If you aren't sure whether to self-publish, ask yourself what you want.

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Old Hack

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Howey just signed a film deal with Ridley Scott, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian attached (Schindler's List, Gangs of New York, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

As far as I can tell Mr Howey has not signed a film deal: he's sold an option, which is a very different thing.

ETA: Selling an option does not automatically mean that the book will be made into a movie: it means that the person who has bought the option has, for the time of the option, the exclusive right to negotiate a deal for that book. Of the twenty or so books I've written three or four have been optioned, one of them at least twice, but not one has ever been filmed. Options are frequently bought for relatively little money--the biggest option fee I've seen for books I've been involved in was, I think, about £2,500, but I've heard of options being bought for $50 or less.
 
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Old Hack

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Okay, with corrections, ten out of a hundred, 10%. Still half of what it was a year ago.

Only yesterday I read a breakdown of how charts translate into sales: I'll try to find it, to link to it here, but the gist of it was that the top three (or five, or ten) books each sell more copies than the rest of the top ten combined (or twenty, or one hundred--I'm kicking myself for not bookmarking that link so I could provide more accurate numbers); and that the numbers of copies a book has to sell to get into the top five is significantly more, by a number of multipliers, than the number required to hit the top one hundred.

So it's useful to look at not only how many self-published books hit the top one hundred, but where they were placed in it.

Even adding Jim's extra 16 books, I end up with just 99 items once I've removed the non-book items from the list. This is probably my error.

Here is where the self-published books are placed:


14: On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (Amazon Digital Services) SP

29: The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion (Amazon Publishing) SP

51: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (Jamie McGuire) SP

64: Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel by Sylvia Day (Sylvia Day) SP

65: No Turning Back (Kathleen Turner Series) by Tiffany Snow (Tiffany A. Snow) SP

84: Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5) by Hugh Howey (Broad Reach Publishing) SP

92: Bad Doctor by John Locke (Telemachus Press) SP

95: A Week at the Beach by Virginia Jewel (Amazon Digital Services) SP

96: Barely Breathing (The Breathing Series) by Rebecca Donovan (Amazon Digital Services) SP

97: Only the Truth by Pat Brown (Pat Brown) SP


That gives us just two self-published books in the top fifty, with four in the final ten places. And it's those last four I find the most interesting because they suggest that in that section of the marketplace, self-published books are competing very well with books from trade publishers. I'd like to know the numbers sold by each of the titles in this top ten: I guess that we'd see a very broad range of sales numbers.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Amazon makes it difficult-to-impossible to tell what sales ranks mean in terms of actual sales. A book that's been out ten days that sold no copies on days 1-9 and ten copies on day 10 will rank far higher than one that's been out ten days and sold one copy per day, even though both have the exact same number of units sold. And so on.
 

Terie

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Amazon makes it difficult-to-impossible to tell what sales ranks mean in terms of actual sales. A book that's been out ten days that sold no copies on days 1-9 and ten copies on day 10 will rank far higher than one that's been out ten days and sold one copy per day, even though both have the exact same number of units sold. And so on.

This makes perfect sense to me since the rankings are, for the most part, a snapshot of the past couple hours' of sales. There is something of a cummulative effect, too, because a book that sold a bunch of copies each of the past 20 days is likely to sell a bunch of books today, too, plus it started at a higher ranking today.

If I went in and bought, say, 300 copies of one of my books and there were no other sales, the book would temporarily spike to a fairly high ranking (low number), but it would then sink pretty quickly compared to all those books selling 30, 40, 50 copies every single day.
 

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As far as I can tell Mr Howey has not signed a film deal: he's sold an option, which is a very different thing.

ETA: Selling an option does not automatically mean that the book will be made into a movie: it means that the person who has bought the option has, for the time of the option, the exclusive right to negotiate a deal for that book. Of the twenty or so books I've written three or four have been optioned, one of them at least twice, but not one has ever been filmed. Options are frequently bought for relatively little money--the biggest option fee I've seen for books I've been involved in was, I think, about £2,500, but I've heard of options being bought for $50 or less.

According to Deadline Hollywood there were multiple bidders including Lionsgate. Bidding wars between major studios generally mean much larger amounts than the typical $5K or less offer from a single producer mulling over a variety of optioned content and trying to interest a studio. (Still likely won't get made as you say, but Hugh almost certainly did far better financially than most.)
 

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This makes perfect sense to me since the rankings are, for the most part, a snapshot of the past couple hours' of sales. There is something of a cummulative effect, too, because a book that sold a bunch of copies each of the past 20 days is likely to sell a bunch of books today, too, plus it started at a higher ranking today.

If I went in and bought, say, 300 copies of one of my books and there were no other sales, the book would temporarily spike to a fairly high ranking (low number), but it would then sink pretty quickly compared to all those books selling 30, 40, 50 copies every single day.

I heard an odd detail about this earlier this week. A book that sold a lot of copies in 2011 was unpublished by the author despite that success because he wasn't satisfied with the quality of his early writing anymore. You'd expect that to drop right down the rankings (which he can still see in Author Central for the unpublished book.) But the volume of old sales prop it up around the 200K mark where newer books that sell a few a month routinely drop down past 300K just by going a week without a sale and would be way down past 500K+ if they were unpublished at the same time.
 

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Plus, I see four "SP" in addition to WOOL, not three. I wonder if any of the others with publishers are actually self-published?

Howey just signed a film deal with Ridley Scott, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian attached (Schindler's List, Gangs of New York, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Amazing!I've been following his story since last year. Good for him! I LOVED Wool. Probably the best Sci-fi I read all year.

http://www.deadline.com/2012/05/20th-century-fox-spins-wool-for-scott-free-and-film-rites/

I can't believe they compared it to 50 shades. Wha?!?! That was totally uncalled for and makes no sense at all! lol
 

Terie

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I can't believe they compared it to 50 shades. Wha?!?! That was totally uncalled for and makes no sense at all! lol

What's uncalled for and nonsensical about it? The comparison is perfectly valid:

...a self-published e-book that has become an internet sensation...

The context of the comparison isn't about the stories, it's about the origins and lifecycle of the books.
 

PortableHal

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Options are frequently bought for relatively little money--the biggest option fee I've seen for books I've been involved in was, I think, about £2,500, but I've heard of options being bought for $50 or less.

We were offered a $0 option on one of our novels...the theory being, we'd be delighted to have any representation at all....
 

Old Hack

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According to Deadline Hollywood there were multiple bidders including Lionsgate. Bidding wars between major studios generally mean much larger amounts than the typical $5K or less offer from a single producer mulling over a variety of optioned content and trying to interest a studio. (Still likely won't get made as you say, but Hugh almost certainly did far better financially than most.)

There's more to a bid than the amount of money: the term the option runs for is significant, as is what, exactly, is being optioned: Mr Howey has published more than one book, for example.

Having said that, I hope Mr Howey was paid squillions of dollars for the option he sold. I like to see writers do well.
 

Rubay H.

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What's uncalled for and nonsensical about it? The comparison is perfectly valid:



The context of the comparison isn't about the stories, it's about the origins and lifecycle of the books.

Oh, I see.
Is the comparison about the money involved too? Because, that would be a significant amount if I remember correctly.
 

Terie

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Oh, I see.
Is the comparison about the money involved too? Because, that would be a significant amount if I remember correctly.

Um, not to put too fine a point on it, but you're the one who posted the link. :) Here's the first sentence of the story, which is where the comparison is:

I’m hearing that 20th Century Fox is the frontrunner to acquire Wool, a self-published e-book that has become an internet sensation and is being called the sci-fi version of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Later, it says:

Bidders sparked to the book and the grassroots groundswell of reader interest reminiscent of Fifty Shades Of Grey, which sold for a fortune to Universal.

My point being: the best way to understand what the article is saying is to, yanno, read it. :D
 

Rubay H.

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Um, not to put too fine a point on it, but you're the one who posted the link. :) Here's the first sentence of the story, which is where the comparison is:



Later, it says:



My point being: the best way to understand what the article is saying is to, yanno, read it. :D

LOL. I deserved that. I skimmed it several times and still missed each sentence that you pointed out. I'm a little ADD when it comes to news articles. And it was a short one. *sigh* :( (fWIW- thanks for highlighting it for me!)
 

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My 2 cents. I never wanted to approach publishers because it would feel like bringing up your own race horse just to give it away to people who have a stable of them and will never have as much interest its success as you will, even if it were faster.

If starting I'd go with CS first so you've got a selling platform to direct all efforts to, and go for EDC if you like. Then you've got one person dedicated marketing: yourself. Otherwise only trade authors get anything like that?

Different strokes for different folks though I think. If you are retired and it's not part of future career plan then you can take it at your pace. If not then keep the day job as well!


This thread has 23 pages, keep going we will have a book and I can send it out to publishers. Just kidding!
 

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What would really be valuable information isnt how many are in the top but how many are in the middle. How many self published authors are making $1000-20,000/year? Is that number dropping or increasing? And what about trade published authors in that range? Are they increasing or decreasing?
 

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The bottom line with Hugh Howey is that if his career ends today, he got a check from one of the biggest names in Hollywood that he never would've seen if he didnt have the stones to take it upon himself to publish. And his career isnt ending today; it's just getting off the ground.
 

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Howey just concluded a five-way auction, agreeing to a print deal with Century, an imprint of Random House UK. I suspect he read Uncle Jim's suggestion that the way to get on the Top 100 bestsellers list is to be published by Random House.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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Howey just concluded a five-way auction, agreeing to a print deal with Century, an imprint of Random House UK. I suspect he read Uncle Jim's suggestion that the way to get on the Top 100 bestsellers list is to be published by Random House.


:ROFL:
 

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If he took uncle Jim's advice, those offers wouldn't have come.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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If he took uncle Jim's advice, those offers wouldn't have come.

*shrugs* Who's to say?

I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Mr. Howey started putting out the series as short stories, not submitting them as a novel to any agent or publisher. He grew a fanbase and later compiled his series into an ommibus and so on and so forth.

Could he have done the same if he'd finished all the shorts and submitted them as a single, full novel? Who knows?

I wouldn't leap on this as a success story for self-publishing. It's a great success for short story authors and for the power of social networking but hardly an endorsement of self-publishing.

What I'd like to know is if Random House is editing his UK version and if it's going to be radically different from the ebooks he's selling via Amazon. I like his concept but if I can get a professionally-edited work over amateur editing I'd like that...
 

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*shrugs* Who's to say?

Exactly.
I wouldn't leap on this as a success story for self-publishing. It's a great success for short story authors and for the power of social networking but hardly an endorsement of self-publishing.

Well, I'd say it is a success story for someone who self-published, but I'd also warn heavily that just because Hugh managed this success (and congratulations!), it's disingenuous to imply that if Hugh can do it and with this large degree of success, that it's going to happen for everyone, so they need to stop querying to agents/publishers and absolutely self-publish because it's clearly the highway to instant success. After all, if he HAD accepted an offer from a publisher, he WOULDN'T have been nearly as successful, which is what AP7 seems to be implying by his comment.
 

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*shrugs* Who's to say?

Yes. Who's to say. Hugh may have been struck by lightning, twice. Won lottery, or landed a deal with a mass market publisher through the querying process. But he didnt. He went out and proved his product was bankable, and then cashed in.

He did have a fine agent, who he landed after he was already successful on his own. Again, maybe she would have picked him up through the slush pile. But that isnt what happened.
 

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After all, if he HAD accepted an offer from a publisher, he WOULDN'T have been nearly as successful, which is what AP7 seems to be implying by his comment.

Feel free to call me Adam.

That isnt what I'm implying. I'm saying in no uncertain terms that there was no offer from a publisher until after the book was a self published success.
 
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