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The_Riskbreaker
06-08-2012, 05:26 PM
Hey. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I went back quite a few pages to see if this had already been asked, and could find nothing listed. So i'm gonna ask here. Please don't take anything I say as a mark against any method of publishing.

I'm sure every knows how stingy some agents are nowadays. It's been said that to break into the business your book needs to appeal to the current scene. Is it a vampire novel involving love? How about a Nicholas Sparks Clone? Or perhaps it's a fantasy book they feel people will "hunger" for? In other words, your great novel idea involving post apocalyptia and mechs may never see the light of day.
I've often thought of this in terms of a job interview. You present your resume that show you went to college for, say accounting, and hope you get the job. But what happens when the next guy coming in has not only the college degree, but he's worked at three jobs previously for several years. He might get looked at more highly since he's done the work for a while.

I know some people online warn you against letting an agent know you've self-published a novel. Some say it'll hurt you, others say if your book was successful it can't hurt to drop it in the query. Here's my questions. Please note that my writing is note the equivalent of childís crayon drawing. As I noted in my introduction on the newbie board, I write well. So despite what I ask, I may still go the ďtradĒ route. Iím saying this in case someone assumes Iím consider the SP option because my writing is atrocious.

Letís say I self-pub a book and sell by a miracle 150 copies. Book 2, also a selfie, sells 200, and then by word of mouth and luck, book 3 sells 300. Is that increase in sales a great thing to mention in a query to an agent? I mean, Iíve gotten more successful each time, so that should show my skill right? Or will it just look like I sold crap to friends and family and they dragged more people into my scheme? Can I use self-pubbing to build a resume? If I follow medievalistís ideas for proper (not saturated) marketing, can I get myself a noticeable standing in the community and then peddle a new book to agents?


I read HapiSofiís info at http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4522286&postcount=45 and I have also read many other forum optics/posts here at AW. I still didn't feel 100% sure my question was answered.

If Iím better off just going to agents Iíll do it. But if my idea has any merit I might ďtest the watersĒ as someone said, and do so. Please share any thoughts.

DeleyanLee
06-08-2012, 05:32 PM
Letís say I self-pub a book and sell by a miracle 150 copies. Book 2, also a selfie, sells 200, and then by word of mouth and luck, book 3 sells 300. Is that increase in sales a great thing to mention in a query to an agent?

No. Not if you're only in the triple digits for your sales.

When you're selling in the thousands, especially if your numbers keep going up, then it's worth mentioning to an agent. Thousands (the higher the better) are what a publisher needs to sell to break even on publishing a book and what an author needs to get a royalty check.

Until you consistently have that kind of sales, it's not a positive to mention when talking to traditional agents, though hundreds in self-publishing would be worth bringing up to small presses/e-pubs.

Jersey Chick
06-08-2012, 05:34 PM
Those are not impressive enough numbers for a self-published book, since the average sales hover between 75 and 100 copies. For an agent to consider a self-published novel to have great sales, the number is (AFAIK) in the thousands to impress. And most agents (and publishers) don't necessarily count a self-published credit as a publishing credit at all.

Basically, I'd say write the best book you can, and then worry about publishing options.

shadowwalker
06-08-2012, 05:37 PM
Personally, I wouldn't self-pub for that purpose, mainly because you would have to have phenomenal sales to impress anyone in trade publishing. Phenomenal sales in SP depends on more than just having a well-written book - it also depends heavily on your skills as a publisher. If your ultimate goal is to be trade published, I would work on that directly, not via SP.

Theo81
06-08-2012, 05:48 PM
:welcome: Welcome to the boards...


Hey. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I went back quite a few pages to see if this had already been asked, and could find nothing listed. So i'm gonna ask here. Please don't take anything I say as a mark against any method of publishing.


I'm sure every knows how stingy some agents are nowadays. It's been said that to break into the business your book needs to appeal to the current scene. Is it a vampire novel involving love? How about a Nicholas Sparks Clone? Or perhaps it's a fantasy book they feel people will "hunger" for? In other words, your great novel idea involving post apocalyptia and mechs may never see the light of day.

Stingy is an odd sort of word. It implies you think agents don't want to rep your novel because they have a problem doing so due to its lack of vampires (and you're behind the time, vampires have been "out" for years). Agents rep anything which makes them money. A great idea still needs to be well written. An idea on its own is useless.

I've often thought of this in terms of a job interview. You present your resume that show you went to college for, say accounting, and hope you get the job. But what happens when the next guy coming in has not only the college degree, but he's worked at three jobs previously for several years. He might get looked at more highly since he's done the work for a while.

It helps, certainly, but if you turn up with no experience but your final year project was Amazon's last tax return, you *will* get the job.

I know some people online warn you against letting an agent know you've self-published a novel. Some say it'll hurt you, others say if your book was successful it can't hurt to drop it in the query. Here's my questions. Please note that my writing is note the equivalent of childís crayon drawing. As I noted in my introduction on the newbie board, I write well. So despite what I ask, I may still go the ďtradĒ route. Iím saying this in case someone assumes Iím consider the SP option because my writing is atrocious.

There's a guy slashing his novel to bits as we speak. He thought he could write well enough to sub to agents and his 145K novel had been cut as much as possible. I disagreed, took one paragraph at random and made it 90 words from 154, despite being an idiot who should never be left in charge of editing anything. The moral of this story: most of what we think about ourselves is wrong.

Letís say I self-pub a book and sell by a miracle 150 copies. Book 2, also a selfie, sells 200, and then by word of mouth and luck, book 3 sells 300. Is that increase in sales a great thing to mention in a query to an agent? I mean, Iíve gotten more successful each time, so that should show my skill right? Or will it just look like I sold crap to friends and family and they dragged more people into my scheme? Can I use self-pubbing to build a resume? If I follow medievalistís ideas for proper (not saturated) marketing, can I get myself a noticeable standing in the community and then peddle a new book to agents?

You *could* use self-pubbing to build a resume, but why would you? If your MS is good enough to be published by somebody who isn't you, why not let them do that? Why waste years of your life (and time you could spend writing) messing around when there's no need? If your book is good, you don't need to have self-pubbed 3 novels in order to have that fact recognised.

Also, having XXXX number of self-pubbed sales doesn't make much difference if your novel isn't very good. There is at least one notable exception, but let's play safe and assume you aren't it.

Also, 150 copies is not anything you'd bother to mention. 5 figure sales is something you'd mention.

I read HapiSofiís info at http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4522286&postcount=45 and I have also read many other forum optics/posts here at AW. I still didn't feel 100% sure my question was answered.

If Iím better off just going to agents Iíll do it. But if my idea has any merit I might ďtest the watersĒ as someone said, and do so. Please share any thoughts.

The_Riskbreaker
06-08-2012, 05:54 PM
I was considering a small publisher, because I know that big ones like Random House or Penguin file a lot of submissions from agents in the folder on the floor by their desk. The blue plastic one.

I figured having your prescence out their was a good idea. Can I still do things like making an FB page, having business cards, and getting myself a little established out there, even though i'm not published? Also, if I decide to self-pub something to sell at cons and other gathering, that's still okay as long as I don't mention it, right? I mean, I doubt that it'll sell 1,00 copies.

Thanks for the input.

Smish
06-08-2012, 06:02 PM
I was considering a small publisher, because I know that big ones like Random House or Penguin file a lot of submissions from agents in the folder on the floor by their desk. The blue plastic one.

I figured having your prescence out their was a good idea. Can I still do things like making an FB page, having business cards, and getting myself a little established out there, even though i'm not published? Also, if I decide to self-pub something to sell at cons and other gathering, that's still okay as long as I don't mention it, right? I mean, I doubt that it'll sell 1,00 copies.

Thanks for the input.

Of course you can have a facebook page, and business cards are often a good idea, especially if you're going to conferences. There's also nothing wrong with self-publishing, as long as you're not doing so with the goal of impressing agents. There are good reasons to self-publish; that's not one of them.

If you want to impress agents, write a great book. Do your research and target your submissions to appropriate agents. Expect to receive lots of rejections, but keep sending out queries. :Thumbs:

ETA: Oh, and your comment about large publishing houses doesn't make sense. Did you leave out a word? Perhaps you meant that unsolicited, unagented manuscripts are discarded?

Katrina S. Forest
06-08-2012, 06:17 PM
I don't think agents are stingy at all. Quieter than they were before, yes. (Silence is the new form rejection.) But if they like what they read, they'll ask for more.

It takes years for a novel to go from rough draft to sitting on a shelf. Authors whose agents were already shopping their YA paranormal romances around might've had a chance to ride the Twilight wave when it first hit. After that, the ship sailed. The tons of vampire romances people saw appear on the shelves as Twilight maintained popularity were bought up by publishers very early on in the trend.

What agents look for right now is what they think will be the next big thing. And by the way, if you think agents are turning their noses up at science fiction, I can say from my personal querying experience that's just not true. I can also say that agents apparently don't care about a lack of work "out there," as I haven't put any of my writing online in years and still managed nine full requests.

Write an irresistible book and a solid query. Send it out to agents who represent that genre. If you fail this time, try again. There's plenty of us on the journey with you. :)

Edit: I would caution against self-pubbing a book you plan to send to agents. Even if they adore it, a previously published book is harder to sell. In fact, they don't really want you sending it to big publishers before you query them either. If you do, you might inadvertently close doors they could've opened for you.

If your ultimate goal is to publish with a big publishing house, start looking for an agent first. If that fails, go to the publishers directly (those that take unsolicited subs). Then, if you've exhausted those options and you still want the book in print, look into self-publishing. Doing it in reverse is a nice way to shoot yourself in the foot.

The_Riskbreaker
06-08-2012, 06:45 PM
I'm now wondering if my idea is "the next big thing". You see on TV how shows change, channels like Syfy are showing more reality shows, USA is producing epic shows in the vein of Psych and Burn Notice. And I like those two shows. They make these choices to catch audiences. We authors, or soon-to-be authors, hope our ideas are good.

So you're saying agents only care if it's sellable, right? Well doesn't sellable in most case mean popular or hot? My story isn't totally original in terms oif the story. (no aliens, wizards or the like) Thinking it over now, I may just self-pub the book I have now since it's not spectactular. The book i'm working on now is a great concept that could sell well.

I'm probably wrong in thinking that way, but it makes sense to me.

quicklime
06-08-2012, 06:51 PM
Hey. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I went back quite a few pages to see if this had already been asked, and could find nothing listed. So i'm gonna ask here. Please don't take anything I say as a mark against any method of publishing.

I'm sure every knows how stingy some agents are nowadays. It's been said that to break into the business your book needs to appeal to the current scene. Is it a vampire novel involving love? How about a Nicholas Sparks Clone? Or perhaps it's a fantasy book they feel people will "hunger" for? In other words, your great novel idea involving post apocalyptia and mechs may never see the light of day. respectfully, this is crap. It is also both self-indulgent and self-destructive. Get past it, or choose to become mired in a rut of your own making, but think about it with at least a touch of reason--agents are not out there to play kingmaker, they are out there to make money. This is their job. That means they will chase hot trends. It ALSO means they will take great stories....they WANT the next big thing, after all, and what's been a "big thing" instead of a "me too" in vampires or boy wizards or anything else after the big fish you're pointing out? Se yes, they but what's hot, but not at all exclusively. And you're being incredibly disrespectful....hopefully a matter of being new and ignorant rather than old an ignorant, but you are in either case currently biting the hand that feeds, as well as running on career-damaging misperceptions.


I've often thought of this in terms of a job interview. You present your resume that show you went to college for, say accounting, and hope you get the job. But what happens when the next guy coming in has not only the college degree, but he's worked at three jobs previously for several years. He might get looked at more highly since he's done the work for a while. absolutely. So do the job well. At the same time, to revisit your post above, you're treating this like an interview where you go in and say "I know not much of importance goes on here, and you guys don't make anything innovative or even particularly good, but meh...I need a job."

I know some people online warn you against letting an agent know you've self-published a novel. Some say it'll hurt you, others say if your book was successful it can't hurt to drop it in the query. Here's my questions. Please note that my writing is note the equivalent of childís crayon drawing. As I noted in my introduction on the newbie board, I write well. I have no idea how you write. Be aware at least 80% of writers who fail think they write well.....and are insufferable. So, your assurances don't do much. On the other hand, have you shopped anything in SYW here, or through a crit group? So despite what I ask, I may still go the ďtradĒ route. Iím saying this in case someone assumes Iím consider the SP option because my writing is atrocious. no, because again, I don't know your writing. I AM currently assuming you might go self-pub because you don't really understand either self-pub or traditional pubbing, and this is the kiss of death. Those "some people" you reference above...they include agents, among others. It isn't a deal-killer to self-pub, but it WILL raise the questions of "why" and "how did it do". Both are likely, especially in this scenario, to have bad answers......so no, it won't help.

Letís say I self-pub a book and sell by a miracle 150 copies. Book 2, also a selfie, sells 200, and then by word of mouth and luck, book 3 sells 300. Is that increase in sales a great thing to mention in a query to an agent? I mean, Iíve gotten more successful each time, so that should show my skill right? Or will it just look like I sold crap to friends and family and they dragged more people into my scheme? Can I use self-pubbing to build a resume? absolutely, if you sell 10X what you're citing....fwiw very few sell the numbers you already posted though....so how are YOU gonna stand out? Please don't say "quality of writing"....James McDonald probably summed that issue up best by saying in the sea of self-pubbed stuff out there now, you can light your hair on fire and run down the road, screaming, but even then, how do you stand out from all the other folks who've lit their hair on fire, and are running down the road, screaming?" How do you plan to hop above the masses and be seen? If I follow medievalistís ideas for proper (not saturated) marketing, can I get myself a noticeable standing in the community and then peddle a new book to agents?


I read HapiSofiís info at http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4522286&postcount=45 and I have also read many other forum optics/posts here at AW. I still didn't feel 100% sure my question was answered.

If Iím better off just going to agents Iíll do it. But if my idea has any merit I might ďtest the watersĒ as someone said, and do so. Please share any thoughts.

If you can write well enough to pub traditionally, and you don't have a different reason you want to self-pub, then no, there's no gain in trying to build a resume where you suggest you are naive, mistaken, precious, and/or an underseller with a track record of mediocre-at-best sales. Debut authors are picked up every day.

Self-pubbing counts as a credit when you sell extremely well, not when you sell 1/10th of what would be considered a mediocre print run. However, I'm left wondering if you have had your stuff critiqued, how much you understand about how and where to submit, and why queries are rejected, and also if your tone might be a deal-killer. I'd be much more concerned about those than self-pubbing. That sounds harsh, and you can get as mad as you like, but I hope you also consider it....

quicklime
06-08-2012, 06:59 PM
I'm now wondering if my idea is "the next big thing". You see on TV how shows change, channels like Syfy are showing more reality shows, USA is producing epic shows in the vein of Psych and Burn Notice. And I like those two shows. They make these choices to catch audiences. We authors, or soon-to-be authors, hope our ideas are good.

So you're saying agents only care if it's sellable, right? Well doesn't sellable in most case mean popular or hot? no. were wizards popular before Harry Potter? mopey vamps pre-Twilight? no. they hit it big, and the genres BECAME popular with coattail-riders....My story isn't totally original in terms oif the story. (no aliens, wizards or the like) you realize Bradbury, who will be sorely missed, wrote about aliens close to 70 years ago? And I'm sure wasn't the first.... and wizards are even older? Very little is truly original.....zombie stories owe a deby to everything from Frankenstein (1800s) to I Am Legend (1950s, I believe) to legends and folklore centuries old. Dracula was maybe (probably not) the first vampire novel, not Twilight.....it was pubbed in the late 1800s. Vampires continue to sell today.

Thinking it over now, I may just self-pub the book I have now since it's not spectactular. this is the absolute worst reason to self-pub....if you think it is sub-par, why dump it there and then assure an agent "I was indifferent to the quality of one piece of work, but believe me, the one I'm pitching to you....I'm TOTALLY ambitious and careful now..." What if, in three years, you want to go back and re-write it to sell? Folks DO bring out trunked novels....harder to do if they were pubbed once, harder still if they were to poor sales and languishing in a backwater of the internet. All the while you build a trackrecord of "unimpressive"....for what, a hundred bucks?

Self-pub all you like, but I wouldn't self-pub anything I considered lackluster just to get it out there....it won't help in any way, and can actually hurt you

The book i'm working on now is a great concept that could sell well.

I'm probably wrong in thinking that way, but it makes sense to me.


it doesn't make sense at all. There's lots of folks who self-pub here, but I don't think any of them say it is what you do with your junk so you can dump it while you polish your "Big-Six" gems.

Jersey Chick
06-08-2012, 07:10 PM
So you're saying agents only care if it's sellable, right? Well doesn't sellable in most case mean popular or hot? My story isn't totally original in terms oif the story. (no aliens, wizards or the like) Thinking it over now, I may just self-pub the book I have now since it's not spectactular. The book i'm working on now is a great concept that could sell well. The concept isn't necessarily what will sell, it's the presentation of the concept that sells. Again, look at Twilight. Vampires. There are a ton of vampire books out, but not all have reached the same success as Twilight. Why not? They all have the same basic concept. But the story (the presentation) is different.

There's an old saying about there being no original ideas anymore, just rehashes of existing ones. The whole game is taking that existing idea and making it into something awesome and different. That's the tricky part.

Why waste your time on something you think isn't that great? If you, the author, doesn't love it, why should I, the reader, bother to buy it? I don't want to put my hard-earned coin out there on something even the author thinks is sub-par.

Theo81
06-08-2012, 07:11 PM
I'm now wondering if my idea is "the next big thing". You see on TV how shows change, channels like Syfy are showing more reality shows, USA is producing epic shows in the vein of Psych and Burn Notice. And I like those two shows. They make these choices to catch audiences. We authors, or soon-to-be authors, hope our ideas are good.

So you're saying agents only care if it's sellable, right? Well doesn't sellable in most case mean popular or hot? My story isn't totally original in terms oif the story. (no aliens, wizards or the like) Thinking it over now, I may just self-pub the book I have now since it's not spectactular. The book i'm working on now is a great concept that could sell well.

I'm probably wrong in thinking that way, but it makes sense to me.

You know what - don't do anything now.

Hang around, learn stuff, get your 50 posts and get some feedback on your work (I've yet to meet anybody who is as good as they think they are). Then decide what you want to do.

You aren't the next big thing.

The next big thing already has a publication date. Being optimistic, you could be the big thing of Fall 2014, but I'll bet you a dollar you're not.

Mustafa
06-08-2012, 07:55 PM
Whether you self publish or trade publish, the only way to do it is with the absolute best work you can do. I have no respect for writers who just toss stuff up online and hope someone will buy it. People might not like my stories, but I've never sat back and thought, darn, if only I would have tried a bit harder with that book. Everything I submit is the best I can make it. I don't cut corners. If I didn't think something I wrote was worth money, I'd throw it in a trunk until I had something that was.

ResearchGuy
06-08-2012, 07:57 PM
. . . I know some people online warn you against letting an agent know you've self-published a novel. . . ..
An agent I know recently posted on Facebook favorably on a self-published novel (e-book only, not print, I think) that had sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Apparently the book drew interest of a commercial publisher. (See this blog post (http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/authornomics-interview-with-tracey-garvis-graves/) by the agent for details.)

The odd thing was that the agent described the book as "indie" published. I asked what she meant by that (having not looked up the book yet myself nor followed the link to her blog post), as "indie" can mean many things, from self-publishing through publishing by a large non-big-6 independent publishing company. She said she meant "independent." Ok, same problem, but she was apparently not going to give me an answer. Apparently she uses the term "indie" or "independent" as a euphemism for "self-published," and that suggests to me that self-publishing still carries a stigma in her mind, although she must have been dealing with some internal conflict on the point. That is, the term "self-published" is still (I gather, in that agent's mind) a negative. It has to be euphemized to "indie" in her lexicon. So I infer.

FWIW.

--Ken

quicklime
06-08-2012, 08:04 PM
An agent I know recently posted on Facebook favorably on a self-published novel (e-book only, not print, I think) that had sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Apparently the book drew interest of a commercial publisher. (See this blog post (http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/authornomics-interview-with-tracey-garvis-graves/) by the agent for details.)

--Ken



not sure about the stigma part, although I suspect it does carry some for some agents, but the part in bold above is really, really important. Her, oh hell yes, she should put that as a credit. But only because she sold a ton. a few hundred, and all you are telling the agent is "well, we don't know if it was because of reaching the market, or the writing itself, but we DO know I have a track record of under-selling."

Beachgirl
06-08-2012, 08:05 PM
Thinking it over now, I may just self-pub the book I have now since it's not spectactular.

Good God, why on earth would you want something out there with your name on it that you admit is "not spectacular"? Personally, I won't put my name on crap (which is how I translate "not spectacular") just for the sake of saying I published a book. If I'm not proud of my work then I'll put it in my trash pile - not distribute it to the general public. That could hurt you more than anything else.

stranger
06-08-2012, 08:06 PM
I think most serious self publishers prefer the term indie publisher, as a more accurate name for what they do.

ResearchGuy
06-08-2012, 08:10 PM
Good God, why on earth would you want something out there with your name on it that you admit is "not spectacular"? . . . .
If I had to aim for "spectacular" I'd never finish my weekly column. Readable and interesting and amusing, I hope (and the editor and readers seem to agree), but "spectacular"? Not likely. Well, as they say, don't let the best be the enemy of the good.

IMHO FWIW YMMV.

--Ken

Mustafa
06-08-2012, 08:17 PM
I think most serious self publishers prefer the term indie publisher, as a more accurate name for what they do.

Except that it's not accurate at all, and in fact makes them sound rather ignorant when they use it. I try to avoid sounding ignorant, so I tend to use "self publisher" when I'm speaking about someone who, you know, self published something.

Beachgirl
06-08-2012, 08:20 PM
If I had to aim for "spectacular" I'd never finish my weekly column. Readable and interesting and amusing, I hope (and the editor and readers seem to agree), but "spectacular"? Not likely. Well, as they say, don't let the best be the enemy of the good.

IMHO FWIW YMMV.

--Ken

I would absolutely agree with you - after all, you're writing a weekly column and only have so much time to get it done. The way I read the OP's post was that he's got this book that he maybe has spent years on, does not have a deadline so he has plenty of time to polish it and work on the story, apparently doesn't think it's good enough for a publisher to pick it up, so he just wants to throw it out there for the sake of saying he's done it. It didn't sound like he's doing it because he wants to have the control that self-pubbing would give him, or because he thinks he can do a great job of marketing, etc.

Maybe that's not how the OP meant it, but that was my interpretation. I could be wrong and if I am, well, it's not the first time and won't be the last. JMHO

stranger
06-08-2012, 08:22 PM
Except that it's not accurate at all, and in fact makes them sound rather ignorant when they use it. I try to avoid sounding ignorant, so I tend to use "self publisher" when I'm speaking about someone who, you know, self published something.

Wow. And what makes it inaccurate?

stranger
06-08-2012, 08:30 PM
Except that it's not accurate at all, and in fact makes them sound rather ignorant when they use it. I try to avoid sounding ignorant, so I tend to use "self publisher" when I'm speaking about someone who, you know, self published something.

Indie publishing perhaps used to refer to small press publishing but these days is more likely to mean independent authors publishing by themselves.

If I google "indie publishing", there's 134 million hits. And in the first page, some of the hits are talking about small presses but most are talking about independent authors.

Katrina S. Forest
06-08-2012, 08:30 PM
Edit: Oh, for the love of sanity, please tell me we aren't devolving this thread into an argument over the "indie-publisher" vs. "self-publishers" terms. Please?

The_Riskbreaker, I actually do understand the feeling you have right now.

The first book I queried had a Mary Sue of a heroine and a highly cliched plot that brought little new to the table, all in a genre that was heavily overcrowded at the time. To top things off, my query was lousy. I got 30 form rejections before I finally decided it was time to move to a new novel (the one that's making the rounds right now). The old novel went in the trunk. It was a good first try, and I'm not at all sorry about the time I spent on it, but it's not for people to read. Quite honestly, I can do better now.

Trunking something you worked so hard on is never easy. Sometimes, you just have to tell yourself, "It's not going away forever, I can always come back to it." Now, I have no idea if you should trunk your current novel, as I haven't read it, but it's always a possibility.

Someone pointed out on another thread here that sometimes people self-pub because they're sick of getting rejections. Yet every day that goes by without a sale stings just as hard. Self-pubbing is not a quick pick-me-up for when you're unsatisfied with your novel's progress. Yes, you can technically throw whatever you want out there. But the people who have even marginal success with it have worked their tails off to produce a high-quality product.

If you ultimately decide you don't want to work on this book anymore, then don't work on it. Print a copy and file it away somewhere to look back on, if that helps. Then move on. You're a writer. You'll write more stuff. :)

Old Hack
06-08-2012, 08:40 PM
Indie publishing perhaps used to refer to small press publishing but these days is more likely to mean independent authors publishing by themselves.

Independent publishers are still called independent publishers. Writers who call themselves "indie authors" only confuse the issue, and I have to wonder why they're reluctant to admit that they self-published.


If I google "indie publishing", there's 134 million hits. And in the first page, some of the hits are talking about small presses but most are talking about independent authors.

Not all independent presses are small presses; and although that search-term brings you those results it doesn't mean that the term "independent press" has changed in meaning or intent; it just means that lots of people have blogged about it, or used the term in a particular way.

If you talk to a trade publishing professional and mention independent publishers they're very unlikely to assume that you're referring to a self-publisher.

Why do people invent new and less-clear terms for things which already have perfectly good, properly-understood descriptors? I don't understand it. It causes confusion and makes the people who use these terms seem ill-informed and/or ashamed to be self-published. Which really doesn't help advance their cause one bit.

Mustafa
06-08-2012, 09:04 PM
Indie publishing perhaps used to refer to small press publishing but these days is more likely to mean independent authors publishing by themselves.

If I google "indie publishing", there's 134 million hits. And in the first page, some of the hits are talking about small presses but most are talking about independent authors.


I know it's a term self publishers use. I know they use it because they think it's less stigma than "self publishing" but it makes them sound very silly. I don't bother correcting them anymore, but don't expect people who know better to use the term how you want it used.

Independent does not equal small.

quicklime
06-08-2012, 09:07 PM
as hack pointed out, if they DO use it improperly, it reflects badly on them....


AND, with the continual dumbing-down of our world, Google Hits is a poor indicator, as the internet is poorly vetted. Search results can either show the correct usage, or, in this case, the proliferation of ignorance outside the industry. But if you want to talk to folks IN the industry, your word choices will inform their impressions of you.

Dungeon Geek
06-08-2012, 09:15 PM
Independent publishers are still called independent publishers. Writers who call themselves "indie authors" only confuse the issue, and I have to wonder why they're reluctant to admit that they self-published.



Not all independent presses are small presses; and although that search-term brings you those results it doesn't mean that the term "independent press" has changed in meaning or intent; it just means that lots of people have blogged about it, or used the term in a particular way.

If you talk to a trade publishing professional and mention independent publishers they're very unlikely to assume that you're referring to a self-publisher.

Why do people invent new and less-clear terms for things which already have perfectly good, properly-understood descriptors? I don't understand it. It causes confusion and makes the people who use these terms seem ill-informed and/or ashamed to be self-published. Which really doesn't help advance their cause one bit.

I've used the word "indie" from time to time because "self published writer" is lengthy to write. "Self pubbed" shortens things nicely, though.

I'm not embarrassed to be self pubbed. In fact, I love announcing it to people who sometimes assume, based on my professional cover art, that I'm trade published. Recently, a lady on Facebook implied I had given up on trade publishing, and she proudly announced she had hung in there and published a few small articles in magazines. I congratulated her and didn't bother to tell her about my more than two-dozen story sales. Yet I think some writers are embarrassed about it and try to hide it--which is deceptive (in other words, bound to annoy someone) and indeed does nothing to help the image of self publishing.

I've even had family try to correct me when I've told others on Facebook I am self published--by saying Amazon is my publisher. And I corrected them right back and insisted that Amazon is merely an outlet for my self-pubbed work. :)

The_Riskbreaker
06-08-2012, 09:23 PM
And now we see the power of words. I didn't mean to use the term "spectacular" in that context. Katrina got the jist of what i meant.

I wrote a story that's about 52K in length. It starts off with three middle school girls burying a box in the ground that has three items in it, memories from each of them, along with promises they verbally made that day. They plan to dig up the time capsule of sorts when they hit the big 40 or when one of them dies. The story then follows the other two girls coming into for the third's funeral. They dig up the box and find their things replaced by a cassette tape. Their dead friend's words lead them on a quest where they discover her car accident was no accident, and that someone wanted her dead because she found out their secrets.

I'd been thinking over the past month or so, since the start of May, that it isn't original enough, or it's too predictable. The novel I have started notes on, is original in the sense that if someone has done it, and achieved noticable success I haven't seen it. And i was searching last weekend for books involving that type of story. Granted, it's got a little touch of fantasy in it, so that might be the case. I didn't mean to say I hated what i wrote. that novel is full of my heart. I still may self publish it to "see it in print". It might empower me, so to speak. And If i sell a few copies, more power to me. But I don't think it is A) long enough, and B) a concept that's unqiue enough. On point A, if somebody wants to comment or link to a thread i'd love to know how many words comprise a 350-400 pager. Not that I plan to make my book a certain size, i'm just curious since my 52K one is about 130 pages. Kind of short.

I did not however, plan to start a publishing war. Both have their merits. A person at my Church self pubbed a collection of scriptural journal entries from a relative who passed on. It was the right route for that. And I thought the book was good. On the other hand a thriller about a cop chasing an uncatchable serial killer would do better to go the trad route, and suffer through the rejections. I'm ready for the rejections. Stephen King talked about his as a form of self growth in On Writing. I am practicing the same attitude. Thanks for the info guys. And please, put down the torches and pitchforks. All publishing roads can lead to success. You guys are just arguing over what success means. I think the answer is personal to each writer.

shaldna
06-08-2012, 09:38 PM
Hey.

Hi there, and welcome.


[FONT=Calibri]I'm sure every knows how stingy some agents are nowadays.

Agents aren't 'stingy' by any means. They are business people who are looking for good books that they can sell for good money to good publishers. That's not stingy. That's just having standards.


It's been said that to break into the business your book needs to appeal to the current scene.

Said by?

Here's something a lot of folks outside of the industry don't often realise - those books that are 'current' where bought two years ago, signed by an agent maybe a year before that, and written maybe a year or two before then. So if you write for what is 'current' you'll find the market has moved on.

Unfortunately it can be hard to know what is going to be 'in' next year, or the year after.


[FONT=Calibri]I've often thought of this in terms of a job interview. You present your resume that show you went to college for, say accounting, and hope you get the job. But what happens when the next guy coming in has not only the college degree, but he's worked at three jobs previously for several years. He might get looked at more highly since he's done the work for a while.

Publishing doesn't really work like that. Sure, having credits - ie a good MFA with a well known tutor, or winning and award, or a strong publication history will get you taken more seriously, the main thing by a long, long, long way is how well you write and how good the story you have told is.

Look at it this way, every first novelist was once a first timer with no credentials. Everyone starts somewhere, and maybe your first novel will net you a million quid and a number one bestseller straight off, or maybe four or five books in is when you will start to pick up readers.


I know some people online warn you against letting an agent know you've self-published a novel. Some say it'll hurt you, others say if your book was successful it can't hurt to drop it in the query.

Some people online say a lot of things. But honestly, self publishing isn't really a credential at all unless you've done REALLY well at it - have you won awards? Sold tens of thousands of copies? If so then yeah, mention it. If you sold a hundred copies then I probably would keep it to myself.


Here's my questions. Please note that my writing is note the equivalent of child’s crayon drawing. As I noted in my introduction on the newbie board, I write well. So despite what I ask, I may still go the “trad” route. I’m saying this in case someone assumes I’m consider the SP option because my writing is atrocious.

You'll find that lots of good writers self publish. It's not a case that all writers SP because they are 'atrocious' - there are lots of reasons folks prefer SP, and there are many people, including a lot of writers here, who have been very successful through SP. Yes, there is some god-awful shite out there, but it's not all that way.



Let’s say I self-pub a book and sell by a miracle 150 copies. Book 2, also a selfie, sells 200, and then by word of mouth and luck, book 3 sells 300. Is that increase in sales a great thing to mention in a query to an agent? I mean, I’ve gotten more successful each time, so that should show my skill right?

The majority of self published novels sell less than 200 copies. Most sell less than 100. If you sold 5000 copies, and I mean sold,not free downloads, then mention it. But triple figures, no.


Or will it just look like I sold crap to friends and family and they dragged more people into my scheme? Can I use self-pubbing to build a resume? If I follow medievalist’s ideas for proper (not saturated) marketing, can I get myself a noticeable standing in the community and then peddle a new book to agents?

Successful self publishing, and by that I mean thousands of copies of each book you SP selling then yes, that can build a resume. But if the book is good enough then why not try and get an agent and publisher straight off?

Publishing is one of those places that you aim for the top first.



I was considering a small publisher, because I know that big ones like Random House or Penguin file a lot of submissions from agents in the folder on the floor by their desk. The blue plastic one.

You don't know that at all. Have you worked at Penguin? Random House? A smaller publisher like Lyrical Press? No?

Editors are not in the habit of ignoring or binning agented submissions. Not the editors I know anyway. A lot of publishers will not accept unsolicited submissions and will auto reject those, which is why an agent is the only way to get certain editors to see your work at all.




I think most serious self publishers prefer the term indie publisher, as a more accurate name for what they do.

Don't make me shout.

Indie / independent means something completely different. It is an already established and accepted term in the publishing industry - it means a publisher who is not part of the Big Six. It DOES NOT mean self published, no matter how many 'serious' self publishers want it to.

Using the incorrect terminology because you don't want the stigma of being self published is insulting to other self publishers, and shows nothing but blatant ignorance of the publishing industry in general, and specifically makes the user look like a tool.

#rant over.

Isabella Amaris
06-08-2012, 09:55 PM
Sigh, this is a bit of a thread derail, but anyway, have to jump in and say I use 'indie author' and 'self-pubbed' interchangeably because I feel they are labels which do accurately reflect what I'm doing. I don't feel comfortable saying I'm indie pubbed because I don't operate an independent press (yet) (though I can see why some would use the term regardless). But the point is, I am definitely an independent author because I'm writing independently of the backing of a publishing house. If this conflicts with traditional usage of the term 'indie' within the publishing industry, I just take it as part of the evolution of language. I honestly don't see how being an 'independent author' in any way doesn't describe what I actually am as a writer on top of being self-published. To me, this is in fact a 'more clear' usage, not 'less clear', than the previous usage of the term 'independent' in the publishing industry.

To the OP, I would say write the best work you can (ie something you would actually think is spectacular), and then think about the pros and cons of each publishing route to see which suits that particular work the best. If you put out something that even you think is not spectacular, it would not only be a disservice to your readers, but you might later feel robbed of the chance to have made the piece the best it could be (on the assumption that you later get a better handle on aspects of craft). Good luck!

Katrina S. Forest
06-08-2012, 09:56 PM
I did not however, plan to start a publishing war. Both have their merits. A person at my Church self pubbed a collection of scriptural journal entries from a relative who passed on. It was the right route for that. And I thought the book was good. On the other hand a thriller about a cop chasing an uncatchable serial killer would do better to go the trad route, and suffer through the rejections. I'm ready for the rejections. Stephen King talked about his as a form of self growth in On Writing. I am practicing the same attitude. Thanks for the info guys. And please, put down the torches and pitchforks. All publishing roads can lead to success. You guys are just arguing over what success means. I think the answer is personal to each writer.

No worries, you didn't start a publishing war. We do this a lot. There's some logic behind it, as we do see a lot of people come through with the attitude that, "Hey, self-publishing is the quick and easy route to success!" and we're quick to discourage that idea. Mostly on account of, it's not true. :) But if it gets too insane, the mods will step in.

Honestly, I don't think your story sounds cliche. But like everyone says, it's about the execution. The story I trunked was a high fantasy about a farmboy going to save a princess from an evil sorcerer. (Okay, technically he wasn't a farmboy, and technically, she wasn't a princess, but they acted the parts so closely they might as well have been.) I thought he had a clever voice to him, but not enough to carry through a whole book. I don't think it's quite as clever now, but that's what five years away from a book will do.

Anyways, best of luck, whatever you choose. And don't let us scare you. We do get passionate about the paths we select for our work, myself included. I like to think it's a healthy sign.

Edit: To answer your question, I believe a double-spaced page in 12-point Courier New (which is standard manuscript formatting) is about 250 words. I have no idea what that works out to in the pages of a printed book, though. I imagine it varies greatly by how the book is printed, which is why it's usually easier just to refer to manuscripts by their word count. If your book is middle grade or YA, that word count is more or less on target.

stranger
06-08-2012, 10:02 PM
Independent publishers are still called independent publishers. Writers who call themselves "indie authors" only confuse the issue, and I have to wonder why they're reluctant to admit that they self-published.

It's called rebranding. Self publishing was a name bestowed upon people who put out often substandard books.
Indie authors, IMO, are a new wave of writers who are trying to produce good quality books and presenting them to the public.


as hack pointed out, if they DO use it improperly, it reflects badly on them....

AND, with the continual dumbing-down of our world, Google Hits is a poor indicator, as the internet is poorly vetted. Search results can either show the correct usage, or, in this case, the proliferation of ignorance outside the industry. But if you want to talk to folks IN the industry, your word choices will inform their impressions of you.

It's not from ignorance, it's an adoption of a term that describes us better. Generally the small presses use the term independent publisher, so it's not like it is super confusing.

Language changes. When most people start using the language in a certain way, then they are not all wrong. The meaning has changed.



Don't make me shout.

Indie / independent means something completely different. It is an already established and accepted term in the publishing industry - it means a publisher who is not part of the Big Six. It DOES NOT mean self published, no matter how many 'serious' self publishers want it to.

Using the incorrect terminology because you don't want the stigma of being self published is insulting to other self publishers, and shows nothing but blatant ignorance of the publishing industry in general, and specifically makes the user look like a tool.

#rant over.
Just as musicians who produced music outside of the big label, choose to adopt the term "indie", to describe themselves, authors have done the same. Deal with it.

Perks
06-08-2012, 10:11 PM
I know it's a term self publishers use. I know they use it because they think it's less stigma than "self publishing"...

I've seen the "stigma of self-publishing" referenced several times in this thread. One sure way to have it linger for longer than it needs to is to have writers self-publish 'cause agents are stingy, the Big 6 only want vampires and boy wizards, and to "just get stuff out there" even though it's admittedly unoriginal or has whatever other problems may plague a work of fiction.

And, Riskbreaker, not to worry that in seven posts you've managed to start a fire that will burn AW's house down. We can handle your radical ideas.

stranger
06-08-2012, 10:12 PM
Excuse me?

Rule one. Deal with it.

I'm saying the change has already happened. Thousands of authors have branded themselves indie and not out of ignorance. Out of choice.

kaitie
06-08-2012, 10:12 PM
And now we see the power of words. I didn't mean to use the term "spectacular" in that context. Katrina got the jist of what i meant.

I wrote a story that's about 52K in length. It starts off with three middle school girls burying a box in the ground that has three items in it, memories from each of them, along with promises they verbally made that day. They plan to dig up the time capsule of sorts when they hit the big 40 or when one of them dies. The story then follows the other two girls coming into for the third's funeral. They dig up the box and find their things replaced by a cassette tape. Their dead friend's words lead them on a quest where they discover her car accident was no accident, and that someone wanted her dead because she found out their secrets.

I'd been thinking over the past month or so, since the start of May, that it isn't original enough, or it's too predictable. The novel I have started notes on, is original in the sense that if someone has done it, and achieved noticable success I haven't seen it. And i was searching last weekend for books involving that type of story. Granted, it's got a little touch of fantasy in it, so that might be the case. I didn't mean to say I hated what i wrote. that novel is full of my heart. I still may self publish it to "see it in print". It might empower me, so to speak. And If i sell a few copies, more power to me. But I don't think it is A) long enough, and B) a concept that's unqiue enough. On point A, if somebody wants to comment or link to a thread i'd love to know how many words comprise a 350-400 pager. Not that I plan to make my book a certain size, i'm just curious since my 52K one is about 130 pages. Kind of short.

I did not however, plan to start a publishing war. Both have their merits. A person at my Church self pubbed a collection of scriptural journal entries from a relative who passed on. It was the right route for that. And I thought the book was good. On the other hand a thriller about a cop chasing an uncatchable serial killer would do better to go the trad route, and suffer through the rejections. I'm ready for the rejections. Stephen King talked about his as a form of self growth in On Writing. I am practicing the same attitude. Thanks for the info guys. And please, put down the torches and pitchforks. All publishing roads can lead to success. You guys are just arguing over what success means. I think the answer is personal to each writer.

For what it's worth, my first thought was "that sounds really cool" and it's very much the sort of book I'd read. It didn't strike me as totally cliche. It's kind of ironic because on one hand, your first post seems concerned that your book isn't similar enough to others out there to sell, and this is the opposite concern, not original enough.

I think, personally, that originality is more important than anything, but the fact is still that many books have similar plots and stories and cliche elements. The trick is making yours interesting and having a nice spin on things.

The length is short, though not necessarily too short to have e-published. Have you had beta readers? What I would suggest is that you have someone go over it for you and see if they find areas that need fleshing out. 52k is a very short book, especially for a suspense, and it's possible that you're an underwriter or that there are elements of the plot that can be expanded. It's also possible that it's great as is.

As for resume-building...well, personally, I think credits are overrated. There is a sense that you need credits to get published or find an agent, but the truth is that's completely false. All credits do is show that you can write well enough that someone else thought they should pay you for it. They don't cause an agent to say "yes" when they would have said "no." If they're on the fence, it might lead to a request, but that's why you should always include pages. Even five pages is enough to see whether or not you have any writing skill, so lack of credits won't hurt because your writing is right there to sample.

The most important thing to consider is what you want to do with these books. Do you hope to eventually have them commercially published? If the answer is yes, self-publishing might be something to wait on, and that's because once a book has been self-published, it's more difficult to get that book picked up by a trade publisher.

Don't do it just to build a resume because that's really one of the least important elements of being published. The thing that sells is having an interesting, well-written book. Okay, an interesting, well-written marketable book. The last part isn't completely in your control, IMO, but the first two parts are. And the last is in regards to writing a new book that falls more in line with appropriate word counts and that sort of thing (that's what I did).

If you want to be commercially published, work on the first two elements. If you're interested in self-publishing for other reasons and don't mind using a new book for your commercial endeavors, that's another matter.

kaitie
06-08-2012, 10:15 PM
Egads. Didn't we have a sticky about the labeling thing? Do we really have to rehash it here?

shaldna
06-08-2012, 10:16 PM
I'm saying the change has already happened. Thousands of authors have branded themselves indie and not out of ignorance. Out of choice.

But mostly out of ignorance.

And I say this as someone who has been traditionally published, self published and is married to a guy who actually runs a small, independent, press.

Just because a couple of writers who are too arrogant to learn the first thing about the industry they are trying to break into adopt the term, it doesn't mean it's correct, and it doesn't mean that anyone else in the publishing industry has adopted it. Mostly, they're laughing.

shaldna
06-08-2012, 10:18 PM
[CENTER]
Egads. Didn't we have a sticky about the labeling thing? Do we really have to rehash it here?

You mean this one? http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211120

The boards have guidelines for a reason. Perhaps folk should read them before they post.

quicklime
06-08-2012, 10:19 PM
I'm saying the change has already happened. Thousands of authors have branded themselves indie and not out of ignorance. Out of choice.


the problem is you do not get a shiny "I'm not stoopid, I'm EVOLVING" sticker to wear when you do this.....so if you like to evolve the language on your own time, have at it, but when you talk to people within the industry, and doubly so in a place where words ARE the industry, you look ignorant.

You think I could, or should, have said "we SDS-PAGE'd some proteins" in my PhD dissertation because, you know, I was "evolving" the language, instead of saying "proteins were separated by SDS-PAGE gel electrophoresis"? No. Why? because I was in a room with professionals, trying to be one. And I wanted to fucking graduate. Matter of fact, they had pet words like that, or like confusing independent publishing here, that they LOATHED. Words that could have killed an interview, made a defense far more difficult, sent someone back in their prelim exams. I saw it happen.

this isn't a matter of choice; at the very best case you can say whatever makes you feel best, but you can't control others' opinions. I'm not convinced pretending I'm on the vanguard of new language is worth undercutting myself in the same circles I want to run in.....but hey, that's just me.

shaldna
06-08-2012, 10:21 PM
Hey folks, I'm a dentist.

Obviously, I don't have any qualifications, or knowledge of dentistry or anything, and I've no experience at being a dentist. But I can call myself a dentist if I like, right?

Wrong.

See how stupid that would be? Getting things right, in any industry, is important. For instance, look at the subtle difference between a nurse and a midwife - which one would you prefer delivered your baby? The one with some medical training that might be useful, or the one with specific medical training for your current needs.

Writing and publishing are professions, just like any other.

Old Hack
06-08-2012, 10:22 PM
It's called rebranding. Self publishing was a name bestowed upon people who put out often substandard books.

I've seen many horribly substandard books from writers who call themselves indie authors. If they're trying to avoid being lumped in with other writers of spectacularly bad books they should stop trying to think of clever new ways to describe what they do and concentrate instead on writing better books.


Indie authors, IMO, are a new wave of writers who are trying to produce good quality books and presenting them to the public.

Indie authors, IMO, are a new wave of writers who don't know enough about trade publishing to understand the goof they're making.


It's not from ignorance, it's an adoption of a term that describes us better.

How does "indie author" describe a writer who self publishes better than "self-publisher" does?


Generally the small presses use the term independent publisher, so it's not like it is super confusing.

No, they don't. Independent presses call themselves independent presses. The term isn't relative to a publisher's size: independents can be small, medium, large, micro, and all sorts of other variations in between. If a publisher is not part of a larger publishing conglomerate then it's an independent publisher.


Language changes. When most people start using the language in a certain way, then they are not all wrong. The meaning has changed.

Agreed. Except that in this case, there's a direct result of the way the term is being misused: it's causing confusion when self-publishers and trade publishers meet; and instead of helping distance the self-publishers concerned from the stigma they feel is attached to self-publishing, it makes them look ashamed of or embarrassed by what they're doing.


Just as musicians who produced music outside of the big label, choose to adopt the term "indie", to describe themselves, authors have done the same.

Except that book publishing is a lot different to music publishing; the two businesses have a different structure and business model; and to be honest, I'm very tired of people comparing the two because the comparisons just don't work. It's apples and oranges time.


Deal with it.

And here, you're on the brink of going too far. You do not get to speak to AW's other members like that: it's dismissive and rude. If I see you doing that again you'll get a few days away to rethink your behaviour. I hope that's clear.

stranger
06-08-2012, 10:24 PM
[CENTER]

You mean this one? http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211120

The boards have guidelines for a reason. Perhaps folk should read them before they post.

Just saw this now. Fair enough, carry on.

I'm sure I and many other authors will continue to call ourselves indie authors. I'll try and avoid using the term here.

Katrina S. Forest
06-08-2012, 10:26 PM
Hmm, maybe I'll print my own book and call it "freedom publishing." That way I can sound equally incorrect to all writers everywhere. :)

stranger
06-08-2012, 10:27 PM
And here, you're on the brink of going too far. You do not get to speak to AW's other members like that: it's dismissive and rude. If I see you doing that again you'll get a few days away to rethink your behaviour. I hope that's clear.

You're right. Sorry about saying that. Apologies to shaldna as well who I directly quoted.

Old Hack
06-08-2012, 10:29 PM
I've seen the "stigma of self-publishing" referenced several times in this thread. One sure way to have it linger for longer than it needs to is to have writers self-publish 'cause agents are stingy, the Big 6 only want vampires and boy wizards, and to "just get stuff out there" even though it's admittedly unoriginal or has whatever other problems may plague a work of fiction.

And, Riskbreaker, not to worry that in seven posts you've managed to start a fire that will burn AW's house down. We can handle your radical ideas.

Pay attention to Perks, please, everyone. She makes several very good points.


Egads. Didn't we have a sticky about the labeling thing? Do we really have to rehash it here?

Why, yes, we do!


[CENTER]

You mean this one? http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211120

The boards have guidelines for a reason. Perhaps folk should read them before they post.

That's the one! Point four has useful links.


the problem is you do not get a shiny "I'm not stoopid, I'm EVOLVING" sticker to wear when you do this.....so if you like to evolve the language on your own time, have at it, but when you talk to people within the industry, and doubly so in a place where words ARE the industry, you look ignorant.

You think I could, or should, have said "we SDS-PAGE'd some proteins" in my PhD dissertation because, you know, I was "evolving" the language, instead of saying "proteins were separated by SDS-PAGE gel electrophoresis"? No. Why? because I was in a room with professionals, trying to be one. And I wanted to fucking graduate. Matter of fact, they had pet words like that, or like confusing independent publishing here, that they LOATHED. Words that could have killed an interview, made a defense far more difficult, sent someone back in their prelim exams. I saw it happen.

this isn't a matter of choice; at the very best case you can say whatever makes you feel best, but you can't control others' opinions. I'm not convinced pretending I'm on the vanguard of new language is worth undercutting myself in the same circles I want to run in.....but hey, that's just me.

Nicely said, quicklime.


Listen: we all want to look professional and competent and clever, right? well, misusing established terms and making up cutsie-pie new ones does not count in our favour, especially when we're dealing with those who have gone before and who have managed to do rather well at it. We make ourselves look foolish when we do it. We don't want that. That's why we might want to think carefully about whether or not we should go ahead with calling ourselves indie writers, or referring to trade publishers as traditional or legacy publishers.

Just a thought. Now, shall we move on?

Old Hack
06-08-2012, 10:31 PM
You're right. Sorry about saying that. Apologies to shaldna as well who I directly quoted.

Thanks for that. I wish everyone were as responsive and understanding.

Let's continue.

Old Hack
06-08-2012, 10:39 PM
I'm sure I and many other authors will continue to call ourselves indie authors. I'll try and avoid using the term here.

See, it's not a matter of avoiding using the term here: it's a matter of thinking very carefully about the effect that using it has when you interract with other writers, publishers and so on.

I don't intend to tell you what you should call yourself: that wouldn't be appropriate. But I do want you to realise that calling yourself an indie author in this way is going to have a detrimental effect on how you're perceived in many circles in a way that calling yourself a self-publisher won't. If you're happy with that, then that's fine. But please be aware, that's all.

The_Riskbreaker
06-08-2012, 11:02 PM
I'll just call myself the guy trying to make it into the big leagues. Besides, when i think Indie, I think limited appeal. Indie films don't outsell blockbusters (someone's gonna cite that one example to prove me wrong), and Indie albums don't see huge sales. But you guys have beat this horse into glue. I have the info I need. Thanks all.

Sayo-nara!

stranger
06-08-2012, 11:06 PM
See, it's not a matter of avoiding using the term here: it's a matter of thinking very carefully about the effect that using it has when you interract with other writers, publishers and so on.

I'll tell you why I like the term. When I first started investigating publishing, it seemed to me that self publishing was for people who weren't good enough to get a contract, so they threw their book up on Amazon or hired a vanity publisher.

Lately, while researching, I've come across a great many authors who hire editors and cover artists, and who then put a lot of work into formatting, marketing and promoting. These authors generally brand themselves as "indie authors".

I'm actually published by an epublisher. (I dunno if that makes me indie published by your definition.) But I prefer to join this band of "indie authors". It's going to be a lot more work than my previous publishing experience but I hope I can make a success of it.


I don't intend to tell you what you should call yourself: that wouldn't be appropriate. But I do want you to realise that calling yourself an indie author in this way is going to have a detrimental effect on how you're perceived in many circles in a way that calling yourself a self-publisher won't. If you're happy with that, then that's fine. But please be aware, that's all.

I guess I don't run in those circles. In the circles I run, I see the word indie used many times a day in tweets and blogs. And, in nearly every case, they are referring to authors who are self publishing.

veinglory
06-08-2012, 11:09 PM
I'm saying the change has already happened. Thousands of authors have branded themselves indie and not out of ignorance. Out of choice.

Of course it would as choice, but I think it was predominantly accompanied by ignorance of the way the term was already used in publishing. Because if not that, it was a deliberately deceptive choice?

quicklime
06-08-2012, 11:10 PM
well, once you have the info, you're free to use it as you like. i prefer to not use words to sink myself i guess, and see little reason to point to a sea of people also misusing something and claim it is the reason to do something incorrectly. That's why I don't put "l8r" or "dude" in my queries, either....

shaldna
06-08-2012, 11:10 PM
I'll just call myself the guy trying to make it into the big leagues. Besides, when i think Indie, I think limited appeal. Indie films don't outsell blockbusters (someone's gonna cite that one example to prove me wrong), and Indie albums don't see huge sales. But you guys have beat this horse into glue. I have the info I need. Thanks all.
!

Ah, but it depends on what you want. Not everyone one sets out to be a blockbusting bestseller, some folks just genuinely want their work to be out there. It's not always about the money, or the success. Sometimes it's just about someone else appreciating the thing that you have made.

You mentioned indie movies - recently I watched an indie movie called Tyrannosaur. It didn't have a big budget. It had a very limited cast and no special effects etc. But that film made me cry, and it's stayed with me since I saw it, alternatively breaking my heart, disgusting me and making feel better for myself and the human race in general.

I doubt many have seen it. More folks have seen the American Pie movies. But which one is 'better' - one has vast commerical appeal and has made millions but is of dubious artistic merit, while the other has barely been seen but is a real masterpiece.

And before anyone says it, no - the two are not mutually exclusive. You can have both, or you can have neither. Such is the nature of these things.

quicklime
06-08-2012, 11:11 PM
Of course it would as choice, but I think it was predominantly accompanied by ignorance of the way the term was already used in publishing.


and a desire to co-opt the term in a political sense.....sort of like being "pro-life" sounds so much nicer than "anti-abortion" (despite many pro-lifers favoring the largely fatal death penalty)

its politiking with words

Perks
06-08-2012, 11:17 PM
Apparently, we can all move on, because Riskbreaker's gotten all he needs --- from a 55 post thread, mostly about the definition of "indie".

All problems should be so easy.

stranger
06-09-2012, 12:04 AM
was a deliberately deceptive choice?

So you are questioning if it was chosen to pretend authors were published by a company? I doubt that. I think it's more about seeming more professional and leveraging on the idea of indie music and indie movies. I know it's just words/semantics but selfpub authors have to sell to the general public and the words we chose are important. It's not about snubbing or riling the publishing industry, it's about branding ourselves. This is all my opinion, of course, I wasn't at the meeting where the evil selfpub masteminds were deciding this :).

quicklime
06-09-2012, 12:18 AM
So you are questioning if it was chosen to pretend authors were published by a company? I doubt that. I think it's more about seeming more professional and leveraging on the idea of indie music and indie movies. I know it's just words/semantics but selfpub authors have to sell to the general public and the words we chose are important. It's not about snubbing or riling the publishing industry, it's about branding ourselves. This is all my opinion, of course, I wasn't at the meeting where the evil selfpub masteminds were deciding this :).



ok, but who are you leveraging yourselves WITH?

certainly not anyone in trade. So you're leveraging yourselves with what, the public, by obfuscating? I'm afraid I don't think much of that from a business OR personal stance then.

on a side note, if you are essentially co-opting an accepted name because what you do carries, to your mind, that much stigma, what happens when folks realize the word has changed? Because this sounds less about evolution now than fast and loose marketeering....your business model is the "beef" pink slime in school lunches.....which works, until people learn what it is? that's sort of how it sounds

kaitie
06-09-2012, 01:07 AM
So you are questioning if it was chosen to pretend authors were published by a company? I doubt that. I think it's more about seeming more professional and leveraging on the idea of indie music and indie movies. I know it's just words/semantics but selfpub authors have to sell to the general public and the words we chose are important. It's not about snubbing or riling the publishing industry, it's about branding ourselves. This is all my opinion, of course, I wasn't at the meeting where the evil selfpub masteminds were deciding this :).

I haven't seen this from people around here that I can recall, but I have seen people discuss making a fake publisher so that when readers buy your books they don't look self-published. I'm not saying the term was necessarily pilfered for the same reason, but also that it's not impossible considering I have seen self-published authors suggest exactly that elsewhere. Personally, I think a few people either intentionally chose it for that reason or because they wanted a word that wasn't "self-published" because of the stigma, and then a lot more people just jumped on the bandwagon. As soon as people like Konrath, et al picked up the phrase, it was just a matter of time before it became widespread.

stranger
06-09-2012, 01:12 AM
ok, but who are you leveraging yourselves WITH?

certainly not anyone in trade. So you're leveraging yourselves with what, the public, by obfuscating? I'm afraid I don't think much of that from a business OR personal stance then.

on a side note, if you are essentially co-opting an accepted name because what you do carries, to your mind, that much stigma, what happens when folks realize the word has changed? Because this sounds less about evolution now than fast and loose marketeering....your business model is the "beef" pink slime in school lunches.....which works, until people learn what it is? that's sort of how it sounds

You seem to think that selfpub/indie authors are pretending to be something we are not.

We are selling to the general public, not to the publishing industry. The public aren't going to associate indie author with independent publishing company.

kaitie
06-09-2012, 01:22 AM
Why not?

ETA: For what it's worth, I'd have known an independent press from a major press before I started researching, and many random people do know the term "self-publishing." I've been approached with it quite often.

Dungeon Geek
06-09-2012, 01:30 AM
I haven't seen this from people around here that I can recall, but I have seen people discuss making a fake publisher so that when readers buy your books they don't look self-published. I'm not saying the term was necessarily pilfered for the same reason, but also that it's not impossible considering I have seen self-published authors suggest exactly that elsewhere. Personally, I think a few people either intentionally chose it for that reason or because they wanted a word that wasn't "self-published" because of the stigma, and then a lot more people just jumped on the bandwagon. As soon as people like Konrath, et al picked up the phrase, it was just a matter of time before it became widespread.

Also, some writers list a publisher name simply because they think it makes them look more professional--as if they have a team that has worked on the novel, rather than the writer having done it all. I list a publisher name for my books, but since it is a completely unknown publisher, I doubt it fools anyone into buying my books. Who cares if a book is published by Rogue Chicken Enterprises or something? Also, there are easy ways of spotting a self-pubbed book.

Dungeon Geek
06-09-2012, 01:55 AM
The goal is never to fool people, but to build trust with your readers. Any action to sucker them will backfire. They need to know what a writer is all about and decide for themselves. That's where real fans come from.

Sheryl Nantus
06-09-2012, 02:02 AM
Also, some writers list a publisher name simply because they think it makes them look more professional--as if they have a team that has worked on the novel, rather than the writer having done it all. I list a publisher name for my books, but since it is a completely unknown publisher, I doubt it fools anyone into buying my books. Who cares if a book is published by Rogue Chicken Enterprises or something? Also, there are easy ways of spotting a self-pubbed book.

Why list a different name for the publisher at all then?

Or is there a stigma in just having your name listed as publisher?

kaitie
06-09-2012, 02:09 AM
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a writer using it so that it looks "as if" a team worked on it. That's still dishonest to me, and I'm not quite sure that I see how it's different from doing it so that the readers think someone was published.

I could see it to look more professional, but with the "as if" clause, I'd still consider it a negative.

Dungeon Geek
06-09-2012, 02:37 AM
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a writer using it so that it looks "as if" a team worked on it. That's still dishonest to me, and I'm not quite sure that I see how it's different from doing it so that the readers think someone was published.

I could see it to look more professional, but with the "as if" clause, I'd still consider it a negative.

I strongly disagree. If a writer has a cover arist, a proofreader, an editor, etc. then that is a team. I'm sure some have the intent of fooling someone--sure. But as I said, I highly doubt anyone would be fooled. It might make the writer look a bit more professional, however, but he still has to have the product to back it up. Now if a writer listed his publisher as Tor Books, when it's not, then that's clearly cheating and wrong. But if you want to name your publishing company Bullfrog Books, that's your choice and it's not fair to suggest someone is trying to be deceptive when they do that.

kaitie
06-09-2012, 02:41 AM
That makes more sense. What threw me off was the way you said it originally, which made it sound like the author had done it all himself and was trying to make it look like he hadn't.

I don't think it's automatically deceptive for a self-published author to use a publishing name. I think it's deceptive when the goal is deception. Which is uh...redundant.

Dungeon Geek
06-09-2012, 02:47 AM
That makes more sense. What threw me off was the way you said it originally, which made it sound like the author had done it all himself and was trying to make it look like he hadn't.

I don't think it's automatically deceptive for a self-published author to use a publishing name. I think it's deceptive when the goal is deception. Which is uh...redundant.

I see where my statement was a bit confusing. And I agee. :)

quicklime
06-09-2012, 06:16 AM
The goal is never to fool people, but to build trust with your readers. Any action to sucker them will backfire. They need to know what a writer is all about and decide for themselves. That's where real fans come from.


used-car salesman'ing your way into choosing to use a word in a manner that is incorrect by anyone within the actual industry, in order to re-brand yourself something more palatable, is just that, is it not?

This is more to stranger's notions, not sure where you stad, but yes, there's always a trust element in a sale....calling yourself something because it's prettier would seem to negate a good part of that

Dungeon Geek
06-09-2012, 06:34 AM
used-car salesman'ing your way into choosing to use a word in a manner that is incorrect by anyone within the actual industry, in order to re-brand yourself something more palatable, is just that, is it not?

This is more to stranger's notions, not sure where you stad, but yes, there's always a trust element in a sale....calling yourself something because it's prettier would seem to negate a good part of that

Where I stand is simple. I'm proud to be self published, and every time I've ever used the word "indie" is because I felt too lazy to write out "self-published writer". I don't really care, either, if someone calls themself indie. Nor do I think it will affect their sales in a negative way. I'm a polite fellow, though, and if people have a problem with a word useage, I'll often avoid using it just for the sake of maintaining good will. :)

merrihiatt
06-09-2012, 07:08 AM
I published my books myself. I am self-published. I list my name as the publisher. I list my name as the author. Gee, that's a lot of I's. I'm neither more or less proud that I'm self-published. It is simply the path I chose. I do realize that many people will dismiss my work from the get go because it is self-published. I understood that going in.

shaldna
06-09-2012, 11:48 AM
So you are questioning if it was chosen to pretend authors were published by a company? I doubt that.

Stick around - you'll see it A LOT. Not just here, but all over the Tinternet.




I think it's more about seeming more professional and leveraging on the idea of indie music and indie movies.

Bolding mine.

Trust me, it's not working. In fact, it has the exact opposite effect.

In addition, when a term is used in a misleading way like this, deliberately trying to make something look other than what it really is, it's misleading at best and fraudulent at worst. But certainly never 'more professional.'



I know it's just words/semantics but selfpub authors have to sell to the general public and the words we chose are important.

JUST words? From someone who wants to be a writer and operate within the publishing industry?



You seem to think that selfpub/indie authors are pretending to be something we are not.

When you call yourselves indie when you aren't, then yeah, you ARE actually pretending to be something you are not.

It's not a matter of opinion. It's a fact.

elindsen
06-09-2012, 02:10 PM
I'm with merihatt. Some of my books are with an epub. One is selfpubbed. So, I consider myself an self pubber. In no way does that alone make me an indie published author. The epub does, but self publishing IS NOT indie publishing. I think self publishing sites are partially to blame. Amazon says "Indepently publish with us." It gives the idea/illusion that a self published author is something they're not.

And I have seen an author self pub and call themselves a publisher, name and all. It was deceptive because people thought she was running a company and tried to sub to her. It used to be all over her personal site that the publisher had a team when really it was her and her husband who did the beta reading. Apparently it got so bad with queries that she has changed the site to say "not open to submissions." Still deceptive.

And to the OP, on average a 400page novel is about 100k.

shadowwalker
06-09-2012, 07:05 PM
I think it's important to note that there are business/tax reasons to incorporate oneself as a publishing company, even if it is just one person self-publishing. It's not always necessary to do so (one or two books out there, for example), but there are legitimate reasons for it. So it shouldn't be seen as always deceptive - but one should, of course, have actually filed the paperwork for a "dba" (doing business as).