1. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Does self-publishing eliminate your chances...

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by JetBlackGT, Jul 27, 2014.

    Of getting that book "real-published"?

    Is it a turn-off for an agent to see that an author already has several books in vanity publishing or can they turn those books into books published by an actual publishing company?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Publishers usually won't publish books that have already been published, and this includes any type of vanity publishing. So if you want to submit something to a publisher, don't publish it yourself.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It hurts your chances greatly. Publishers invariable require "first publication rights" from unknown authors because otherwise the likelihood of turning a profit drops from "questionable" to "betting it all on double zero".

    If the work is already published, then first publication rights are used up.
     
  4. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    It takes hard work, and a long time to build a good book. Rejections are normal. Agents receive so many inquires per day, they can’t read them all. It is true they are looking for a well written story the publishers will buy. Some agents hire weekend readers. They tell them what to look for. It only takes three, or four sentences to get a feel for the writing. Sad, but true, many of these readers just open a query letter, and toss it.

    Self publishing is not the way to go. Readers, after buying several bad Ebook feel they are just a waste of money. I know many very good writers who have fallen into the trap of self publishing…the lucky ones might make $500 for their efforts.

    Rather than self pub, try the agents who work with the four big New York Publishers. If you fail, do a rewrite, and try again. Author Golden, author of, “Memoirs of a Geisha,” spent ten years of rejects, and two complete rewrites before he sold his book in 1999. I later became a movie.
    We all believe we have a winning story. The truth is, our baby need to grow up. Over time our talent will improve, and our rewrite efforts will start to pay off.
    The only writers who have a chance of selling, are those who stick with it. Keep writing new stuff, and keep rewriting your best work.
    You know the old saying, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree with most of the above. Publishers will make the exception if the book has really done well self-published - but it's got to have done really well. They might be more inclined to look at your next book if, again, your self-published book has done really well. So if you're even considering trade publishing a book, work on that first.
     
  6. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    It is strange. I could only name the publisher of one of my books. Do readers care what edition the book is or who published it? The only reason I noticed the publisher on those books was that the little tag was so colorful. Other than that, I would not be able to even guess who published Michael Crichton's books. Tom Clancy, JK Rowling, etc.. And I've read their stuff multiple times :-(
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I assume that the first edition of a book gets the most sales, not because the readers care what edition it is, but because it's new.

    Of course, if the previous self-published version just vanished under the waves without many sales, then when it's traditionally published it's as if it's "new" to the readers, right?

    Except, a few copies are probably out there, and they're probably a different, less well-edited, version of the book that the publisher, if that publisher picked it up, is now advertising and putting its name on. So if someone buys the poorly-edited version, they're going to think of that as the work of the publisher. Having the amateur version out there isn't going to be good for the publisher's reputation. And will reviewers and booksellers and other people that the publisher depends on treat the book as new?

    Edited to add: I realize that there's a can't-win issue here. If the book did moderately well, it's not new. If the book did poorly, then it's its own evidence that it doesn't appeal to readers. Now, it may not have sold because self-published books just don't sell much. But why should a publisher buy a book that is demonstrating its own failure?

    There are probably other down sides that I'm not coming up with. I'd guess that given that any publisher has zillions of agents offering them zillions of well-vetted works with shiny new first publication rights still available, they have no reason to buy the already-published works.

    Returning to whether the reader notices the publisher: When a book does have that self-published vibe, I do check the publisher, and if it looks self-published I won't buy it. This is due to buying several self-published books and being disappointed in every one of them--I'm done giving self-published works a chance, for a while.
     
  8. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    A writer should spend time learning the publishing business. Most publishers will not give a first time author an advance…here is why:

    Before an author makes any money on a book, all expenses are taken out, this includes big salaries for the publishers…there may be nothing left for the author.
    If a publisher has a book going to press that is like yours, they will contract it, put it in a drawer, and let it rot there. You have to have a good agent that will keep you safe, and secure an advance.
    You never sell a publisher all the right to your book, such as movie rights…a publisher does not need all the rights.

    The publishing business is a small circle…they eat lunch together. Authors are often the lunch on their plates. Learn who you are dealing with. It is a heartless business…move slow, don’t jump at the first offer. The advance is all most writers get.
     
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  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like you're confusing book publishing with music publishing.
     
  10. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Generally, new writers don't get advances, not sure why this even came up, because an advance is literally the publisher paying you in advance for your next book so you can eat and work at home rather than need a day job. They give it to authors who have already made money or made money for them.

    If the first book you sell to a publisher ends up being a NY Best Seller and sells hundred thousand copies in less than a month, you can expect an advance for part two or something else as you have a proven sales record that generated more money than expected. If you sell average, you'll get average pay and no advance. You'll just get your 3k for the book and whatever royalities you're owed at every quarter.

    Just a fun note: there's a sort of advance, I forgot the term, that is your pay with no royalities unless the royalties exceed what you were already paid (As in, they paid you 'royalties' before they were even generated) and a similar clause that if you do not make the publisher X money they already paid you, you will need to return the difference by Y cut off date.

    Be careful of those clauses as they can REALLY f' you royally if you spent the money.

    If you ever get a contract, read it carefully yourself or find a lawyer who'll give you the details of it for cheap. Publishers , not all, will try to buy rights to movies, commercial items, language rights, international rights, or other ones they do not need or probably don't even use. Why should you lose Spanish Rights when your publisher only publishes in North America and have never translated any of their books? Those Rights are worth money, and if yourbook sells well, you sell the Spanish Rights to a Spanish Publishers if they're interested.

    As always, make sure to use a real lawyer for any legal advice and go over your contracts with a fine tooth comb as you never know what you're selling.
     
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  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always thought that this was the most standard contract until the recent past--modest advance against royalties, paid when they accept your completed book. If your royalties exceeded the advance they'd start paying them; if they didn't meet the advance you didn't have to pay it back but the odds were lower that they'd be interested in your next book.

    I say "until the recent past" because my understanding is that they less often give any advance against royalties for a first book?
     
  12. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to clarify - most larger publishers will pay an advance. It is not an advance on the next book (why pay for something that hasn't even been written yet?); it is an advance on the royalties for the current book. It is not paid after all other expenses - it is one of those expenses. Advances are based on how well the publisher thinks the book will sell, and most of the time, books will not earn out (sell enough to start paying actual royalties) because the publishers are pretty darn good at estimating sales. Now, the new author may not get as big an advance as an established one, and small publishers (and particularly e-only pubs) may not pay any advance, but I'd have to see some cites to accept the claim that "most" publishers don't pay advances.
     
  13. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak
    My info is just from research here and there, not exactly sure what the normal standard is nowadays. From what I understood, every publishers does it differently so you just gotta understand how they pay you rather than just say thank you and think nothing of it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  14. Artist369
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    Artist369 Active Member

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    But by the same token, say you self-publish that book because no one would take a chance on you- think a publisher would publish the sequel if they can see the first did well (on Amazon for example)?
     
  15. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    It's a gamble. If it does great, they'll snap it up. If it tanks, it will never get published again. Chances are it will tank, even if it's good. Fifty Shades is an extremely rare example of a self-published and free ebook that got picked up.
     
  16. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    And if another book, you write, takes off, you can just get all your money from Amazon, for the others you've written. I think if one book went best seller, I would not necessarily hand over the others to a publisher.
     

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