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  #1  
Old 07-23-2008, 02:47 AM
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Default Self-Publish or Traditional Way?


Hello, all. I know this subject has probably been talked about to death here at the forum, but I'm going to bring it up once again, purely for selfish reasons. (Well, maybe someone else would benefit from this, too.)

I have two works in progress: one fantasy, the other a humorous children's book. I am hoping to have at least both of these, if not more, published in the future. Lately, I've been mulling over publishing routes, both traditional and self.

Now, here's my main question: Which one should I pursue, the more traditional way or the self-publishing way? They both have their pros and cons--one touts better this and that, publicity, credentials and whatnot, and the other supposedly is the kiss of death for any aspiring author (Hmm. . . can you guess which one's which? )--but to be honest, I don't know what to believe anymore. I've heard of people using self-publishing to break into print the traditional way later. I've also heard of people published the traditional way say never, never self-publish.

So, what I'm looking for are five good reasons (and I mean really good reasons, not some argumentative discussion over who's right and who's not, mind you) as to why I should take one route over the other.

Oh, yes, and here are two very important factors: Money is not an issue; I don't care if I ever make a cent on anything I ever write. Fame is not an issue; I don't care if I never see my book on a best seller list--ever. I simply want people to enjoy what I write. Period. Additionally, I don't mind doing the work, whatever work is involved in either direction.

Well, what does everyone say?

Devon

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Old 07-23-2008, 12:39 PM
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Not exactly what you're asking for Devon, but I hope this helps.

As some people perhaps know, I've never been too keen on the idea of self-publishing, because in the past I felt as though people who self-publish haven't actually earned the distinction of being published. In other words, they've had no-one say to them: I want to publish your work.

But lately, my stance is changing. I have honestly considered using Lulu if I ever do finish a novel. As to the naysayers saying self-publishing will be the doom of your career if it is even remotely true (which as you and others have pointed out hasn't been the case for some authors), wouldn't writing under a pen name help prevent that from happening? It makes sense to me it would. Plus, if you go through the self-publishing route, there isn't the agony of waiting for months to get an acceptance letter while having lots of rejections.

If I might make a suggestion, would it perhaps be a good idea to self-publish the story that you're not as bothered about while trying to traditionally publishing the other one? That is if you even have a favourite. Of course, you could also try the same route you choose for both books. That's not much help I know.

The negatives I can see regarding self-publishing though is that any work you publish might not be up to scratch in comparison to traditionally published work. I'm not saying you're a bad writer as you know what I think of your writing and this applies in general terms really, but people rarely find all of their own mistakes. Of course, if someone self-publishes work that has been looked at by people who are good editors etc., this is less of an issue.

Also, like my original thoughts on the subject, you'd probably have people look down on self-publishing. The last downside I can see is that to be successful and have your work read, you'd probably need to heavily promote your book.

Anyways, that's my thoughts on the subject and I'm sure someone who is experienced in the matter will give some feedback. I'm obviously not experienced in the field at all. Hope this helps regardless.

Oh and by the way, I'm also interested in case it wasn't obvious.
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Old 07-23-2008, 04:30 PM
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based on the fact that both books are fiction, not non-fiction with a built-in market:

if all you want is some copies to give to friends and family and you can afford the cost, then self-publish with a reputable pod...

if you want to be known as a 'published author' and/or make any money on the books, then you'll have to go the traditional route...

imo, it's that simple, no list of reasons is necessary...
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Old 07-23-2008, 05:29 PM
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Default self-publishing

Originally Posted by DavidGil View Post
Also, like my original thoughts on the subject, you'd probably have people look down on self-publishing.
But which people? Most readers don't look for the publisher of the books they buy. It's like those Hallmark ads that show people getting greeting cards and immediately checking to see if they're Hallmark... NO-ONE does that! Your average reader is the same. Most people haven't heard of self-publishing. So to me, the question is not one of stigma, but simply getting your name out. The traditional publishers have more clout in getting your book in front of readers.

If you're willing to do the work either way, you might end up being one of those authors who gets enough of a following through self-publishing that the publishers go looking for you!

HoiLei.

ETA: Mammamaia makes a good point about genres.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:09 PM
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if all you want is some copies to give to friends and family
Well, mammamaia, I would like to go beyond the 'friends and family' thing, actually. I want to reach people I'll never talk to: essentially 'the unknown reader.'

So to me, the question is not one of stigma, but simply getting your name out.
That's a very good point, HoiLei. I have heard of people who've self-published, who have gone to lengths to get their names out there. In fact, I do know one person who did self-publish and then had a publisher seek him out.

If I might make a suggestion, would it perhaps be a good idea to self-publish the story that you're not as bothered about while trying to traditionally publishing the other one?
That's a really good suggestion, DavidGil! Something to seriously consider.

As to the naysayers saying self-publishing will be the doom of your career if it is even remotely true (which as you and others have pointed out hasn't been the case for some authors), wouldn't writing under a pen name help prevent that from happening?
That's an interesting question. Hmm . . . Another thing to mull over. I do have a penname I'd like to write under.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:09 PM
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uh, what did i say about 'genres'?... ...and where'd i say it?
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mammamaia View Post
based on the fact that both books are fiction, not non-fiction with a built-in market ... if you want to be known as a 'published author' and/or make any money on the books, then you'll have to go the traditional route.
What I meant was, you're right that the decision to self-publish or not depends on whether there's a "built in market". Perhaps "genre" wasn't the right word to distinguish between non-fiction and fiction...

Non-fiction for a niche market can be easily self-published. I once bought a book called "Trippingly on the Tongue". It was a guide to Middle English for people who role-play at RennFairs. The lady printed it up on her home computer and spiral bound it. Such a book has a small audience, and you can advertise it in really specific places.

Fiction, on the other hand, has no "built in market", so it might be better to go the traditional route, and work with an agent and publicist to get readers interested.

Sorry for the confusion!
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:23 PM
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What I meant was, you're right that the decision to self-publish or not depends on whether there's a "built in market". Perhaps "genre" wasn't the right word to distinguish between non-fiction and fiction...
...ah, so!... no, those're not 'genres'... mystery, sci-fi, romance and such are... i thought maybe i had made a comment somewhere else that you were referring to...

Non-fiction for a niche market can be easily self-published.
...not necessarily, 'easily' but certainly much more easily than can fiction, if you mean successfully, as in sales-wise...

I once bought a book called "Trippingly on the Tongue". It was a guide to Middle English for people who role-play at RennFairs. The lady printed it up on her home computer and spiral bound it. Such a book has a small audience, and you can advertise it in really specific places.
...so true... the market is built-in, if the writer is involved in groups that would be interested in such stuff... so the books almost sell themselves...

Fiction, on the other hand, has no "built in market", so it might be better to go the traditional route, and work with an agent and publicist to get readers interested.
...exactly... as far as the agent goes, anyway... i can't see hiring a publicist, since your agent and publisher will do that at no extra expense... that said, you'll still have to do some of the work, such as book signings, tv/radio interviews and so on...

Sorry for the confusion!
...no biggie... you made some good points there... hugs, m
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:29 AM
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Thank you to everyone's who has responded so far! Are there others out there who'd like to voice an opinion on this matter?
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:47 AM
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For what it's worth, I think that if you are not interested in the money (ergo not looking for a best-seller) then POD is not a bad way to go, providing you are willing to put in the effort to promote your book. We have several authors on the site who've done that, and it seems they are reaching their audience. Earnings probably vary a great deal, but as they aren't really of interest to you, that's just a side issue.

But the fact is, a mainstream publisher is not going to want to hear that you don't want to make money, because that is what they are in business to do. They want a book with mass appeal and the potential to make a fair amount of money. So you might have a book with appeal, but they will turn it down if they can't see big dollar signs. And yet, there could be an audience out there for your book.

Your choice, then, is to wait for a big publisher to pick up your book, meaning you have to deal with the reality of making money from your writing, or you can publish it yourself and target your audience, pricing your book to make a profit or not, at your discretion. Really, the decision is yours to make.
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:32 AM
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Wanting people to enjoy what you write is a good goal.

But, oddly, it isn't enough.

I got more than 500 rejections before landing a book deal. Wrote 9 unpublished novels, and over a total of a million words. I used to think that all I wanted out of this buz was to see my name in a library card catalog (remember those?)

But then I did get published, tradionally, and made enough money for it to be my fulltime career. And seeing my books in libraries and bookstore was a thrill. But, like all goals, once you reach one, another one takes its place.

If you want to be in print, self-publishing is an option. if you want to reach a large number of people you've never met, then it isn't an option. By "large number" I mean more than a few thousand books a year.

And let me tell you, once you reach a few hundred people, you'll want to reach a few thousand, and then a few hundred thousand. It's human nature to want to improve our situations.

Self-pubbed books have a much harder time getting into bookstores and libraries. Distribution is one of the keys to success, and unless you're available in many places you probably won't be discovered by many readers.

If all you truly want is to be read, build a website and post your writing on there. It won't cost you anything.

If you want to be in every Barnes & Noble, get reviewed in major publications, and have your work available in thousands of libraries, then keep refining your craft, find an agent, and sign with a big publisher.

Make sure your goals allow for new goals as the previous ones are reached. And remember that self-publishing is a hard road to walk, with fewer rewards.
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:57 PM
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Your choice, then, is to wait for a big publisher to pick up your book, meaning you have to deal with the reality of making money from your writing, or you can publish it yourself and target your audience, pricing your book to make a profit or not, at your discretion. Really, the decision is yours to make.
a third choice is to be more realistic and not go for the 'big' houses, but submit to the newer, smaller, independent ones, one of which may just love your book and want to take a chance on it... even if the money isn't as good there as it might be with the big guys, you'll still be a 'published author' and the big guys will then take you more seriously with your next offerings, once you have that title under/on your belt...
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:26 PM
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a third choice is to be more realistic and not go for the 'big' houses, but submit to the newer, smaller, independent ones, one of which may just love your book and want to take a chance on it... even if the money isn't as good there as it might be with the big guys, you'll still be a 'published author' and the big guys will then take you more seriously with your next offerings, once you have that title under/on your belt...
That's a very good point, maia. I think small presses and new authors have a lot in common: They both want to establish themselves, so it's a win-win situation, really.

But the fact is, a mainstream publisher is not going to want to hear that you don't want to make money, because that is what they are in business to do.
Yep. A sad fact, but it's business. That's one reason why I don't want to go with a big publisher. They worry too much about making money and they probably twist a writer's book into something the writer never intended. Grr.

If all you truly want is to be read, build a website and post your writing on there. It won't cost you anything.
I actually do have that already, though I don't have any of my work posted in full. I might expand on it to include some of my completed works if I get brave enough.

All really great points, everyone! Thank you, thank you! Things are slowly firming up in my mind. Far from making a final decision yet, but I'm getting there with your help.

Would anyone else care to voice an opinion or add to something already mentioned?
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Devon View Post
That's a very good point, maia.
Actually I have to disagree - it's a bad point. How do you value your work? Do you think it's good enough to warrant a 5 or 6 figure advance with a major publishing house? If not, forget publishing, rewrite.

Top down. Always aim for the top. You may end up having to settle for somewhere lower in the stack, but that's a damned sight better than aiming low and then finding out you could have done better. And leave self-publishing to the people who can't make it any other way.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:22 PM
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Actually I have to disagree - it's a bad point. How do you value your work? Do you think it's good enough to warrant a 5 or 6 figure advance with a major publishing house? If not, forget publishing, rewrite.
so true and my mistake, mike!... i meant 'not only go for' and 'but also submit' but neglected to add those crucial qualifiers... so much for posting before i've had my breakfast and green tea!... mea culpa!

i'm glad you were around to catch me on it... hugs, m
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:22 PM
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Do you think it's good enough to warrant a 5 or 6 figure advance with a major publishing house?
But I don't care about the money. I really don't. I know people argue and argue this point, but I don't see a 5 or 6 figure advance being my motivation to write and be read. I care about the quality of my work, yes. I've written and rewritten until I want to rip my hair out and scream. Believe me, quality is more important than anything in my pieces and if it's good enough to catch the attention of a big publisher, then all right. If they don't want to even glance my way (which is what I expect, really, being an unestablished author), then whatever. It's their loss. I do agree about aiming for the top, yes. But I suspect they won't even bat an eyelash before tossing something that's decent into the trash because the author's new. Wouldn't they go with what they know would make them money?

A question (maybe someone has some insight on this): Would big-name publishers twist around a new writer's work to make it into something the writer never intended? Or would they be kind enough to leave a storyline pretty much alone? Surface editing I can take. Reworking a plot to fit what's 'in' by today's standards, I think is terrible.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:24 PM
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I am by no means an expert on this subject, and much of what I'm saying may not even be applicable, since I live in Australia... however.

Five Reasons To Self Publish
  1. You have complete control over the finished product.
  2. You can sell books at a lower cost (than if they were traditionally published), enabling you to sell more books.
  3. You can get published without the rejection letters.
  4. You can publish niche books (such as collections of short stories or poetry) that would otherwise have a low chance of being published.
  5. A traditional publisher may notice your self-published book and want to publish your work. It happens all the time, apparently.
With all the reading I have done for school on this subject, my mind is full of information, and I think I mentioned to you that I'm sleep deprived, Devon, so I apologise if this doesn't make sense. All of the above points are really excellent reasons to self-publish, but there are some important things to consider:

If you self-publish, you have to pay for stuff. Stuff like editing, printing, cover design, storage, distribution and promotion. Things like editing and cover design can be handled by you, and storage could simply be a garage, but what about printing? Because print-runs for self-published books are smaller, the per book cost can be quite high.

Don't forget about distribution and promotion, either. How broadly are you personally able to promote and then distribute your book? Publishing houses do these things for you, and most bookstores are not kind about self-published books. If making money is not a goal, then this may not be a huge point for you, but keep the distribution point in mind. Launches, free copies for the press and advertising are costly, too.

If you can only distribute from a website and your local area, are you going to reach the volume of readers you're aiming for?

I'm not saying that self-publishing cannot be done; as long as it is done right, it can be a credit to the author. However, most publishers are wary of it because self-publishing is full of crap, to put it nicely. Maia made a fantastic point about the smaller publishing houses being more approachable, and more willing to take on new writers. They also tend to be more open to collections of shorter works, and left-of-centre novels.

If you are happy to do the hard work, you're not holding out for fame and glory, and you consider self-publishing to be on par with traditional publishing? Go for it. If you want to be published, if you want to connect with your readers, and you have the money and time? I say, again, go for it. There are really fantastic resources out there now for print-on-demand publishing, some with excellent prices and easy to use software that allows you complete control over your book.

I am firmly in the 'traditional publishing or no publishing for me' camp, but I'm stubborn, I suppose. It's not that I look down on self-publishing; it just isn't for me. It's that simple. Perhaps it's because I don't have a burning desire to be published, or maybe I'm just old fashioned like that. =)

A question (maybe someone has some insight on this): Would big-name publishers twist around a new writer's work to make it into something the writer never intended? Or would they be kind enough to leave a storyline pretty much alone? Surface editing I can take. Reworking a plot to fit what's 'in' by today's standards, I think is terrible.
As far as I know, this would never happen in Australia. Editors may do a structural edit to change the order of paragraphs or whole chapters, but publishers would not accept a novel and then have it turned into a completely different novel. Editors are supposed to be invisible; like good makeup. They enhance the novel, they don't mask it or completely re-write it. Rest assured that all changes must be approved by you, and you should have final say about the editing that takes place.

Thank you for allowing me to rant on for this long, heh. =)
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:30 PM
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A question (maybe someone has some insight on this): Would big-name publishers twist around a new writer's work to make it into something the writer never intended?
no, of course not!... if they don't like the book the way it is, they wouldn't take it on to begin with... they might suggest the writer change things if the writer wants them to consider it, but that would be the writer's option and comes before any contract is offered or signed, not after...

Or would they be kind enough to leave a storyline pretty much alone?
they're not in business to be kind!... if they like it and think they can sell it, they'll buy it... if they don't, they won't... period!...

Surface editing I can take. Reworking a plot to fit what's 'in' by today's standards, I think is terrible.
if you want to make money at writing fiction, you'll probably have to do some of that, till you sell enough millions of copies to not give a darn... but even then, your publisher doesn't have to buy anything they don't like...
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:11 AM
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Traditional
1) Big name publisher on your resume
2) Lots of your book sitting in warehouses around the country
3) Possibility of becoming a household name
4) Less time promoting, more time writing
5) Some money in your pocket

Self-publishing
1) Total freedom and control over your work
2) Your success is 100% you, no one else can claim credit
3) Learning a new thing
4) Equal time marketing and writing
5) Some money in your pocket
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  #20  
Old 07-27-2008, 02:05 AM
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Maia made a fantastic point about the smaller publishing houses being more approachable, and more willing to take on new writers. They also tend to be more open to collections of shorter works, and left-of-centre novels.
I'm considering this option more and more, actually.

Thank you for allowing me to rant on for this long, heh. =)
Oh, that wasn't a rant, chloe, it was clarification.

if you want to make money at writing fiction, you'll probably have to do some of that, till you sell enough millions of copies to not give a darn...
Well, the way I see it, my plotline is going to stay as it is. It has similar elements to fantasy works of today, but I feel is fresh enough to warrant keeping as it is. I simply refuse to rework it into something that feels 'carbon copied' in order to fit in. And I find it sad when people jump on the bandwagon of whatever's popular at the moment in order to get a share of the profits/action/recognition. What ever happened to trailblazing, creating something fresh and new rather than hackneyed? (Just airing my thoughts, honest! I'm in no way trying to be antagonistic.)

Thank you, flashgordon, for five reasons for each option. Funny how they wind up the same in the end (i.e. reason #5).

Ah, but no one's mentioned anything about agents! Perhaps going through an agent would be not so much easier, but more successful, than going about this publishing business on my own? Any thoughts on this?
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Last edited by Devon; 07-27-2008 at 02:07 AM..
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:57 PM
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imo, with fiction especially, it's almost always better to have an agent rep your work, than trying to snag a publisher on your own... it'll usually get you a better deal, along with the other benefits being agented brings, which includes getting your work to the bigger houses that won't look at unagented work...

see a good rundown on the whole subject here:

http://www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/pubagent.htm
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:28 PM
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No matter what way anyone sugarcoats it, self-publishing is a vanity which authors who cannot get published normally utilise to make themselves think they're a published author. I should know, after all - I've done it twice! Don't for a second think it makes you a published author in the eyes of anyone who really counts.

Don't self-publish just because you're p**sed off with one too many rejection letters. This is admitting defeat immediately.

If you self-publish, and then try to shop that novel to agents, they'll reject you unread. They don't want something that's already out there. Agents and publishers will assume - and not without reason - that you are a poor writer.

It's the same with publishing history: If you query an agent about your book, and state that you have self-published four books, it will hardly endear you to anyone. It's best to leave the self-published part out.

I've read tons of reasons stated for why you should self-publish: Control over your novel - right down to the name - higher share of royalties, the ability to "keep your rights," and so on. All of them, in reality, are nothing more than self-justification. I once spent an afternoon on Lulu, and 95% of the writing on there is s**t. It should never have seen the light of day. With POD, there's no stopping it. There might be a few hidden gems in there, but with vast amounts of self-published titles available, how will we ever know?

If you want to self-publish, by all means do it, but for God's sake give some thought to what you're doing before you do. Do it for the right reasons, not as a fall-back because you have been rejected one too many times. Think about how you'll sell the book, and to who. What it'll cost to print, how much you'll sell it for, how much it will cost to sell. Plan ahead. Can you publish yourself and sell a reasonable number of copies and make money? If you're unsure of the answers to these questions, than self-publishing is not the route for you.

There are dozens upon dozens of diatribes about how hard it is to get published using the traditional route. These are crap. New authors are signed every single day of the week. There is one person I know on another forum who sprouts his beliefs about how the industry is conspiring against him. Truth is, read any one of his excerpts and you'll understand why he'll never be published.

If you are shrewd and have a keen eye for marketing, you can make a success out of self-publishing; but this is a rarity. 1%, in reality. You have a better chance of making it the traditional route.

With the rise of the internet, self-publishing has become the new fad. But in reality, most people will continue to view self-published novels as trash, and the author who chooses self-publishing as the one and only route a fool.

Last edited by Daedalus; 07-27-2008 at 04:35 PM..
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Old 07-27-2008, 04:41 PM
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you make a lot of sense there, greg, hard as it will be for some to admit... and i can agree with just about all of it... the only exceptions, imo, would be non-fiction, if the author has a built-in market base... still won't make them 'published authors' in the eyes of the literary/paying-publishing world, though...
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:53 AM
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Thank you, Greg. That's a very strong case against self-publishing. Though I'm not looking specifically to make money on anything I write, that route is starting to look less and less appealing to me.

Perhaps an agent or a small publisher is a better way to start out.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:41 AM
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That's the best way to go, Devon, but that isn't to say it's the safest. There are dozens of scam artists out there who pose as reputable agents, give you a seemingly once-in-a-lifetime deal, take your money, and disappear off the planet. You have to be aware of these. This is probably the best guide to finding out those who are legit and those who aren't.

Whatever genre you write, whether it be Sci-Fi or Action/Adventure, you should check other published authors in that genre and find out who represents them. Then send those people a query about your novel.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who love to take advantage of inexperienced authors. Don't fall into that category. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Be careful.

Last edited by Daedalus; 07-28-2008 at 04:50 AM..
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:06 AM
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Devon, I strongly advise you to decide whether you want an agent or not, now.

If you go to an agent after pitching your work directly to publishers and being rejected, one of two things will happen. Either the agent will refuse to take you on because you've already been rejected by a publisher, or the agent will not be able to find a publisher for you because they've all rejected you already and won't read your work.

My personal opinion of agents, for what it's worth, is that they can be useful. They have contacts, they know how to deal with various publishers, and they have (ideally) placed books with publishers already, so they know what they're doing. They can also set up publicity events and get your name out into the industry.

However, agents take a percentage of your earnings, and occasionally you can get bumped down their list when they're busy, or if they have a high profile client. If you are well-spoken and your work is of a high standard, dealing directly with publishers can be simpler and more profitable for you in the long run.

Having said that, if I decide to try and publish a novel one day, I will be looking for an agent. It means an awful lot to publishers when you have someone behind your work, pushing it as a great piece. They also have an idea of trends in publishing, and will often be open to seeing future pieces from you.

Like so much else in the writing industry, in the end it comes down to personal choice.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:57 AM
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Some excellent points made here against self-publishing.

I'd include:

1. A product that doesn't look, read, or "feel" like a traditionally published book, because it wasn't professionally edited (even if you pay for dubious editing services) or typeset. Bad covers are another big reason. If you're shown 100 covers by traditional publishers and 100 by self-pubbed authors, you'll be able to tell the difference in almost 100% of the cases. And covers do sell books.

2. Overpriced. POD costs more than offset, so in order to make a profit from a trade paperback a book that traditionally costs $12 now must cost $16.

3. Distribution. You CAN'T get into stores unless your book is returnable. You may think there's some united front by brick and mortar stores to keep your books out. Not so. Stores only stock books that they can return for full credit. Even if you do allow returns, they also only stock books that they think they can sell, because it costs money to return books. Your unprofessional looking (and reading) overpriced book probably won't sell (50% of tradtitionally published books don't sell either) which means the store must mail it back to you on their dime.

4. Satisfaction. I know a few authors who self-pub, and do okay with it. But they aren't allowed into professional writing organizations like MWA, SinC, ITW, etc. Their books aren't nominated for any big awards. In some cases, they aren't allowed to speak on panels at conferences. And most folks who are traditionally published sneer at them.


So called advantages such as "control over content" is silly---editors and copy-editors make books better. "Setting your own price" is also silly---even if you price the book so low you lose money on it, you still have to sell it.

Go to a book fair. Most towns have them. Watch the self-pubbed authors at their booths (which they've paid for.) See how many books they sell. Picture yourself sitting there, ignored by the passer-by. Because you will be.

I did a signing yesterday, at a chain store. I sold about 20 books, and I sold those by staying on my feet for four hours and greeting everyone who walked into the bookstore. And my books are traditionally published and only cost $6.99. Plus, I had some people come to see me, because I have fans after doing this for six years.

How many books do you really think you'll be able to handsell? What do you envision happening once your book is self-published?

Bookstores won't carry you. Book buyers will ignore you. Your professional peers won't acknowledge or respect you. And you'll have spent a lot of money for this priviledge.

A cheaper, and better, alternative is to improve your writing until someone wants to buy it.
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Last edited by JA Konrath; 07-28-2008 at 05:59 AM..
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:41 PM
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more wise words from one who knows... we're lucky to have jak among us... let's hope he sticks around...

i have to disagree with a couple of your comments, though, chloe...

If you go to an agent after pitching your work directly to publishers and being rejected, one of two things will happen. Either the agent will refuse to take you on because you've already been rejected by a publisher,
...makes no sense, since how will any agent know you've been rejected, unless you're foolish enough to tell them?

or the agent will not be able to find a publisher for you because they've all rejected you already and won't read your work.
...it's highly unlikely that anyone could submit their work to every single publisher... and anyway, when a ms comes into a publisher from an agent [especially one who's established a connection with editors there, as the legit ones do], it is read...
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:54 PM
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And it would be unwise NOT to tell an agent about publishers you have contacted directly as they will not appreciate your wasting their time. If they try peddling a rejected manuscript to a publisher, it could damage their reputation with said publisher. This is advice gleaned from both my writer's magazines and writer's sites on the internet. Just thought I ought to mention it.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:07 PM
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I'm nowhere near ready to publish, but I'm learning all I can in anticipation of the day. This thread and others like it have been so helpful! I never knew there were so many options and pitfalls.

Thanks to all the people who've added their knowledge here. It's especially helpful when published authors share their experience!

HoiLei.
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