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Self-published books: pain or gain?


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In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 19:12:05 GMT
Marand says:
Thanks - can't think why Marion deleted it as it's a fair point.

Posted on 29 Jan 2014 22:24:55 GMT
I Readalot says:
But then that graduate trainee might just pick up on a gem, something that the older and more experienced staff would pass over. On the other hand they probably have to wade through a lot of really bad stuff as well and like most of us, if the beginning doesn't have the right kind of hook and if there are too many basic errors they will chuck it away.

Posted on 29 Jan 2014 22:35:31 GMT
I was reading, what I thought was a very sensible blog post the other day, basically saying that if you write a book pretend you're going to self publish and then at the point when you'd upload it, start to submit it to agents and publishers. The theory was that it will be publishable of you give up and people in trad will be far more likely to read it, too.

Cheers

MTM

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2014 08:39:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jan 2014 08:42:23 GMT
Tui Allen says:
I Byrne, it's reached nearly 2 thousand readers now, has won its challenge, has increased my novel's sales and has been translated into Hebrew and printed on posters to be presented to the Japanese ambassador in Te Aviv at a protest there tomorrow. Well over 400 people have accepted the invitation to go to the protest. It's one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me and the stats are still climbing. It's been read in 720 cities around the world.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2014 16:31:17 GMT
Marand says:
I don't disagree with that - I guess if you are reading the slushpile you can probably figure out the duds very easily and younger people often seem to be more adventurous in their reading tastes in the sense that they haven't formed habits. I suspect that a new graduate trainee will be more likely to give things a chance - it takes a couple of years for disillusionment to set in.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2014 17:01:54 GMT
Or they're big-headed know-it-all, like me, who dismiss anything that has a few typos. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2014 22:53:29 GMT
E. C. says:
But even if the new grad finds something appealing, they then have to get the next person on the ladder to rubber stamp it to the next level ...

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2014 11:03:29 GMT
Marand says:
I'm not going to complain about publishers being selective - it's a business and decisions have to be made.

Posted on 31 Jan 2014 11:50:58 GMT
The business side of it is one of the reasons I self published. The kind of stuff I write is still frowned upon by the establishment, really. Also I worked for an acquisitive company. I know what happens when profitable small business get bought by big ones and it's this, the big ones discover that what is profitable for their small competitors will not turn enough profit to break even for them. If the big Six, Five, Four... are anything like the company I used to work for, that's what they'll have discovered, anyway. Break even, for my lot, was about 30% profit. I doubt other areas of business are so different.

It will all equalise in the end, it always does. Smaller companies will grown and fill the void in the middle, companies who can make 10% on something and call it a profit. In the meantime, I can publish my own work and hopefully find the nice of readers who will enjoy it.

Cheers

MTM

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2014 14:27:55 GMT
I Readalot says:
Although when it comes to publishing when smaller outfits are acquired they generally continue as an imprint, making their own editorial decisions. The ones that specialised in literary novels/sci fi/history/crime etc carry on doing what they are best at. At the same time they have the backup of a big publisher so that they can't be pressured by the chains even Az to 'give us this discount or we won't stock your books' it does happen.

Posted on 31 Jan 2014 17:06:54 GMT
Man, would I suck as a publisher. I'm pretty much in love with all of my books and see a market for them, yet I can't sell 'em. haha. I'd be bankrupt before the whole business would start.

Posted on 1 Feb 2014 10:11:07 GMT
A lot of GOOD sps aren't selling because the writer does not have the resources to do a market drive. It might seem like a good idea for a group of SPs to get together and pool resources, but I would not want to recommend a book that I have not read and enjoyed, which would mean an awful lot of reading and often books we would not read normally. If we marketed willy-nilly then no one would pay attention anyway. Mostly when I'm writing, I read for research. I also go to a class 'writing for the media' and am studying for that.
At the end of the day, I do believe marketing and hype (even better than having a good book) the best way to sell.

Posted on 1 Feb 2014 10:57:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Feb 2014 16:00:19 GMT
Plus in such 'groups' are always books that are 'accepted and promoted' because people are too scared to hurt someone. Understandable. A person has delivered one or two great books, but the next one's rubbish. The person has done a lot for the group: edited, cover-designed, organised, so you let this book slip through. I've seen it happening. A good book is just that: a good book. It doesn't mean big sales.
A book needs to have an appeal for a wide audience to reach many sales, in addition to be good, of course.

Anyway, I'm out for a ride, the weather's quite all right. If you see a blonde girl on a red Viscount in Hyde Park, say hello. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Feb 2014 15:13:25 GMT
Joolz says:
Just a suggestion; proof your posts before your post them, then you will not (hopefully) make so many errors!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Feb 2014 15:59:41 GMT
You're right, sorry. I was in a rush to get out of the house.

Posted on 1 Feb 2014 18:12:42 GMT
Yeh, agreed. There is a small handful of authors whose books I've read, who write in my genre and I publicise their stuff and they mine. I get very leery about mutual back scratching without substance, so to speak, ie knowledge that the books are decent.

It is very difficult. I also find, again and again, that real world sales of my book far outstrip anything I can achieve online. Which is weird but there we are.

cheers

MTM

Posted on 1 Feb 2014 22:10:51 GMT
Jana Petken says:
I am a self published author with both hardback and paperback in print, plus Ebook, and kindle. My book, containing 714 pages took me six years to write because of intense research and interviews with Civil War witness, a study of nuns, turn of the 20th century life in, England and Spain, and a menagerie of colourful characters, all fictional, with plots and sub plots.

It has been proofread various times and professionally edited. I believe that self publishing is not a curse or a plague, as stated by a reader on an Amazon forum thread. It doesn't matter where or how the book was published. It is the quality of the story and the writing that should be judged. I believe that every book published should be given the opportunity to be read without bias or preconceptions. I have read some pretty terrible trade published books and I have also read some very good self published books. The problem today is that the market is flooded because of self publishing. Self publishers see only money, not the writing and they will publish rubbish in a heartbeat. This is a fact.

It is a double edged sword that faces authors because readers have so much choice and for this reason great but unknown books and talented new authors are being overlooked. How does a reader pick from the Amazon jungle of millions of books? This is my question and concern.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 09:33:46 GMT
Don't be so pedantic. We're only chatting for goodness sake!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 09:35:34 GMT
Agree with all of the above.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 10:07:01 GMT
No, it's totally okay to remind authors of watching their posts; after all it's a public forum where books are sold. It's something else when I post on a non-writing related forum (cooking, or whatnot), but it's not good advertisement when your posts are riddled with errors. I do appreciate that there are dyslexic authors among us, but I'm not, and I criticise SP authors sharply, so I better get my posts right. My errors are rather random, made because I'm in a rush (sometimes because I'm not English), but when I see recurring errors in posts (like apostrophes or else) I lose trust in the authors' work.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 16:52:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2014 23:27:52 GMT
Marand says:
Jana

"It is the quality of the story and the writing that should be judged."

I don't think you'll find anyone on this thread who disagrees with that. The trouble, for many of us, is that the general quality of SP books is woeful. It just isn't realistic to say that all books should be read without bias or preconceptions - it is human nature to base decisions on prior experiences, whether that be when buying books or any other activity. You are right though that many SP authors publish books that aren't up to par and the issue of quality adversely affects those authors who do produce good work, tarring everyone with the same brush.

This issue is exacerbated by the choice of material that is available. I read recently that in the UK 150,000 new titles are issued each year. I assume that the figure is based on new ISBN numbers and I guess it will include re-issues/new editions, trad & SP, but even so that is an astonishingly large number. In the US the figure is closer to 300,000 new titles. With those sorts of numbers it isn't just SP authors who struggle to get noticed. I don't doubt that there are some good SP books in existence but such is the level of dross that I seldom even look at an SP book, never mind buy one. I might miss the odd gem but at least I am not wasting time on the duds. I agree that there are some pretty ropey TP books too, but proportionately they are fewer.

EDITED TO REMOVE DUPLICATED PHRASE

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 19:26:25 GMT
I Readalot says:
Marand, as you can imagine I see a lot of those new titles, in fact I have a fair few of them in my to read pile, plus a few more proofs I have requested through 'NetGalley' (proofs as ebboks). I have read some wonderful debut novels over the years that hardly sell at all. Then there are the authors who have written several quality novels but manage at best to get a cult following. It is easy to miss gems in trad published which is why I try to read as many unknowns (to me anyway) as poss. I have just finished reading 'The Last Werewolf' (Net Galley)by Glen Duncan first published a few years back and now being reissued along with the other 2 in the trilogy - a real gem for fans of adult literary horror, I have already ordered the second 2. That is just one example of something I missed and now I will be recommending it in the shop.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 21:37:31 GMT
Marand says:
I can well imagine! I really was staggered by the statistics - I just can't see how that is sustainable although perhaps it reflects a shortish-term blip with the sudden popularity of self-publishing. I think if I worked in a book shop that I wouldn't have time to eat (although thinking about it that would be no bad things) - so much temptation on the shelves!

I'm not reading much fiction at the moment: I'm taking a post-grad level garden design course and my reading material is the next thing off the very lengthy booklist. After a long absence from formal study this has come as more of a shock that I expected. I've also signed up for some FutureLearn courses which in hindsight was a bit rash. Of course I haven't stopped buying other books so the TBR grows ever longer. To be honest I suspect if I didn't buy a book for four or five years I still wouldn't have caught up.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 22:09:16 GMT
Joolz seems to be lurking until one of us miss-types something. C'mon Joolz. Out of the woodwork with you.

cheers

MTM

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 22:32:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2014 22:33:03 GMT
Seeing your post I thought, "ooo!".

I've just looked at Net Galley. They want over $400 to list my book for (edited for numerical ineptitude) 6 months. That looks like a rate for medium sized to large publishers to me. That's the cost of my whole print run. I swear I could spent about five grand on industry body fees. They're all 100 a pop and there are tons of them.

Hmm....

Trouble is, if I had 20k I'd publish 10 more books. Looks like I should be spending it on marketing one.

Cheers

MTM
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
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Initial post:  17 May 2012
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