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View Full Version : Would Like Discussion of Y not to SP?



tenpenynail
12-31-2006, 08:47 PM
Cause I've been researching and think it may be a good idea, and a better bet. Here are my reasons...

* Big Pub are financially in trouble. So they spend their time and bucks on
known authors--who guarantee the $$
* Self-Pub has become a lot more normal and acceptable.
* Big Pub test books for 4 months--then take
withdraw them. With Self-Pub you can hawk your book for longer.
*Big House royalties--8-15% of [I]NET receipts. New writers count on 8%--the
'receipts' include everything Big-pub pays for...they're not giving anything
*If you have an Agent that's 15% gone
* Big Pub work on an 18 month schedule--and that's AFTER the contract--
so it can be 3 years til your book is pub and in bookstores!
* Big Pub---give you little control.
60%--do NOT give writer final approval of cover, copy-editing. I worked
too hard on my words, and editing to have them take chunks out.
*Big Pub--23% don't let you title your book. You can pay a 'think tank'
within pub to help you with this if you need.
*Big Pub--only 20% consult writer on back cover.
*Big Pub--36% RARELY involve writer on promotions!!! That's strange!

*Self-Pub has tax benefits galore
*self-Pub you keep control
*You can promote longer than 4 months
*You can 35% profit from wholesalers and bookstores [not 8% of receipts]
*The Big-pub have you do all the promoting, so why not get more of the $.
*Self-Pub, if you sell directly---you keep all the profits.

Only thing, I can see that Big Pub does--is lend their name--and they extract a huge price for that---and even getting them to publish a new writer is like playing football and getting in the NFL.

So what am I missing? Thanks

JanDarby
12-31-2006, 09:41 PM
* Big Pub are financially in trouble. So they spend their time and bucks on
known authors--who guarantee the $$

Part of that is simply misleading, in that it suggests they don't spend any money on debut authors or mid-list authors, which is simply untrue. The bestsellers of today were once unknowns, and their careers were built one book at a time, with increasing marketing. Also, rather than assuming you'll be lost in the shuffle, and striving to be among the lowest of the low, the answer, it seems to me, is to strive to become one of the well-known, best-selling authors. Short of that, the major pubs still have more money and more resources to throw at even a mid-list or debut book than most individuals do.

* Self-Pub has become a lot more normal and acceptable.

People know self-pubbing exists, but that doesn't mean they buy the books. How many have you bought? If it's more than a handful, how about your extended family? Your friends? How many self-pubbed books have they bought, compared to the ones they can find in bookstores?

* Big Pub test books [i.e. put them in book stores] for 4 months--then take
withdraw them. With Self-Pub you can hawk your book for longer.

Two things: first, it depends on the book. Once you've got a reasonable backlist (4-6 books), you can remain in print indefinitely, and even before that, they often re-release the previous books as each subsequent book is released, and you get a bump in sales of backlist at the time of the release of the new book. Second, just because it's out there doesn't mean anyone's buying it. Most of these arguments are based on a fallacy akin to "if you build it, they will come." Just b/c the book is available, just b/c it's listed on-line (where a very, very small percentage of books are bought), doesn't mean anyone will buy it. And this is particularly true of fiction. As has been noted in other threads, most of the successes in self-pub are specialized NON-fiction.

*Big House royalties--8-15% of NET receipts. New writers count on 8%--the
'receipts' include everything Big-pub pays for...they're not giving anything

Actually, the royalties are usually on the cover price, not on net, even though the publisher discounts the books by about half to its distributors and major booksellers. Plus, you're getting professional editorial input (both big-picture editing and copy-editing) and marketing plans/advice and cover art and contacts to distributors and placement on bookstore shelves and advertising and placement in catalogues and so on.

*If you have an Agent that's 15% gone

A good agent is worth that, and more, in protecting you, in helping you develop a career plan and negotiating for benefits you might well not even know exist.

* Big Pub work on an 18 month schedule--and that's AFTER the contract--
so it can be 3 years til your book is pub and in bookstores!

True. But wouldn't you rather wait three years and sell a gazillion copies than have it hit the internet today and sell 75 copies total?

* Big Pub---give you little control.
60%--do NOT give writer final approval of cover, copy-editing. I worked
too hard on my words, and editing to have them take chunks out.

Editing is not a matter of taking chunks out, unless they ... well, I won't give in to the obvious straight line ... deserve to be taken out. Most really outstanding authors will tell you that editorial feedback -- suggestions and questions, not line-editing -- has made them better storytellers. Copy-editing is also not taking chunks out. I'm not always happy to be copy-edited, and I disagree with some (okay, many; I'm a little territorial about my words myself) suggestions, but there are lots of little things that a copy editor will notice that the author, in love with his/her creation, will skim over and not catch. There are always continuity errors and simple failure to communicate to someone who isn't inside the author's head, and those are the sorts of things that the author can miss.

*Big Pub--23% don't let you title your book. You can pay a 'think tank'
within pub to help you with this if you need.

Huh? What think tank? Some editors will suggest a change of title, but they'll often give the author a chance to come up with a list of possibilities before they take over, or the editor might brainstorm along with the writer. The thing is, this can actually be good for the writer. Sometimes the new title is better than the original one. (Okay, and sometimes not. I knew someone who had a GREAT title, and the editor went to contract on the condition that it be changed, and the new one was mediocre, and eventually the editor came around, and it was released with the original title.) This is something that editors and marketing professionals know more about it than writers who are, generally speaking, more skilled at storytelling than at marketing. If your title has a word in it that they know turns off readers, don't you want to know that? Wouldn't you rather have a title that readers will be intrigued by? And, of course, there's the problem of having two books with the same/similar title within a short time frame; that's often the reason why editors ask for a title change, to avoid confusion, and, really, you don't want readers thinking, "hmm, that sounds familiar, I must have read that book already." The thing is, you and the publisher have the same goal in mind -- sell as many copies as possible and make as much money as possible. Why not take -- or at least consider -- their advice, when they have the same goal of maximizing sales as you do?

*Big Pub--only 20% consult writer on back cover.

I've never heard that figure, but again, so what? Back cover copy is a completely different skill -- more marketing and argument and persuasion than storytelling -- than what the author does. Just as you wouldn't want an amateur making the paper and printing the words on it and sewing the cover on, you don't really want an amateur doing the marketing for your book (and that's what the back cover blurb is: marketing). I know a few authors who do write the back cover copy, but they are in the minority, and most of the ones I've talked to, who don't do that copy, are more than eager to hand over that responsibility. And, generally speaking, if you have a good relationship with your editor, the editor will let you look at the back cover copy, as a matter of courtesy, regardless of whether you have actual veto power, and would certainly consider any input you might have (e.g., a reference to green eyes instead of blue or any such factual inaccuracy), although, again, it's important to remember that what matters to the writer and the story is not necessarily what needs to be on the back cover to pique a reader's interest, and this sort of thing is what the publisher has experts to do for you.

*Big Pub--36% RARELY involve writer on promotions!!! That's strange!

Not really. There's not much an individual, unknown writer can do. There's not much call for fiction writers to talk on the radio or tv. Book-signings seldom generate much interest unless the author is already a well-known name or a local-interest story (and if it's the latter, then you're only talking about two-digit sales, at best, not the serious numbers). Writers generally have websites for promotion, and the publishers encourage that and might even work with the writer to maintain a consistent brand, etc. What else would you expect a writer to do him/herself? The real promoting and marketing is going on behind the scenes, to the distributors who can sell THOUSANDS -- tens of thousands -- of copies, and, really, they've met authors before, so the author attending the negotiations isn't going to do much.

*Self-Pub has tax benefits galore

Whether self-pubbed or major-pubbed, the author is self-employed, and the tax consequences are identical. The expenses, perhaps, are less if one is major-pubbed, b/c the publisher is paying for the cover design and editing and printing and marketing, but it's always better (from a strictly tax point of view) to have someone else pay your expenses outright, rather than pay them yourself and merely deduct them from your taxes, knocking about a third off the expense instead of being free of the expense entirely.

*self-Pub you keep control

Control is just the flip side of saying you have to do all the work. You have to have skills -- generally involving marketing and sales and graphic design -- that most authors don't have. It also means that instead of writing your next book, you're doing marketing and sales. Do you want to be a writer or a salesperson? Which would be a more effective use of your time?

*You can promote longer than 4 months

As noted above: Just because it's available longer, doesn't mean you'll sell more copies than if it's promoted better over a short period of time. Also, there's the problem with spending your time promoting instead of writing. And, if you do well, your books will be available a lot longer than 4 months.

*You can 35% profit from wholesalers and bookstores [not 8% of receipts]

Still, 35% of 100 copies is a lot less than 8% [of cover price, not net] of 50,000 copies.

*The Big-pub have you do all the promoting, so why not get more of the $.

Because, first, you don't have to do any promoting, although you can if it's something you enjoy, and second, they do the MARKETING, which is actually where the sales get made.

*Self-Pub, if you sell directly---you keep all the profits.

As noted, 100% of 100 copies is a lot less than 8% of 50,000 copies. And, you'll have your time free to write the next book, which will sell even more copies.

JD

tenpenynail
12-31-2006, 10:28 PM
First, thank you for your response. Now, may I ask you some more questions?

"Part of that is simply misleading, in that it suggests they don't spend any money on debut authors or mid-list authors, which is simply untrue."

I've read many a authors complaining that S & S put their book out and didn't do much else. Even a guy down in the 'Promotions' thread says that for book signings--yes he was met at the airport, but the bookstore didn't have anything other than the date he'd show up. They had no posters, no extra books, not much. He came prepared tho and saved his day.

Don't you think as a first-time, unknown author, my chance of getting a lot of promotional help is not likely to happen?

"Self-Pub...How many have you bought?"

Actually, more than I thought I had, till I looked into it. One company especially prints books that you can't tell from the covers and quality that it's self-pub. And many books I could tell. I'd go with the good quality company. Also many of my books are self-published through a publishing company that the writer opened. Some only published one [their] book, others went on to publish other like authors.

" Big Pub test books [i.e. put them in book stores] for 4 months--then take
withdraw them. With Self-Pub you can hawk your book for longer.

Two things: first, it depends on the book. Once you've got a reasonable backlist (4-6 books), you can remain in print indefinitely, and even before that, they often re-release the previous books"

I don't have 4-6 books. Wouldn't it be better to bank on myself? Instead of 4-6 books down the line? That plus the fact that two of mine will be Memoirs, and then I'm changing to Fiction Mysteries....

" *Big House royalties--8-15% of NET receipts. New writers count on 8%--the
'receipts' include everything Big-pub pays for...they're not giving anything

Actually, the royalties are usually on the cover price, not on net..."

Wow, that'd be nice. Where'd you get this figure? I called S&S, Doublesday, and talked to some authors about their first time out of the gate and they all said to expect 8-15% of NET receipts. And to not be surprised at how little you get or how many 'receipts' are billed. I'd LIKE this to not be so...


"Most really outstanding authors will tell you that editorial feedback -- suggestions and questions, not line-editing -- has made them better storytellers."

True, good editing makes us better writers. But you can pay for good editing also.

" Huh? What think tank?"
Yeah, you can put your own think tank together--successful authors you know. Or there are organizations that will help you. Or you can pay for help.

"As noted, 100% of 100 copies is a lot less than 8% of 50,000 copies. And, you'll have your time free to write the next book, which will sell even more copies."
Yes, your math is correct, but unless we have a hit, it probably won't be that high. And if it's of Net Receipts--it won't be much.

And even if I go with a Big House, I'm going to spend the 1st year promoting my book like crazy, all the time, full time, 24-7 [welll, no I'll have to sleep, won't I ;)] But I plan to make it my business to promote, promote,promote--so I won't have time to write my sequel, just make notes....

Anyway, thanks for your help. And if you can point me to where you found out the Big Houses pay on the cover price, I'd appreciate it. I'm still deciding...looking at all. More comments are welcome, O' Wise One!

RobCurtis
01-01-2007, 06:55 PM
And even if I go with a Big House, I'm going to spend the 1st year promoting my book like crazy, all the time, full time, 24-7 [welll, no I'll have to sleep, won't I ;)] But I plan to make it my business to promote, promote,promote--so I won't have time to write my sequel, just make notes....
Sorry, I don't understand this. Are you an author, or a promo person? You complain about big publishers changing what you write, which is what you do, and yet you want to spend a year promoting your book, which is what they do? By all means, offer help (which they may or may not accept), and do your local bookstores and libraries (local interest), but by far the best thing for you, as a new writer, and for your publisher, as a business, is for you to get on and write the sequel, and the one after that.

If you don't write, you're no good to them.

Rob

JanDarby
01-01-2007, 08:11 PM
Royalties at the major publishers are definitely paid on the cover price. I can't point you to a resource that I haven't written, but I'm sure it's out there, and pubbed authors (with major publishers) here could confirm it. It might be mentioned in the Uncle Jim thread, in fact.

My source? Dozens of published authors I know and/or have interviewed for articles, including bestselling suspense author Lisa Gardner, who spent about an hour on the phone with me one day, going over everything from the basics to the complexities of how authors get paid. There are a few complicated situations where payment is based on net, but those involve foreign sales and the like, not your regular book sales.

JD

Lyra Jean
01-01-2007, 08:52 PM
The majority of people buy their books from physical bookstores. Bookstores don't carry self-pubbed books.

tenpenynail
01-01-2007, 09:02 PM
Okay, I guess I'll be researching some more!

Happy New Year 2 all!

Popeyesays
01-03-2007, 01:28 AM
Think about it like this:

Nine out of ten book sales are made by people picking the book up off the rack and choosing it over another book on the rack.

That leaves you with ten percent of the sales one might make with one's book IN stores.

Nine out of ten books bought on-line are books that the individual would have heard about and seen advertised in book stores.

That leaves you with one percent of the sales opportunities of a book on the shelves.

A large amount of the books bought on line are text books. That leaves you with less than 1% of the sales you might get from putting books on the shelf.

So 50,000 copies at12.95@ (ball park figure) = $647,500 gross at 8% of cover price = $51,800 dollars in royalties.

500 copies at 35% of 12.95 = $2,266

Do the math.

Regards,
Scott

tenpenynail
01-03-2007, 03:48 AM
Two long-standing writing friends and I have also talked about opening our own Publishing Company....yes, one of our first books would be mine. But we'd specialize in memoir--biography--etc.

What do you think?

Also, as a self-pub author, can't I get on Amazon and book stores? That's self-pub, not vanity pub....

Thanks all

JanDarby
01-03-2007, 06:42 AM
Getting onto Amazon isn't a problem, but just being listed there does absolutely nothing (well, not quite nothing, but next to nothing) to sell the book. People don't go to Amazon and browse for books they've never heard of (at least not in the memoir and fiction fields; they might browse for, say, a book on gardening, but not for pure entertainment books).

Getting listed is easy; getting them to notice your book is the hard part. It's all about marketing and distribution, and that's what the major publishers do, and what they have expertise with.

Starting your own press is a) expensive, b) time-consuming and c) not a guarantee that any bookstore will take your books until you've got a track record.

Starting your own press, unless you're a millionaire who can sink real money into it, is self-publication, which is just another term for vanity publication.

You need to ask yourself: are you a writer or a sales person? If you're writer, then you should be writing and leaving the publishing to the professionals. That's what writers do; they write. If you're a sales person with entrepreneurial leanings, then by all means, go study the economics of publishing and if you think you can make money at it, then start a publishing company and spend your time running the business, but you won't have time to do any writing of your own books.

If you want to see what it takes to become a successful start-up publisher, check out BelleBooks, which was started by a small group of authors to publish for a niche market. They had name recognition and a built-in audience, and a HUGE amount of industry expertise, and they've made a success of their publishing company. But note that they release six -- yes, six -- titles a year. That's all. And they have a very specific niche market that they cater to. And they could guarantee (as much as anything is guaranteed in this biz) to booksellers that their books would generate a certain number of sales, just based on the authors' names, which helped get them into bookstores, even as a brand-new publisher.

Compare that to your own ability to be noticed by readers. What do you have that's comparable to half a dozen name-brand authors with a built-in fan base in the tens of thousands (if not more)? What contacts do you have in the distribution chain? Do you know how to get ISBNs or register copyright? Do you have a public relations and/or marketing expert you can call on? A qualified cover artist? A lawyer on retainer?

Writing is hard. Getting published in any meaningful way is hard. There's no simple solution. It all comes down to writing a good book, creating a story that lots of people want to read, and then sending the manuscript out to agents and editors so that eventually your hard work and your luck will intersect, and the manuscript will end up in the right place at the right time.

JD

veinglory
01-04-2007, 03:31 AM
The majority of people buy their books from physical bookstores. Bookstores don't carry self-pubbed books.

Exactly. 50% of nothing is still less than 5% of a lot.