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What I Love About Self-Publishing

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scope

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I mean, that would be enough to pay the mortgage for a few months, but I'd have to wait another year to get more money out of that project.

Not necessarily. If your is really good and gets the proper promotion and marketing it could easily earn out the $10,000 advance in 3 to 6 months.


You give away so many rights that it just doesn't make sense.

What right does a writer give away. Doesn't the writer get a piece of the action (royalties) on all rights?

I have a solid marketing plan right now, one that is free and takes very little time. The right fiction book would slip right into that market no problem.

Did you ever think about offering this foolproof formula to other writers? You could make a small fortune.




But in my opinion traditional publishers are ripping authors off and the more I think about it, the more absurd it becomes to let them take it without looking at all your options.

Of course we should all weigh our options. But if the choice be a trade publisher, would you detail how they are ripping us off?
 

Splendad

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Splendad

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You can tell who the professionals are and who could use some refinement in threads like this. For that reason, controversial threads are a great way to get to know your forum neighbors (and which of them you might trust to ask questions or seek advice from). If you're an a-hole, you're an a-hole and I'll never seek advice from you. A professional can give criticism w/o getting snappy and nasty about it. A professional can disagree without dropping the gloves. For those of you that are professionals, cheers. You are the ones that I listen to, and you are the ones that I hope all new writers are listening to.
 

ColoradoMom

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Of course we should all weigh our options. But if the choice be a trade publisher, would you detail how they are ripping us off?

The royalty rate. But hey, if you DON'T think that's ripping you off then no one's stopping you from signing on the dotted line.

Me, I happen to think it is.

****
And here's the thing about you guys (generically speaking, not anyone in particular) who think you know it all about self-publishing - have you EVER DONE IT?

Because I have, I DO. And no I'm not broke, in fact I make pretty decent money - much MUCH more than $10,000 a year (which YES, is the amount you'd make for that first year you're waiting for the publisher to do their thing IF you were lucky enough to get a $10,000 advance.)

I'm certainly not saying it is for everyone, in fact I went out of my way to say it isn't something everyone is capable of doing. Plain and simple. But some of us are, and some of us are even good at it. I just happen to be one of them. so for ME - the decision to give away a significant percentage of the profit made from my creative work to a publisher other than my own company is one that must be compared to what I could do with the book myself.

Sure, I'd take a fat paycheck and hand over some rights to the publisher if it was the right number. That's not selling out, that's not saying self-publishing was a bad idea, and that's not saying I failed at promoting my own book. In fact, if I can get a fat deal after I self publish, then that makes me a success because they are going to bet big that I'm not only going to make me money, but them as well.

I'm having a hard time understanding why people who seem to loathe the idea of self-publishing are so concerned with stopping others from giving it a go, especially if they have no direct experience. Some of these posts (not here specifically, but in the general Publishing forums) have gone way beyond offering "good-faith advice" and have degenerated into downright insults towards those of us who have something positive to say about the topic. It's almost as if we are not allowed to talk about our own positive expereinces without being bashed or chastised for being a "cheerleader".

And edit to say: If you want my marketing plan, just ask. Someone already has and I gave away all my secrets. For FREE.
 
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ChaosTitan

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I have spent precisely zero dollars and zero cents self-publishing. Explain?

Translation: "buy my services!" sites are vanity and POD sites that offer you printed copies of your novel in exchange for money. PublishAmerica is the biggest culprit of this, but other vanity sites do it as well.

What do they do? They tout big names as examples of self-publishing success when 1) the author never actually self-published [like John Grisham], or 2) the author self-published something complete irrelevant to what they are now famous for writing [like Louis L'Amour, who made his name with westerns and actually self-published poetry].

It's one of the reasons that guideline for the self-publishing forum is to do your research and be able to back up your facts. People who continue to say that John Grisham self-published look as silly as the vanity publishers who tout the same falsehood.
 

shadowwalker

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The royalty rate. But hey, if you DON'T think that's ripping you off then no one's stopping you from signing on the dotted line.

Me, I happen to think it is.

****
And here's the thing about you guys (generically speaking, not anyone in particular) who think you know it all about self-publishing - have you EVER DONE IT?

Because I have, I DO. And no I'm not broke, in fact I make pretty decent money - much MUCH more than $10,000 a year (which YES, is the amount you'd make for that first year you're waiting for the publisher to do their thing IF you were lucky enough to get a $10,000 advance.)

Correct me if I'm wrong (I may well be) but you've self-published only non-fiction thus far, correct? Which is a whole 'nother ballgame from fiction. Any number of non-fiction authors have done very well self-publishing; I don't think anyone will dispute that. Or the reasons why that is. But those reasons don't necessarily pertain to the fiction market.

Personally, I have nothing against self-publishing for those authors who wish to get into it. My only concern, as a fellow writer, is that they go into it with eyes open. Unfortunately, there are self-publishers who draw rather questionable conclusions from minimal facts, or state opinions as if they were facts, and generally give the impression that writers are foolish for not going the SP route. Those are the only people you will ever see me criticize in any way, shape, or form, and it has less to do with self-publishing than it has with their claims about it.

I've never driven a racecar - that doesn't mean I can't caution someone against doing it without training. Some things are just common sense.
 

BySharonNelson

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I would like to add to shadowwalkers posting and say that people should do an equal amount of research when considering traditional publishing. While I agree wholly with shadow's statement about knowing what you are getting into people sometimes just assume that regular publishing is the way to go just because it is what others do. But there are so many things that you need to know going into so that you are not taken advantage of. Please, please, please no matter what type of publishing you are going for do your homework and make sure it is the right thing for you and you are making an educated decision.
 

DennyCrane

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What if you self-publish, but you wear Wayfarers indoors, have a fu manchu, and listen to an unhealthy amount of Coltrane? Can you call yourself "indie" then? ;)

Sorry - I thought a moment of levity might be needed!
 

James D. Macdonald

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And here's the thing about you guys (generically speaking, not anyone in particular) who think you know it all about self-publishing - have you EVER DONE IT?

Yes. Yes I have.

The first time I self-published with intent to sell was in 1976. I've been self-publishing regularly ever friggin' since.
 

FocusOnEnergy

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Correct me if I'm wrong (I may well be) but you've self-published only non-fiction thus far, correct? Which is a whole 'nother ballgame from fiction. Any number of non-fiction authors have done very well self-publishing; I don't think anyone will dispute that. Or the reasons why that is. But those reasons don't necessarily pertain to the fiction market.

Non-fiction writers still have to provide a quality product, that is well-written, properly-edited, correctly formatted, wit h a professional-looking cover. And then they have to market it.

Personally, I have nothing against self-publishing for those authors who wish to get into it. My only concern, as a fellow writer, is that they go into it with eyes open.

I've seen a number of people make that same point, that the purpose of this subforum is all about helping writers make educated choices about whether or not to self-publish. If so, the stories of people who have self-published and their variety of experiences (good, bad, or ugly) and what they learned from them, can add great value to the forum.

Especially those who have been successful, because you can learn what they did right and use those same techniques. That's the same in any industry. Ditto with the ones who have failed totally-learn what they did wrong and avoid the pitfalls.

The problem is that there is very little of that information here, but a whole lot of bickering over what is provided. As a newcomer to this place, I am glad that I had already made my informed decision about self-publishing long before I joined, because all I've learned about self-pubbing from the forum is:

1. Threads on the topic turn ugly very quickly
2. People who are successful at it are considered "outliers" and exceptions and their experiences don't count.
3. Self-published work is a slushpile of poorly-written crap that your book will be lost in forever
4. If your work is "good enough" for publication, you should spend the next few years trying to get it commercially published
5. Thou shalt not call thyself "indie", even though the media has been using that term to refer to self-published writers for several years
6. People who are commercially published have more opinions on the subject than the actual self-publishers do
7. Only friends and family will buy a self-published book, because they are not good enough to have been commercially published
8. Non-fiction books fail when they are self-published
9. Non-fiction books are successful when they are self-published
10. Only the "gatekeepers" of commercial publishing are the arbiters of what is good and what is not
11. Writers will argue endlessly over terms like "legacy", "indie", and "traditional".
12. Writers will argue endlessly over what consists a self-publishing midlist.

Had I not already made my decision, which is informed and what is best for me and my book, I think that the peer pressure might have changed my mind and I'd have started sending out queries because I'd have become more concerned about what other writers will think about my work than anything else.

Which would have been disastrous. No commercial publisher is going to make sufficient profits from a book with a hyperlocal market to justify the investment required. Most importantly, the topic is hot and newsworthy now. It probably won't be in a year. Two years from now it will be stale, old news.

Unfortunately, there are self-publishers who draw rather questionable conclusions from minimal facts, or state opinions as if they were facts, and generally give the impression that writers are foolish for not going the SP route.

That's basic human nature. From what I've seen both sides of the coin believe the other is foolish for not going their way. And you find that in many types of human endeavors. People tend to believe that the way they do things is the right way and any other way is the wrong way.

I'm not interested in reading arguments on the subject between the people who I've learned most of the items on my list from. None of it is relevant, and none of it does anything except churn up bandwidth, generate negative energy and get threads locked.

Instead of arguing over Amanda Hocking's status as an "outlier", we should be picking over exactly what she did to achieve that status, analyzing her results and borrowing anything that will work for others. Learn from success-don't discount it as magic. Disasters also have much to teach us.

I am interested in hearing experiences, ideas, and suggestions from people who have been through the self-publishing process, what worked, what didn't, problems and pitfalls, etc. That information is helpful to me in making the continual choices involved in self-publishing.

Advice, no matter how well-intentioned, from people who have no experience with self-publishing is not helpful nor valuable to me. I wouldn't seek advice on pregnancy and childbirth from someone whose children were all adopted.

Focus
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong (I may well be) but you've self-published only non-fiction thus far, correct? Which is a whole 'nother ballgame from fiction. Any number of non-fiction authors have done very well self-publishing; I don't think anyone will dispute that. Or the reasons why that is. But those reasons don't necessarily pertain to the fiction market.

Personally, I have nothing against self-publishing for those authors who wish to get into it. My only concern, as a fellow writer, is that they go into it with eyes open. Unfortunately, there are self-publishers who draw rather questionable conclusions from minimal facts, or state opinions as if they were facts, and generally give the impression that writers are foolish for not going the SP route. Those are the only people you will ever see me criticize in any way, shape, or form, and it has less to do with self-publishing than it has with their claims about it.

I've never driven a racecar - that doesn't mean I can't caution someone against doing it without training. Some things are just common sense.

Dude, get over it. I already answered this question from you MANY MANY MANY times. It doesn't matter what I publish, I make money because I have a platform and lots of customers who enjoy what I offer. End of story.
 

BySharonNelson

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Focus, what have you found works best as far as marketing for self-publishers. I have one book out with another on the way. I currently use FB and Twitter, frequent several popular forums and am seeking reviews from book bloggers. I feel like I should be doing more, is there anything else you could suggest?
 

ColoradoMom

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Focus, what have you found works best as far as marketing for self-publishers. I have one book out with another on the way. I currently use FB and Twitter, frequent several popular forums and am seeking reviews from book bloggers. I feel like I should be doing more, is there anything else you could suggest?

My now "form letter" answer to this is now on its way to your PM's. Sorry about the form letter, but I've had a lot of people ask today.

:)
 

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If I had to rely on self-publishing to pay the rent I'd be sleeping on a park bench.. . ..
A friend of mine just let the cat out of the bag about the disappointing income from his first self-published book (semi-technical nonfiction). Revenues of $90,000, less expenses for printing, travel, promotion, etc., left a paltry return of $50,000.

I believe that he has done better since then.

--Ken
 

scope

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If you're an a-hole, you're an a-hole and I'll never seek advice from you. A professional can give criticism w/o getting snappy and nasty about it. A professional can disagree without dropping the gloves.

I see. And your making statements as above makes you a professional?
 

scope

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The royalty rate. But hey, if you DON'T think that's ripping you off then no one's stopping you from signing on the dotted line.

Isn't this is an incredibly blanket belief and statement? Lets assume we are talking about a self-pub book that is also capable of being published by a trade publisher. What seems to follow is how many books will be sold by a trade house and how many would be sold if self-published. And wouldn't you say that the trade publisher will damaticaly outsell
the self-published book (my guess would be 100 to 1). If a theoretical book sells for $15 whether by trade or self-published, and the trade author gets a net commision per book of lets say $1.50, 100 x $1.50 = $150. If the self-pub writer realizes a profit per book of $5.00, 1 x $5.00 = $5.00.

****
And here's the thing about you guys (generically speaking, not anyone in particular) who think you know it all about self-publishing - have you EVER DONE IT?

Having had a number of books published by trade publishers, why would I want to do so? In fact, unless an individual wants and knows how to operate a business--and has the time to do so, has lots of money to invest that might be lost, and truly knows how to promote and market a book, I find it questionable one would opt for self-publishing--other than a few individuals whose books cater to a small niche market that's of no interest to a trade house).

Because I have, I DO. And no I'm not broke, in fact I make pretty decent money - much MUCH more than $10,000 a year (which YES, is the amount you'd make for that first year you're waiting for the publisher to do their thing IF you were lucky enough to get a $10,000 advance.)

I'm truly happy for you, but don't you think you might be an exception. And in any event isn't the end result the most important thing?

I'm certainly not saying it is for everyone, in fact I went out of my way to say it isn't something everyone is capable of doing. Plain and simple. But some of us are, and some of us are even good at it. I just happen to be one of them. so for ME - the decision to give away a significant percentage of the profit made from my creative work to a publisher other than my own company is one that must be compared to what I could do with the book myself.

I agree.


I'm having a hard time understanding why people who seem to loathe the idea of self-publishing are so concerned with stopping others from giving it a go, especially if they have no direct experience.

My point is simple. I think eveyone should do as they wish, but I think it's wise for people to have knowledge of what they are getting into. And with self-publishing I don't find that to be true all that much.

ss
 

James D. Macdonald

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A friend of mine just let the cat out of the bag about the disappointing income from his first self-published book (semi-technical nonfiction). Revenues of $90,000, less expenses for printing, travel, promotion, etc., left a paltry return of $50,000.

I believe that he has done better since then.

--Ken


As I keep saying (and here's just one example from 2005 -- I've been remarkably consistent in saying the same before and after), the places self-publishing work best include specialized non-fiction, niche fiction, and poetry. I'll bet that your friend has his own distribution channels, too.

If what you write is specialized non-fiction, and you have a way to distribute your work, then I'll be the first to say "Go for it! Self-publish!"

Are there people who do well with self-publishing other things? Sure. But they've had to become publishers to do it, and that's a full-time job. When you say "Self-publishing" the accent isn't on "self," it's on "publishing."
 

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If you want my marketing plan, just ask. Someone already has and I gave away all my secrets. For FREE.

It would be very useful (and would probably save you a lot of work) if you began a new thread in Book Promotion and put your plan there.
 

shadowwalker

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It doesn't matter what I publish, I make money because I have a platform and lots of customers who enjoy what I offer. End of story.

Well, it does matter, actually. And you seem to be one of the few who refuses to acknowledge it. You have nonfiction, you have a platform, you're doing everything right - for nonfiction. Fiction is another story. Your platform won't matter unless your fiction is closely tied to it - and then you'll be selling to the same people, not building a new, larger audience. Readers don't care what you're an expert in - they want a well-told story.

It doesn't matter if it's self-published or commercially published - a work of fiction is a different animal than nonfiction.

Oh, and it's 'Dudette', if you please...
 
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