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  1. #126
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    We've had several threads about the Author Earnings reports: it's been pointed out many times that their data, and the conclusions they draw from them, are unreliable and biased. I can't find any to link to right now as the databases are still being updated following AW's upgrade, but if anyone's interested in finding out more, give it a few days and try searching.

  2. #127
    practical experience, FTW
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    S.M Reign is one of the smartest self-publishers out there and she dropped into KBoards today to summarize what's working for her now as compared to advice she's given in the past. (She uses a funky symbol for her alias on KB because, sadly, her books got trolled in the past simply for mentioning her level of success and attaching an opinion to it.)

    http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,218640.0.html

    Also, you might skim the thread for counterpoint posts by Amanda Lee. Also super-smart, and super successful.

    There's no "one true path" but these are people with advice worth considering.
    J. Tanner vs the Page

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    Latest Sale: "Reunion Soup" to [title unannounced] fantasy anthology coming somewhenish

  3. #128
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
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    I found this to be an interesting read. I hope it may be so for you!

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b...udiobooks.html
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  4. #129
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASeiple View Post
    I found this to be an interesting read. I hope it may be so for you!

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b...udiobooks.html
    From the article:

    Distribution Matters

    There’s also more understanding about the importance of effective audiobook distribution, especially given the proliferation of digital portals that traffic in audiobooks. Audiobooks published exclusively with ACX are distributed on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible, but not on other platforms such as Hoopla, OverDrive, and Bibliotheca’s 3M, which serve libraries.

    [...]


    This variety of audiobook portals has generated a need for the type of distribution services provided by Big Happy Family and Author’s Republic, especially as many portals won’t work with individual authors.
    The problem is bigger than they imply. The distribution on offer by those methods isn't the sort of distribution the book trade has shown, over decades, is effective at selling books, which comes with dedicated sales teams and passionate hand-selling: it's simply "list it online with no real sales efforts at all which you don't provide for yourself".

    I wish there were a full distribution service which was cost-effective for self publishers (no matter what format their books are sold in). I've seen a few companies claim to offer such a service but on investigation, the services they offer are pale copies of the real thing, and they are pricey, too. I understand the problems involved in offering such services to self published writers: but if only it could be done, even for a small sector of the business, it would transform self publishing.

  5. #130
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
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    Dedicated sales teams and passionate hand-selling...

    Yeah, that would be a tough effect to replicate without being costly.

    EDIT:

    Further thoughts. So, putting my business hat on... and this is just brainstorming... we have a barrier that we do not wish to exist. There is a beneficial service that would be good for the bootstrapping self-publisher, that is not available at what our demographic considers a reasonable cost.

    My first question is well, can we bypass the barrier? What's the end effect we're going for here, enhanced marketing impact without costly outlay?

    Assume that current publishers are strong here, and that competition with them on such a level isn't possible without a good-sized buy-in. So can the field or means of attack be shifted to an area that they don't cover or cannot explore?

    Next step: Look to your advantages.

    What advantages does self-publishing have that can be brought to bear, here?

    Speed: Speed comes to mind. Any marketing efforts that we initiate don't have to go through multiple people, and don't have to wait on initiatives for other books.

    Flexibility: We can try approaches that make existing companies hesitate. Viral marketing, kickstarters, releasing select products for free, posting series online as web serials, and models I haven't encountered yet.

    Can we find a model that puts these qualities to good use? If we can do that, then some of the monetary issues might be overcome.

    The thought occurs to me that the Kindle Scout program seems to be trying a cautious riff on this subject. Yeah, at the end of the day they're a trade publisher, but their entry model always seemed like a cross between self-publishing and kickstarter's model. Been thinking of giving it a whirl myself, for some upcoming projects...
    Last edited by ASeiple; 07-02-2016 at 08:13 PM.
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  6. #131
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASeiple View Post
    Dedicated sales teams and passionate hand-selling...

    Yeah, that would be a tough effect to replicate without being costly.
    The book trade does it for the books it publishes. But then, those books have a reasonable to good chance of selling enough copies to cover their costs and then some. Self published books? Not so much.

    EDIT:

    Further thoughts. So, putting my business hat on... and this is just brainstorming... we have a barrier that we do not wish to exist. There is a beneficial service that would be good for the bootstrapping self-publisher, that is not available at what our demographic considers a reasonable cost.

    My first question is well, can we bypass the barrier? What's the end effect we're going for here, enhanced marketing impact without costly outlay?

    Assume that current publishers are strong here, and that competition with them on such a level isn't possible without a good-sized buy-in. So can the field or means of attack be shifted to an area that they don't cover or cannot explore?
    You're not seeing the big problem.

    Trade publishers sign books because they think there are enough readers out there who will want to buy the books to make their publishing efforts worthwhile. They then invest a huge amount of expertise and a less-huge amount of money to bring those books to market in the best possible way they can. The books are then sold by teams of sellers into bookshops across the country, and those books appear on the shelves at the same time as a coordinated marketing campaign hits the media. So lots of people hear about the books and go looking for them; and at the same time, lots of people who go into bookshops see those books, and give them a try.

    Self publishers publish their own books because they love them, and want to see them out there. There is no guarantee of quality in self published books: many of the ones I've seen have been incredibly badly written, and are not likely to sell at all. And while some self publishers publish with skill and forethought, many do not. They don't have the skill to publish them well.

    As you've already pointed out, good sales services are expensive to run. You can't sell books in this way unless you can be sure that most will do well enough to cover their costs and then some. Most distributors won't risk wasting their time on books which won't sell; that means they won't risk taking on self published books, as they've not had the external validation which trade published books have had.

    In other words, you can't buy into these services.

    Next step: Look to your advantages.

    What advantages does self-publishing have that can be brought to bear, here?

    Speed: Speed comes to mind. Any marketing efforts that we initiate don't have to go through multiple people, and don't have to wait on initiatives for other books.
    Working at great speed isn't necessarily an advantage. For example, doing so prevents you from ensuring your launch coincides with reviews or author interviews as reviewers often require a few months' lead time, to read the book and write the review, and interviewers need to interview and write up their work. Yes, self publishers can sometimes respond to current events in a timely fashion: but when it's really necessary, so can trade publishers. I've written a 60k book in a week; I've edited a book which went from commissioning to publication within six weeks or so, and we got that book reviewed and written about in the nationals, too.

    Trying to speed your marketing work is difficult, because marketing in particular requires the input of other people. It's far more effective if you spend enough time on this.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "and don't have to wait on initiatives for other books".

    Flexibility: We can try approaches that make existing companies hesitate. Viral marketing, kickstarters, releasing select products for free, posting series online as web serials, and models I haven't encountered yet.
    You can't knowingly run a viral marketing campaign. Viralness (is that a word?) can't be predicted or controlled, it can just be enjoyed. And all the other things on your list are things that good trade publishers do. Except for kickstarters. Although there are some smaller and perhaps dodgier presses which use it as a funding stream.

    Can we find a model that puts these qualities to good use? If we can do that, then some of the monetary issues might be overcome.
    I have seen so many different attempts by self publishers to make their work stand out through the various things you've suggested. People have been trying for decades to make their works a success every way they can. But without some element of judgement, or gatekeeping (I hate that phrase), to separate the books with commercial potential from the rest of the books, those efforts are usually wasted. And if you're going to submit to gatekeeping, you might just as well take the trade publishing route.

    The thought occurs to me that the Kindle Scout program seems to be trying a cautious riff on this subject. Yeah, at the end of the day they're a trade publisher, but their entry model always seemed like a cross between self-publishing and kickstarter's model. Been thinking of giving it a whirl myself, for some upcoming projects...
    Have a go. Let us know how you get on.

  7. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASeiple View Post
    Dedicated sales teams and passionate hand-selling...

    Yeah, that would be a tough effect to replicate without being costly.
    I applaud your enthusiasm, but you're still about ten years behind the times.

    If you're self-publishing, and you're doing it as a business, you're already using the services of companies like BookBub. You're working hard to make connections with readers, and you're making canny decisions about where to spend your time, energy and money in terms of marketing and PR.

    And there are a gazillion self-publishing service providers, some good, many short-sighted, some outright ripoffs run exceedingly poorly with low competency and slell-through and high promises.

    There's a thing called a P & L that trade publishers rely on. A P & L i(Profit and Loss) statement is created as part of the late-stage decision to buy and publish a book.

    Every cost is factored in, and the income based on pretty solid expectations of what they can sell. P & Ls are set up so that the publisher won't lose money, and will even if the book doesn't sell through, and will make money if it does even though they will be paying royalties.

    Google P & L.

    Part of the costs for trade publishing include marketing and sales that most authors / writers never see, because trade publishers spend most of their marketing effort on their primary customers—book retailers, distributors and libraries.

    Readers are a consideration too, that is, individual customers who buy single copies. But book retailers (book stores, Amazon, chain stores) will buy many copies. A single library system will buy as many as 50 or sixty copies of a book, sometimes even more.

    Publishers send out sales staff to meet with book buyers. They have ARCs, and catalogs, and cover flats, and data about what books are likely to sell where and when. They can offer retail displays. They'll swap end-cap displays or window space or table space for a larger discount on books. They make deals. They know the books, and they know the stores and the area they represent. They don't depend on any one sales channel.

    They also heavily and smartly use the Internet, and reviewers, and book-based social sites, and bloggers and trade shows and printed mail. All of this actually starts before the book is even printed/produced.

  8. #133
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
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    @Oldhack


    Ah, just brainstorming. Throwing ideas out there, and seeing where they go. I'm trying to approach it with a tactical mindset, looking into ways to shift the battlefield or adjust the odds so that we've got better chances in the field.


    So speed isn't an advantage in this, because you're still relying on layers outside of your control? Yeah, that makes sense.


    (What I meant by "and don't have to wait on initiatives for other books," is that when you go with a trade publisher, their marketing department isn't just focused on YOU, they're also handling many other people. Which adds in the possibility of delays, while other books are getting handled.)


    And flexibility isn't as much of an edge for the self-publisher then? Alright. Sounds like we can access some of the services that trade publishers do, then. Kickstarter's still a weird area. I'm looking forward to experimenting with that on a small scale in the next month or so, I'll have a writeup in my journal when the details on that project get hammered out.


    As far as Kindle Scout goes, it's a consideration for an MG project we want to try. From the research I've done the opinion seems to lean in favor of Trade Publishing there. So while self-publishing's an option, I'd be doing my partner for that project a disservice by not shopping it around first. Kindle Scout's an option, maybe not the best one, but a good compromise that'll get us some free marketing if we go that route and fail. And if we succeed, well then we get to try working with the industry. Win-win.


    @AW Admin


    :: Sighs :: Can't win for losing, can I? C'est la vie.


    Perhaps if I amended my sentence to say "Yeah, that would be a tough effect to replicate successfully without being costly or being good at marketing, or both." Would that be a more accurate statement?
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  9. #134
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I really appreciate your enthusiasm, ASeiple. But you might find it helpful to read up on how things really work in trade publishing, rather than spending your time reading about how self publishing evangelists think it works. A good first stop would be Carole Blake's From Pitch to Publication: it's an oldish book, and I do have a bias because I know Carole, and like her a lot, but it's still valid.

  10. #135
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASeiple View Post
    (What I meant by "and don't have to wait on initiatives for other books," is that when you go with a trade publisher, their marketing department isn't just focused on YOU, they're also handling many other people. Which adds in the possibility of delays, while other books are getting handled.)
    Comparing trade publishing and self-publishing in this way is not really a useful exercise for two main reasons:

    1. You're not really well informed about trade publishing. For instance, because of the way books are scheduled, particularly in terms of printing, your book will have a dedicated slot wherein it's a primary concern for multiple departments and people. Moreover, your editor is going to be vocal in advocating and communicating wrt to your book. Printing slots are reserved months in advance (most publishers don't run their own high-end presses, and most of them reserve a specific number of slots knowing how many books and how many copies will sell long before the book goes to press). So there's not really a book-vs-book competition in the way you're suggesting.

    2. Comparing trade and self-publishing is sorta like comparing a Ferrari and a Rolls; they're not the same kind of car. They're designed for different purposes. Which car is better depends on what you want to do with it.

    Some books will thrive as self-published. Some books will thrive as trade published. Some books will thrive in a combination of both. It depends.

  11. #136
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASeiple View Post
    Perhaps if I amended my sentence to say "Yeah, that would be a tough effect to replicate successfully without being costly or being good at marketing, or both." Would that be a more accurate statement?
    Kindle Scout has some pretty off-putting restrictions. I'd think very carefully. I'd also be wary of putting all my eggs in a Bezos basket.

    I am notoriously cheap about spending money wrt to publishing before earning money. I suggest you spend a lot of time reading the various publshing diaries here, and keep in mind what kind of book and niche you're looking at, and where your book buyers are likely to be and who they are.

  12. #137
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
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    @Oldhack: I appreciate your patience. I'll check out the book.

    @AW Admin concerning trade publishing: I will try to get better informed. I was going by the basic business idea that the more projects a business has to work on, the less time each of them is going to get, and the more you have a chance for delays due to matters beyond your control. My apologies if this is not so. Either way I'll shut up now.

    @AW Admin concerning Kindle Scout: Valid points. It's an option, not my first instinct, for reasons that would be derailing to get into here. In the end if we do try it it'll be after a heck of a lot of research and a good discussion of options with my partner in this project.
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  13. #138
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Question

    I clicked on you link to look at your book, but the link took be to a German Sports betting website.


    Might have to provide a new link.

  14. #139
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    Article: Sitting Alone in the Darkness

    A pep-talk we all need from time to time.

    From Pikes Peak Writers: Sitting alone in the Darkness

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