1. Cappy and Pegody
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    Cappy and Pegody Member

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    Does ebook self publishing count as published to paper publishers?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Cappy and Pegody, Feb 23, 2016.

    My question is simple. our book is self published through smashwords. We are currently preparing the second edition which is reedited and illustrated. We plan to submit this version to publishers. is it considered unpublished to publishers since it is not on paper or do they consider self publishing being published.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    It's considered published. You will find it very, very hard to get it traditionally published now.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...unless your sales of the self-published version are high enough to attract their attention.
     
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  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, it is published.

    I disagree that it will be very, very hard to get it published traditionally. One friend of mine had her self-published book picked up by Harper Voyager some time after self-publication, and she hardly had stellar sales figures. An agent who asked to see my self-published book told me that in her view it didn't really make a difference whether it was already self-published. If a publisher is interested, they'll ask the self-published book be taken down. Some publishers that take unagented submissions might specify in their guidelines they only want unpublished works. Some publishers may not be interested at all. Apparently, there are also those that don't care that it has been self-published. I think the latter category will continue to grow. Publishers buy books they think they can sell. If they think they can sell yours, they're not going to be dissuaded by this.
     
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  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I can only go by what I've read, which is a unanimous "once you've self published, that's it." Often prefaced with "we used to do this but won't anymore."

    I don't doubt there are other sources saying otherwise. I just haven't come across any.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Clearly, it can't be unanimous :D
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Yes and no. A prospective publisher would not class it in the same category as a book published by another publishing company. Since it's self published the author is the publisher and so if they are making a bid to the author for publishing rights they're also making a bid to the publisher. This is not the same as trying to publish someone else's published work for which the other publisher has a contract which may have to be bought out.

    But it's still published in that the book is out there in webspace in whatever form and so may be competing with their soon to be newly published version of it.

    A completely unpublished book probably has a better chance of being picked up from a published successful author than a self published book from the same author - though of course that also depends on the level of sales success of said book.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    What I've read is!

    But I'm glad @Cappy and Pegody have a shot at this. Good luck guys.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, apologies, I misread your post to mean it was unanimous among publishers! I think looking at publishing as a whole it will make it more difficult than for a never before published work, but I think the difficulty is decreasing, particularly in SF/F. Also I suspect publishers like to keep the slush pile down, but if an agent they have an established relationship with came to them with a book, a policy on this wouldn't likely stop them.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    NOTE:

    I sent an email to my friend who is published through Harper Voyager, and she said they picked up her work during an open submissions period during which time the publisher didn't care about things like prior self-publishing. She felt that it was good for her that she got her submission in during that window, and barring that she thinks they would have had a more negative reaction about prior publication than they did. Since she sent me that info, I wanted to pass it along because she has gone through the experience.

    In SF/F we're seeing more of these kinds of open windows or publishers taking unagented work (thought for how long, if they've opened the flood gates, I don't know). Based on the above, and my own talk with agents and editors who work with the big publishing houses, it seems to me that for some publishers the fact that you've previously published is going to matter (except in certain circumstances such as the open submissions period above), and for some publishers it is going to matter less. It also seems to me that if you manage to land an agent with established relationships with a publisher, it is probably going to matter yet less because of the agent's access to the publisher.

    Notwithstanding my friend's success, and the other high-profile successes of books you see picked up by traditional publishers, I still think the hybrid approach is best, and under that approach my view of things is that you have certain works you're targeting the self-publishing market with, and certain works you're targeting the traditional market with, and they're not really going to overlap unless you become successful enough that a traditional publisher seeks out your already-published works.
     
  11. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    In a nutshell. if you have the quality they are going to want to publish it. Regardless of its merits or lack of, Fifty Shades of
    Gray opened a lot of doors for self-published works.
     
  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    50 Shades was never self-published.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Early versions were, by posting them free online. At some point they were picked up by a small POD publisher. My understanding is the small publisher didn't do a lot of editing, developmental or otherwise, and basically published what EL James had self published online in installments.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lots if books are high quality. Publishers can't publish them all. They're likely to publish what will make them more money. The assumption that first publication rights have zero value doesn't strike me as a safe assumption.
     
  15. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Just saw this and thought it was relevant here:

    She was replying to:



    These are agents. Maybe publishers are different, but Hannah is saying she can't sell to publishers. IDK. I don't plan to self-publish so I have no stakes in this argument!
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That's one agent. I talked to an agent who said the opposite. Seems like it is an individual matter at this point. I think the best strategy is to pursue different works for each.
     
  17. Franselect
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    Franselect Banned

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    i think it is amount of traffic being recieved by your sale profile
     
  18. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Other people can attest to their own experiences with literary agents and publishers, but it appears to me that agents and publishers are an 'all or nothing' type of industry. I don't know if majority are run autocratically and have the stringent directives in place, so when you try and make any headway in the business without their stamp of approval, it is virtually exasperating. Or it's by sheer coincidence, that agents and publishers alike, operate in such an intractable fashion.

    From both personal experience and extensive research, I've reached the conclusion, that publishers and agents work at the extreme ends of the scale. At one end it's an oppressive regime that wield absolute power. If you don't fit in to their uncompromising precepts and jump through their hoops, they will not give you the time of day.

    At the other end of the spectrum, are the publishing houses and literary agents that would fight tooth and claw over signing an in demand author, because they've got a small, loyal fan base out there. Publishers and literary agent claim they're scouting for new talent and they'll nurture new authors, to help them realise their potential. I think they want to be the ones, that invent the wheel and if they can't do that, they don't want to know. They want to be the people that discovered the next 'J. K. Rowling' for instance.

    If it really is the truth, that publishers by and large won't touch you with a 10-foot barge pole, because you have taken the initiative to self publish first, it's another nail in the coffin of attempting to fulfill your writing aspirations. I knew the deck was stacked against the unpublished author and in favour of the publishers, but this makes the endeavour of entering into the writing vocation, that much more weary and enfeebled. (Sigh)
     
  19. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What are you basing any of this on? What's your personal experience?
     
  20. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    I feel I've had this conversation with you before. If you are the right person I'm thinking of, then if my memory serves me correctly, you are already a published author?

    If that's the case, you don't have the same obstacles to overcome, as I and many people on this site and in the wider world. You won't see it from my perspective, as I'm an unpublished writer and you're a published writer. I can't see this subject from your stance and you can't see this subject from my stance.
     
  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, okay, except I've BEEN an unpublished author, and I currently work with agents and publishers, and I just... I don't know. I'm just not seeing the things you're describing.

    I can understand being frustrated about it being a hard gig to break into. It IS a hard gig to break into, and it's even harder to maintain your place once you're in.

    But I don't think that's because of an "oppressive regime" - unless you also consider, like, gravity an oppressive regime. That is, reality is reality, and sometimes reality sucks.

    I've worked with almost ten different publishers, and therefore had contact with probably over a hundred people working in publishing, and I can think of only two who were really power-hungry assholes. And one of them got fired for his behaviour, so it's not like his nonsense was considered acceptable. ETA: And the other owns the company, so she can't get fired, but the company is currently going down in a ball of nasty fire, largely because good authors don't trust her and refuse to work with her.

    Publishing is a business, and it's a tough business--one of my favourite e-pubs just announced yesterday that they were going out of business. Despite doing everything right, as far as I could see, they just couldn't make it work. So, yeah, people in the business are reluctant to take risks and hungry to sign books they think will make them money. But they're doing it because that's their reality, not because they're autocratic or because the deck's stacked in their favour.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, people tend to overlook the business aspect, which is the aspect you have to think about most. You can have a great book, but if a publisher doesn't think they can sell it for some reason, why would they take it on? On the other hand, if they think they can sell tons of copies of your neighbors crappy book, why wouldn't they take it on? When you submit to publishers you are not only competing with other authors but you're going through an evaluation as a business partner. And there are so many people asking to be their business partners that they need reasons to say no quickly to a lot of them and focus their time and money on the very few that look like they are going to make money.
     
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  23. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Well good luck, I hope you stay there.

    To paraphrase your comments, it all boils down to 'money talks'. Of course it does, I'm not a simpleton. The whole planet revolves around money. That sort of lends more credence to my point of view. Publishers and literary agents aren't being altruistic when they deal with authors. It's about the bottom line, if that means they sacrifice entertaining an aspiring author, then that's what they will do. If they have an author that'll churn out two books a year, that doesn't have discernible talent as a writer (I'll use '50 shades' as an example) but the shock factor that has entered into the public consciousness, is selling the book, rather than the quality of the literature.

    An author that actually does have the writing skills, will be passed by for the sought-after, mass quantity remnant.

    Don't get me started on the subject of 'gravity'. That's a whole different kettle of fish. :D
     
  24. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So your issue isn't really with the publishing houses, it's with the reading public. The publishers are just following the demands of the market, right?

    I think the more interesting question, for me, is what is it that makes the market glom on to certain books? What's the secret, there?
     
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  25. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The arguments on here seem to boil down to this: if you want to get your book traditionally published, don't self publish first. Instead, seek agents first, via the query (or conference) process.

    If you are universally rejected (and be patient about this, as interest and acceptance seems to take a lot of time) THEN go ahead and self-publish if you want to.

    If your self-published book does take off and becomes a hit, then by all means query your NEXT book with the information that your first book has sold umpteen copies and you have an audience already inbuilt for your next one. If the publisher takes you on and decides it's worth republishing your first book as well as the second, then fantastic.

    I think the mistake is to rush to self publication (it's a mistake to rush no matter what you eventual goal may be) and THEN say ...woops, oh shit, I wish I'd queried a few agents first.

    There are always people who succeed despite bending the rules, but that doesn't happen very often, does it?
     
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