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2-D
07-17-2013, 10:25 AM
Hi :)

I was wondering if any of you have had agents but decided to self-pub instead and what your experiences were? If the book hasn't been subbed yet to editors can you self-pub it? Is there a waiting period in the agency contract that has to expire first before you can self-pub?

Also, I was looking into Kindle Direct and I'm unclear on one point. Is there an upfront fee? Or is it like traditional publishing, like agents taking 15% of the profit from the book sold?

Thanks so much for all your help!:)

Old Hack
07-17-2013, 11:33 AM
I was wondering if any of you have had agents but decided to self-pub instead and what your experiences were? If the book hasn't been subbed yet to editors can you self-pub it?

So long as you've not assigned rights in your work to anyone else, you can self publish it whenever you like. Although if you have a good agent who is keen to submit it, you might want to explore that option first as it's harder to find a publisher for a book which has already been published.


Is there a waiting period in the agency contract that has to expire first before you can self-pub?

I don't know: I don't have a copy of your agency contract, but I assume that you do. You could try reading it.


Also, I was looking into Kindle Direct and I'm unclear on one point. Is there an upfront fee?

No, there's no upfront fee.


Or is it like traditional publishing,

Gah!!!!!!

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


like agents taking 15% of the profit from the book sold?

Agents don't take 15% of the profits: they take 15% of the earnings that their author-clients accrue. There's a considerable difference.

Amazon pays royalties to writers who publish through KDP: I think on books priced below $2.99c it's 35% of cover price and on books priced above that it's 70%, but I'm sure some of our lovely self-published members will step in and give you more reliable figures.


Thanks so much for all your help!:)

You're welcome.

2-D
07-17-2013, 11:53 AM
I don't know: I don't have a copy of your agency contract, but I assume that you do. You could try reading it.



I hate legalese lol, I'm not very contract-minded but its very standard so say if agent and you decided x weeks or days' notice and send it in writing and you're both agreed, then your ties are cleanly cut, yes and you can self-pub?




Amazon pays royalties to writers who publish through KDP: I think on books priced below $2.99c it's 35% of cover price and on books priced above that it's 70%, but I'm sure some of our lovely self-published members will step in and give you more reliable figures.

Ah, thanks, I think I'd read that before, and I'm now researching the Kindle Select option as well. I love the sound of 70%. You don't need an ISBN for Kindle either, correct?



You're welcome.
Thanks again :)

merrihiatt
07-17-2013, 05:59 PM
Every contract is different. As OH said, you will need to read yours to find out the specifics. Blanket statements won't work when you're talking about contracts.

No ISBN for Amazon KDP for an e-book. Amazon will assign an ASIN.

Regarding the 70% royalty at Amazon KDP, the e-book needs to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Above or below that range, the royalty rate is 35%.

Old Hack
07-17-2013, 06:03 PM
I hate legalese lol, I'm not very contract-minded but its very standard so say if agent and you decided x weeks or days' notice and send it in writing and you're both agreed, then your ties are cleanly cut, yes and you can self-pub?

I still can't answer your question.

READ YOUR CONTRACT.

Adhere to it.

If you don't understand it, get appropriate legal advice. Do not seek such advice from strangers on the internet: it's just not good enough.

Could you tell me who your agent is? I'm beginning to hear a few warning bells, and it might be significant.

girlyswot
07-17-2013, 07:01 PM
You've signed a contract you didn't read? *head-desk*

Also, even if you self-publish, you might still want an agent for things like foreign rights sales, for example.

Polenth
07-17-2013, 10:36 PM
It's not uncommon to self-publish and have an agent (and people are floating around the term 'hybrid author' for it, if you need a search term). But it's a little odd to be looking at ways to self-publish without talking to your agent. It might be they'll agree it's a good way to go on this project and have some pointers. It might be it's still being seriously considered at a few places, so they suggest you hold off. Whichever way you go, the two of you need to be on the same page about where things are going.

(Right now, it sounds like you're considering dumping your agent because you don't want to talk to them about it. Talking really ought to be a first step.)

Old Hack
07-17-2013, 11:40 PM
(Right now, it sounds like you're considering dumping your agent because you don't want to talk to them about it. Talking really ought to be a first step.)

Polenth is spot-on. Talk to your agent. That's what she's there for.

2-D
07-18-2013, 03:49 AM
When I first began writing and researching about how to get my book out to readers, it seemed getting a good agent with big clients and major deals on pub marketplace was the golden ticket. Not always the case. Now I'm having second thoughts. It's just you lose so much creative control, and not to mention the time factor. If an editor liked and wanted to buy it that's another 1-2 years of waiting to see my book on actual bookshelves. I've been writing this thing for years. And I just feel like I'm at the point where I need to cut through all the red tape and middlemen. I understand both ways have their pros and cons. But I'm at the point where I just want to put into the hands of readers now.

Have any of you made the leap from agent to self-pub?

J. Tanner
07-18-2013, 04:10 AM
If you have a good agent with big clients and major deals under his or her belt you might want to at lease give that a chance unless you'd be satisfied with a tiny trickle of readers.

Because most self-pubbers (myself included) get exactly that.

And the tiny percentage who do better tend to write fast (you apparently write slow given "years" spent on one book?), have lots of books on the market (you'll only have one), have a strong business acumen (you aren't even concerned enough with business to read your agency agreement), write in specific genres that have a critical mass of e-reader ownership (you haven't mentioned your genre), and still usually spend years getting to the point where they've developed a decent sized readership.

It's not impossible to find success self-pubbing, but it's probably more difficult than getting that good agent you apparently already have and more time consuming than waiting for that agent to send your book around. So I'd recommend asking yourself again if you would be satisfied throwing that opportunity away to log into a self-pubbing dashboard that has single digit sales listed? Self-pubbing will still be around if that agent fails to sell the book in a year and you should hopefully have another book ready which increases your chances of doing well self-publishing.

2-D
07-18-2013, 04:50 AM
have a strong business acumen (you aren't even concerned enough with business to read your agency agreement)

I've read the contract before signing, it was more a general question of how easily rights revert back to you after parting ways with an agent. I see now that it's just a matter of giving a notice period. I don't have any experience of this since I've only had one agent and was asking for more information. And if you have left your agent for self-pub I'd be glad to hear your story.

I really don't want to get another agent. Since that can easily take another 6 months to a year, from partial to full requests and so on. Agents and editors move slower than glaciers almost as slow as I write lol. But it is my first book ever which is why it's taken the longest, and I have started writing several others since.

You see I've been reading success stories of epub like Amanda Hocking and so on. But then I've also read that only half of ebook authors only sell 100 books or so, as a very loose statistic I may be wrong on this. I mean really writing is a crap shoot either way. You could get an editor and have it not sell at B&N in stores or you could publish it on Kindle and have it not sell. Dealing with the publishing side of things can turn into such a waiting game. I just think I might enjoy writing again more if I took control more of my book.

CAWriter
07-18-2013, 04:55 AM
When I first began writing and researching about how to get my book out to readers, it seemed getting a good agent with big clients and major deals on pub marketplace was the golden ticket. Not always the case. Now I'm having second thoughts. It's just you lose so much creative control, and not to mention the time factor. If an editor liked and wanted to buy it that's another 1-2 years of waiting to see my book on actual bookshelves. I've been writing this thing for years. And I just feel like I'm at the point where I need to cut through all the red tape and middlemen. I understand both ways have their pros and cons. But I'm at the point where I just want to put into the hands of readers now.

Have any of you made the leap from agent to self-pub?

What you're suggesting isn't the typical way to go. (Most?) writers prefer to have an agent handle the details of getting a book into the marketplace.

But, I recently heard Debra Holland speak of her journey. She had an agent twice, and neither of them succeeded in getting her fiction placed at a publisher. She won awards for it from Romance Writers of America more than once. She finally gave up and self-published her Montana Skies series with great success. Enough success that editors who had passed previously now want to publish her. I'm not sure how much of her story is in print someplace, but it could be an encouragement to you and give you an idea how she went about making it a success.

J. Tanner
07-18-2013, 05:19 AM
And if you have left your agent for self-pub I'd be glad to hear your story.

No agent here. I do tech writing as the day job, freelanced for game writing for several years, and write short fiction on the side as a hobby. No agent required for any of that. I self-pub primarily because I enjoy the process even though I make lunch money as a result.


I really don't want to get another agent.

Gotcha. If you already left that agent, then it's a different story.


You see I've been reading success stories of epub like Amanda Hocking and so on.

Yep. She meets all the criteria I mentioned before that help with the lightning strike of self-pub success--fast writer, many books, popular genre, fantastic business/promotion skills.


But then I've also read that only half of ebook authors only sell 100 books or so, as a very loose statistic I may be wrong on this.

I'd say that's optimistic. But it's reasonable enough for those that are making a real effort like the people you'll find on this forum. There is a huge substrata of absolute dreck that sells virtually nothing which should bring that average way down.



I mean really writing is a crap shoot either way. You could get an editor and have it not sell at B&N in stores or you could publish it on Kindle and have it not sell. Dealing with the publishing side of things can turn into such a waiting game. I just think I might enjoy writing again more if I took control more of my book.

Yep. It's a crapshoot either way. The kind of agent you mentioned above is a giant swing of the odds in favor of trade pubbing which is why I recommended otherwise. It appears you don't have such an agent right now, so circumstances have changed. Best of luck with it.

Polenth
07-18-2013, 06:34 AM
If I'm understanding this correctly, you don't have an agent right now and the contract is already terminated? Which means you don't need stories of someone who went from agented to self-published specifically, because it's no different to someone who has never had an agent self-publishing. It's only different if you trade published something, have readers and fame from that, and can use it to get publicity for your self-published work.

There are a whole bunch of self-publishing diaries in this forum (and a sticky listing them). They'll give you an idea of the work involved and the likely returns (spoiler: lots of work for very little return, in most cases).

2-D
07-18-2013, 06:47 AM
If I'm understanding this correctly, you don't have an agent right now and the contract is already terminated?
I still have an agent. I am deciding whether I want to self-pub instead. Without getting into specifics there are creative differences.


There are a whole bunch of self-publishing diaries in this forum (and a sticky listing them). They'll give you an idea of the work involved and the likely returns
Thanks for the link

(spoiler: lots of work for very little return, in most cases).I seem to be in that boat now lol.

2-D
07-18-2013, 06:49 AM
But, I recently heard Debra Holland speak of her journey. She had an agent twice, and neither of them succeeded in getting her fiction placed at a publisher. She won awards for it from Romance Writers of America more than once. She finally gave up and self-published her Montana Skies series with great success. Enough success that editors who had passed previously now want to publish her. I'm not sure how much of her story is in print someplace, but it could be an encouragement to you and give you an idea how she went about making it a success.

Thanks, I will check out her story.

Old Hack
07-18-2013, 12:08 PM
When I first began writing and researching about how to get my book out to readers, it seemed getting a good agent with big clients and major deals on pub marketplace was the golden ticket. Not always the case. Now I'm having second thoughts. It's just you lose so much creative control, and not to mention the time factor.

My bold.

You don't lose any real creative control when you work with good publishers and good agents. It's true that you won't have the final say on what your cover looks like, or what your sales copy and back cover copy says, but that's because publishers know what sells, and writers usually don't; but you won't have to accept any editing suggestions that you object to. Your book will be the book you want it to be.

If your agent imposed changes upon you that you weren't happy with, that implies to me that there was a problem with your agent.


If an editor liked and wanted to buy it that's another 1-2 years of waiting to see my book on actual bookshelves. I've been writing this thing for years. And I just feel like I'm at the point where I need to cut through all the red tape and middlemen. I understand both ways have their pros and cons. But I'm at the point where I just want to put into the hands of readers now.

There are good reasons for trade publishers taking so long to get books onto bookshop shelves: it's because they take time to ensure that the books are the best that they can be, and are marketed as effectively as possible. You can cut down on that time, but you'll lose out on many of the quality controls and publicity opportunities that could have been yours.


Have any of you made the leap from agent to self-pub?

It's not an either/or choice: many writers do both. But yes, as has already been pointed out, there are lots of people at AW who have made that transition. Here's a link to the index of their stories (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=225332).


I've read the contract before signing, it was more a general question of how easily rights revert back to you after parting ways with an agent.

You shouldn't have signed any rights away to your agent, so there shouldn't be any to revert to you. If your contract with your agent claims any of your rights, I urge you to contact Writer Beware. That's a real red flag.


I see now that it's just a matter of giving a notice period.

So long as that's what's written in your contract then yep, that's all there is to it.

You have checked your contract, haven't you? I'm worried.


You see I've been reading success stories of epub like Amanda Hocking and so on. But then I've also read that only half of ebook authors only sell 100 books or so, as a very loose statistic I may be wrong on this. I mean really writing is a crap shoot either way. You could get an editor and have it not sell at B&N in stores or you could publish it on Kindle and have it not sell. Dealing with the publishing side of things can turn into such a waiting game. I just think I might enjoy writing again more if I took control more of my book.

Amanda Hocking is one of a tiny minority of people who sell huge numbers of their self-published books. Most people don't.

The difference between poor self-published sales and poor trade-published sales is immense; the difference between average self-published sales and average trade-published sales is bigger. And if you trade publish you will get an advance, which is yours no matter what--even if your book only sells a few hundred copies.

I'm not trying to change your mind here: I just want you to know the realities of the situation. I am concerned that you've been given bad advice somewhere along the way: I can hear echoes of several publishing myths in your comments here, which is why I'm so worried about you. If you want to you are still welcome to PM me the name of your agent, in confidence of course, which might or might not clue me in a bit: but whatever you do, please don't rush into anything. Research things a little bit first, and make sure you're listening to people who know what they're talking about.

Andrhia
07-19-2013, 05:47 AM
I have an agent, I've been published by a trade publisher, and I self-publish.

In my case, the work I'm self-publishing (with my agent's blessing) is stuff that would be incredibly hard to market elsewhere. My big fiction project right now is unfolding in monthly installments. It's important to the kind of project I want to do, but it's a hard sell for a trade publisher. So in this case, it's a matter of following my heart to do a project that doesn't fit well into the landscape. It's stuff I really want to do but that I wouldn't be able to otherwise sell.

Trust me, if I could go through a trade publisher, I would. It's nice for someone else to sweat production details and help with publicity.

annetpfeffer
07-19-2013, 06:30 AM
I had an agent for a year, then decided to jump ship and self-publish. I've never regretted it, but that's due to my specific circumstances. If you're with a reputable agent, I'd think carefully before you end that relationship.

Questions to ask yourself are: 1) do you like your agent and enjoy working with him/her, 2) do you believe he/she will able and willing to sell your book, 3) is your agent asking you to make a lot of changes you're unhappy about, and 4) does your contract limit you in any way? Also, would your agent be willing to rep you as a self-publishing author?

Have you talked to your agent about any of those things? This might be the time for an honest discussion -- I'd try to work out whatever differences you might have before you end the relationship.

Also, keep in mind that self-publishing requires a lot of work and expense from you that the traditional route does not. You have to enjoy or at least be willing to do all that yourself if you self-publish.

I'm glad that I chose to self-publish. I've learned so much, and frankly had so much more fun than if I'd been on the query/agent treadmill all this time. But it's not perfect or problem-free, and since you do have an agent, I'd make sure you've done all you can to make that relationship work before you move on.

profen4
07-20-2013, 04:42 PM
I have an agent. I also self publish. My agent gets all my new stuff and he pitches it to major presses. If the book doesn't sell, I consider putting it out on my own. Lots of writers play both fields.

Good luck!

2-D
07-22-2013, 10:53 PM
I'm glad that I chose to self-publish. I've learned so much, and frankly had so much more fun than if I'd been on the query/agent treadmill all this time.

That's exactly how I'm feeling. And btw, checked out one of your books, Travis, and loved it.

Thanks so much everyone for your input. After thinking about it, I think I am going to take the self-publishing plunge. I think I will just be happier and will like writing more. Thanks again everyone!!

annetpfeffer
07-23-2013, 01:19 AM
That's exactly how I'm feeling. And btw, checked out one of your books, Travis, and loved it.

Thanks so much everyone for your input. After thinking about it, I think I am going to take the self-publishing plunge. I think I will just be happier and will like writing more. Thanks again everyone!!

Thank you for reading and loving my book! And enjoy the plunge. Self-publishing is really fun if you're of the right mindset. Just like you say, I'm happier, and I like writing more since I went out on my own.

Best of luck....

Diane
07-23-2013, 09:49 PM
RE: having an agent: you need to find out NOW if your agent is willing to work with you on this. If not, you may need to think about saying goodbye no matter what. Your agent needs to be your partner in whatever venture you decide to undertake.


I have an agent. I also self publish. My agent gets all my new stuff and he pitches it to major presses. If the book doesn't sell, I consider putting it out on my own. Lots of writers play both fields.


Lots of writers are going "hybrid" now -- selling both to trade publishers and doing self-publishing. And it's not just "Well, if it doesn't sell to NYC, I'll self-pub it". Some writers use trade pubs as a "loss leader" in order to promo their other work. Some sell to publishers overseas and do self-pub domestic. There are lots and lots of paths.

And there are many agents who see the possibilities in self-publishing and partner with authors on projects. They handle overseas sales. If trade publishers show an interest in picking up a self-pubbed work, they work on getting the best possible deal for the writer. (Such as paper-only deals.)

If your agent doesn't want to discuss your vision for you career, you need a new agent.



But then I've also read that only half of ebook authors only sell 100 books or so

I'm nobody you've ever heard of, I don't promo my book all the time, and I've kind of ignored it while working on the current WIP, and I've already sold more than this. There are lots and lots of authors you've never heard of who are selling more than this.

If:
a) you are a good writer
b) writing in a popular genre (particularly romance or New Adult, but there are plenty of others)
c) and you publish a body of work (ie, you have multiple books, not just hoping one book will take off)
d) that's been edited professionally
e) and has a quality, eye-catching cover,

you have a pretty good shot at selling some books. There are no guarantees, of course (and anyone who tells you there are -- RUN SCREAMING AWAY).

But if you regard this as a professional career and you take it seriously, both as a writer AND AS A PUBLISHER*, you can do okay.

*Because when you're self-publishing, you're also the publisher, and it's time to have some serious talks with your writer self.

profen4
07-24-2013, 12:26 AM
RE: having an agent: you need to find out NOW if your agent is willing to work with you on this. If not, you may need to think about saying goodbye no matter what. Your agent needs to be your partner in whatever venture you decide to undertake.



Lots of writers are going "hybrid" now -- selling both to trade publishers and doing self-publishing. And it's not just "Well, if it doesn't sell to NYC, I'll self-pub it". Some writers use trade pubs as a "loss leader" in order to promo their other work. Some sell to publishers overseas and do self-pub domestic. There are lots and lots of paths.

And there are many agents who see the possibilities in self-publishing and partner with authors on projects. They handle overseas sales. If trade publishers show an interest in picking up a self-pubbed work, they work on getting the best possible deal for the writer. (Such as paper-only deals.)

If your agent doesn't want to discuss your vision for you career, you need a new agent.


Yeah, for me, I want the hybrid route, but because I haven't sold that first mss. to a major press yet, my agent gets all the new stuff I write. Once I have the major sale under my belt, I will consider which titles I'd like to do on my own, and which I'd like to keep pitching.






I'm nobody you've ever heard of, I don't promo my book all the time, and I've kind of ignored it while working on the current WIP, and I've already sold more than this. There are lots and lots of authors you've never heard of who are selling more than this.



Agreed. I'm a total nobody too, and I've sold more than that too. Actually, I've sold more than that just in paperbacks. But I haven't broken even on costs yet, and that's another thing to consider. Self-publishing is not cheap-publishing. The least expensive way to publish is through a reputable press.