1. scifiwriter
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    scifiwriter Member

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    Debut author turned down $120,000, 3 books New York deal to self-publish

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by scifiwriter, Jan 19, 2014.

  2. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is only a guess on my part but I think the author made a dumb move. But she's good with it and that's what counts.
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe this is the way to go for the just-add-water romance stories that the author writes in 12 days. It's not the way I would have gone, but each author should do what's right for herself.
     
  4. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you can show me established authors leaving (big) publishing houses in favour of self publishing, I would think differently about it.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  6. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    HarperCollins "big" enough for you? How about Lawrence Block - a hugely successful author of well over 100 books and winner of countless awards: is he an "established" enough author for you?He's been published at some point over the past 50 years by most major publishing houses and (obviously enough) commands huge advances. Why do you think his most recent book is self-published?

    Does he make you "think differently about it" or was it just a rhetorical claim, on which you thought nobody would ever "call" you?
     
  7. Edward M. Grant
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    To be fair, $120,000 for three books isn't such a great deal anyway. It's much better than most new writers are offered, but it's less than many mid-list writers were receiving only a few years ago.
     
  8. lex
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    You and I evidently have different beliefs about what "mid-list" means. (Not that that's a huge surprise: people seem to mean very varied things by this notoriously vague term!).

    I hear you that advances these days are typically smaller than they were pre-2008. Far smaller. No question.

    (By the way, this was an advance of $120,000 for the first book of a three-book deal, not $120,000 for three books in a three-book deal, wasn't it?)
     
  9. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I saw a number of mid-list writers (people I'd never heard of before who had published a dozen or more novels) in the late 2000s posting online that their typical advance was $40-60k per book.

    According to the second link in the first post:

    "What were the offers? In a nutshell: A three book deal. Print distribution (Trade paperback). $40,000 advance per book. $120,000 in total."

    I'd have to think hard about accepting that, particularly with a non-compete clause. In fact, I can pretty safely say I wouldn't accept it with a non-compete clause.

    Edit: unless it was very specific, e.g. no other books in that particular series with those particular main characters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
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  10. Fitzroy Zeph
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    HarperCollins? They made potato mashers, right? Seriously though, I would need the whole picture. Are they previously rejected novels? Are they written in a style his publisher doesn't want to touch?
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have read about some established authors leaving big publishers for self-pubbing, but I think that's something different -- they're already established. They've already got followers/readers. They can generate some real publicity and buzz. It's much tougher for a new, unknown author.
     
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  12. GingerCoffee
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    Disclaimer, I plan to self publish if my book is not picked up and I don't know why there are such strong naysayer feelings among some in this forum.

    That said, I've been looking at different self-promotional techniques and this one screams at me. I have questions not meant to offend, just looking at what I see:

    New Member @scifiwriter: Are you Ms Aubry or an agent acting on her behalf? Because it sure looks like you are.

    Silver Griffon Associates is shown as the publisher of the main book by this author. They are not listed on Preds&Eds. And a look at Barnes&Noble shows the only two books by this editor are by Brenna Aubrey.

    The article is not a news article, rather it's a blog by the author herself.

    I think it's clever marketing. I'm not sure it's appropriate to sneak it in as a forum discussion, but I've not reported it to any mods as I'm suspicious but didn't look further for evidence because I don't care. I would bet though that we can find similar posts as the OP on other forums.

    The odds the OP just wants a discussion on self publishing: ~1%
    The odds the OP is a marketing ploy: ~99%

    Sorry, it's my nature. While I hate marketing, I admire those who do it well and hope to learn some techniques that I may soon need.
     
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  13. lex
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    This. Exactly. :)

    The whole "I'll think again if someone shows me a well established author leaving a major publisher to go self-published" line seems to me to be totally fallacious. There are actually loads of them, of course, but this isn't the relevant point, at all.

    What normally happens when you actually start showing those successful authors to the people who've asked is that they then say either "Well, I'll have to think about it and see all the details" (in other words trying to weasel out of what they just claimed earlier) or they say "Well, that's different, those are well-established authors with a huge following, and that doesn't apply to me". The latter point, I think, is a perfectly true and valid one: it really isn't relevant to me that Lawrence Block is now a self-publisher (although I admit I found all his many reasons interesting). But that just illustrates the futility of the "I'll think again if someone shows me a well established author leaving a major publisher to go self-published" line, doesn't it? Naturally it's easy enough to do (and getting easier all the time), but when you do, it isn't really very germane to the discussion, anyway, I think? ;)
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    So further looking because I can't help myself ...

    Anyone know if the numbers on KBoards are totally made up or does anyone ever call authors on their own numbers? I do see fair sales showing on Kindle.

    I see also that @scifiwriter, with one exception, pretty much only has posts related to promoting this author's books.


    This is very clever marketing, BTW. We should commend the effort, not necessarily condemn it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  15. lex
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    I think it's probably hard for people to prove their sales numbers, isn't it? "Statements" and "payment records" and the like are certainly sometimes posted in forums, but I think they're probably open to the objection (from extreme cynics, and people who don't like self-publishing sometimes are "extreme cynics"!) that "they could be forged". :rolleyes:

    For sure ... and of course that's only one outlet. (Some at Kboards say they make much more in other places).

    To some extent, sales can be "guestimated" by Amazon rankings, numbers of reviews, and so on.

    And self-published authors as successful as Russell Blake are, of course, all over the news media for their book sales at the moment. In my opinion that says a lot about his work ethic and output, and I find the fact that he happens to be self-published much less interesting (there are, after all, thousands of successful self-published authors: this is history, not news).
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    That wasn't my point. I was just asking about this author's claim of having 10K Kindle sales on a first book in a couple months by a debut author.

    I'm not a skeptic of self publishing, lex, your cynicism about my post confuses me. Or perhaps I'm misreading it.

    Actually, only daily sales, not total sales can be estimated by the Kindle rank. If you sell 10 books in a day, you get a fairly high rank. The key is if one sustains a high rank and that only shows if an author graphs their ranking. (I think only the author can access that data, but I'm not sure.)

    I don't see a lot of evidence this author turned down a publishing contract. Not saying it isn't true, it depends on who 'Silver Griffon Associates' really are. I think it's a clever marketing ploy set up over a couple months time.

    But that doesn't have an impact on my opinion of self publishing.
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the bias against self-publishing stems from the fact that there are a fair number of people who do try to get traditionally published, but don't make it. This could even be with as little effort as one letter to an agent and not getting an acceptance. Or it could be years and years of valiant effort. But at some point, the writer becomes frustrated and says "F*ck traditional publishing. They don't know something good when they see it." And they go and self publish. Some of these authors, have of course, written something good, but for whatever reason, it just doesn't get picked up. Others, though, really have written something that is not very good. Then there are others who just want to write and get their stuff published ASAP, and they don't care to spend the time really polishing the work. So, this leads to a much higher percentage of just bad stuff that's out there in the self-pubbed world. I think there are people who just don't want to be lumped in with those folks at all because they really believe their stuff is good, and don't want to go any route that's widely perceived as anyone's second choice.

    Looking at this as a reader, I virtually never read anything that is self-published. The only time I ever do is if I've had some kind of direct interaction with the author (including an interaction on a forum such as this one -- although even then, there's no guarantee.) But this isn't because I have a bias against self-pubbed stuff. It's simply due to the fact that most self-pubbed stuff isn't going to make it onto my radar. I have no reason to go searching for it, because I have so very many books in my TBR pile that I will never run out of stuff to read.

    I know there are people, and I have a friend who does this, who are very swayed by price. Their thought process is, I need something to read. Let me see what I can get on my kindle for $3.99 or less -- ah yes, look, there are plenty of choices. Why should I pay $10 or $20 for something else? I, personally, just can't wrap my head around this line of thinking. To me, price isn't really an issue -- it's more of a time issue. Even if I can get a book for free, I don't want to clog up my kindle (which is my vast second choice way to read a book - I much prefer paper), so I rarely download a free book (again, unless the author him/herself has directly appealed to me to do so). If there's a book I want that I think is too expensive, I'll wait until I can get it at the library, or buy it on bargain, or in a used bookstore or something. I don't know how many people out there are like me, versus how many out there are like my friend.
     
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  18. lex
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    I know ... I didn't mean you! Apologies: I would have specified this, if it had occurred to me that I might come across that way! :oops: :)
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    No worries. :)

    I don't understand the issue. Both means have their good and their bad. Publishers act as gatekeepers. That can weed out some of the chaff, but not all and a lot of wheat falls out as well. Self publishing lets the author reach the reading public directly, but without a gatekeeper the field is cluttered with much too much chaff and the good books have to find a way to be noticed.

    But in the end, it takes a good book to take off regardless of the publisher. I hate picking up books by 'So and So, best selling author' only to find it's atrocious.

    To me it's a wash.
     
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  20. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    I'm like you.

    I don't really look at prices.

    I'm not quite sure, but I think that what you're discussing here might actually be mostly a "Kindle issue", rather than a "self-publishing issue" in general?
     
  21. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    For someone like me, price definitely is an issue. I'm a student and can only afford to buy maybe 2-3 books a month from a used book store. Unless the $10 book is really good, I'm going with the $5 one. As it currently stands, I think most e-books by self-published writers are priced fairly. I've seen prices ranging from $2-5, which is definitely affordable.
     
  22. GingerCoffee
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    It's an interesting side point, the $2.99 self published e-books are likely going to drive down the price of the $9.99 published e-books.
     
  23. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    One can only hope!
     
  24. chicagoliz
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    It's related to the kindle issue, in that these days, most of the self-pubbed authors utilize e-books, and the biggest market for those is amazon. (Yes, there's smashwords and indys, and B&N and all of those together can be bigger than amazon, but amazon is so big that there are plenty of authors who stick exclusively with them). Often, the self pubbed authors will utilize a print on demand feature, which does allow for an actual book to be ordered. But, the issue is the same -- that self pubbed book wouldn't get on my radar in the first place. I think for most self-pubbed authors, it only makes sense to focus on the e-book market, since it is so much more economical, and these days, most people (at least those who are shopping online) have at least the ability to read an ebook, even if it is not their preference.
     
  25. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not so sure about this. I read that the cost of actually printing the books is a very small part of the costs involved with publishing a book. The publishers don't want to completely cannibalize the sales of their print books, although they do make the e-book versions cheaper. They're still the ones who are getting a lot of the word out about the books, and I think that the demand for a particular book isn't going to be swayed all that much by the existence of a $2 self-pubbed e-book.

    Although I said price isn't the main consideration for me in terms of books, it actually is a big consideration w/r/t an ebook. I will not pay more than $10 for an ebook, and even that is rare. Usually I won't pay more than about $5. If I really want the book, I want it in actual book format, anyway. So again, if it's too expensive, I'll wait until I can get it for less, which usually isn't ridiculously long.

    (Of course, right now I'm having an issue, because there is a book I want, but it's over $30 - in paperback, even. It's published by a university press, so there's not much hope of finding it discounted, or used, but I'm going to keep looking. It's a book I'd like to have, because I'd like my son to read it later, so I'm going to have to either wait a while or break down and spend the money, which is tough -- I'm not sure I've ever paid $30 for a book I wanted - that is not a college or law school textbook. I did spend $25 a few years ago, and it is for one of my very favorite books and I am so happy to own it, so that was still a good purchase -- also from a university press.)
     

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