constantly be in demand; so sales will almost certainly keep increasing over time. My goals are modest: at the moment it's simply to be the best-selling Mahabharata on the market, and I'm already almost there on Kindle: only one more comparable book to overtake, and that is much more expensive. I shall be self-publishing it via POD within the next few weeks.

I will not under any circumstances self-publish any of the other books I've written between my first novel and the one I'm writing now. I absolutely hate self-promotion, and that's the only way to make a success of self-publishing.

Self-publishing is fine for the right project. But one should never rush into it with a book that is not yet ready. Back-list books, for instance, are just fine to self-publish. It gives them new life, especially if they sold reasonably well the first time around.

dangerousbill
01-22-2012, 09:33 PM
I think you're overgeneralizing. For some writers in some genres with some goals, sure, "self-publishing is an admission of defeat". For other writers in other genres with other goals, I think it's a valid strategy.


I agree. I've been watching this dogpile since yesterday, and there are plenty of generalizations and assumptions to go around.

I have a foot in both camps. My novels are published as e-books. Since I have a nonexclusive contract, I also self-publish the paper versions, since my publisher doesn't do paper yet. Each channel seems to reinforce the other.

It's just not that hard to learn to do the whole process yourself. I've warned many prospective self publishers to study up on it thoroughly before falling into the clutches of 'self-publishing' companies. The SP process seems inordinately difficult from the outside, but it's like changing your own oil. Actual doing it turns out to be fairly easy, and there's a pleasant feeling of accomplishment when you've got that book in your hands. Or when the email starts to come in from readers.

You need:

- a completed manuscript, edited and rewritten until it drips blood and sweat

- accomplished fellow writers who can read and comment on your work (often done reciprocally)

- a decent cover, which might take weeks to do well, but which can be contracted out to starving specialists for as little as $100. There are many more artists out there than there is work for them, so you can get a good deal. Just make sure it's simple enough to reduce to a good thumbnail, which is crucial for online sales.

- the patience to play with the self-publishing machinery of lulu.com or createspace until the book looks the way you want it to. Lulu, at least, lets you go back in and fiddle with the cover, fonts, etc. You can print one or a few proof copies for final editing. (I now do proofs with all my work, no matter what I intend to do with it--I catch more errors this way.)

- the means to get the word out. There are some discerning book review sites out there that have no problem with SP books. (Not referring to pay review sites here.) Even my local daily paper has reviewed SP books lately. (But promotion is too big an issue for one post.)

No, I won't get as rich as I would if my stuff were picked up by Random House. I could get rich from the lottery, too, but I still don't buy lottery tickets.

- until you switch the book from private to public, it's still unpublished. If you get that letter from your agent (you do have one, right?) then you can choose to change your mind.

Toothpaste
01-22-2012, 09:48 PM
No, I won't get as rich as I would if my stuff were picked up by Random House. I could get rich from the lottery, too, but I still don't buy lottery tickets.


And again, a nice little dig at the Big Six. And no, I'm not letting you get away with it, and if it seems like I'm picking on you well it's only because you insist on spreading misinformation - the same kind of misinformation used by those scam artists you claim to hate so much.

Comparing getting published with the Big Six to winning the lottery is one of the ways new writers are convinced to not even try subbing their work to the Big Six (or the agents who will then in turn sub their stuff to the Big Six). They think, "Well it's all luck anyway, and it's all rigged against me since I have no connections, so what's the point in even trying."

So they decide, without having the right information, to just self publish instead. Or worse still, the argument is presented to them by a scam artist and they choose to go with them - "You'll never get published with a big publisher, it's all luck, so you should work with us, people who actually care about your talent."

Publishing with the Big Six is NOT like the lottery because when you buy a lottery ticket you have as much of a chance as the person who bought it just before you of winning that cash. You are equal.

When you submit your manuscript you have no idea how it compares to the thousands of other manuscripts that are submitted to that same agent. Chances are it is better than some, hopefully not worse than too many others. Not all books are equally as well written, equally marketable, etc. You are not equal to every other person out there subbing a manuscript.

(the writing in italics is me quoting myself from my blog post: It's Not About The Odds (http://ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com/2010/01/its-not-about-odds.html) - a post I find myself linking to almost once a month because someone comes along explaining to new authors that the odds aren't in their favour, or publishing is just like the lottery etc etc and so forth).

It might FEEL like it's winning the lottery, it might FEEL like the Big Six don't ever publish new writers, or talented writers, it might FEEL impossible to get a book deal with them because they are extremely popular and get more submissions sent to them than any other kind of publisher out there. But it doesn't mean that it is. You can still get published by a Big Six publisher with no credits to your name and no connections whatsoever. If you've got the kind of book they want, they will publish it for you.

Which is why, self publishing and smaller presses are important too. They provide a place for books that have a different niche to that of the Big Six.

But telling authors they shouldn't even try? I think that's pretty terrible. Every author should be evaluated as an individual. What is the book they wrote? Where is the best place for it? Maybe it's self publishing. Maybe it's epublishing. Maybe it's a small press. And darn it, maybe it's the Big Six.

Here's the thing Dangerous. You make such great points on the self publishing end of things. Why do you insist on spreading falsehoods about the Big Six trade publishing aspect? Especially after I think I've responded most logically to your fallacies (to which, I'll note, you didn't reply).

At any rate, aside from your clear bias towards the Big Six (based not so much on facts), you make some good points, and your last post about things a self published author needs I think is a very good one, and I hope people take note of it.

dangerousbill
01-22-2012, 10:33 PM
Here's the thing Dangerous. You make such great points on the self publishing end of things. Why do you insist on spreading falsehoods about the Big Six trade publishing aspect? Especially after I think I've responded most logically to your fallacies (to which, I'll note, you didn't reply).


Well, I didn't reply because I'd said all I needed to. A simple pissing match would be pointless and convincing to no one.

I think you're reading me with your own bias already firmly in place. I agree that, having written a novel that you think can make the big time, there's no harm in querying it all over the place.

Perhaps you'll be fortunate; perhaps your talent will shine like a new star in the heavens.

Perhaps the agent who reads your query will have a migraine on that day, or his daughter will have run off with a biker gang the day before.

Perhaps the boss will come out and say, 'Do you have anything in lesbian westerns? We need one to fill a hole in our list.' And he can say, 'This just came in this morning.'

I don't think you can underestimate the element of luck. In fact, I've listened to two different agents say exactly that.

Then comes the contract, full of little torpedoes, like royalties calculated as a percent of net sales, with no indication of how 'net' is computed. A new author, eager to 'get published', may sign without being informed, much as the same author might sign with a predatory 'self-publishing' firm who will milk his/er bank account dry.

After a wait of 6 to 18 months, your book comes out. It might be a hit. or it might get its 60 days and a quick trip to the shredder. But your publisher still holds the rights until the reversion date -- if there is one. And s/he may also have a deathgrip on your next book, too.

Sure, who wouldn't like to make it with the Big Six? Or five, whatever it is now. But like everything else, it ain't all roses.
http://www.brandewyne.com/writingtips/prosandcons.html (scroll down)
http://publishing.about.com/od/BookAuthorBasics/a/Six-Common-Misconceptions-About-Being-A-Published-Author.htm

Toothpaste
01-22-2012, 10:48 PM
Never said it was. Just sick to death of you implying it can't also be a positive experience.

Nor have I ever said that luck doesn't play a factor (in fact if you searched you would find certain heated threads here where I have very much tried to explain to those who don't think it exists at all, that uh yes it does). But it's not the ONLY factor, as you consistently seem to suggest.

My bias is only that I don't think we should throw out absolutes just because we feel like provoking. That the "luck is the only" factor frame of mind is just as dangerous as implying there is no such thing as luck at all. I'm a middle ground kind of gal, I like reasonableness. I realise it's not as much fun as provoking and being nasty, but hey. That's how I roll.


Also, it's not a 6 -18 month wait. You do also realise that the author is working during that time, going through edits etc? That the publisher is too, hiring designers, artists, layout. Working with marketing. That 6 months before your book even comes out, ARCs are available, and buzz is being generated. The time isn't being wasted. Sure, yes, I'll concede, it's not always being used as efficiently as it could be. But I have temped in so many offices in so many different businesses, and I can tell you, I have yet to see any business run as efficiently as I think it could be. Again, you are putting forth the argument of "It takes so long to get published, why wait when you can have your work out there for the readers right away!" which again, people use to convince others to not even bother trying to get a publisher. And as if taking one's time with something, with creating a product, is silly when one can simply get it out there as fast as one possibly can.

And all the things you say about the evil publishers might do is all the more reason to have an agent. And since our debate tends to be about the Big Six, and since it's very hard to get a Big Six contract without an agent, then likely all these possible pitfalls are being carefully watched out for.

Further, did I ever say publishing with the Big Six was all roses? I believe I pointed to two authors of two of my favourite books who had miserable experiences with the Big Six. I never said that there weren't problems and things you had to look out for. All I've been trying to do is counter your fallacious negativity in this thread for the benefit of the lurkers reading it. I have no intention of changing your mind. I tend not to enter debates to win, I do it to educate other people. 9 times out of 10 the person one is debating with is not interested in what one has to say. Or calls one's carefully thought out and reasoned posts a "pissing match".

Manuel Royal
01-22-2012, 11:27 PM
While I'll admit that there's a lot of poorly written self-published books out there, there's also a lot of traditionally published books that are seen as just as bad. It's all a matter of opinion.I submit there are simply no commercially published books as bad as the worst self-published books. They'd never make it out of the slush pile; actually, at the bigger publishers they'd never make it into the slush pile because no reputable agent would submit them.

The best self-published books may in fact be as good as the best commercially published books; particularly if the writer has hired a competent independent editor. (The few times I've worked with a professional editor, it was very worthwhile; they saw things I missed because I was too close, and they made suggestions that improved the work.)

In between those extremes, I'd estimate over 90% of self-published books would not be considered publishable by most trade publishers. Obviously, commercial publishers, including the Big Six, sometimes publish crappy books. But the odds for the reader are way, way better when he knows the book he's buying had to pass muster with editors and proofreaders; especially if he can read a professional review first.

Anyway; my vague notion is to do a little self-publishing down the road, after having a couple of books out. I thought it might be interesting to present the occasional related short story (or other material related to the fictional world involved) for free on a website, both as a freebie for existing readers, and to possibly stir interest in prospective book purchasers.

(Perhaps I'll sound less ridiculous to myself after I've actually got a book deal.)

kaitie
01-22-2012, 11:35 PM
Bill, just so you're aware, I'm reading your posts the same way that Toothpaste is, and I was actually rather surprised by them because I can't recall seeing you express your views so extremely elsewhere (and I read on this topic a lot). I'm not trying to sound rude, but the fact is your posts are coming across as very biased, whether you intend them to or not.

As for the "admission of defeat" stuff, I think we could mostly agree that self-publishing for the wrong reasons isn't a good idea, but that there are also plenty of good reasons to self-publish. To say self-publishing is an admission of defeat might be true for you, but to generalize that to others assumes that everyone else shares your viewpoint and that can be pretty offensive. Some authors self-publish backlists, or have niche market books, etc. Do a lot of people do it because they got rejected? Yeah, but that doesn't mean all authors should be lumped into this category.

Personally, I intend to be commercially published. May never get there, but I'm close and intend to keep trying. My main reasons? Because I don't want to be in charge of the process myself (I don't think I have the skill-set necessary), because I don't have the guts to gamble with money when I don't have much at the moment, and because I want to walk into a bookstore one day and see my books there.

That being said, I wouldn't rule out self-publishing after I had an established readership for things such as books that were out of print or a niche sort of story. I've also thought for awhile that it would be fun to offer shorter stories related to novels or something similar. I could see self-publishing those and selling them on my website or something like that. I'd want to have the established readership first, though, because otherwise I think I wouldn't have the sales levels I want.

thecoparazzi
01-22-2012, 11:40 PM
Traditional Publishing will always be the best way to go. Unfortunately it is also the hardest route to getting published with the rejection slips and disappointing amount of time to get, not only recognized but the time from beginning the process to the actual book being released. I myself am self-publishing because of the time I put in and the reality of not being accepted by traditional publishers where many of them want you to also have an agent. However the problem is not getting reviewed as a legitimate writer. Catch-22. Anyway if there are authors out there willing to wait it out I hope for you the very best and keep trying!

kaitie
01-22-2012, 11:42 PM
I submit there are simply no commercially published books as bad as the worst self-published books. They'd never make it out of the slush pile; actually, at the bigger publishers they'd never make it into the slush pile because no reputable agent would submit them.

I actually think you're spot on here. I do get somewhat frustrated when people say "well, there are bad commercial books." I've read some that truly sucked. One is a famous author and the story/dialogue/writing was so atrocious I couldn't believe the book was as famous as it was (not Twilight, for the record). Another is an author who has apparently decided she's famous enough to not need editing and she can add things like grammatical errors and typos to the list of things wrong. It does happen.

At the same time, I've read samples on many self-published books that are nowhere near ready to even really be considered. Yes, there are bad commercial books out there, but I think most people just aren't really aware of the difference in quality even with the worst commercial books.

I'm not trying to diss self-publishing, but I always hear this argument and it sounds almost like an excuse. Similarly, when someone says that many self-published books have bad editing and someone points out the two typos they found in a commercial book to say "So does this," the levels are just so vastly different that they aren't even comparable and it frustrates me.

kaitie
01-23-2012, 12:11 AM
Traditional Publishing will always be the best way to go. Unfortunately it is also the hardest route to getting published with the rejection slips and disappointing amount of time to get, not only recognized but the time from beginning the process to the actual book being released. I myself am self-publishing because of the time I put in and the reality of not being accepted by traditional publishers where many of them want you to also have an agent. However the problem is not getting reviewed as a legitimate writer. Catch-22. Anyway if there are authors out there willing to wait it out I hope for you the very best and keep trying!

But see, the "always" there is what we need to avoid. What if you've written a novella that's great but has a hard time finding a home because of word count? Or a niche topic non-fiction book that will appeal to only a few hundred people? A publisher wouldn't want it, but if you have the platform to sell to those people why not do it on your own? There are also very enterprising people who enjoy the process, have the skills to make a great product themselves, and who might want to do it just because they can.

There's nothing wrong with that. Now, I do think a lot of people jump the gun and lack the patience to be commercially published, and some people don't have the tough skin the field requires (I'm not sure self-publishing helps with that. I've seen some pretty cruel reviews), but commercial publishing isn't necessarily always going to be the best option. Often, maybe, usually, but not always.

dangerousbill
01-23-2012, 12:37 AM
To say self-publishing is an admission of defeat might be true for you,


(I never said that. It may have been a quote.)

I was intentionally intense. I was trying to provide some balance to the general stomping of SP and the instinctive genuflection to Big Time publishing.

What's great about publishing today is that there are more options available. Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was New York or nothing.

Who's to say that someone who wants to inflict their crap on their long-suffering friends, can't do it? Or perhaps they may even luck out and jump around the traditional-pub queue? Today, we can take our fates into own own hands.

If you've read my recent posts, I've had a lot to say about getting informed before thinking about publishing by any means. Why turn a personal literary triumph into the sick, sinking feeling you've been ripped off by an ethically-challenged subsidy publisher, or signed a one-sided contract with Megacorp Publishers?

I have a (very) small fan base who like my stuff, and I'm too old to think in terms of building a career. What I'm doing works for me.

happywritermom
01-23-2012, 12:46 AM
My answer doesn't fit the poll.

I intend to continue pursuing traditional publishing routes for my novels, but I have electronically self-published two short stories that were previously published -- one in a hard-cover anthology and the other in a print journal.

For me, that's an excellent use of electronic self-publishing.

I haven't promoted my stories, but I still sell a few per month. My only other options were to sell them again or to save them for a collection someday.

I found the self-epublishing option is much more fun than the other two.

Dani
01-23-2012, 01:15 AM
I'm not disagreeing with your decision, but I'm not sure I'm following the logic, either. I mean, I agree that the profit margin will be higher with self-pub, but do you really care about the profit margin, or just the profit? Like, if you get 70% of $100, that's something, but it would be better to get 40% of $10 000, right? Do you have reason to believe that your actual profits will be higher with self-pubbing, or just the margin?

The thing is that profit margin works in my favor because of how small the m/m marketing is. If I sell 1,000 books next year, I'd still make more than if I sold 3,000 books through an e-publisher. Now that is just for the small market of m/m novels (which isn't so small as it is.... niched).

So not only will my profit be higher/book, but the profit margin will be higher. I can't explain why that's important to me, except maybe to say that all the time I've invested and the editing I've done by myself, if I only saw $.40 of each sale from the epublisher, I'd scream.




Again, your book your call, but are you suggesting that e-publishers actually ADD editing errors to the books they put out? Otherwise, I'm not sure how the editing of your self-pubbed book would be better than the editing of the same MS sent through a publisher...?

Oh, no I'm not saying they add editing errors, lol, I"m saying that they do a perfunctory editing job. And much of it is just proofreading, not really editing. I'm not saying this is the case will all, but quite a few of them. And it's not just me saying that, Kate, it's a lot of the m/m community. The quality is becoming poorer and poorer as they try and shove out as many titles as they can. (Or maybe there's another reason behind it?).

Editing, for me, is not just a proofreading and it's not just a fix of grammar. It's about the story as a whole and everything in it. I don't think that's what's been going on lately.

And, I just want to reiterate that it's not just me saying this.

Maybe I'm just picky. Or maybe I've just been unlucky, but you have no idea how much I treasured your book not just because it was well-written, but it was well-edited and there wasn't massive plot holes where entire cities could be built. It was billed as romance and I GOT a romance. Lately, when I buy an m/m book, it's billed as romance and I get two paragraphs of dialogue and ten pages of sex.

When I buy a romance novel, I want Shying Away, not Quinn does Aaron masquerading as a romance novel.

Btw, why is your book listed under erotica???? Shying Away is NOT erotica >8(

I'm fangirling again, aren't I? Ahem. Moving on!



Wow. Most people think that being a successful writer is challenging enough all on its own, without adding in extra obstacles! I appreciate your approach, treating it all as a challenge and a game... I feel the same way. I guess we're just using different strategies.

I think everyone has a different reason for self-publishing. I may change my mind with later stories and end up sending future stories into to epublishers. Why not, right? I mean I spend half my money on books from Dreamspinner Press, Samhain and Loose ID.

Right now though, I'm excited about the challenge. And nervous. Ready to throw up, hands shaking as I type this. EEP.

Captcha
01-23-2012, 01:41 AM
My concern would be getting the 1 000 sales on your own. If you can do it, great (although, assuming you're paying for editing and cover art, I still think you'll make significantly less than if you sold 3 000 with an e-publisher), but it's going to be pretty hard to sell 1 000 books without a publisher behind you. I'm not saying people haven't done it, just that a lot of people have tried and not made it.

I'm not trying to be discouraging, and I'm really interested in seeing your results. I think it's an exciting time to be an author, especially one in a niche market. A lot of options, and a lot of experiments to try!

(And I have no idea about Shying Away - listed HERE as erotica, or elsewhere? If here, I did it, so... I don't know. Alcohol, possibly. If elsewhere... I think the m/m factor shifts everything one notch 'sexier' on the rating system. So content that would be a romance if it was m/f is classified as erotic romance when it's m/m, and content that would be erotic romance gets pushed all the way to erotica. It's a strange world...)

kaitie
01-23-2012, 01:46 AM
(I never said that. It may have been a quote.)


I was quoting a couple of other people who had agreed with the statement, not you.

Al Stevens
01-23-2012, 02:41 AM
I have two backlisted titles for which I got reversions. Wiley no longer markets the book. But other booksellers still carry the book from existing stock. Their listings include pointers to my new Kindle editions courtesy of amazon. (Their discounts are like the dollar bin--below my Kindle price, until you add shipping in.)

That's a good reason to self-publish backlists as e-books, I think. Free advertising.

MarkEsq
01-23-2012, 03:00 AM
I self-published a book about ten years ago because I knew it wouldn't attract a commercial publisher (biography of a minor civil rights campaigner). I ended up selling over a thousand copies but I didn't do it for the money - that particular 1960s hero was my lovely grandfather. :)

Now? I won't self-publish. I have been struggling at this craft for so long, I want someone in the business to tell me, "This is good, so good I want to pay you and publish it." And after years of work it's happened: I will have three books commercially published in the next 18 months, one fiction and one non-fiction. I am thrilled to pieces by that, and would feel totally differently had I SP-ed.

As for my reading habits, there are simply too many good books published by paying publishers, large and small, for me to waste time wading through the mass of SP-ed books to find a good one. I'm sure they are there, it's just not worth the effort when so many good books are so easily found.

blacbird
01-23-2012, 03:33 AM
[QUOTE=MarkEsq;6937873I will have three books commercially published in the next 18 months, one fiction and one non-fiction.[/QUOTE]

Something is wrong with the math here.

caw

MarkEsq
01-23-2012, 04:25 AM
Something is wrong with the math here.

caw

Nope. I just signed a three-book deal for my mystery series. First novel will be out in Sept/Oct, second one 6-9 months later. And my NF agent tells me the deal I'm about to sign for a true crime book will have it released in Jan of 2013.

KTC
01-23-2012, 04:27 AM
Traditionally published here---ebook & print. Small publisher out of Montreal.

happywritermom
01-23-2012, 04:33 AM
A little hijack here -- Awesome news, Mark!!! Whoot!!

Dani
01-23-2012, 04:44 AM
My concern would be getting the 1 000 sales on your own. If you can do it, great (although, assuming you're paying for editing and cover art, I still think you'll make significantly less than if you sold 3 000 with an e-publisher), but it's going to be pretty hard to sell 1 000 books without a publisher behind you. I'm not saying people haven't done it, just that a lot of people have tried and not made it.

I'm not trying to be discouraging, and I'm really interested in seeing your results. I think it's an exciting time to be an author, especially one in a niche market. A lot of options, and a lot of experiments to try!


Nah, I'm not discouraged. I started building an internet business about three years ago. It was tough work. 18 hour days for a year before I made it to $1000 a month. Now I barely work 2-3 hours a day (at most) on it and I make a lot more than that. It was a tough decision to decide to work for myself but it was worth it in the end. That's probably another reason I chose to self-publish.

I do think I have a difficult road ahead. The idea I have is to keep publishing books and see how I do in a year. Much like how I built my internet business. The thing is that I should have started with writing novels, instead of blogs, because I'm so much happier working 18 hours a day on a novel!

1,000 books in a year may be unrealistic. I'm not sure. My goal was never really 1,000 books, I just used that as an example. With most of the publishing houses in the m/m industry, the advance is $500. So that's my real goal. $500 in a year from one novel. Self-published. Not an easy feat lol, but I'm going to try.


(And I have no idea about Shying Away - listed HERE as erotica, or elsewhere? If here, I did it, so... I don't know. Alcohol, possibly. If elsewhere... I think the m/m factor shifts everything one notch 'sexier' on the rating system. So content that would be a romance if it was m/f is classified as erotic romance when it's m/m, and content that would be erotic romance gets pushed all the way to erotica. It's a strange world...)

It was listed on amazon under gay&lesbian ====> erotica. I'm like... NO lol.


PS: The covers I did myself, so that wasn't an expense I invested in. I already had photoshop and I spend an inordinate amount of time on it lol.

dangerousbill
01-23-2012, 05:23 AM
Nope. I just signed a three-book deal for my mystery series. First novel will be out in Sept/Oct, second one 6-9 months later. And my NF agent tells me the deal I'm about to sign for a true crime book will have it released in Jan of 2013.

It would seem that congratulations are in order! Aren't series contracts supposed to be rare?

Anne Lyle
01-23-2012, 10:47 AM
Aren't series contracts supposed to be rare?

Not any more. There may have been a time when series were in the doldrums, but online bookstores have cancelled out the effects of limited physical shelf space and made it far, far easier for readers to buy multiple books by the same author. That's how Amanda Hocking succeeded - by having lots of books for new fans to choose from.

DancingMaenid
01-23-2012, 11:43 AM
Having full control over the whole process might be a curse for most writers. Sure, individuals know what they like, but can most writers design a cover that has reader appeal? Unlikely. Does a writer understand book layout? Can a writer set up the text properly for purely print company? Can the writer (or his family/friends) guarantee that the writing is well-edited? So many of the necessary skills are outside the skill set of nearly all writers. True, writers can learn all this, but it might well require a learning period of YEARS, not weeks or months. Most self-published writers are in a hurry. That point in itself is probably the most telling comment on self-publishing writers. There are exceptions, of course. If you pursue self-publishing, closely and honestly question your own drives and motives. Truly, ANYONE can have a book. What is the point in having a book?

For a lot of people, it isn't the best choice. That doesn't mean it can't be the right choice for some people, or that it isn't the right choice for me. It's a matter I've given a great deal of thought.



As for the "admission of defeat" stuff, I think we could mostly agree that self-publishing for the wrong reasons isn't a good idea, but that there are also plenty of good reasons to self-publish. To say self-publishing is an admission of defeat might be true for you, but to generalize that to others assumes that everyone else shares your viewpoint and that can be pretty offensive. Some authors self-publish backlists, or have niche market books, etc. Do a lot of people do it because they got rejected? Yeah, but that doesn't mean all authors should be lumped into this category.

Exactly. The idea of self-publishing because I got rejected or because my stuff wasn't good enough is very foreign to me. I want to self-publish because it appeals to me, and feels like a good fit for my goals. I care about my stories and the quality of them just as much no matter how I publish them.

goldmund
01-23-2012, 12:57 PM
This pertains to American market only, as in my country I'm only traditionally published.

I've tried self-publishing short stories, but I have taken them down, as I found out that the amount of self-promotion you have to do makes no sense and it's much more worthwile to write new stuff / translate my Polish stories than to hang out in forums dropping links.
I think that the quality of your writing should be the primary promotional asset, not Internet networking. I can't imagine one of my favorite writers spending hours on good-reads or wherever on the net trying to get noticed.

aruna
01-23-2012, 01:10 PM
I think that the quality of your writing should be the primary promotional asset, not Internet networking. I can't imagine one of my favorite writers spending hours on good-reads or wherever on the net trying to get noticed.

Amen to that. There's something really humiliating about spamming your friends and contacts with the latest news about your book. I quickly gave up on it.

scarletpeaches
01-23-2012, 03:03 PM
Amen to that. There's something really humiliating about spamming your friends and contacts with the latest news about your book. I quickly gave up on it.Second Amen here. If you need to train your friends to five-star your books on Goodreads, that doesn't say much for the quality of your books.

And of course, such shenanigans can easily lead to the friends-and-acquaintances equivalent of the Writer's First Rule being broken -- attack dogs going ballistic because you get a less than stellar review.

aruna
01-23-2012, 03:15 PM
Second Amen here. If you need to train your friends to five-star your books on Goodreads, that doesn't say much for the quality of your books.
.

It's not even about them giving reviews. It's about getting them to read it in the first place, and spreading the word, "liking" on facebook etc. I just hate asking for such favours (in fact I don't; did it once and it was so distasteful I stopped); or simply just letting them know, hey, it's available, hey, read this interview, hey read this article etc. It just feels like spamming them.
Luckily, I have a title that people will be googling anyway, and I can rely on that. But that's the reason I would never self-publish any of my novels; they don't have that advantage.

There are some people who enjoy putting themselves out there to self-promote, and do it well. Not me.

A really unusual example is the novelist Prithi Nair. (http://www.preethinair.com/) who after she self-published set up her own promotional company to promote her book, pretending to be someone else; she was so succesful she was eventually taken on by HarperCollins.

scarletpeaches
01-23-2012, 03:18 PM
I much prefer to listen to those who say the best way to sell your backlist is to maintain your frontlist. I'm lazy when it comes to promo. I can't be bothered with whoring myself or my books. I just want to be writing.

It's probably an offshoot of being a homebody and anti-social most of the time. I want to be left alone with my fictional people, and don't want to have real folks forced on me!

aruna
01-23-2012, 03:41 PM
I much prefer to listen to those who say the best way to sell your backlist is to maintain your frontlist. I'm lazy when it comes to promo. I can't be bothered with whoring myself or my books. I just want to be writing.


That's all very well but what if you haven't GOT a bloody frontlist! :(
Hard to believe my first book was published 1999. Eons ago.
The last in 2004.

EngineerTiger
01-23-2012, 04:52 PM
I am self-published in eBook format. For someone whose books will probably appeal to a limited audience, it seemed the best way to go. I spent years going through the traditional route and what finally decided me was an article I stumbled across about four years ago, On the Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile (http://www.kingsfieldpublications.co.uk/rats.PDF) by Michael Allen. This is also available in eBook format at Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/38145).

The evolution into what Mr. Allen calls a Pro-Am was not instantaneous for me. It occured over many years as I balanced my professional technical writing career with my interest in historical fiction. I make a decent living with the technical writing/editing so, for me, the desire to have my fiction published is pure vanity on my part.

I love books, I always have and I doubt that I'll ever stop getting a thrill finding a new author to read in a bookstore or the library. I get almost as much pleasure reading on my Nook or Kindle. The discovery of some digital books by favorite authors who died years ago was a pleasant revelation for me. I believe in the eBook revolution as a way for niche writers and new writers to find their readers. Yes, some of the books are not well-written or edited. On the other hand, I was disgusted a few years ago when a "fabulous" piece of fiction hit the best-seller list and then was made into a movie. I finally picked up a copy and was appalled at how poorly it was written. Not just the plot line which got pretty muddled almost to the point of being incoherent but the mechanics were missing so that typos and poor grammar ran rampant. Presumably this was a book that had gone through an agent, editor, proof-reader, etc.

A very dear friend just received a Kindle for Christmas. He's very excited about eBooks because, as he puts it, he can go find his own books now and not be held captive by a small cadre of "professional" editors and agents who are selecting his books for him. Most of the books provide a generous sampling so it is easy for a prospective reader to decide if the book is worth reading. For those who dream of their books in print alongside their childhood idols, I hope you acheive your ambition. For the rest of us who aren't apt to create one of Michael Allen's "Black Swans" but are content to find our niche readers, I think eBooks are a valuble supplement to the writing field.

Hilldawg
01-23-2012, 07:48 PM
Further, of course you're likely to have self published books dwarf traditionally published books. There are more authors who couldn't get publishers than those that could. Everyone who was ever rejected now just puts their stuff out there. Because of course it wasn't rejected because it was bad, it was rejected because publishers are idiots /sarcasm. (okay, that's me being very mean - I am well aware publishers are far from perfect - two of the best books I've read recently have been treated horribly by publishers. One had the rights reverted recently, the other couldn't find any kind of home until a small press took it on. My point is simply I am really sad that many writers these days don't take the time to evaluate their own work and see if maybe there was a reason it was rejected, and work to improve it, as opposed to just assuming it's perfect and posting it online).

I'm glad the article I posted has fueled some discussions. I quite agree with you. Do you think that some publishers are being overly-cautious when choosing titles for their house? With job cuts and downsizing in the industry, I wonder if editors just aren't ready to take chances on some books.

I also know that there are some real success stories out there in self-publishing (Paolini) and I know that there are probably many more out there who haven't been discovered but are lost in the sea of the vanity press. How do we hope to find the good stuff - or for those of you out there who write the good stuff, how do you make your work stand out? I feel frustrated for the "good ones" whose work is sometimes lumped into the same pot as the "really awful stuff."

Hill

Hilldawg
01-23-2012, 08:38 PM
golden word syndrome

He he he! So true!

Hillary

scarletpeaches
01-23-2012, 08:42 PM
I also know that there are some real success stories out there in self-publishing (Paolini) ...He wasn't really a success until he was taken on by a traditional publisher.
How do we hope to find the good stuffAs readers? Avoid self-published books.
...or for those of you out there who write the good stuff, how do you make your work stand out?Again, avoid self-publishing. If someone wants the money and exposure that comes with traditional publication, then the obvious solution is to go with traditional publication.
I feel frustrated for the "good ones" whose work is sometimes lumped into the same pot as the "really awful stuff."I don't. I wonder why the author didn't try to get an agent and take the traditional route. If their book is that good, why would they deprive themselves of that money and publicity?

Of course there are SP writers who say they're not bothered about high earnings or publicity, but I've gotta say...I don't believe it. "Here, have a bajillion monkeydollars," compared to "Here, have a few quid and a buttload of work which normally, other people would do for you?"

No contest.

kaitie
01-23-2012, 08:54 PM
A very dear friend just received a Kindle for Christmas. He's very excited about eBooks because, as he puts it, he can go find his own books now and not be held captive by a small cadre of "professional" editors and agents who are selecting his books for him.

I haven't read the article but I'm sure I'd have much more to say if I had. What I must ask is what makes you feel the need to put quotation marks around the word "professional" here?

A professional is someone who, according to various definitions, is paid for their work, does it on a regular basis, is the member of a profession, and who shows a high degree of competence.

Professional editors (and agents for that matter) are all of the above. Editors are paid for their work, do it for a living in a professional setting, and most are incredibly good at what they do. Ask the people here who have been commercially published what they think of their editors. With the exceptions of some shoddily run e-book startups and scam publishers, I've seen few negative comments about editors. Most are about how brilliant they are and how they did such a great job of the editor did and how much better the book is for it.

dangerousbill
01-23-2012, 08:57 PM
Do you think that some publishers are being overly-cautious when choosing titles for their house? With job cuts and downsizing in the industry, I wonder if editors just aren't ready to take chances on some books.


I think it's simpler than that. The number of talented writers far exceeds the capacity of the industry to absorb them. Nor is the entire book market large enough to make every talented writer famous.

As we all acknowledge, there are also the vast number of untalented or careless writers who have the same access to SP markets as we extremely talented writers. Hence, the search for diamonds in the giant cesspool.

Nevertheless, I've found it fun to sift through the sludge (Smashwords, Lulu.com, B&N Nook, etc). I've turned up several books that were well worth reading, but for the usual unknown reasons never made it into a bookstore.

An interesting peek into the vast excess of talent out there was HarperCollins UK's authonomy.com (http://authonomy.com) experiment. A close look at the site was enough to convince me that talent alone isn't enough to find a publisher.

Thousands of novels were placed on the site, struggling to be voted to the top. Among the top 20% or so were many very good and competent stories. HC-UK was only able to take a handful of these. What happens to that remaining 20%? The sock drawer? Other trad-pubs? Self-publishing? Subsidy publishers? Who knows?

Anne Lyle
01-23-2012, 09:05 PM
An interesting peek into the vast excess of talent out there was HarperCollins UK's authonomy.com (http://authonomy.com) experiment. A close look at the site was enough to convince me that talent alone isn't enough to find a publisher.

Thousands of novels were placed on the site, struggling to be voted to the top. Among the top 20% or so were many very good and competent stories. HC-UK was only able to take a handful of these. What happens to that remaining 20%? The sock drawer? Other trad-pubs? Self-publishing? Subsidy publishers? Who knows?

I posted my first three chapters on Authonomy for a couple of months, just to get wider feedback than my usual SFF writing buddies. I gave up any hope of getting onto the editors' desk at HC that way, when I saw how much shilling was needed to rise to the top 5 (and the noticeable lack of take-up of those that did reach those giddy heights). I now have a three-book deal with a trade publisher, having pursued my dream the old-fashioned way :)

Some of the others who were on there at the same time as me have formed a writers' collective to self-publish their works together. Definitely a plausible solution for stuff like humorous fantasy, which is almost impossible to sell to a commercial publisher.

dangerousbill
01-23-2012, 09:08 PM
Some of the others who were on there at the same time as me have formed a writers' collective to self-publish their works together. Definitely a plausible solution for stuff like humorous fantasy, which is almost impossible to sell to a commercial publisher.

I met some very nice people there, too, some of whom I'm still in regular contact with.

Hilldawg
01-23-2012, 09:29 PM
Since I started this discussion, I think I ought to reply to my own questions.

I am not published (as a fiction writer) but when the novel is done, I am going trade route. I have never considered self-publishing as a viable option for myself. I won't say "never," because who knows what the future holds. But I do know that right now, I'm not interested in self-publishing my work.

I have published nonfiction in two ways: one by a state department (government document) and the other as a chapter contributor to a professional/text book. Interestingly, the manuscript published by the state did not see hardly any editing or proofing. I was given the assignment and almost as an afterthought, I was informed that it was going to be mass-produced for educators in the state. The chapter published by the trade publisher, of course, went through several rounds of editing before it saw the light of day. And I think the piece is much stronger for it.

Hill

EngineerTiger
01-23-2012, 10:00 PM
I did not put professional in quotes to question their professionalism or to cast aspersions on the hard work they put into the business. My intent was to indicate the emphasis that my friend put on it. As a reader of many years he got tired of having the books available to him being marketed in ever-decreasing ranges and styles. As this is a writing forum, sometimes I think we, as writers, tend to lose contact with the readers and their viewpoint. I was only trying to point out that for many average readers who like a particular subject or type of story, the advent of the eBook makes it easier for them to find exactly what they want to read rather than rely strictly on the opinion of an editorial staff selecting a limited number of books for them.

kaitie
01-23-2012, 10:37 PM
Alright. I didn't understand that you were quoting right there, so that's my fault and I apologize. Is your friend also a writer?

You've just made me think of something relevant to the conversation. I know that the average lay person seems to know about self-publishing now, but what have other people heard said about it? Just by the average lay-person like Engineer's friend?

I've had two things. One is people telling me "Hey you know you can publish for free now on Amazon!" Not always, but often these people are citing the fact that I won't have to pay someone to do it. I've also heard it discussed in a...I won't say negative way, but a very oddly not positive way. I was with a group of coworkers last year and the topic came up, but it wasn't as though they were really encouraging me to do it. It was more that they were saying, "Hey I heard you can do this" and a few people brought up some negatives, but it wasn't encouraging or discouraging really. I was just surprised because until then I'd always heard it referred to very positively.

I'm sure the people I know aren't representative, though, and I do wonder what the average reader seems to think. Do they feel that it's a good opportunity and a writer taking the bull by the horns, or perhaps based on misunderstandings about the way publishing works? Or do they see it as a quality issue like my coworkers did? I've even heard some people say that readers don't even know the difference when they buy and I'd love to know how much truth there is to that.

I think reader perception is a huge factor and it's hard to get a feel for that when the only people who I tend to hear talk about it are writers.

dangerousbill
01-23-2012, 10:58 PM
I think reader perception is a huge factor and it's hard to get a feel for that when the only people who I tend to hear talk about it are writers.


Although there seem to be lots of interviews with writers and writing in the public media, I've seen very little about TP vs SP. I'm not sure the average reader cares very much. They just want something good to read, or they want to read something with buzz, or that their friends or newspapers have recommended.

I suspect that SP books are permeating silently into the market via Kindle and Nook. When I crank up my Nook and go into B&N's listings, search results don't discriminate between TP and SP books. I see books priced at the tell-tale rates of 99 cents and $2.99 mixed in with the TP products. But that average reader just sees a listing of books with no fer-sure way of discriminating the two kinds.

I don't know if megacorp publishers will allow this situation to go on for long, since they surely must want to restrict cheap competition for their higher-priced books. For the time being, I'm guessing that there's a balance of power between distributors and publishers that gives SP time to get an edge into the market--for better or worse.

Amadan
01-23-2012, 11:04 PM
I was only trying to point out that for many average readers who like a particular subject or type of story, the advent of the eBook makes it easier for them to find exactly what they want to read rather than rely strictly on the opinion of an editorial staff selecting a limited number of books for them.


Because there are so few trade published books to choose from. /sarcasm

Really, this is a square on the Self-Published Bingo game: "I don't want elitist New York ivory tower 'editors' deciding what I should read!"

In every single genre, there are hundreds of new books published every year by trade publishers -- more than any human being could read.

The function served by publishers is not "selection" but "filtering."

(And equating "ebook" with "self-published" is another bingo square.)

Toothpaste
01-23-2012, 11:16 PM
I always wonder when people say that there are no good books being published by trades if these people even venture further into the bookstore past the front tables. If they go into the stacks and look at those books. I tend to believe that the people who say such things are often taking their recommendations off of bestseller lists, and not doing their own research. It's like when people tell me there are no good movies out there. I then list off a number of excellent, though possibly smaller films that were released that year asking if they saw those. The answer is always, "Uh, no." (btw, not dissing bestsellers or blockbusters, I have actually enjoyed many of both recently, but there is more out there is all I'm saying)

kaitie
01-23-2012, 11:29 PM
Because there are so few trade published books to choose from. /sarcasm


My first thought is always that they're generally choosing based on quality. I guess that's partly why the "evil gatekeepers" thing baffles me. I want to know that I have the best chance of picking up a good book when I pick up a random one off the shelf. And honestly, I haven't read that many I'd consider bad, and only a handful I've truly hated. Even those "bad" ones it was a matter of negative elements outweighing positive elements and it was highly subjective. Example: My absolute most despised Dean Koontz book is something called The Taking. I couldn't believe it had been published. I thought the characters were flat and inconsistent, the plot was filled with holes, and it had the worst deus ex machina ending I'd ever seen. I truly hated it, and considering Dean Koontz is one of my favorite writers and my favorite books are his, that's saying a lot.

A while later I found a letter someone had written to him on his website telling him that The Taking was their favorite book, that they loved it and thought it was the best he'd ever written. I obviously disagreed, but that sort of thing clearly had a very subjective element to it.

That being said, I like knowing that a book was chosen by an editor because the quality of most books isn't subjective. I think that's the part that people don't like to hear. There are books out there that objectively are just bad. Grammar, writing, style, incoherent plot, etc. That doesn't mean the writer can't improve because honestly, I think most of us here have written one of those (I've written two. :tongue). The thing is, I don't want to buy a book and find that it's on par with those first books of mine (or worse).

I think I feel more strongly about this than some people do, though. I don't like to read samples before I buy, so for me it's taking a much bigger chance.

kaitie
01-23-2012, 11:35 PM
I always wonder when people say that there are no good books being published by trades if these people even venture further into the bookstore past the front tables. If they go into the stacks and look at those books. I tend to believe that the people who say such things are often taking their recommendations off of bestseller lists, and not doing their own research. It's like when people tell me there are no good movies out there. I then list off a number of excellent, though possibly smaller films that were released that year asking if they saw those. The answer is always, "Uh, no." (btw, not dissing bestsellers or blockbusters, I have actually enjoyed many of both recently, but there is more out there is all I'm saying)

I wonder honestly if some of it has to do with the decreasing lack of variety at big bookstores. It seems that every time I've gone into a Barnes and Noble recently to find a few books, the books I'm looking for aren't there. It's harder for me to browse for a book as well because of the limited options. I looked up two very famous authors with dozens of books the other day only to find three titles by one and a handful by the other. The way shelves are laid out doesn't help much ("Fiction" being one big category, for instance), and honestly I've found that, personally, the experience of going to a big store the past few times has been more frustrating than enjoyable. I have a small, independent store down the road that I much prefer.

I'm not sure if this really has anything to do with it or if it's just my perception and I'm wrong in general, but I could see how a casual reader going in and looking for a book and having a harder time finding something might think that it means book quality itself has gone down.

I also think a lot of casual readers don't read much and just aren't aware of what they like. My brother never used to read and hated books, but then he discovered a genre he liked and now he reads all the time.

EngineerTiger
01-24-2012, 12:33 AM
My friend is a reader, not a writer. I was merely conveying his opinion as to why eBooks delighted him. There are some of us who go back a few years who recall a time before the big chain stores and the mergers of the publishing houses. When a reader, or readers express a viewpoint, I do try to listen, whether I agree with it or not. I have witnessed the shrinkage of the publishing world over the course of thirty-odd years. The idea that any good writer will somehow find representation and someone to publish them is just not true. There are many fine writers who, for whatever reason, can't break out of the dreaded slush pile. I also submit that any number of best-selling brilliant books are going to gag a certain segment of the reading public while another segment will defend the author to the death. How many articles have you read questioning the skill of J.K. Rowling, for example? And yet, there are those readers who love her work dearly.

I put the link to Michael Allen's article in this topic because I believe strongly that every writer should read it. Not to encourage them to lose heart and gallop straight over to an eBook format but to help writers figure out their goal in taking on this often lonely profession. We live in an age that has so many open windows now that there is no longer a single path to achieve our dreams and goals.

I'm afraid I must take some issue with the comment that "casual readers don't read much and don't know what they like". A reader always knows what he or she likes. Casual or not. They may not be able to express their likes and dislikes in industry standard terms but readers know if they connect with a book or not. If they don't, they put it aside and go find something else. It is not our job, as writers, to dictate to readers what their taste should be. It is to provide our stories, as best we can, and allow a reader to explore our thoughts that have been captured in written format.

Amadan
01-24-2012, 12:42 AM
I have witnessed the shrinkage of the publishing world over the course of thirty-odd years.

I believe more books are being published now every year than ever before.


The idea that any good writer will somehow find representation and someone to publish them is just not true.

It's true unless they give up.

elindsen
01-24-2012, 12:47 AM
I chose traditional because I wanted to focus on being a writer first. I wanted to work with a team, an editor, a marketing department, a design team. I wanted people who were good at their jobs helping me make the best book I could. And all for free. Further, I actually got paid to write. :)
This is exactly why I chose to trad. publish.

CDaniel
01-24-2012, 01:40 AM
I've been lurk reading over this thread and its many posts for most of the morning. The arguments made for both sides of the publishing coin were--for me--well presented and got me to consider both avenues to being published in a way that I have not previously.

There are for sure pros and cons to taking the traditional route of publication, as there is in self publication. In my own reflection on the matter, either choice has to be taken seriously. Trade publication, the more traditional option, comes with no less responsibility for the author than does self publishing. If an author is truly serious about s/he's writing or rather subjecting it to the general audience of readers--nationally or regionally--I think both options should be considered.

Now before any one jumps all over this let me point out that I'm not taking one side over the other. I personally have submitted a couple of short stories to trade publications--magazines, and they've all been rejected. It hasn't discouraged me in any means of not continuing to peruse my goal of being published at all; in fact ( you may disagree) to me the rejections have been a true learning experience. If it was rejected it obviously wasn't good enough or rather not the best I can do.

To many authors have taken to self publishing, from what I can see,because of rejection and impatience. If I am going to self publish (I haven't decided against it entirely) I would want it done the right way. Over looked and edited professionally. And if I have the money :D.

scarletpeaches
01-24-2012, 01:43 AM
People who say this...
If I am going to self publish (I haven't decided against it entirely) I would want it done the right way. Over looked and edited professionally. And if I have the money :D....make me wonder why they don't just go with traditional publishing. My books are edited but I didn't have to pay a penny.

And if the book gets knocked back...maybe it just isn't any good.

bearilou
01-24-2012, 01:50 AM
And if the book gets knocked back...maybe it just isn't any good.

*gasp*

CDaniel
01-24-2012, 02:04 AM
People who say this......make me wonder why they don't just go with traditional publishing. My books are edited but I didn't have to pay a penny.

And if the book gets knocked back...maybe it just isn't any good.


Oh yeah you did have to pay...Postage ;) :D

scarletpeaches
01-24-2012, 02:08 AM
Oh yeah you did have to pay...Postage ;) :DNo I didn't.

ANicolai
01-24-2012, 02:36 AM
The poll lacks a very important option, which makes it impossible for me to vote in:

NOT published.

I would choose this over "self-published", for a novel. "Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing. I can deal with the endless rejection in attempt to get something published via a traditional route, though it most certainly doesn't make me happy. But the point is that that response is the judgment of an impersonal audience. Self-publication of a novel is nothing but vanity publication, and that's not my goal.

There are things worthy of self-publication, but I can't see a novel being one of those, in any form. If I can't get a novel accepted for traditional publication, it means the damn thing isn't good enough to interest readers. Readers is what I want. If I can't interest those, it means, simply, the stuff I write ain't good enough.

caw

You know, I used to feel exactly this way, and I don't any more. I'm not sure how you still can, when there are as many successful self-published authors out there as there are.

When vanity presses meant paying $10,000 up front to a printer of dubious quality and then selling books out of your basement for the next twenty-five years, I think this take on it had merit. It doesn't mean that any more.

I'm self-published. I wrote my first novel, revised it, and revised it again. I queried it for a year to agents. I got some bites and sent some partials, but by far the most frequent response I got was dead silence.

I re-revised. I worked on that query letter nearly every night for that year. I wrote, re-wrote, and re-re-wrote my synopsis. I have two young children, so running all over the country going to conventions was simply not an option for me. After a year or so, the idea for my next book was blooming too hard for me to ignore, so I stopped wasting nights writing query letters and started working on the next novel.

Given the two paragraphs above, I think the idea that people go with traditional publishers because they want to focus on their writing is interesting. I went self-pub, in part, for the exact same reason.

About halfway through writing my second novel, I realized that the thought of essentially putting my writing on hold for a year to query the book was making me sick. I can handle the rejection, but the bigger concern to me was what a colossal waste of time it was.

After querying for a year and finally (maybe) getting an agent, I'd be waiting another year or two before I ever got on a shelf.

I heard about the Kindle program and I just couldn't see the downside. I'd still have to convince people to like my work - but I'd be speaking straight to readers, not to monolithic, jaded publishers. The odds of becoming rich or self-sufficient were much lower, but frankly, they weren't that high in the traditional publishing biz either. And the pros... wow. Better royalties, control of the rights, the ability to publish as fast as I could create a quality product. It was a tough choice, but without the upfront cost that self-publication used to have, I couldn't find the downside.

Marketing is a pain, but my understanding is most trad-published authors feel that same pain. Publishers push their biggest authors, and that's it. I've never been traditionally published (and am no longer interested in doing so), so I don't have a point of comparison, but I do a lot of reading on the topic and I don't feel like I've missed out there.

To the original poster: I know every author says this, but I really do believe that I can edit my own work. I've received compliments from random readers on how well edited my novel is, and how they couldn't believe it was self-published. There are plenty of terrible self-published books out there; I've been burned by them myself. Your concern about a method to separate the wheat from the chaff is one I share. The difference is that I don't believe traditional publishers performed that task as well as they like to say they do. I've read some pretty horrendously edited and written books in my day, as I'm sure we all have.

The nice thing is that with most e-reading options, you can peek inside the cover and tell pretty dang quickly if the author is one who can self-edit or not. That is a change from the way it used to be, and hopefully we'll see innovations like that continue that will allow strong self-published work to become even more accessible to discriminating readers.

But - in closing - don't rule it out solely because it's self published. There is some really good self-published work out there, and the volume is only going to grow.

Sorry for the meandering post - writing fast because I need to go pick up the kids!

dangerousbill
01-24-2012, 02:41 AM
I believe more books are being published now every year than ever before.
.

That's not a guess. Although the growth isn't massive, it's a fact, backed up by the 2009 sales figures.
http://www.bowkerinfo.com/pubtrack/AnnualBookProduction2010/ISBN_Output_2002-2010.pdf

This, even as the number of regular book readers is declining.

EDIT: I misread the chart (small type). Fiction books peaked in 2007 and have been declining slightly since.

Amadan
01-24-2012, 02:45 AM
Marketing is a pain, but my understanding is most trad-published authors feel that same pain. Publishers push their biggest authors, and that's it. I've never been traditionally published (and am no longer interested in doing so), so I don't have a point of comparison, but I do a lot of reading on the topic and I don't feel like I've missed out there.

So how much money have you earned by self-publishing? How many books have you sold?


To the original poster: I know every author says this, but I really do believe that I can edit my own work. I've received compliments from random readers on how well edited my novel is, and how they couldn't believe it was self-published.

Fan fiction authors get told this all the time too, that they are good enough to write professionally. For a tiny, tiny percentage of them, it's even true.

Gilead
01-24-2012, 02:49 AM
About halfway through writing my second novel, I realized that the thought of essentially putting my writing on hold for a year to query the book was making me sick.

Er, why did you not start to write your second novel while sending out queries for the first one? I'm sure plenty of writers don't put all fiction writing on hold while waiting for agent responses.

Was it simply that all the rewriting of queries/synposes was taking up the time you'd normally have spent writing?

thebloodfiend
01-24-2012, 02:59 AM
I'm published in a semi-pro magazine. I have no intentions of ever self-publishing. I don't want to pay an editor and I can't edit my own work. Plus, I like the idea of being "validated" I guess. I know, I know, you shouldn't seek validation from outside sources, but I like knowing that professionals think my work is good enough to sell.

Plus, I write YA. It's nearly impossible to get libraries to buy self-pubbed books or to get award committees to look at them. I want library sales and I want to make the ALA list and get a printz nomination or a national book award at some point in my life.

thebloodfiend
01-24-2012, 03:02 AM
So how much money have you earned by self-publishing? How many books have you sold?



Fan fiction authors get told this all the time too, that they are good enough to write professionally. For a tiny, tiny percentage of them, it's even true.

I've literally read hundreds of fan fiction stories (too much time on my hands). I'd say only three of those authors were good enough to write professionally. One was a Twilight fan-fiction writer, another was an HP fanfiction writer, the other, an A:tLA fanfiction writer. All of them have three of the most popular stories on the site. While popularity isn't necessarily a good gauge for quality, on certain sites, like dA and ff.net, it most definitely is 99% of the time.

Eli Hinze
01-24-2012, 03:12 AM
I released my first novel as an eBook and it'll be in print soon through Createspace. Actually, it's a series, so it's more like a 'first project', but still. I wanted to get myself out there, even if it wasn't in a major way, which I why I chose that route. Also, I knew it was a first novel with a plot that wasn't necessarily the most original concept ever, (though not terribly unoriginal either), which lowered its chances as well. Hopefully with enough promotion I might garner a little attention for it, but I won't get my hopes up. For my later works I'm going to focus on trying to snag a traditional publishing deal. Here's to hoping~

Captcha
01-24-2012, 03:14 AM
...He wasn't really a success until he was taken on by a traditional publisher.As readers? Avoid self-published books.Again, avoid self-publishing. If someone wants the money and exposure that comes with traditional publication, then the obvious solution is to go with traditional publication.I don't. I wonder why the author didn't try to get an agent and take the traditional route. If their book is that good, why would they deprive themselves of that money and publicity?

Of course there are SP writers who say they're not bothered about high earnings or publicity, but I've gotta say...I don't believe it. "Here, have a bajillion monkeydollars," compared to "Here, have a few quid and a buttload of work which normally, other people would do for you?"

No contest.

The thing is, SP, that you and I are both published by e-first or e-only publishers, right? Not exactly 'traditional' publishers in the traditional sense.

A lot of people lump us in with self-publishers (wrongly, but they do it). A lot of people complain about the editing standards, and the need for writers in our circles to self-promote, and the generally lower standards of e-first publishers that lead to crap being published and make it harder for readers to find quality.

I'm not saying that these criticisms are accurate, or at least not that they're accurate across the board, but they're what some people say about e-first publishers. And, truthfully, if the Big Six came calling, I'd be more than happy to work with them. But until that happens, or if it never happens, I'm happy where I am, even if it's not the big time.

So I don't feel right making the same criticisms about self-publishing that some people are making about MY sandbox. Does that make sense?

scarletpeaches
01-24-2012, 03:18 AM
I feel more than happy to make said criticisms. People can confuse self-publishing and epublishing all they like, but they're not the same thing. One has gatekeepers, the other doesn't.

And there are shitty epubs out there. But the good/bad ratio is a hell of a lot higher than that in self-publishing.

I'm not going to say that self-published books are all sunshine and roses just because some people say nasty things about epublishing.

Why don't I have an agent? Because I haven't subbed to one in two years. Or maybe it's three, I can't remember. I went with epublishing at first because I wanted to make a little money, quickly, and the plan was to sub another novel to an agent while I carried on writing erotic romance for epubs on the side. Never quite got around to it...yet.

So I'd be more than happy to write for epubs as well as whoring an agent-bait novel around town, but I'm not ashamed to say I will never self-publish. If my book isn't good enough for a publisher to pay for, it's not good enough for a reader to pay for, either.

ANicolai
01-24-2012, 03:54 AM
So how much money have you earned by self-publishing? How many books have you sold?


I published right at the end of November. I've sold a grand total, as of today, of about 150 books. I obviously don't know what the final tally for this month will be, but in the last two weeks my sales have been escalating from 1-2 per day to 5-7 per day and it's holding steady. I'm hopeful that'll keep up, but we'll see what happens. Even assuming it drops back to 1-2 per day, I should make about $150 this month.

That's not enough to quit my day job, but I think it's pretty respectable for two months in, and the numbers are trending the right direction. Even better, an extra $150 in a month will make a significant difference to my family's monthly budget, right now. I could easily see the exact same numbers, but have waited two years to do so.



Fan fiction authors get told this all the time too, that they are good enough to write professionally. For a tiny, tiny percentage of them, it's even true.

I'm not sure if you meant that as a swing at me or not, so I'm going to go ahead and assume not. You're right. People tell their friends this all the time; that's why I didn't believe any of them, and that's why I didn't publish my first draft (as many self-published authors seem to). What I'm referring to are strangers, who have read my book. You may not have noticed this, but people tend to take off the kid gloves in online marketplaces. ; ) The comments I'm thinking of were from buyers who had paid $4.29 for my novel. I'm proud of them.

I would never argue that there isn't plenty of self-published crap out there, because there certainly is. But it's not all crap. And self-publishing is not an automatic mark of someone who failed at the traditional publishing industry. I didn't even bother querying my second novel. I didn't (and still don't) see the upside.


Er, why did you not start to write your second novel while sending out queries for the first one? I'm sure plenty of writers don't put all fiction writing on hold while waiting for agent responses.

Was it simply that all the rewriting of queries/synposes was taking up the time you'd normally have spent writing?

Yes.

Simply put, I have a day job, I take care of my grandfather's finances, and I have two children and a wife who I like to see more than once a week. I was spending literally all my available writing time reworking queries, researching query targets, and working on my pitch materials. Every agent had a separate set of guidelines for what had to be sent to them, and if that guideline was not followed to the letter they would automatically reject, so I had a spreadsheet with 60+ agents on it to keep them all straight, and I had to keep that updated as well.

When I wrapped up with an evening of it, I was normally too tired to write anything that wasn't absolute crap, and needed to go to bed.... so my kids could wake me up five hours later. ; )

goldmund
01-24-2012, 04:28 AM
I liked the idea of self-publishing until I read some success stories, marketing tips, etc., and noticed how the whole damn deal started to smell like an Amway convention.

A writer is talking with people, spying on people, walking at night, getting drunk, getting desperate and paranoid, getting laid, crying over not getting laid, analysing his and her and their feelings, playing with his children, sleeping, loving his husband, baking stupid cakes and devouring chocolate, that is: living, not reciprocating reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

Cyia
01-24-2012, 04:49 AM
another was an HP fanfiction writer, the other,

Now I'm curious as to the writer's name because I dipped my toes in the HP fandom for a short stretch.

Amadan
01-24-2012, 05:04 AM
Now I'm curious as to the writer's name because I dipped my toes in the HP fandom for a short stretch.


Well, as I'm sure you know, a couple of BNF Harry Potter fan fiction authors have gone on to become pro: Cassandra Clare and Sarah Reese Brennan.

There are plenty of fan fiction authors who have the potential to be good enough to get published, if they develop their craft. Of course, not all of them actually have ambitions to publish.

Cyia
01-24-2012, 05:07 AM
Yeah, I know the big ones, but I always wonder if there weren't others. That fandom is HUGE, so it's possible that a handful have gone on to commercial success beyond the big names.

Amadan
01-24-2012, 05:08 AM
That's not enough to quit my day job, but I think it's pretty respectable for two months in, and the numbers are trending the right direction. Even better, an extra $150 in a month will make a significant difference to my family's monthly budget, right now. I could easily see the exact same numbers, but have waited two years to do so.

$150/month isn't nothing, but it's pretty close to nothing in terms of making writing a career.


I'm not sure if you meant that as a swing at me or not, so I'm going to go ahead and assume not. You're right. People tell their friends this all the time; that's why I didn't believe any of them, and that's why I didn't publish my first draft (as many self-published authors seem to). What I'm referring to are strangers, who have read my book. You may not have noticed this, but people tend to take off the kid gloves in online marketplaces. ; ) The comments I'm thinking of were from buyers who had paid $4.29 for my novel. I'm proud of them.

Not a swing, but a point: anyone who writes a story that appeals to a significant number of people will have some fans who think they are the best thing since sliced toast. Which is great and gratifying and all, but I think it's a mistake to take the opinions of some random people on the Internet as "proof" that you're writing at a professional level sans editing, even if they did pay for your book. Sure, you're good enough for them. But probably not for most people used to paying for professionally edited books.

Linda Adams
01-24-2012, 05:10 AM
I liked the idea of self-publishing until I read some success stories, marketing tips, etc., and noticed how the whole damn deal started to smell like an Amway convention.

A writer is talking with people, spying on people, walking at night, getting drunk, getting desperate and paranoid, getting laid, crying over not getting laid, analysing his and her and their feelings, playing with his children, sleeping, loving his husband, baking stupid cakes and devouring chocolate, that is: living, not reciprocating reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

There's a lot of bad marketing advice out there. A lot of the social media marketers try to make it a one size fit all and forget that a writer isn't like a company. The writer, first and foremost, has to produce more books, and good books -- not spend all their time marketing. All the marketing in the world isn't going to help a poorly written book.

ANicolai
01-24-2012, 05:55 AM
$150/month isn't nothing, but it's pretty close to nothing in terms of making writing a career.

Right you are. I don't recall saying that I expect my monthly income to cap at $150. That's what I'm making two months in - two months which, under the other system, I would've spent ripping my hair out trying to get someone to even look at my work.




Not a swing, but a point: anyone who writes a story that appeals to a significant number of people will have some fans who think they are the best thing since sliced toast. Which is great and gratifying and all, but I think it's a mistake to take the opinions of some random people on the Internet as "proof" that you're writing at a professional level sans editing, even if they did pay for your book.

I'm not taking it as proof, but I do respect the opinions of my readers. I would daresay a good author ignores those opinions at their peril.


Sure, you're good enough for them. But probably not for most people used to paying for professionally edited books.

I gotta say, there's a lot of disrespect in this statement, particularly from someone who hasn't (I assume) even read the free sample of my book. That's a lot to assume blindly of a work that is readily available. I've never read your work, and I would never pass the same judgement on it without looking at it first.

Hilldawg
01-24-2012, 06:10 AM
Although there seem to be lots of interviews with writers and writing in the public media, I've seen very little about TP vs SP. I'm not sure the average reader cares very much. They just want something good to read, or they want to read something with buzz, or that their friends or newspapers have recommended.

But you see, you've said it - readers want something good. As a reader with a nook, I've been lured by the free ebooks available through Barnes and Noble's nook store. But half the stuff I downloaded (granted, they were free), was absolutely terrible. And they were self-published. As more and more readers switch to ereaders (not that I'm saying the paper book is disappearing, because I don't believe that), they will encounter these same awful free self-published ebooks. So, while before digital publishing, the average reader would care less about SP versus TP, now they are confronted with it.

ANicolai
01-24-2012, 06:31 AM
But you see, you've said it - readers want something good. As a reader with a nook, I've been lured by the free ebooks available through Barnes and Noble's nook store. But half the stuff I downloaded (granted, they were free), was absolutely terrible. And they were self-published. As more and more readers switch to ereaders (not that I'm saying the paper book is disappearing, because I don't believe that), they will encounter these same awful free self-published ebooks. So, while before digital publishing, the average reader would care less about SP versus TP, now they are confronted with it.

I've encountered this myself, quite a bit. Honestly, I steer away from free books (and even quite a few $.99 books) as a general guideline, though I will give them a chance in certain circumstances. But I'll never buy a book online (electronic or paperback) without reading through the sample. I can usually tell within a few pages if the writing style and editing are any good. Another strong indicator is any kind of typo or grammatical error in the book description. To me, that kind of thing is inexcusable, whether it's a traditionally or self-published book (and yes, I have seen the same errors in traditionally published books).

The bad ones can usually be weeded out by the sample, though - at least in my experience.

latourdumoine
01-24-2012, 06:36 AM
I also wonder how much cultural perception plays into this. I've been told that in Finland, where I am right now, literary agents are virtually unheard of. The writers contact the publishers directly. I write in English so publishing here would be a moot point, but perhaps people not used to going through an agent would be more inclined to go the self-publishing route? I haven't tried to verify that statement, so I can't say whether it's true or not, but I do know some people who have self-published. One was for self-gratification, and the result was . . . well, dreck. The other was very much a niche market, so it made sense to go that route. In this case the quality was excellent.

What worries me is many people saying that it's impossible to get an agent without the proper contacts, luck, etc. Agents, as someone pointed out upthread, are not gods or even demi-gods, they're people, thus approachable. I see that trend in other areas as well (a former "best friend" once accused me of lying to her because I made the mistake of telling her I was starting a project with a well-known person. She even went so far as to tell me she was trying to figure out what mental disorder I had for me to lie to her like that. Needless to say that was the last time we spoke). Sure it's intimidating presenting what is essentially you to someone who may or may not hold your fate in their hands, but remember when you asked that person out on a date / to a dance and everyone swore it would be impossible? And now you're happily married . . . My point is, risk it.

For myself I'd prefer the traditional route to self-publishing (though I might consider it for one project). Like Toothpaste, I like working with someone and whipping the damn thing into shape, I like knowing that someone else will pay me for this. Besides, the way my mind works, I'm much better off having someone watch over me. I was involved in overseeing this "publication" (read crappy magazine) for one organization, and let's just say I'm glad there aren't too many copies of that floating around. It was a learning experience I'm glad for, and I got out of it what I wanted. But I'm equally glad it's over. And if there's only one thing I learned, it's that I feel much more comfortable having someone who knows what they're doing telling me my work sucks, or is great (depending on what the case may be).

I'm also very mistrustful of rave reviews by strangers and acquaintances when it comes to my work. In my experience (and I'm not saying this applies to everyone), I find that often people don't want to insult me, so they'll say nice things in order not to hurt my feelings. I'd rather hear their honest opinions.

Cyia
01-24-2012, 06:36 AM
The shine's pretty much gone from those $0.00-$0.99 books. People have clued in that they're more desperate gimmick than deal, and have even started saying they take the price point as an indication of lack of quality.

They were the fad of the moment, but the moment is ending.

Amadan
01-24-2012, 07:22 AM
I gotta say, there's a lot of disrespect in this statement, particularly from someone who hasn't (I assume) even read the free sample of my book. That's a lot to assume blindly of a work that is readily available. I've never read your work, and I would never pass the same judgement on it without looking at it first.

Well, I hadn't read the sample of your book, but I think there are very few people who don't need editors.

Now that I've read your free sample, I can say with certainty that you aren't one of them.

And I don't mean that to be disrespectful. Your story is interesting and your writing is a lot better than a lot of what I've seen in self-published ebooks, but it's not polished prose and it's full of all kinds of beginner's mistakes. If the writing were better, I'd have been tempted to buy it, but it is badly in need of a good editor to help you tighten it up.

KathleenD
01-24-2012, 07:34 AM
Note that not everyone seeks trade/commercial publication. Some perfectly salable novels go through self-publishing. But if they're salable, why not go for the better bet, money and publicity wise?

Well, speaking only for myself - with three contracts with a pretty good e-publisher - the better bet may yet turn out to be self-publishing. For my particular type of material at my particular speed and my particular self. AKA YMMV.

Jury's still out, but sales of my SP novella are higher than my slowest selling TP novella... and trending up, whereas the slowest selling TP novella has remained consistent for three quarters. The royalty rate is 70% versus 15%. Yes, I paid for editing (by someone who works for one of the top e-pubs), but I've already earned enough money to pay myself back for it.

I won't claim I'm onto anything or that anyone that isn't me writing my stories should go off and do anything based on my experience.

Furthermore, some of you know I also write science fiction, and intend to go full metal New York. If you want to write mass market paperbacks, you want to reach that mass market and all at once.

But for what I write under this pen name, self-pub is perfectly viable, and since I've sold everything I've ever submitted to trade publishers, I don't think I'm a failure :)


I liked the idea of self-publishing until I read some success stories, marketing tips, etc., and noticed how the whole damn deal started to smell like an Amway convention.


Don't read those people. They're insane. Try reading the ones who say "publish it, forget it, write the next one." Those guys are ALSO insane, but in a way that makes me feel better about my own slipped gears.

kaitie
01-24-2012, 07:54 AM
Well, I hadn't read the sample of your book, but I think there are very few people who don't need editors.

Now that I've read your free sample, I can say with certainty that you aren't one of them.

And I don't mean that to be disrespectful. Your story is interesting and your writing is a lot better than a lot of what I've seen in self-published ebooks, but it's not polished prose and it's full of all kinds of beginner's mistakes. If the writing were better, I'd have been tempted to buy it, but it is badly in need of a good editor to help you tighten it up.

It's pretty damned good compared to most self-published samples I've seen. Comma errors were distracting and there were places where the writing could be cleaned up, but I was impressed.

I would recommend a professional editor to any self-publisher, as well as a professional cover artist (honestly I wouldn't have considered it because of the cover alone and it's exactly the kind of story I would love), but this definitely has potential.

Cyia--Are you sure? I ask because I've seen an awful lot of commercially published books being discounted to $.99 on sale lately.

Cyia
01-24-2012, 08:01 AM
Cyia--Are you sure? I ask because I've seen an awful lot of commercially published books being discounted to $.99 on sale lately.

On sale from a commercial press, sure, but the tide's turned on the cheap SP e-books. Even Konrath's comment streams are full of people saying their books sell better at a higher price point because buyers are leery of the cheaper ones.

Amadan
01-24-2012, 08:27 AM
It's pretty damned good compared to most self-published samples I've seen. Comma errors were distracting and there were places where the writing could be cleaned up, but I was impressed.

Yes, as I said, it's better than most self-published offerings. But not professional quality.


Cyia--Are you sure? I ask because I've seen an awful lot of commercially published books being discounted to $.99 on sale lately.

A lot of publishers do that, but generally not with new releases. More often it's when a new book in a series comes out, and they mark the first one down to $0.99.

aruna
01-24-2012, 11:11 AM
I've had two things. One is people telling me "Hey you know you can publish for free now on Amazon!" Not always, but often these people are citing the fact that I won't have to pay someone to do it. I've also heard it discussed in a...I won't say negative way, but a very oddly not positive way. I was with a group of coworkers last year and the topic came up, but it wasn't as though they were really encouraging me to do it. It was more that they were saying, "Hey I heard you can do this" and a few people brought up some negatives, but it wasn't encouraging or discouraging really. I was just surprised because until then I'd always heard it referred to very positively.


In the last half=year or so I've had at least four friends tell me all about self-publishing on Kindle. They send me articles on Amanda Hocking and J. Konrath; one of them got rather upset when I pointed out the pitfalls of SP and sent him two AW threads (he's an aspiring author himself.)


The idea that any good writer will somehow find representation and someone to publish them is just not true. There are many fine writers who, for whatever reason, can't break out of the dreaded slush pile.
.

I agree with this. There may be other reasons than quality of book/writing that may be the problem: such as the perception that the market is not open to this kind of book. I can't count the number of times agents or editors have told me this!

In the case of one of my books for which they say there is "no market" I have SP'ed: because I know beyond a doubt that there IS a market.




he thought of essentially putting my writing on hold for a year to query the book was making me sick. I can handle the rejection, but the bigger concern to me was what a colossal waste of time it was.



Marketing is a pain, but my understanding is most trad-published authors feel that same pain. Publishers push their biggest authors, and that's it. I've never been traditionally published (and am no longer interested in doing so), so I don't have a point of comparison, but I do a lot of reading on the topic and I don't feel like I've missed out there.
difference is that I don't believe traditional publishers performed that task as well as they like to say they do. I've read some pretty horrendously edited and written books in my day, as I'm sure we all have.


!

There's just no comparison between marketing as a n SP and trade marketing. With the latter, the publisher does ALL the work. They invest hard currency in an ad campaign (in my case it was an ad for my book on the back of London Tube tickets for a week!), they submit your book to newspapers and journals for review (try doing that as an SP author!) and they set up radio and TV interviews. Yes, if you're shy as I am it is a pain going through with those interviews and as I am not a riveting speaker or very telegenic, they weren't all that impressive. But wow! What a chance they were! I can't come anywhere near to that exposure with my current Kindle book.


The shine's pretty much gone from those $0.00-$0.99 books. People have clued in that they're more desperate gimmick than deal, and have even started saying they take the price point as an indication of lack of quality.

They were the fad of the moment, but the moment is ending.

YAY!!!!!!

Old Hack
01-24-2012, 11:27 AM
I worked on that query letter nearly every night for that year.

Wow. That must have been one long query letter.


About halfway through writing my second novel, I realized that the thought of essentially putting my writing on hold for a year to query the book was making me sick.

I have children, and I know how much time a family takes out of one's day: but querying really shouldn't stop you from writing a new book.


Marketing is a pain, but my understanding is most trad-published authors feel that same pain. Publishers push their biggest authors, and that's it.

My bold. That really isn't true, you know.


To the original poster: I know every author says this, but I really do believe that I can edit my own work.

If you check out my review blog, linked to in my signature, you'll see that you're not alone in thinking this. But very few of the books I've reviewed have been edited appropriately and this lack of editing really gets in the way of the story.


What worries me is many people saying that it's impossible to get an agent without the proper contacts, luck, etc.

Yep. This is not just wrong, it's illogical. Why does this myth persist?

ANicolai
01-24-2012, 11:28 AM
And after years of work it's happened: I will have three books commercially published in the next 18 months, one fiction and one non-fiction. I am thrilled to pieces by that, and would feel totally differently had I SP-ed.

Congratulations, Mark : ) That's fantastic!

aruna
01-24-2012, 11:35 AM
My bold. That really isn't true, you know.




Exactly. I was far from being a big author when I got the promotion I spoke of above. I was a debut author. True, the following books did not get
the same treatment but still far more than I could ever do on my own.

ANicolai
01-24-2012, 11:41 AM
Wow. That must have been one long query letter.
It wasn't (though I was constantly worried that it was - or too short, or too personal, or not personal enough...). There were, however, about 45 different versions of it. I modified it slightly for each agent I sent it to after meticulously researching each one, trying to avoid using something "generic" since that was supposed to be a no-no. I experimented with different formats and different pitches. I really can't overstate the degree to which I obsessed about that GD query letter (not to mention the synopsis and the bio). And fully 60% of the time the response was not even a form rejection, it was dead silence. I had no idea whether or not it was ever even received. Follow-ups were typically met with the same response.

I can handle rejection. I get that Amadan thinks my novel is poorly edited, and I'm really okay with it. : )

But pouring hours and hours of work every week down a black hole... ultimately, it didn't feel worth my time.



I have children, and I know how much time a family takes out of one's day: but querying really shouldn't stop you from writing a new book.

Well, thanks for that... but somehow, the thought that I may have just been doing it wrong for a year doesn't make me eager to try it again. ; )




My bold. That really isn't true, you know.

If it's not true, frankly, the publishing industry really needs to stop trying to convince people that it is.

I read countless articles - not from JA Konrath, but from agents, editors, and publishers - firmly disabusing me of the notion that they would market my book if they ever deigned to pick it up. They were everywhere. In Writer's Market, in agent blogs, in interviews, everywhere. "You need to have your own platform." "You need to market your book yourself." "You can't expect your publisher to do this for you anymore." "You need to have a fan base when you submit your query." Eventually I started thinking, if I need to do all that myself, I may as well get 70% while I'm learning how to do it and quit obsessing over these blasted query letters.

ANicolai
01-24-2012, 11:50 AM
I would recommend a professional editor to any self-publisher, as well as a professional cover artist (honestly I wouldn't have considered it because of the cover alone and it's exactly the kind of story I would love), but this definitely has potential.

Thank you for taking a look, Kaitie.

This entire first novel has been an experiment for me in learning this process. Something I really love about SP is that it is okay to make mistakes while learning it. I want to have much nicer covers for my next two books; but if the cover of the first one is preventing it from selling, I can just chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. If I decide to re-do it, I can also do that at my own pace and get it done according to my own tastes and preferences. I'm not trying to put food on the table with this; I'm trying to share my work and improve my craft, and I can do so without feeling like I'm wading through molasses or shouting at a wall.

Oh my, it is 2am.

I need to get to bed. Fascinating conversation.

Anne Lyle
01-24-2012, 11:53 AM
I read countless articles - not from JA Konrath, but from agents, editors, and publishers - firmly disabusing me of the notion that they would market my book if they ever deigned to pick it up. They were everywhere. In Writer's Market, in agent blogs, in interviews, everywhere. "You need to have your own platform." "You need to market your book yourself." "You can't expect your publisher to do this for you anymore." "You need to have a fan base when you submit your query." Eventually I started thinking, if I need to do all that myself, I may as well get 70% while I'm learning how to do it and quit obsessing over these blasted query letters.

1. Are you writing fiction or non-fiction? They're different animals. Non-fiction writers are expected to have a platform; fiction, not so much.

2. Publishers are still doing marketing (getting books into bookshops, getting them reviewed, etc). What they don't do so much of is promotion - but the internet makes it far easier for writers to do that themselves. Publishers are beginning to look askance at writers who have zero internet presence - no blog, no social media accounts, etc. - but that's the world we live in.

blacbird
01-24-2012, 12:02 PM
Publishers are beginning to look askance at writers who have zero internet presence - no blog, no social media accounts, etc.

I'm even further doomed than I previously thought.

caw

Anne Lyle
01-24-2012, 12:07 PM
I'm speaking as a writer of SFF - our community are early adopters, so if you're not online, you're a dinosaur. I have no idea to what extent this is true in other genres.

gothicangel
01-24-2012, 01:22 PM
If it's not true, frankly, the publishing industry really needs to stop trying to convince people that it is.

I read countless articles - not from JA Konrath, but from agents, editors, and publishers - firmly disabusing me of the notion that they would market my book if they ever deigned to pick it up. They were everywhere. In iter's Market, in agent blogs, in interviews, everywhere. "You need to have your own platform." "You need to market your book yourself." "You can't expect your publisher to do this for you anymore." "You need to have a fan base when you submit your query." Eventually I started thinking, if I need to do all that myself, I may as well get 70% while I'm learning how to do it and quit obsessing over these blasted query letters.

:popcorn:

Old Hack
01-24-2012, 02:27 PM
I really can't overstate the degree to which I obsessed about that GD query letter (not to mention the synopsis and the bio). And fully 60% of the time the response was not even a form rejection, it was dead silence. I had no idea whether or not it was ever even received. Follow-ups were typically met with the same response.

I think we've all obsessed over our writing like that at one time or another. But now you're at AW you'll be able to use Query Letter Hell, and so you'll do better next time.

That's a bummer about the silence, though. I hate it. I absolutely understand why agents do it; but I hate it.

The better you get at writing the less likely you are to be met with that silence. It's difficult, I know, but you can and will improve the more you write.


Well, thanks for that... but somehow, the thought that I may have just been doing it wrong for a year doesn't make me eager to try it again. ; )

Was this your first book? You might have said but I can't remember. Very few writers get it right their first time out of the door. Keep writing. It gets easier. Or at least, you get more used to how hard it is.


If it's not true, frankly, the publishing industry really needs to stop trying to convince people that it is.

I read countless articles - not from JA Konrath, but from agents, editors, and publishers - firmly disabusing me of the notion that they would market my book if they ever deigned to pick it up. They were everywhere. In Writer's Market, in agent blogs, in interviews, everywhere. "You need to have your own platform." "You need to market your book yourself." "You can't expect your publisher to do this for you anymore." "You need to have a fan base when you submit your query." Eventually I started thinking, if I need to do all that myself, I may as well get 70% while I'm learning how to do it and quit obsessing over these blasted query letters.

Writers do need to promote their own work: but that doesn't mean that publishers don't do anything at all. Just getting the books in front of readers--onto bookshop shelves, and so on--sells a huge number of copies. The writer doesn't do that on their own, do they?

(Yes, I realise we're approaching the point where more copies are sold online than in real bookshops: but I recently read a study which showed that around half of online purchases were made after the book had been discovered in a physical bookshop. That bookshop presence is still essential for sales.)

The idea that trade publishers don't promote or market the books they publish is a popular one, but it's not true. It costs to pay advances, pay for editing, typesetting, design and printing: why would any business do that and then not bother to do anything to sell the book?

As for reading Mr Konrath's blog: I've said it before and I'll say it again. I admire him hugely for all he's achieved, and I'm very pleased that he's had the success he's had. He's worked his socks off to get where he is. But his blog is not a reliable source of information about trade publishing, and his grand rhetoric cannot compensate for his poor logic.

latourdumoine
01-24-2012, 02:40 PM
Why does this myth persist?
I think a lot of it has to do with not knowing anyone in the field or not knowing them well and then relying on hearsay, articles read etc. If you read the ones where people staunchly maintain that it is so, and you don't know any better . . .

I see this mainly in the entertainment field all the time, "you can't meet famous people, you can't talk to people in the public eye." To me this just goes back to Master and Serf of medieval times. The flip side is to bring them down, "they're not that special."

Actually, I think it's the general fear of the unknown. Sure, it's daunting to apply for something, but if you don't try, you won't make it. People are people no matter where you go. Plus, if you look hard enough, you usually find something you have in common with the other person, no matter who it is. I don't know that much about self-publishing admittedly because I've been focusing on the trade publishing aspect, but I can see the benefits of it for some people. I have no problem talking to people and holding lectures / talks in front of crowds, but like Aruna said, I hate the thought of begging others to link to me, link to my page, etc. I have friends who are good at it, and their friends will gladly repost those links, so it works but still.

And then, too, a lot of people are entitled, thinking it's their god-given right to have this published without a single change. And heaven forbid anyone should say otherwise. If those people then publish books as being the only authority in the field, we're back to square one.

I could see myself self-publishing if it was a limited edition thing, something compiled for a group of friends, a private collection of stories and photos or something like that. Then again, everyone has to find their own way.

kaitie
01-24-2012, 08:25 PM
I think the biggest reason the myths are perpetuated is because it's a hell of a lot easier to believe that an external force is responsible for something negative than it is to blame yourself (somewhat related to internal/external locus of control).

If a person is rejected, they have two options: blame themselves and accept that their book isn't good enough, or blame the agents and editors. Blaming the agents and editors might make you angry and frustrated, but as someone who has put aside books knowing rejection meant they weren't good enough, it sure hurts a lot less.

One of the flaws with this (and the reason many self-published books aren't good enough) is that if a person doesn't believe they're at fault--after all their book is great and amazing (and I understand this. It's so hard to see our own work objectively) and if the problem is all those other guys, then self-publishing will clearly lead to great success. It eliminates the most important lesson that comes from rejection and/or criticism: learning to accept that you're not as good as you think and then working to improve.

The bad thing is that there are so many voices right now perpetuating the myths online that it's hard to put a stop to them. And when people believe what they want to believe, if you have two competing explanations, a lot of people just default to the one that puts the responsibility in someone else's hands.

I also suspect (though I could be wrong) that this is a reason you see so much in self-publishing about marketing and promotion, etc. If a book isn't succeeding, rather than look at the book itself and say "maybe my book isn't very good," people often ask "Why isn't my promotion working? How do I get more fans on Facebook?" I've seen that happening even when the person in question has negative reviews commenting on poor writing.

bearilou
01-24-2012, 08:40 PM
I think the biggest reason the myths are perpetuated is because it's a hell of a lot easier to believe that an external force is responsible for something negative than it is to blame yourself (somewhat related to internal/external locus of control).

If a person is rejected, they have two options: blame themselves and accept that their book isn't good enough, or blame the agents and editors. Blaming the agents and editors might make you angry and frustrated, but as someone who has put aside books knowing rejection meant they weren't good enough, it sure hurts a lot less.

One of the flaws with this (and the reason many self-published books aren't good enough) is that if a person doesn't believe they're at fault--after all their book is great and amazing (and I understand this. It's so hard to see our own work objectively) and if the problem is all those other guys, then self-publishing will clearly lead to great success. It eliminates the most important lesson that comes from rejection and/or criticism: learning to accept that you're not as good as you think and then working to improve.

The bad thing is that there are so many voices right now perpetuating the myths online that it's hard to put a stop to them. And when people believe what they want to believe, if you have two competing explanations, a lot of people just default to the one that puts the responsibility in someone else's hands.

I also suspect (though I could be wrong) that this is a reason you see so much in self-publishing about marketing and promotion, etc. If a book isn't succeeding, rather than look at the book itself and say "maybe my book isn't very good," people often ask "Why isn't my promotion working? How do I get more fans on Facebook?" I've seen that happening even when the person in question has negative reviews commenting on poor writing.

This. All of this. :Thumbs:

Cyia
01-24-2012, 08:54 PM
One of the flaws with this (and the reason many self-published books aren't good enough) is that if a person doesn't believe they're at fault--after all their book is great and amazing (and I understand this. It's so hard to see our own work objectively) and if the problem is all those other guys, then self-publishing will clearly lead to great success. It eliminates the most important lesson that comes from rejection and/or criticism: learning to accept that you're not as good as you think and then working to improve.

*****

I also suspect (though I could be wrong) that this is a reason you see so much in self-publishing about marketing and promotion, etc. If a book isn't succeeding, rather than look at the book itself and say "maybe my book isn't very good," people often ask "Why isn't my promotion working? How do I get more fans on Facebook?" I've seen that happening even when the person in question has negative reviews commenting on poor writing.

Both of these points are usually made worse by well-meaning friends/relatives/teachers who either try to be encouraging, or can't separate the work from the writer when they make their assessments. If everyone's telling you something's awesome, then how are you to know different? Especially with people who say they're being objective.

There are also people who get beaten down and believe that all negative responses are meant to do the same. They're like the people on American Idol who come in saying "everyone" has put them down/told them they don't have what it takes to succeed, and then can't hit a single note when they think they've got perfect pitch.

kaitie
01-24-2012, 09:31 PM
I definitely think getting great feedback from friends and family can make it harder to see a book objectively. Like I said, I understand completely why people feel that way, and it's also one of the reasons it's just utterly heartbreaking to be told that it's not as good as you think. It's a really, really difficult thing to be told and to accept.

latourdumoine
01-25-2012, 04:49 AM
Amen to all of the above. Especially the parts about people not being able to see when their writing plain and simple sucks. There are those friends who won't read anything you write because they don't want to hurt your feelings, which is fair enough. And then there are those who can't lavish enough praise on you, no matter what you tell them. Maybe they know you too well, maybe they don't want to hurt you, maybe they're too biased, maybe, whatever.

I think it's okay to give your manuscript to your family and friends providing they can really tear it apart. Otherwise, you can use them as encouraging voices when you need to hear something nice. YMMV of course. I've had a lot of success with that, and by that I mean the piece really gets ripped apart, every little thing criticized and evaluated. Plus, I know my immediate family loves me to bits, but if I produce any c***, they will let me know. And in no uncertain terms either. Which is just as it should be.

Cynical Me is thinking, well, if those people really can't listen, let them fall on their faces when they self-publish. But that's just Cynical Me. :evil

Ultimately I agree, it's so much easier blaming it on external forces.

dangerousbill
01-25-2012, 05:50 AM
I think it's okay to give your manuscript to your family and friends providing they can really tear it apart. Otherwise, you can use them as encouraging voices when you need to hear something nice. YMMV of course.


Been there. Done that. Never again. Families and close friends can never be impartial. In fact, I prefer a group whose only connection is that we all write.

My mileage does indeed vary. When I hear nice, I know I'm wasting everyone's time. My first drafts stink. If I don't come home from a crit group meeting glad that the shotgun shells are locked away, I know the session probably hasn't done me any good.

dangerousbill
01-25-2012, 05:56 AM
As for reading Mr Konrath's blog: I've said it before and I'll say it again. I admire him hugely for all he's achieved, and I'm very pleased that he's had the success he's had. He's worked his socks off to get where he is.


Though it worked for Konrath, it's subject to the tragedy of the commons: When everyone does it, it doesn't work any more.

scarletpeaches
01-25-2012, 06:22 AM
Families and close friends can never be impartial.Speak for yourself.

DancingMaenid
01-25-2012, 08:58 AM
I've actually had the opposite problem with getting feedback from family and friends. Getting positive feedback doesn't affect me much -- it makes me happy, but I know they're likely biased, so I take it for what it is -- a kind comment from someone who cares for me, and not a serious critique.

But I've become wary of showing my writing to my mom, for example, because she'll complain about stuff and I have no idea if she's onto something or not. I've had a few conversations like this:

Her: It was okay, but I couldn't enjoy it because I hated that one guy.
Me: Oh? How come?
Her: He was a jerk!
Me: ...Well, I did intend for him to be a jerk. And he's a villainous character. But I guess the writing didn't work for you?
Her: I just can't stand jerks. I think the characters should all get along.
Me: Well, that wouldn't work. It would remove the main conflict in the story. But maybe the characterization isn't working like I wanted, and I should look at that....
Her: I hate conflict. I could never be a writer.

It's quite possible that when this happens, she's reacting to a real issue that she can't pinpoint. But I certainly don't get any indication of what it might be. :Shrug:

thebloodfiend
01-25-2012, 09:11 AM
Her: It was okay, but I couldn't enjoy it because I hated that one guy.
Me: Oh? How come?
Her: He was a jerk!
Me: ...Well, I did intend for him to be a jerk. And he's a villainous character. But I guess the writing didn't work for you?
Her: I just can't stand jerks. I think the characters should all get along.
Me: Well, that wouldn't work. It would remove the main conflict in the story. But maybe the characterization isn't working like I wanted, and I should look at that....
Her: I hate conflict. I could never be a writer.

Story of my life whenever I show my manuscripts/screenplays to my little sister.

Her: I hate Z.
Me: Why?
Her: He's a huge jerk who cheats on all his girlfriends.
Me: That's kind of the point. He gets better.
Her: Well, I liked him better when he was nice.
Me: But then there would be no story. You know what, never mind. What about R?
Her: I hate R, too. She's so mean.
Me: But she's supposed to be mean. *sigh*


I've gotten good (both positive and negative) feedback from my mother, who fancies herself a screenwriter, and my dad, who's an English major, and various beta-readers, as well as an editor and an agent, but my little sister just can't get over the fact that characters aren't always supposed to be nice.

Hilldawg
01-25-2012, 09:56 PM
On sale from a commercial press, sure, but the tide's turned on the cheap SP e-books. Even Konrath's comment streams are full of people saying their books sell better at a higher price point because buyers are leery of the cheaper ones.


I would definitely add that those individuals who are just now getting Kindles and Nooks will fall prey to this as soon as they start checking out the ebook store. Of course, once they realize that the writing is crap, they'll know better. But all newbies out there to ebooks will inevitably encounter the terrible free ebook.

dangerousbill
01-25-2012, 11:38 PM
I would definitely add that those individuals who are just now getting Kindles and Nooks will fall prey to this as soon as they start checking out the ebook store.


That's why most bookstores provide samples, often the full first chapter. I don't buy unless I've looked at ch. 1. It's also true when I examine TP books at B&N or Amazon. An author who doesn't know how to write a good story won't know enough to throw all his/er effort into Chapter 1 either.

latourdumoine
01-26-2012, 12:31 AM
I think good critics / beta readers are hard to find, when you do, you cherish them beyond any and all things. At the end of the day it doesn't matter whether it's your family or the neighbor or your writer's group partner. When you've found them, you know. Although some might not feel comfortable with criticizing / getting feedback from those close to them. I have friends who refuse to let family read their works, others are fine with it.

All this talk about self-publishing almost makes me want to do it, just to give it a try and see what it's all about. Take some project like a travel guide or blog entries or something. It would be an interesting exercise if time wasn't a factor.

As long as people are making informed decisions, they should be fine with making the decisions that are best for them. In theory of course. We've all seen the PA thread.

kaitie
01-26-2012, 02:13 AM
Not everyone enjoys reading samples before buying books. It drives me crazy to start something and not finish. I've always bought based on cover and blurb. Not a fan of reading samples.

Amadan
01-26-2012, 02:17 AM
Not everyone enjoys reading samples before buying books. It drives me crazy to start something and not finish. I've always bought based on cover and blurb. Not a fan of reading samples.


I don't read samples, because it usually takes me more than a chapter to get into a book. The first chapter would have to be spectacularly bad to convince me that I couldn't possibly enjoy the book.

Libbie
01-26-2012, 07:05 AM
I didn't pick an option in your poll because I didn't feel any of them really fit my situation. I self-published one book after it failed to sell under two agents' representation. It was rejected with plenty of praise by just about every imprint out there that publishes commercial historical fiction. When I felt I'd exhausted all my reasonable options for traditionally publishing it, I self-published it because I felt it was not selling due to current market trends, not due to its being an inherently flawed book. So far it seems like a good move -- it's been getting great reviews and sales are growing steadily.

However, I still think that traditionally publishing with a good publisher ("good" either in terms of big budget or smart marketing, in the case of smaller presses with smaller budgets) is a wiser use of any writer's time and resources. I do not, at this point, think that self-publishing an entire career's worth of works is a smart move. That is, I doubt the huge majority of writers can even HAVE a career that's based on self-publishing. It's just so much work to keep the ball rolling. I'd rather have somebody else do even some of that work for me, so I can spend more time writing.

dangerousbill
01-26-2012, 07:35 AM
Not everyone enjoys reading samples before buying books. It drives me crazy to start something and not finish. I've always bought based on cover and blurb. Not a fan of reading samples.

Don't you find that most blurbs read pretty much the same? And they don't tell you if you're going to have to slog through bad grammar and cardboard characters. Usually, I can tell in a page if the writing is competent, and in a chapter whether I'm going to finish the book once I start.

Considering that I'm spending real money plus my limited reading time, I take a lot of care in selecting books. (Even though my reading queue has about 20 books in it.)

The criteria I use when choosing books, in approximate decreasing order, are:

1. The author, by reputation or personal knowledge.

2. The first pages or the full first chapter.

3. The next book in a series I like.

4. Reviews, or 'everybody's reading it'.

Hilldawg
01-26-2012, 07:41 AM
The criteria I use when choosing books, in approximate decreasing order, are:

1. The author, by reputation or personal knowledge.

2. The first pages or the full first chapter.

3. The next book in a series I like.

4. Reviews, or 'everybody's reading it'.

You forgot to mention "book cover." He he he!

ios
01-26-2012, 08:28 AM
I'm curious about those published authors who have chosen the self-published path over the traditional path. Why did you choose this path?


While I have a couple short stories accepted and published by some markets (small press/anthology), my largest work to date is self-published. My novels will follow that route. However, I might try my hand at the traditional market for some short stories, if I can write short stories again. Some is key. Some I will self-publish. If I write short stories again ;-) Not easy for me, those.

I picked this route because what I write (and like to read) isn't commercially popular in my genre. It's not what I see on the bookstore shelves. But it's what I like. Also, I realize I'm not the type of person who can easily overhaul a novel after I get most of it set in draft form (sometimes in outline form if the story is that strong in my head). Oh, and I also write shorter lengths than most works in my genre. All that makes me a poor fit for a publisher. I don't think I'm normal in this way, by the way. I think it's a weird quirk of mine.


If self-publishing is the future, how can the consumer select the meat from the gristle?

I don't think it is the future, but I think it is one future, one far more viable for the poorer writers than it was before. There will still be small press and big commercial house works, or so I believe.


How do self-published authors ensure their works are ready for the public eye without a team of professional editors looking them over?

They have to learn how to do it on their own or hire help. But I strongly believe writers are capable of learning how to judge their own works and edit them well. The more they try, the better they will get at it. There are many ways to this knowledge, and whether it comes from a book, practice, or career editor, it doesn't matter, as long as it works.

Jodi

kaitie
01-26-2012, 08:29 AM
Don't you find that most blurbs read pretty much the same? And they don't tell you if you're going to have to slog through bad grammar and cardboard characters. Usually, I can tell in a page if the writing is competent, and in a chapter whether I'm going to finish the book once I start.

Considering that I'm spending real money plus my limited reading time, I take a lot of care in selecting books. (Even though my reading queue has about 20 books in it.)


That's the thing--if I walk into a bookstore I don't generally have to be concerned with things like writing and editing or a plot that falls apart two-thirds of the way through. Someone's already checked that part, and generally speaking it's not an issue.

I'm saying that for someone like me who doesn't like to read samples, it's hard to choose a self-published book because I don't want to get something poorly written and I don't want to read a bunch of samples to see which is safe. The only self-published books I've bought were people I know are amazing writers. I'd also be willing to try something that came highly recommended from friends.

ios
01-26-2012, 08:31 AM
That article is a year and a half old. That's like dog years in the digital self-pub world.

That made me think of those 4G commercials. :-D

Jodi

ios
01-26-2012, 08:52 AM
$150/month isn't nothing, but it's pretty close to nothing in terms of making writing a career.

One work generally isn't considered a career even in the commercial big houses, though.

Jodi

dangerousbill
01-26-2012, 09:48 AM
That's the thing--if I walk into a bookstore I don't generally have to be concerned with things like writing and editing or a plot that falls apart two-thirds of the way through.


This was sort-of true a few years ago. Today, I don't see the same quality inside a TP book. Instead, we have artificially hyped horrors like The DaVinci Code (subtitled The Massive Collection of Wornout Cliches and Pulp Style).

In any case, not everyone's taste matches mine. The cover might be decorated with explosions and naked women, and the blurb may declare that it crackles with sex and suspense, surely the novel of the year. Then I may read ch. 1 and find it's a stream-of-consciousness snore-fest.

aruna
01-26-2012, 10:51 AM
Seems to me that review sites are the new gatekeepers.

Isobel Lindley
01-26-2012, 02:01 PM
What about work that isn't commercial?

It's not that I think publishers and agents are evil. It's that I think they are commercial businesses, not charity organisations.

Of my two major projects, one is potentially commercial. My other main WIP project is a school story set in a a 1950s boarding school, with lesbian romance themes. I ask myself, even if this was the most beautifully written novel of all time, would I pick it up, if I was an agent? Probably not. If you write m/m erotica by-straight-women-for-straight-women, or chick lit, or thrillers based on "alternate history", or heteromance, or vampire YA, or even literary fiction, there are venues in which to place it. Sapphic Angela Brazil? I have my doubts.

I read on the blog of another YA lesbian writer that she offers her books in the hope that those who need them can find them. That strikes me as a huge advantage of self publishing. When I was a teenager, the books I needed just weren't out there. I had to resort to fanfic - and at least some of the time I had to write the first stories in the fandoms, although others followed once the ice was broken. I would have been able to find the books I needed today, though. This is thanks in large part to businesses like Smashwords, and authors who are courageous and believe in themselves enough to share their writing even when the usual gatekeepers (perhaps understandably) said no. What are a few bits that need editing compared to finally being able to read YA fantasy in which the girl gets the girl?

I'm not sure anyone can really understand that unless they spent their childhood and adolescence wishwishwishing that the girl pretending to be a boy in order to be a knight/wizard/whatever would just once marry the princess instead of being revealed to be a girl in order to be paired up with a boy.

To me this is one huge advantage of self publishing. Those who need the books, can find them - regardless of commercial realities. The authors might not make a lot of money. Perhaps they form precious connections with readers instead - readers they never would have been able to reach if they'd gone with traditional publishing or nothing. The books would have been no earthly good to anyone mouldering on their hard drives because they were unlikley to sell in big enough quantities to merit an advance.

Seriously, I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm ready to pursue any route, personally. But I just wanted to say a few words from a perspective of selfpubbing that I haven't necessarily seen covered here.

Anne Lyle
01-26-2012, 03:20 PM
There is a third option not mentioned, particularly for niche fiction, which is small presses. You can often submit direct to a small press, because agents aren't interested in them, but you get the benefits of having all the production work (cover, editing) done for you. Isobel's post reminded me of this, since I have a friend whose work (admittedly more in the urban fantasy vein) has been published by Queered Fiction, a specialist LGBT press.

Linda Adams
01-26-2012, 03:54 PM
Don't you find that most blurbs read pretty much the same? And they don't tell you if you're going to have to slog through bad grammar and cardboard characters. Usually, I can tell in a page if the writing is competent, and in a chapter whether I'm going to finish the book once I start.

Sometimes I find the blurbs misleading, as well as the cover quotes. I had to review a book which I thought sounded like a great book (trad pub). It had a cover quote from an author I've read and enjoyed, it was in one of the genres I read, and the description sounded like an exciting read. The book on the other hand -- it just felt like the author had a beginning and an end and put whatever in the middle. I honestly felt like the promotional materials lied to me. How did the book sell? Probably because of someone the author knew -- there's an intro from that person in the book.

I can usually tell in about a page if I'm going to like the writing, though. Not always true though. I ran into one, indie book, which pretty decent writing. Unfortunately, the writer also had no grasp of structure and a character who was a Mary Sue.

Amadan
01-26-2012, 05:33 PM
This was sort-of true a few years ago. Today, I don't see the same quality inside a TP book. Instead, we have artificially hyped horrors like The DaVinci Code (subtitled The Massive Collection of Wornout Cliches and Pulp Style).

Yeah, yeah, "Dan Brown/Stephanie Meyer/Snooki/Tyra Banks => Therefore, trade published books suck as much as self-published ones."

No, really, not true. You know, there were really godawful authors and appallingly bad books getting published long before Dan Brown. Nobody thinks that a trade published book is automatically a good book. Sturgeon's Law was coined before the self-publishing boom. But just in terms of the gold-to-dreck ratio, the odds of a randomly-selected trade published book being pretty good are far greater than those of a randomly-selected self-published book being even readable.

scarletpeaches
01-26-2012, 05:36 PM
It really torques my nips when Amadan says stuff I agree with.

Toothpaste
01-26-2012, 05:45 PM
You know what I love, when people judge the books/films from the past, saying how much better everything was back then - rose coloured glasses and all that. I love it because these people tend to forget that at that time there was also dreck. But what happens is the good stuff survives over time, the dreck disappears. So what you have left are the quality classic books of the past. The crap books, like the dime store novels, etc, those have vanished (though I am sure somewhere there are collectors etc).

To say that books have gotten worse is ridiculous. Then again it is possible to say that because more books than ever are being published there is likely then to be more not so great books even if the ratio of bad to good stays the same. But then that counters the argument that others in this thread have made about there being fewer books being published.

Or maybe, considering people seem to only be citing certain few terrible books over and over again, there are only a few truly terrible books, but they are such big deals that they tend to overshadow all the other good books out there.

It goes back to what I said before. I have read some truly brilliant books recently, some award winners from big houses (bestsellers and not) and some small press books. I just don't understand when people tell me there is no quality stuff being published. I've read it. Over and over again.


I guess my point is, I understand self publishing for many of the reasons people have given in this thread. But the excuse "Because no good books get published" really gets my goat. To me it shows ignorance and anger. Neither of which are useful tools in self publishing one's work which requires an author to truly understand the market as it is, not as they think it is.

Amadan
01-26-2012, 05:49 PM
It really torques my nips when Amadan says stuff I agree with.

Stop flirting with me. ;)

dangerousbill
01-26-2012, 09:13 PM
My other main WIP project is a school story set in a a 1950s boarding school, with lesbian romance themes. I ask myself, even if this was the most beautifully written novel of all time, would I pick it up, if I was an agent? Probably not.


I think you're pre-judging the market. It really depends on how you handle the story. This subject matter doesn't necessarily shove it out of the mainstream. In fact, the literary market might eat it up, if it's handled in a way that appeals to people.

But some agents have limits on the material they handle. You can almost always get this from their websites.

kaitie
01-26-2012, 09:17 PM
Everything Toothpaste said.

dangerousbill
01-26-2012, 09:48 PM
Or maybe, considering people seem to only be citing certain few terrible books over and over again, there are only a few truly terrible books, but they are such big deals that they tend to overshadow all the other good books out there.


A few examples of bad books that are overhyped haven't soured me on the whole industry, but it does make me more cautious about examining the merchandise before I buy.

Currently, I'm reading 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest', which I bought for cheap without pre-reading, because I read the first two volumes.

Notwithstanding that the author died before completing the editing, someone should have fixed the first chapters. It begins with a bewildering flood of characters who are scarcely introduced, and a situation that would be incomprehensible if I hadn't read Volume 2. There are odd grammar errors and clunky paragraphs that read as if they'd come straight from the translator's desk without proofing.

I'm pushing on with it, so far, just because I'm invested in some of the characters. But my love is not unconditional.

Until a few months ago, my fiction reading was approximately 2 TP books to every SP book I read. Since I bought my Nook, the ratio is more like 1 to 1, since all those pdf's that I couldn't read on a computer screen are now available to me on the Nook.

Isobel Lindley
01-27-2012, 06:39 AM
Isobel's post reminded me of this, since I have a friend whose work (admittedly more in the urban fantasy vein) has been published by Queered Fiction, a specialist LGBT press.
I do see your point. But I'm still reacting as the fourteen year old I was, who would never have been able to afford books from specialist LGBT presses, even if I could access them - not many shops around here stocking them. Free or $2 ebooks that can be discreetly picked up on an ereader or downloaded and moved to one, now - how I wish they had been around back then!

In the interests of making books available to those who need them, I still think selfpub has the edge.


I think you're pre-judging the market. It really depends on how you handle the story. This subject matter doesn't necessarily shove it out of the mainstream. In fact, the literary market might eat it up, if it's handled in a way that appeals to people.

Not just subject matter but style, I suspect. :) As I said, it's all hypothetical for now, anyway, and I don't know what choice would be better for me personally as yet.

I will say that the self-pubbed books I have been talking about have been in some cases repeatedly rejected, and I don't think that's because they written to an unpublishable standard - certainly in terms of writing style, depth, plotting and skill most of these books would easily trounce your average published erotic romance - but in terms of there just not being the market. There have also been writers who have come forward about being told to "straighten out" their books for publication.

I'd much prefer that the authors make these stories available by whichever means suit them than to have the stories lost to those they are speaking to. If it means the editing is a little rough in patches, well, I can live with reading that - better rough than inaccessible.

Ava Glass
01-29-2012, 05:08 AM
Aw, I can't change my vote.

Today, I decided that I would like to see my work pass a gatekeeper so I know it's truly ready for prime time.

Perhaps I'll experiment with concept and format after I've proven myself.

Wordwrestler
01-30-2012, 11:20 AM
The poll lacks a very important option, which makes it impossible for me to vote in:

NOT published.

I would choose this over "self-published", for a novel. "Self-published", which any imbecile can accomplish, is to me an open admission of utter abysmal failure at writing. I can deal with the endless rejection in attempt to get something published via a traditional route, though it most certainly doesn't make me happy. But the point is that that response is the judgment of an impersonal audience. Self-publication of a novel is nothing but vanity publication, and that's not my goal.

There are things worthy of self-publication, but I can't see a novel being one of those, in any form. If I can't get a novel accepted for traditional publication, it means the damn thing isn't good enough to interest readers. Readers is what I want. If I can't interest those, it means, simply, the stuff I write ain't good enough.

caw


Maybe I'm an imbecile, but I'm thoroughly enjoying my admission of abysmal failure, in the form of self-publishing. And so are my readers.

Yes, self-publishing is hard at times, but there are plenty of perks. The latest, for me, is that after over a decade of pursuing publication, two agents, and no sale . . . I not only enjoy writing again, but I enjoy reading again.

I'm not a millionaire, but I'm a lot happier and more productive. I wouldn't urge anyone to jump into this, but there are days I'm actually glad my books weren't trade published.

dangerousbill
01-30-2012, 07:52 PM
Maybe I'm an imbecile, but I'm thoroughly enjoying my admission of abysmal failure, in the form of self-publishing. And so are my readers.


Well said.

Speaking of which, I just got my tax statement from lulu.com It turns out I did not earn enough in 2011 to make a payment on my yacht, or buy an apartment for one of my mistresses, or upgrade to that Maserati I've been coveting. In fact, I used most of it to buy books, some TP, some SP.

Heh.

Manuel Royal
01-30-2012, 09:26 PM
Yes, self-publishing is hard at times, but there are plenty of perks. The latest, for me, is that after over a decade of pursuing publication, two agents, and no sale . . . I not only enjoy writing again, but I enjoy reading again.Do you think that would not be the case if you were still trying to get accepted by a commercial publisher? If so, what does the one have to do with the other?

Amadan
01-30-2012, 10:15 PM
but there are days I'm actually glad my books weren't trade published.


And I didn't want those grapes anyway!

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 12:03 AM
Do you think that would not be the case if you were still trying to get accepted by a commercial publisher? If so, what does the one have to do with the other?

Do you mean what I said about enjoying writing and reading?

For me, personally, I had lost the joy in both while pursuing publication.

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 12:08 AM
And I didn't want those grapes anyway!

Is this a reference to sour grapes? What is sour in what I posted?

I was actually trying to express my JOY. Yes, JOY.

Note, also, that I quoted a post by Blacbird. My post was in response to that—specifically what he said about failure. It's hard to feel like a failure when readers are buying and enjoying my books, and I'm enjoying writing again.

Captcha
01-31-2012, 12:38 AM
I was actually trying to express my JOY. Yes, JOY.


Good for you! Congratulations!

I'm really not sure why it's so important that we all agree that self-publishing is a horrible pit of failure and nastiness. Some writers don't want to self-publish. Fair enough. Others would prefer to go with a publisher, but are willing to self-publish if the publisher doesn't work out. Fair enough. Others chose to self-publish without even trying to find a publisher, and while I don't really understand that decision, I don't think it threatens me or the writing path that I have chosen for myself.

The dominant path to commercial and critical success still involves finding an agent and a publisher. But if people, for whatever reason, step off that path, it doesn't mean they're crazy, or failures, or anything else. They're just exploring. It shouldn't hurt anyone who's still trying to follow the main path; really, it just makes more room for us.

dangerousbill
01-31-2012, 12:45 AM
For me, personally, I had lost the joy in both while pursuing publication.

I can understand that.

Folks keep missing the fact that, no matter how good a writer you are, there are more very good books out there than there are slots in publishers' schedules, or readers to read them.

The downside of SP is to have to work to distinguish your great stuff from the ocean of very bad shit that's out there. (Anyone who's flown an airplane over water knows how hard it is to spot even a large boat alone on the vast sea. Locating a good SP novel is like that.)

Even for those that beat the odds, the majority are doomed to the gloom of Midlist Hades:
http://www.salon.com/2004/03/22/midlist/

Cheers to those who make it. For myself and others, when TP doesn't work, I can still reach a smaller number of readers through SP and aggressive marketing. It's still better than zero readers.

Toothpaste
01-31-2012, 01:07 AM
I agree with the sentiments in the last couple posts, but I find it interesting that on the one hand, dangerousbill, you'll caution that even if you do get published you could still end up in the midlist - which isn't the dream at all, trust me, I am very familiar with that list :) - but on the other you say that as a self published author with only a few readers that that is more than satisfying. That would seem to imply that therefore had you landed in the midlist it wouldn't have been doom and gloom for you. That the midlist isn't that evil or something to warn people about. After all, there are still people reading the books. Or is it about expectations? Selling any books at all as self published author is an accomplishment, but not selling as much as expected as a trade published author is a disappointment. And if that's the case, are you arguing in favour of not taking big risks and therefore not risking such disappointment?

Captcha - aside from one or two posters, I think your message has pretty much been the message of this thread. So of course I agree :) .

Wordwrestler - As to the sour grapes comment, I think a lot of people find it hard to believe that an author would turn down a decent offer from a trade house. Hence the accusation of sour grapes. It's this feeling of, "Yeah right you'd turn down a five figure advance from the big six." But at the same time, people truly do make those kinds of decisions. So maybe if you explained why, if the offer was made to you, you'd turn it down, people would understand better why it isn't something to be dismissed with "Oh it's just sour grapes."

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 01:58 AM
I agree with the sentiments in the last couple posts, but I find it interesting that on the one hand, dangerousbill, you'll caution that even if you do get published you could still end up in the midlist - which isn't the dream at all, trust me, I am very familiar with that list :) - but on the other you say that as a self published author with only a few readers that that is more than satisfying. That would seem to imply that therefore had you landed in the midlist it wouldn't have been doom and gloom for you. That the midlist isn't that evil or something to warn people about. After all, there are still people reading the books. Or is it about expectations? Selling any books at all as self published author is an accomplishment, but not selling as much as expected as a trade published author is a disappointment. And if that's the case, are you arguing in favour of not taking big risks and therefore not risking such disappointment?

Captcha - aside from one or two posters, I think your message has pretty much been the message of this thread. So of course I agree :) .

Wordwrestler - As to the sour grapes comment, I think a lot of people find it hard to believe that an author would turn down a decent offer from a trade house. Hence the accusation of sour grapes. It's this feeling of, "Yeah right you'd turn down a five figure advance from the big six." But at the same time, people truly do make those kinds of decisions. So maybe if you explained why, if the offer was made to you, you'd turn it down, people would understand better why it isn't something to be dismissed with "Oh it's just sour grapes."

I am truly confused. I didn't get an offer of publication, and I never said I'd turn one down if I did. What the heck?:Shrug:

Seriously. What are you guys talking about?

All I said was that part of me is glad things turned out this way. So I'll try to answer your question in terms of that:

I'm glad because it's been a challenge, and opportunity for growth, and in many ways a really pleasant surprise. I learned how to do new things that I didn't think I could do on my own before. I enjoy having control over release dates, etc. I love that I have readers in South Korea, India, Iraq, Romania, etc, without ever having sold foreign rights. I didn't expect that, especially just a few months after my first release.

Most importantly for me, I learned what I really wanted out of this writing thing. For me, the answer is readers. I want to tell the stories I've been given to tell. That's more important to me that being on bookstore shelves.

I would still love to have my books on store shelves. I would still love to have some of my other work trade published. But I had a decision to make about my projects that had been around the block. I did some soul searching, and then I decided to take a risk.

No sour grapes. I hope that makes sense.

scarletpeaches
01-31-2012, 02:29 AM
Folks keep missing the fact that, no matter how good a writer you are, there are more very good books out there than there are slots in publishers' schedules, or readers to read them.If that were the case, no crappy books would ever be published.

It's a myth to say there are so many good books out there that can't find a publisher.

As for not enough readers? That's complete rubbish.

JayMan
01-31-2012, 02:34 AM
Even for those that beat the odds, the majority are doomed to the gloom of Midlist Hades:
http://www.salon.com/2004/03/22/midlist/
Well, that's a depressing bit.

Like you said, at least nowadays there is the option of SP.

Toothpaste
01-31-2012, 02:35 AM
Wordwrestler - ah I see. Yes, when you said you were glad you weren't trade published, I think some people drew the conclusion (I know I did) that the reason you were glad was because you prefer the self publishing route to the trade publishing route. But your explanation makes perfect sense.(I actually also think preferring to self publish is ALSO a fine explanation, but usually with that one, some explanation as to why is very helpful, that's all :) )

scarletpeaches
01-31-2012, 02:36 AM
Well, that's a depressing bit.

Like you said, at least nowadays there is the option of SP.Sounds like a bitter author who should have tried writing something more interesting, rather than books which are, by their own admission, 'unpopular'.

ChaosTitan
01-31-2012, 02:38 AM
Even for those that beat the odds, the majority are doomed to the gloom of Midlist Hades:
http://www.salon.com/2004/03/22/midlist/


It's amazing how often that article is still cited, considering it's eight years old.

Amadan
01-31-2012, 02:44 AM
It's amazing how often that article is still cited, considering it's eight years old.


And the figures she cites are still far, far more than what the vast majority of self-publishers are going to achieve.

Isobel Lindley
01-31-2012, 02:51 AM
If that were the case, no crappy books would ever be published.
No, that really doesn't follow. Crappy books are published because enough people, somewhere along the line, made the decision (or gamble) that they would sell - maybe millions and millions of copies, maybe enough to just cover the various costs and come out in the black.

On the other hand, I've read some really wonderful selfpublished books that enough people decided wouldn't make a paying proposition to block them from traditional publishing routes. I'm sure there are more wonderful books sitting on someone's hard drive somewhere, with authors who have given up. And, of course, a lot of rubbish.

I don't doubt that both agents and publishers are deluged with bad, unpublishable books. But some good books slip through the cracks, and some bad books get taken up - either to disappear without a trace or to become bestsellers.

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 03:28 AM
Good for you! Congratulations!

I'm really not sure why it's so important that we all agree that self-publishing is a horrible pit of failure and nastiness. Some writers don't want to self-publish. Fair enough. Others would prefer to go with a publisher, but are willing to self-publish if the publisher doesn't work out. Fair enough. Others chose to self-publish without even trying to find a publisher, and while I don't really understand that decision, I don't think it threatens me or the writing path that I have chosen for myself.

The dominant path to commercial and critical success still involves finding an agent and a publisher. But if people, for whatever reason, step off that path, it doesn't mean they're crazy, or failures, or anything else. They're just exploring. It shouldn't hurt anyone who's still trying to follow the main path; really, it just makes more room for us.

Thank you, and I absolutely agree.

I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should do, or to say one route or the other is better. But this is where I am, and I'm going to be glad about the good things. That's my choice.

Toothpaste, no foul. I realize that there are some who bash "trad publishing" (yes, I left the e off on purpose). I also understand the frustration of trying to get a book published, while the general public doesn't understand what's taking so long, and doesn't get what goes into that, how hard it is, etc. Self-publishing bothered me for that reason. Because when you struggle like that, you want people to appreciate what you've been through, and in some ways, self-publishing contributes to that misunderstanding.

But I don't think it's fair to blame self-published authors for the public's lack of knowledge. Of course, not saying you're doing that, just saying that I think that's where some of the bad feelings are coming from, in general.

Yes, any imbecile can press the "publish" button on Amazon. And yes, it's frustrating how many people don't know that. But that doesn't mean everyone who hits "publish" is an imbecile.

KateHawkings
01-31-2012, 04:17 AM
So there have already been plenty of opinions shared, but I figured I'd still contribute mine.

Deciding to pursue self-publishing was a huge decision for me. I was torn, and I agonised over it for months. The trade publishing route appealed to me for various reasons, but most especially the sense of validity it would offer. In the end I chose to go for it by myself.

I love the idea of being completely in charge of the entire process. I'm not going to lie, I'm a control freak; I don't drink, I can't convince myself that sleeping pills are a good idea even when the insomnia's driving me crazy, and I can't see myself even thinking about drugs. I like to be in total control of everything in my life that I am capable of controlling, although I know there are a lot of things that will fall outside of my reach. I guess following the self-publishing route is simply a natural extension of that aspect of my personality.

That's not to say I've never had second thoughts about it. As excited as I am about self-publishing, it terrifies me too. I never even queried the story, which I've regretted hugely at various times during the process. I've had breakdowns, and the usual fears, but these are all things I have to deal with, because I've made my bed and now I've got to lie in it. Too many people are waiting for this book now for me to back down.

My biggest fear is that my book sucks. No matter how many people tell me it's good, there's still that nagging little voice at the back of my mind telling me it's not. I've put my story through as many steps as possible to ensure it's ready for publication, because I would hate for people to think that my book was only self-published because it was too awful to be 'properly' published... As Hill originally said, I don't have a team of editors, but I've done my best with what I do have:



Wrote and revised the story.
Sent it to my first beta reader. She read through it as a reader and told me what she enjoyed, what she didn't understand and what she thought could be missing. She's an avid reader of the genre and picked up a few interesting points I hadn't thought about.
After reworking the story and another few read throughs I sent the new version to a team of beta readers. I began with eight, but after a couple dropped out after a few chapters (as expected) I ended up with five.
After going through their comments and suggestions I sent the story to my editor to do a content critique.
After going through her suggestions (which have made a huge improvement to the story) I sent it to another beta, who read and commented on the story and did some basic proofreading.
Tomorrow I'll be sending it back to the editor for line edits.
When line edits are done, I'll be sending the story to the proofreader.

Overall, I'm incredibly nervous, but so excited. For now, self-publishing is right for me, but in the future I wouldn't say no to a trade publisher if I thought I had a good fit, assuming they wanted me.

dangerousbill
01-31-2012, 07:11 AM
And the figures she cites are still far, far more than what the vast majority of self-publishers are going to achieve.

Agreed. But there are easier ways to earn a living either way.

But here's something a little more up to date:

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/127313-the-death-or-the-evolution-of-the-midlist-author

http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2011/06/ellery-adams-bares-all.html (caution: contains real numbers)

TikaaniM
01-31-2012, 07:39 AM
I believe traditional publishing is best after having many friends who went the route of self publishing. In some cases it is not the best decision.

kaitie
01-31-2012, 07:52 AM
Kate--what's funny is that you sound an awful lot like me, and yet my opinion in the end is the opposite of yours. I think it's because my nagging doubt turns into a (probably rather realistic) expectation that I would be unable to do everything required myself as well as professionals.

Old Hack
01-31-2012, 11:15 AM
I realize that there are some who bash "trad publishing" (yes, I left the e off on purpose).

You're not the first I've seen do that, but you're the first to make such a point about doing so. Can you explain why?


Agreed. But there are easier ways to earn a living either way.

But here's something a little more up to date:

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/127313-the-death-or-the-evolution-of-the-midlist-author

http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2011/06/ellery-adams-bares-all.html (caution: contains real numbers)

I don't think anyone here is going to disagree that writing is not a reliable way to earn a living. Thanks for the links.

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 08:00 PM
You're not the first I've seen do that, but you're the first to make such a point about doing so. Can you explain why?



I don't think anyone here is going to disagree that writing is not a reliable way to earn a living. Thanks for the links.

Many who bash shorten traditional to trad.

I thought I was clear that I wasn't bashing, and that this isn't language I use, though?

Look, I've been on AW for a while. Not as long as you, Old Hack, but a while. I used to come here a lot. But this is frustrating. I feel like people are projecting onto me, rather than listening to what I'm saying.

Captcha
01-31-2012, 08:04 PM
I feel like people are projecting onto me, rather than listening to what I'm saying.

I've noticed this in other threads about frequently discussed topics. The people who have been engaged in similar discussions before often seem to be responding to something somebody said in a previous iteration of the argument, rather than this one.

I'm not sure what the solution is.

Old Hack
01-31-2012, 08:37 PM
Many who bash shorten traditional to trad.

I understand that: I wondered why you were making such a point of doing so, and asked why.


I thought I was clear that I wasn't bashing, and that this isn't language I use, though?


I don't think that came across clearly at all but it's difficult sometimes to judge nuance in comments online.

As you've shown, by reacting in a slightly hostile way to my comment. I was just interested, that's all. I wasn't being at all hostile towards you.


Look, I've been on AW for a while. Not as long as you, Old Hack, but a while. I used to come here a lot. But this is frustrating. I feel like people are projecting onto me, rather than listening to what I'm saying.

I wonder if you're also reading things into other people's reactions which aren't really there. You did that with my comment: it's possible you've done it with others.

I'm not taking a dig at you here: I'm just trying to point out how difficult it can sometimes be to get the tone right online. Perhaps if we all try to think the best of everyone we'll be able to have a more relaxed conversation. What do you think?

James D. Macdonald
01-31-2012, 08:37 PM
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/127313-the-death-or-the-evolution-of-the-midlist-author


Oh, dear. It's "Jane Austen Doe" and her "Confessions of a Mid-List Author" again. Anyone who quotes that piece for any purpose other than mockery and derision should have their keyboard doused with Superglue.

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 08:48 PM
Old Hack, I have been sitting here trying to figure out how to express my bewilderment at how I could have come across as hostile toward you, without coming across as hostile again (while I actually feel nothing of the sort).

I give up.

Happy writing, everybody.

Toothpaste
01-31-2012, 08:53 PM
If it makes any difference, Old Hack isn't the only one interested in why you prefer to use trad to trade. If I may, I think the interest is because "traditional publishing" was a term coined back in the day by those scam vanity presses to give the impression that what they were doing was new and innovative. It was never really a real term for trade/commercial publishing - it was coined by those outside the industry.

That being said, it's now been appropriated these days while we all try to come up with terms for what everyone is. But I think there are still authors out there who see the term "traditional" and flinch remembering the word being used as a manipulation tactic. That being said, I also know small press authors who were always considered indie seriously confused how that word now suddenly means self published.

So your deliberate pointing out that you weren't going to use the term "trade" but rather "trad" was interesting, and she (as well as now me) are curious why you made that decision.

(personally I'm cool now with the use of traditional as it seems to be taking over and there's no fighting the new definition. However I loathe "legacy publisher" which was coined by a certain self publishing guru and is meant to be derisive and dismissive of trade publishing.)

And you know what? I too have noticed some hostilities, on both sides. That being said, not EVERYONE is being hostile. And sometimes a question is just a question. Like mine was earlier when I thought you were saying you'd turn down a trade offer.

I'm interested in seeing this conversation be level headed and truthful. The problem is people will come along and post inflammatory posts (on both sides of the conversation) thus drowning out the people who want to calmly discuss the merits of all sides.

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 09:09 PM
Many who bash shorten traditional to trad.

I thought I was clear that I wasn't bashing, and that this isn't language I use, though?

Look, I've been on AW for a while. Not as long as you, Old Hack, but a while. I used to come here a lot. But this is frustrating. I feel like people are projecting onto me, rather than listening to what I'm saying.

I'm quoting myself here, Toothpaste, so you can see that I already explained that this is not my term. I don't use it.

Further, I pointed out that I was leaving off the e so it would be clear that I was quoting a certain type of talking about publishing. Look at the tone of the post. I was trying to show that I empathize with those who are bashed for being "trad."

Wordwrestler
01-31-2012, 09:12 PM
Thank you, and I absolutely agree.

I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should do, or to say one route or the other is better. But this is where I am, and I'm going to be glad about the good things. That's my choice.

Toothpaste, no foul. I realize that there are some who bash "trad publishing" (yes, I left the e off on purpose). I also understand the frustration of trying to get a book published, while the general public doesn't understand what's taking so long, and doesn't get what goes into that, how hard it is, etc. Self-publishing bothered me for that reason. Because when you struggle like that, you want people to appreciate what you've been through, and in some ways, self-publishing contributes to that misunderstanding.

But I don't think it's fair to blame self-published authors for the public's lack of knowledge. Of course, not saying you're doing that, just saying that I think that's where some of the bad feelings are coming from, in general.

Yes, any imbecile can press the "publish" button on Amazon. And yes, it's frustrating how many people don't know that. But that doesn't mean everyone who hits "publish" is an imbecile.

:)

Toothpaste
01-31-2012, 09:13 PM
Ah I see. Cool, thanks for the explanation! I didn't get that (I also didn't know people bashed "traditional publishing" by calling it "trad" so the reference was lost on me), but I see it now.

:)

dangerousbill
01-31-2012, 09:17 PM
Anyone who quotes that piece for any purpose other than mockery and derision should have their keyboard doused with Superglue.

My keyboard is already so doused with coffee, Coca Cola, spittle, dog drool, breadcrumbs, cheese crumbs, power bar bits, dandruff, ceiling paint chips, and small meteorites, that super glue doesn't stand a chance.

I haven't been able to type a tilde for five years or a backslash for three.

dangerousbill
01-31-2012, 09:21 PM
Ah I see. Cool, thanks for the explanation! I didn't get that (I also didn't know people bashed "traditional publishing" by calling it "trad" so the reference was lost on me), but I see it now.

:)

I've been using TP and SP, just to make life easier on my tendonitis. Philosophy: equal bashing all around.

I guess I should add NP, for those folks who will refuse to publish in any mode, unless a team of Donald Maas agents and Random House execs come to their door and beg on their knees.
:D

EDIT: With cupcakes.

c.e.lawson
01-31-2012, 09:27 PM
I'm with Wordwrestler on this one. He/she has been more than calm and thoughtful even while dealing with comments like the sour grapes one that added absolutely nothing constructive to the discussion, was terribly presumptive, and certainly didn't sound like respecting one's fellow writer to me.

Obviously the environment here at AW is biased more towards the 'agent first then traditional publishing' side. But not all of us will be able to go, or even want to go, that route. Wordwrestler has given us another side, and one I think is an extremely healthy side, of someone who tried to go the traditional route, it didn't work out, so now they're finding wonderful positives in the alternative they've chosen. The thing is, the landscape's changing, folks. There ARE positives to self-publishing -- higher royalty rate, complete control of content/title/cover art, speedier process to publication etc.. Wordwrestler has found some positives and has found joy in the decision - GOOD! Maybe some of us who have their heart set on the traditional route with one of the big six can find some comfort in that. If it doesn't work out, it isn't the end of the world.

I've not yet ever tried to publish anything, but I will be soon, and I'm trying to gather as much info as I can. It can be overwhelming, certainly. Reading the blogs of Dean Wesley Smith or J.A. Konrath can open one's eyes to another side of things and have helped me realize the myriad of options out there. And I'm grateful to people like Wordwrestler who have the guts to admit their first choice didn't work out (and see phrases like 'abysmal failure' and the sour grapes thing thrown in the mix and still come back with civil and reasoned responses) but are willing to share their experience with us. Unfortunately now he/she has left the thread. That's too bad.

Amadan
01-31-2012, 09:46 PM
re: "Sour grapes."

When someone says they're selling in the single digits as a self-publisher, but they're glad they didn't get traditionally published, I find this very, very improbable.

Trying to put a positive spin on things is fine, but let's stay in the theater of the real.

If you are happy going the self-publishing route, cool, I wish you luck. But along with respecting your fellow writer is respecting your fellow writer's intelligence.

RemusShepherd
01-31-2012, 10:23 PM
Before I jump in here, let me say that I have no side in this fight. :) I'm doggedly trying to get published traditionally, although publishers have been doggedly rejecting me. On the other hand I've only been at this for four years and I know it'll take time. On the gripping hand, I have the skills and resources to self-publish with almost no effort and someday I might get fed up enough to do that.

That said...



When someone says they're selling in the single digits as a self-publisher, but they're glad they didn't get traditionally published, I find this very, very improbable.

Trying to put a positive spin on things is fine, but let's stay in the theater of the real.

If you are happy going the self-publishing route, cool, I wish you luck. But along with respecting your fellow writer is respecting your fellow writer's intelligence.

I can believe that the self-publishing authors are happy about single digit sales, because they are thinking long-term. A self-published ebook never goes out of stock and receives a sales boost every time the author publishes something else. Ten sales a month for the rest of your life adds up to a fairly significant amount. Contrast this with a traditionally published book, which might sell 10,000 copies in half a year then go out of print. Now multiply those figures by how many books the author publishes -- self-published authors aim for several books a year, while a traditional author generally sells one or two if they're lucky.

Self-published authors and traditional authors are practicing different strategies, and so their measure of success is wildly different. If a self-published author says that they're happy, I'd believe them.

Amadan
01-31-2012, 10:31 PM
A self-published ebook never goes out of stock and receives a sales boost every time the author publishes something else.


Fixed that for you.

Old Hack
01-31-2012, 10:32 PM
Old Hack, I have been sitting here trying to figure out how to express my bewilderment at how I could have come across as hostile toward you, without coming across as hostile again (while I actually feel nothing of the sort).


I don't think that came across clearly at all but it's difficult sometimes to judge nuance in comments online.

...

I wonder if you're also reading things into other people's reactions which aren't really there. You did that with my comment: it's possible you've done it with others.

I'm not taking a dig at you here: I'm just trying to point out how difficult it can sometimes be to get the tone right online. Perhaps if we all try to think the best of everyone we'll be able to have a more relaxed conversation. What do you think?

Worth repeating, I hope.

Captcha
01-31-2012, 10:46 PM
re: "Sour grapes."

When someone says they're selling in the single digits as a self-publisher, but they're glad they didn't get traditionally published, I find this very, very improbable.

Trying to put a positive spin on things is fine, but let's stay in the theater of the real.

If you are happy going the self-publishing route, cool, I wish you luck. But along with respecting your fellow writer is respecting your fellow writer's intelligence.

I re-read his original post - have I missed it a second time, him giving us his sales numbers?

Toothpaste
01-31-2012, 10:49 PM
Obviously the environment here at AW is biased more towards the 'agent first then traditional publishing' side. But not all of us will be able to go, or even want to go, that route. Wordwrestler has given us another side, and one I think is an extremely healthy side, of someone who tried to go the traditional route, it didn't work out, so now they're finding wonderful positives in the alternative they've chosen. The thing is, the landscape's changing, folks. There ARE positives to self-publishing -- higher royalty rate, complete control of content/title/cover art, speedier process to publication etc.. Wordwrestler has found some positives and has found joy in the decision - GOOD! Maybe some of us who have their heart set on the traditional route with one of the big six can find some comfort in that. If it doesn't work out, it isn't the end of the world.

I've not yet ever tried to publish anything, but I will be soon, and I'm trying to gather as much info as I can. It can be overwhelming, certainly. Reading the blogs of Dean Wesley Smith or J.A. Konrath can open one's eyes to another side of things and have helped me realize the myriad of options out there. And I'm grateful to people like Wordwrestler who have the guts to admit their first choice didn't work out (and see phrases like 'abysmal failure' and the sour grapes thing thrown in the mix and still come back with civil and reasoned responses) but are willing to share their experience with us. Unfortunately now he/she has left the thread. That's too bad.


Okay, I just gotta say it.

Seriously?

Have you read this thread?

Have you read how the majority of people here have been supportive of self publishing and have basically concluded that however you choose to publish is cool as long as you go into it with your eyes open?

Further, you get all up in arms about the way the self published authors are being treated in this thread, but did you read some of the very negative things that were said about trade publishers? Do you think this has been so one sided? All against poor self published authors? Or maybe you just think that when people attack trade publishing that it's deserved, trade publishers really are that evil?

This is what bugs me about threads like these. Most of the people visiting them from either side of the debate are level headed and respect the other position. In the end it always comes down to the right choice for the kind of work you're writing. I'd say that the majority of posters here have been saying just that. Heck I'd say most of the posters here don't think there are actual sides, I sure as heck don't. I am very happy to trade publish AND self publish as an author. So long as it's the right choice for the book.

But there have been some rotten eggs, from BOTH sides, insulting BOTH sides. And for you to just come along and insist that well obviously AW has a bias towards one thing and why oh why can't people here just respect the decisions people make is . . . well infuriating. Truly.

Also I really hope you read more than just Konrath and Smith. They don't always tell the whole truth. Like how Konrath explains to people they shouldn't even both pursuing trade publishing, but then is more than happy to sign a trade deal with Amazon. And how Smith insists no quality agent will take on a first time unpublished author which is beyond untrue. These two men make their money by being SP gurus. There is nothing wrong with reading what they have to say, especially when it comes to marketing tips - Konrath is a brilliant self marketer - but not all their facts are true. So please approach their advice with a grain of salt. Which I hope you do with any advice in general, even mine :) .


Remus - like I said upthread, you do know that trade publishers are publishing their books in ebooks as well right? That means that whole benefit of not going out of print kind of holds true to trade publishers.

Charlie Horse
01-31-2012, 11:33 PM
Admittedly I've skipped about five pages of this thread. I assumed most of what I didn't read was needless bickering. Regardless, if my 2 bits that I'm throwing in here has already been covered forgive me.

Good arguments on both sides of the fence here. I've self-pubbed one book so far. I might do it again. Would I have preferred to go the traditional route? Sure. I get how much that would validate what I do. I will say, however, that I stand behind the quality of my book 100 percent. By self-pubbing more people read it than if I had done nothing. For that reason alone I have no regrets.

What I haven't seen a whole lot of discussion on is the notion that being "Big Business", traditional publishers don't fit within the philosophy of many. There's a huge movement for local, independent artists who are shunning the ways of the establishment. Not just in the field of writing, although writers certainly fall within this category, but also in art and music as well.

I'm not going to quote directly the person who said this, because singling out individual comments, especially where some are concerned, aren't productive in a discussion arena. But this comment is one I absolutely take exception to:


It's a myth to say there are so many good books out there that can't find a publisher.

This is like saying the awesome street musician, or the guy selling his paintings on the street, are only doing what they do because they can't make it anywhere else. That notion is complete and utter BS. Some people choose to practice their craft in relative obscurity simply because they don't want to be dictated to by the large corporate machine. On the same note, the corporate machine has certain blinders on when it comes to anything that won't make them a profit. But simply because something doesn't appeal to the mainstream, doesn't mean it's not brilliant. If that were the case, Mozart and Van Gogh wouldn't have died penniless.

So please, please don't deride those who choose not to go the traditional route. And please don't take a superior attitude simply because you've been published and are making a few bucks. Frankly it's insulting to those who write simply for the love of writing. And just because a traditional publisher doesn't see profits in something today, doesn't mean it won't still be around in 100 years being adored by millions. Thankfully, with our digital age of preserving our work that's more possible than ever.

c.e.lawson
01-31-2012, 11:38 PM
Infuriating, toothpaste?

I've been a member here since 2007, so I'm very familiar with the boards and have learned a ton. But I will stand by my position that the majority here who post on the boards are pro traditional publishing and pro agent. And that's fine. I might be too. I don't want to spend time arguing or posting proof - that's my opinion about what I've read here. Maybe I'm wrong. But I certainly don't think it's a reason for anyone to become infuriated. Anyway, that wasn't the point of my post above. You're wrong on several accounts in your scolding of me.

I pointed out what appeared to be some rough comments here regarding ONE person who was trying to relate his/her personal experience in self-publishing, doing a fine job of it, and ended up leaving the thread due to comments directed at him/her.

Self-publishing is called an "abysmal failure", and the poster I defended is accused of having sour grapes when nothing they posted sounded like the sort, and no one called those things out. Yet I am the one infuriating you? Fine. And you can use inflammatory statements like telling me I'm "all up in arms" all you want. I'm not all up in arms. That's another presumption like the sour grapes. And you can generalize my statements to referring to all of the posts if you want, but you're wrong. My comments referred to ONE person's posts and a couple of what I thought were mean comments that eventually drove that individual away from contributing to a discussion.

This is the sort of thing that makes me remember why I've posted less and less over the past two years. I have learned a lot here since I've joined and am very grateful, but the atmosphere becomes inflammatory so quickly, and assumptions are made to individuals that seem more to spur an argument rather than to positively contribute. And that, too, is sad.

Toothpaste
01-31-2012, 11:44 PM
Charlie Horse - I wish you had read all the posts, it was hardly "needless bickering".

Only a few people had negative things to say about the self published, just as only a few had negative things to say about the trade published (you know, implying stuff like we have a superior attitude and don't write for the love of it etc etc).

In all, the general consensus has been to support whatever choice any author makes so long as they make the choice with their eyes open and with all the information available to them.

I also continue to find it interesting that so many people call self publishing the antithesis to big business, while not realising that their act of self publishing is directly supporting one of the biggest businesses of them all, Amazon. See here's the thing, in the end, we as authors are very fortunate in our position with what's going on in the industry. We can debate which medium serves us best, what makes the most sense, call each other names and have a sense of superiority on both sides. But in the end, we still get to write our stories, and whatever medium they find themselves in, hopefully somebody somewhere will read them. On the other hand there are people out there losing their livelihoods. I particularly feel terrible for the indie bookstore. Big box bookstores did it first, true, but now Amazon is doing the rest. So while you all praise the smaller business, the little guy fighting against the man, don't forget that all this ebook selfpublishing is actually putting millions upon millions into the pocket of a business seeking to become a monopoly. And putting small independently run bookstores (as well as big ones) out of business.

For the record, I'm only using self publishing authors as an example of people helping Amazon out to counter the argument that self publishing is about going against big business. It is ebooks in general though that are causing bookstores to close, and trade publishers also produce ebooks, so they ain't all innocent either. Ebooks are the future. But I get sad sometimes when I think of what that future will look like.

Amadan
01-31-2012, 11:48 PM
This is like saying the awesome street musician, or the guy selling his paintings on the street, are only doing what they do because they can't make it anywhere else. That notion is complete and utter BS. Some people choose to practice their craft in relative obscurity simply because they don't want to be dictated to by the large corporate machine. On the same note, the corporate machine has certain blinders on when it comes to anything that won't make them a profit. But simply because something doesn't appeal to the mainstream, doesn't mean it's not brilliant. If that were the case, Mozart and Van Gogh wouldn't have died penniless.

So please, please don't deride those who choose not to go the traditional route. And please don't take a superior attitude simply because you've been published and are making a few bucks. Frankly it's insulting to those who write simply for the love of writing. And just because a traditional publisher doesn't see profits in something today, doesn't mean it won't still be around in 100 years being adored by millions. Thankfully, with our digital age of preserving our work that's more possible than ever.

1. There may be some writers choosing to self-publish because they hate corporations and refuse to associate with major publishers for that reason, but I think the number who are really doing so out of dedication to preserving the purity of their Art is very, very small.

2. Mozart and Van Gogh received enormous acclaim during their lifetimes. They died penniless because they had difficult personalities, made some bad decisions, and because at the time even the best artists needed rich patrons to support them, not because they were just too brilliant and independent to appeal to the mainstream.

3. So did you mean to imply that those who have been professionally published don't write for the love of writing?

Toothpaste
01-31-2012, 11:52 PM
c.e. - someone accused someone of having sour grapes. One person. Everyone else came and tried to clarify that sentiment. So while you say I speak in generalisations and you only speak to one post, it seems to me you have been ignoring all the other supportive ones (which you know I feel a bit insulted by as mine happened to be those ones) and drawing a sweeping conclusion about this entire thread.

You want to know why I'm infuriated? Because I am tired of being attacked. And I am tired of AW being attacked. Yes there are individuals here who bash self publishing, but not many. In fact they are the minority. Most everyone here supports it WITHIN REASON. Heck there's a whole section here devoted to self publishing. Just as there are sections here devoted to trade publishing. Most sections here are devoted to WRITING. Now, we might not all support Konrath or Smith, because they lie and manipulate and in my mind give self publishing a bad name, but we support authors choosing the best way possible to publish their work. And most of us see an advantage to both self publishing AND trade publishing.

But time and time again someone who has selfpublished who has been burned elsewhere on the net shows up at AW to ask about self publishing, and others who have also been burned elsewhere and feel a need to prove self publishing's legitimacy come along and not only support each other, but put down and deride trade publishing and the books they publish to a very offensive point. Saying things like trade publishers are a dying breed, or that this is the new era and get on board. That the books lack creativity and talent (see earlier in this thread), and that real quality fiction doesn't get published these days. And all with such hatred and anger towards trade publishing.

And you know what? That hurts my feelings. It does. It means the choices I made were bad ones, that I'm not with the times, and that if things go wrong with my book well I should have expected it because publishers are oh so evil. It also means I lack creativity and talent, and that my books aren't of any quality, seeing as a published wanted to publish them. And that I don't much like either.

I'm sick of it. And I'm sick of people cherry picking their arguments, quoting one person who called self publishing a failure, but neglecting to quote the other person who called trade publishing a myriad of names as well. I'm sick of people rallying to the defense of someone who was merely being asked a couple clarifying questions. Yes, one person called sour grapes, and yes, maybe that wasn't productive. But nor is coming along as if everyone was dogpiling on someone else. We resolved the miscommunication, in an affable manner I think.

So that's what infuriates me.

Charlie Horse
01-31-2012, 11:58 PM
1. There may be some writers choosing to self-publish because they hate corporations and refuse to associate with major publishers for that reason, but I think the number who are really doing so out of dedication to preserving the purity of their Art is very, very small.

2. Mozart and Van Gogh received enormous acclaim during their lifetimes. They died penniless because they had difficult personalities, made some bad decisions, and because at the time even the best artists needed rich patrons to support them, not because they were just too brilliant and independent to appeal to the mainstream.

3. So did you mean to imply that those who have been professionally published don't write for the love of writing?

1. Just trying to bring to light another angle for why people make the choices they do. While this number may be very small, I have a feeling that as traditional publishers narrow the playing field, these numbers will rise.
2. Maybe those weren't the best examples. The point is many artists/musicians/writers are not recognized for their greatness while they are still alive.
3. I absolutely didn't mean to imply anything of the sort. I'm sure none of us start writing because we don't love it but think it's a great way to make money.

I'm really not hear to argue a point one way or another. I just wanted to contribute to the discussion.

(Oh, and respond to that one comment that really chapped my hide.)

Bubastes
02-01-2012, 12:00 AM
I also continue to find it interesting that so many people call self publishing the antithesis to big business, while not realising that their act of self publishing is directly supporting one of the biggest businesses of them all, Amazon.

Just wanted to highlight this because I find it interesting as well.

Amadan
02-01-2012, 12:06 AM
1. Just trying to bring to light another angle for why people make the choices they do. While this number may be very small, I have a feeling that as traditional publishers narrow the playing field, these numbers will rise.

What do you mean by "narrow the playing field"? More people are being traditionally published today than ever before.


2. Maybe those weren't the best examples. The point is many artists/musicians/writers are not recognized for their greatness while they are still alive.

Define "many." It's actually not that common.



I'm really not hear to argue a point one way or another. I just wanted to contribute to the discussion.

(Oh, and respond to that one comment that really chapped my hide.)

I'll cop to saying true things that aren't always "productive," but fuzzy and sloppy statements chap my hide, which is why I end up saying a lot of the things that vex folks so.

Captcha
02-01-2012, 12:12 AM
I'll cop to saying true things that aren't always "productive," but fuzzy and sloppy statements chap my hide, which is why I end up saying a lot of the things that vex folks so.

No, that's not why what you said vexed me so. It vexed me because it was a cheap shot at someone who was trying to engage in an open, good-faith discussion.

It's nothing to do with refusing to be fuzzy and sloppy; I'd say it was pretty damn sloppy to assume that you have full understanding of someone else's motivation and are in a position to judge and mock that person based on a single post.

RemusShepherd
02-01-2012, 12:22 AM
Remus - like I said upthread, you do know that trade publishers are publishing their books in ebooks as well right? That means that whole benefit of not going out of print kind of holds true to trade publishers.

From what I hear, many traditional publishers are not making their backlist into ebooks. They don't want those titles competing with their new releases, and they don't know how to market a backlist anyway.

That will change, once the publishers realize how stupid it is to sit on content that they could easily sell. Whether the author makes any money from their trade backlist is another matter. The publishers tend to sell ebooks at rather high prices which means very low sales, and many ebook contracts are pretty poor deals for the authors.

If I'm wrong about any of this please let me know -- and please cite sources. I'm coming from outside both traditional and self-publishing, and this is what I'm seeing by keeping track of my genre and the self-publishing advocate bloggers. If I'm getting a false impression from somewhere I would like to be corrected.

Toothpaste
02-01-2012, 12:31 AM
I'll totally agree with you about the prices for ebooks being too high and the royalty rates too low totally. And yes for a while they weren't putting out their backlist as ebooks but they are starting to now. However, as you say, things are changing.

But my point, which was also yours, was as far as making a decision as an author now, not about one's backlist but about what choice to make about the current book one has, I don't think there's a trade publisher now that doesn't also put out ebook versions. So to say (if you are writing out a list of comparables): Trade = out of print fast, SP = infinite "print", is not accurate, as all trade now ALSO has ebooks.

Also to say trade don't sell many ebooks is simply not true. People complain (I know I do) about the price of trade published ebooks, but they are still buying them. I know I saw a list recently where the top selling trade published ebooks had earned in the hundreds of thousands.

Richard White
02-01-2012, 12:35 AM
Remus,

I'm not sure where you're getting that information. Many of the big publisher are very interested in releasing e-books. There are issues regarding e-book rights that are being argued over though for older books.

There's an post on the Writer Beware Blog where a publisher (Random House, I believe) is trying to release older books in their inventory as e-books, and the authors believe THEY own the e-book rights. It's a bit of a kerfluffle right now. I know there have been a couple of law suits over this so far.

I don't think a publisher would be willing to go to court if they didn't think there was money to be made here.

I know everything I've written for Pocket Books came out in e-book as well as a paperback and my novel was released as an e-book from iBooks, Inc. as well as coming out in MMPB.

I don't think the Doctor Who book where I had a story published was released as an e-book, but then again, I really haven't looked to see if it has or not. That was a flat-fee job that I did for the love of getting to do a Doctor Who story.

joanTRowan
02-01-2012, 12:36 AM
Hi,
new to this site but have just self-published a work of literary fiction The Birdskin Shoes http://thebirdskinshoes.blogspot.com. My goal like any writer and lover of books was to see my own on the shelves of bookstores. I have had several short stories on BBC radio (5 million listeners), I have won national competitions but trying to get a first novel published the regular way was very difficult despite consistently positive responses to the story and my writing ability. I have had some of the best rejection letters you could hope to receive! So why won't they publish? My book is set in Mexico - an American agent said no-one would buy it in America because Americans don't think about Mexicans the way we Brits do. Brit publishers told my agent that Mexico might not appeal to the British audience.
The technical issues of writing can be resolved by editors but publishing it seems pretty much comes down to what companies think will sell and literary merit seems slightly less high on the agenda- how else to explain the glut of ghostwritten drivel about minor celebrities. I too have read books so appalling I blushed in my bed, however some of those were published by well-known publishing houses so please don't assume self-published books are poor - usually the look-inside feature gives you a quick sense of the quality of the writing and the pace of the story.

Sheryl Nantus
02-01-2012, 12:36 AM
Just to toss a little fact out here - there are a *lot* of small publishers, such as Samhain (points down) who do print and ebooks. There are plenty of publishers between the Big Six and self-publishing.

I notice the SP gurus tend to ignore them on purpose because it's easier to portray commercial publishing as big nasty faceless corporations than accept there are various publishers at all sizes and levels.

:)

Captcha
02-01-2012, 12:44 AM
But I would say, Sheryl, that there are also some small publishers who are below self-publishing on the desirability scale, at least for me.

Samhain, sure, and several other good names, but they tend to be focused on erotica/romance. Good sales, good editorial work and covers, etc. I've worked with several, and been very pleased, although I'd also love to experience the Big Six someday.

But if I were writing in a genre that wasn't covered by the larger, more stable e-pubs, I think I'd rather self-pub than sign up with a lot of the smaller e-pubs out there. I think that's where I really see the value of retaining control of your book, so that you can be sure you won't be embarrassed by a poorly edited mess that you can't get off the internet for the life of the contract.

Sheryl Nantus
02-01-2012, 12:50 AM
But I would say, Sheryl, that there are also some small publishers who are below self-publishing on the desirability scale, at least for me.

Samhain, sure, and several other good names, but they tend to be focused on erotica/romance. Good sales, good editorial work and covers, etc. I've worked with several, and been very pleased, although I'd also love to experience the Big Six someday.

But if I were writing in a genre that wasn't covered by the larger, more stable e-pubs, I think I'd rather self-pub than sign up with a lot of the smaller e-pubs out there. I think that's where I really see the value of retaining control of your book, so that you can be sure you won't be embarrassed by a poorly edited mess that you can't get off the internet for the life of the contract.

Oh, there are definitely BAD small publishers - there is a whole forum dedicated to them here, after all.

My point is that it doesn't have to be all one or the other. It doesn't have to be you SP because ALL commercial publishers (I refuse to use the word "trad") are money-sucking ogres. It doesn't have to be that you hold out for an agent because it's the Only Approved Way To Be A Successful Writer.

I do get annoyed when people ignore all the options out there now available. Do your research and make an informed decision.

And respect when others choose otherwise. I've been called a fool for staying with any sort of publisher when obviously I could be making thousands and thousands of dollars if I'd just get over my low self-esteem issues and self-pub.

:(

Captcha
02-01-2012, 12:53 AM
I do get annoyed when people ignore all the options out there now available. Do your research and make an informed decision.

And respect when others choose otherwise. I've been called a fool for staying with any sort of publisher when obviously I could be making thousands and thousands of dollars if I'd just get over my low self-esteem issues and self-pub.

:(

Absolutely. No black and white answers, just a lovely rainbow of possibilities!

Toothpaste
02-01-2012, 12:54 AM
Exactly! And I think that's rather marvelous :) .

Richard White
02-01-2012, 12:56 AM
But I would say, Sheryl, that there are also some small publishers who are below self-publishing on the desirability scale, at least for me.

*cut to shorten*

But if I were writing in a genre that wasn't covered by the larger, more stable e-pubs, I think I'd rather self-pub than sign up with a lot of the smaller e-pubs out there. I think that's where I really see the value of retaining control of your book, so that you can be sure you won't be embarrassed by a poorly edited mess that you can't get off the internet for the life of the contract.

You bring up a good point. As Uncle Jim likes to point out, it's better to be unpublished than published badly.

Every author needs to look at whomever they might submit their work to and REALLY believe this is going to be good for my career. Maybe that's with a big publisher, maybe that's with a mid-sized publisher or a regional publisher or even a small publisher. Maybe it's with an e-book only publisher who's well-known or is becoming well-known. Maybe it's doing it yourself (print or e-book).

However, what every author needs to ask the further down the food chain they go is, "Can this publisher get my book in front of readers?" And that includes self-publishing.

Just putting a book out on B&N.com and Amazon and Fictionwise or wherever does NOT mean anyone's going to see it. Look at how many books are being small press/self-pubbed these days. What is the publisher going to do, (and if you're self-publishing, you have to take your author hat off and put your publisher hat on here, folks), to get this book in front of people so someone, anyone notices it.

Publishing (even self-publishing) is a separate skill set from writing. And it can be an expensive skill set to learn.

So, I'm not saying any one way of publishing is better than another. Each has it's pluses and minuses.

However, IT IS an author's responsibility to decide what's the best one to get their books out into the hands of a reader. Because, if the readers aren't reading it, then why publish it?

scarletpeaches
02-01-2012, 01:27 AM
This is like saying the awesome street musician, or the guy selling his paintings on the street, are only doing what they do because they can't make it anywhere else.No, it really isn't. I said it was a myth that there are wonderful books out there just ganting for a home because...that was exactly what I meant to say.
That notion is complete and utter BS.In your opinion.
Some people choose to practice their craft in relative obscurity simply because they don't want to be dictated to by the large corporate machine.Ah yes, the evil corporate machine, damn it all to hell.
On the same note, the corporate machine has certain blinders on when it comes to anything that won't make them a profit.Don't you just hate that? When publishers want to make money?
But simply because something doesn't appeal to the mainstream, doesn't mean it's not brilliant. If that were the case, Mozart and Van Gogh wouldn't have died penniless.

So please, please don't deride those who choose not to go the traditional route. And please don't take a superior attitude simply because you've been published and are making a few bucks. Frankly it's insulting to those who write simply for the love of writing.Yes, because that's exactly what I was saying in my earlier post. :rolleyes:

dangerousbill
02-01-2012, 04:05 AM
New Poll Announced:

All traditional publishers can rot in Hell. ( )

All self-publishers can rot in Hell ( )

Traditional publishers are part of a faceless corporate machine that will eat you up, spit you out, and sell your family into slavery ( )

Self-publishers are dupes who are so eager to see their names in print that they abandon all caution and spend vast sums of money on vanity presses, and send copies to everyone who owes them money ( )

If you self-publish so much as a church announcement, a scarlet red letter 'S' will appear on your forehead that will prevent you forever from being even considered by an agent or real publisher ( )

If you traditionally publish, some corporate lawyer will arrange to calculate royalties based on 'net' profits that will mean, by the time you sell 100,000 books, you'll owe them money ( )

Every good book will be published by a traditional publisher ( )

If your book is not picked up by a 'trad', then it is by definition 'bad'. ( )

One more self-publishing poll, and I'll stuff my laptop down someone's throat. Probably an innocent passerby. ( )

More questions welcomed ( )

Al Stevens
02-01-2012, 05:02 AM
2. Maybe those weren't the best examples. The point is many artists/musicians/writers are not recognized for their greatness while they are still alive.

Define "many." It's actually not that common.
It is, actually, at least as far as musicians go. You don't know about their lack of recognition because you've never heard of them--the very thing that you say is not that common. I've known many truly great musicians who got by on gigs at sixty bucks a night or less. Then they kacked.

Amadan
02-01-2012, 05:49 AM
It is, actually, at least as far as musicians go. You don't know about their lack of recognition because you've never heard of them--the very thing that you say is not that common. I've known many truly great musicians who got by on gigs at sixty bucks a night or less. Then they kacked.

I was talking about great artists who aren't recognized during their lifetimes. You may believe that you know tons of great musicians who deserve to be rich and famous, but just how many of that caliber can be out there? "Great" implies being far better than most in their field.

Al Stevens
02-01-2012, 06:52 AM
I was talking about great artists who aren't recognized during their lifetimes. You may believe that you know tons of great musicians who deserve to be rich and famous, but just how many of that caliber can be out there? "Great" implies being far better than most in their field.
Yes, it does, and I've known and worked with many great musicians--great in the truest sense of the word, some of them even known within their genre--who have never achieved the recognition that their abilities and talents deserve. Certainly not the rewards. And we all know of lame players who have enjoyed fame and fortune.

I'd provide examples, but I might as well make up the names. Google might not ever have heard of most of them. Go ahead and reject my argument for lack of citations if you wish. It doesn't matter. But at least one of us will know your assertion is wrong. :)

AlishaS
02-01-2012, 08:22 AM
My debut novel is coming out with a small press that does both e-books and paperbooks.

I'm surprised that wasn't in the choices... since My press ins't quite traditional but it's self published either.

Maybe I'm thinking about it the wrong way but for some reason when I think traditional I think a big six... self published as going it alone.. and then there is middle ground, where you have the backing of a small press but still have to do a lot of stuff yourself, mainly marketing and promoting with the press.