1. writtenlove
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    writtenlove Member

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    has anyone self published?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by writtenlove, Feb 13, 2010.

    With them online sites like Lulu and Blurb? How is it? What did you do and did people really buy your book?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if so, how many did, who weren't friends and family?

    'twould be good info for new writers to have, when considering self-publishing...
     
  3. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    pays to have a massive extended family!
     
  4. Headroller
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    Headroller Senior Member

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    I'm interested in this too, perhaps try selling them to some specialty shops that sell books/things like your subject matter? How much of an investment would it/did it take to get a box of your novel printed?
     
  5. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    I know someone who self-published and it was just friends, family & work colleagues who bought his book. Most felt pressured to buy it, the book was pretty awful but obviously no one has ever actually told him. I think most copies of his book are just gathering dust somewhere.

    If you want your work to be heard there are lots of art venues and literature/arts fairs & theatres that encourage new writers to come and read their work. This way you get a genuine audience rather than just friends & family.

    Have you ever bought a book that was self-published?
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Self publishing is a difficult route. Going to speciality shops, for example, is an idea, but realistically, how many will they sell?

    I've had my novel, for example, available a few places that aren't bookstores. Each has sold one or two over the past two or so months.

    Some bookstores will stock self published novels, often on a commission, but again, how many will they sell? This often takes a personal relationship with the owner/manager, not only to get them to accept the novel, but don't under estimate the value of having the sales staff recommend your novel. Just being on the shelf, one of literally thousands, means the odds are pretty slim to be noticed, looked at, and ultimately purchased.

    Will a self published novel be available to order through brick and mortar bookstores? Will it be returnable? Where will it be available online (besides the author's website)?

    A good questions presented above: Do you have an audience beyond co-workers and family and friends?

    Another set of questions to ask: What is your goal with the book? What are your expectations? How much do you know about marketing and now much time and money are you willing to sink into it? How will this affect your efforts to write or produce new material (if writing is really your what you love to do--as opposed to sell)?

    It is difficult to break even, let alone make much of a profit when publishing with Lulu or similar ventures (or so I've been told by several authors that went that route) without having works priced higher than the competition published through the traditional route? One can have an offset print run, but that is money up front and it discounts at least the distribution routes that going with someone like Lulu makes available, for a price.

    Other costs include editing and cover art and ISBN? Skimp on those and readership/sales will suffer.

    My experience also indicates that when you apply to be a part of some larger book events, self-published authors are excluded.

    I've purchased a few self-published books over the years, but mostly because I had some connection to the author, and was pretty sure the read would be good--and haven't been disappointed. On the other hand, I've looked at some self-published books (at signings, a few book stores, etc) and well, they're generally substandard. Poor quality editing, writing, set-up/layout, cover. And fairly or unfairly, most self-published authors are tainted by being lumped with those poor quality books.

    I do think that non-ficiton, if the author has specific knowledge and a platform or venue, can be a very positive experience. Fiction is a far tougher road.

    I'd try to get published the traditional route (unless your goal is simply to have a book in hand to share with a small group of family/friends) before going the self-published route.

    Just my rambling two cents.

    Terry
     
  7. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I'm reading a book called Daemon by Daniel Suarez at the moment that was originally self-published then gained enough interest among a particular market (computer nerds/sci-fi/crime fans overlap) and was picked up by a pretty large publisher. Evidently, they didn't re-edit the book after acquiring it, because its rife with frustratingly obvious problems (overuse/misuse of jargon being its biggest killer....every couple of sentences I groan with annoyance and frustration). It's a shame too because the plot is decent and the idea is interesting, but its so poorly executed that I'm not likely to pick up another book by him (or that publisher) again.

    So basically, I'm yet to see a contemporary self-published work that really deserves publication (although there's a Russian novel called Metro 2033 that sounds interesting...)
     
  8. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen some well known authors discuss this recently and even they are very reluctant to try to self publish their work. Only problem I find with Lulu is that the covers are poor, the quality is generally poor and the prices are ridiculous. For me to purchase a book from there and pay for shipping, I could go to the shop and buy 2 or 3 from a 'known' author or famous author and get far better quality.

    Another thing is, unless you are a marketing guru, I really wouldn't suggest it. I dislike Lulu, and places like Lulu. I would rather buy from a small press and help keep small presses going, rather than help to line the pocket of whoever owns these self publishing sites. With a small press, the chances of good quality editing and writing is a lot higher.

    Just my two cents worth as a consumer.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    torana has said it all for me!
     
  10. Ellen1212
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    Ellen1212 Member

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    self publishing

    I did it several years ago with Heliographica, who are now gone. It was not pleasant and even though I know several people bought the book through Amazon, I never got records of sales. I think, even in the best case, self-publishing is only good for non-fiction where there is a niche market. Now I am rewriting the book and will go the traditional route with an agent. As a writer it would be so nice to actually see my book in a book store, not just online.
     
  11. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    A friend of mine has just self-published her eighth novel, after publishing the other seven through normal publishing houses. She won't give specific numbers, but she says she has already made more money on this one than on the previous books. BUT, and it's a big BUT, the amount of work required was huge. She's spent the last 18 months getting the book edited, re-edited, worked on covers, reviewed, and then spent a huge amount of time and energy getting the book onto Amazon and Bookdepository, as well as some of the chain bookshops.

    She reckons that in spite of the extra money, it's not worth the hassle, and she'll go to a regular publisher for the next one. Note that's she's a well known writer with a very good track record.

    If you have a book with a niche audience, I think e-publishing would be a much better bet than self publishing.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    does anyone have info on average e-book sales profits?
     
  13. Mitch445
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    Mitch445 Member

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    ....

    Lulu, Blurb, AuthorHouse, etc, don't really qualify as self publishing. First of all, they own the ISBN and cover design. That right there means you're not the publisher. They don't market your book...title just sits in a massive database. Since they are all about print on demand, it'll cost you a fortune if you need to buy complimentary copies for reviewers.

    Self publishing is expensive too, especially during the 1st printing when you have to include design/editing services amid your unit cost. The first 500 (text-only) copies will generally result in a $6,000 cash outlay ($2,000 for a digital print run with 4 week turn around, $2,000 for cover design & layout, $2,000 for editing) I had no choice but to get Elements of Style and try my own hand at editing. Subsequent runs should only include printing and promotion costs.

    And the costs don't end there. $150 for an ISBN, $25 for a barcode, $25 per piece of clipart used on cover, $50 for a copyright, $80 per year for a domain name & hosting.

    Self publishing is definitely something you must save up for. At least I lost a few pounds cutting back on meals.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they're a variety of 'vanity publishing' that is considered 'self-publishing' since the 'self' [writer] in effect 'hires' them to print their work [and they take on anything/everything sent to them, regardless of quality] and makes the decisions regarding printing style, etc. [depending on what they can afford]...

    unlike traditional [paying] publishers that only take on mss they think they can sell, making all the decisions on how to put the ms into print [with the author's approval]...
     
  15. A.Rose
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    A.Rose New Member

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    I just used iUniverse to self-publish my first novel and I LOVED them. The book isn't out until next month, so I'll come back with the amount of books sold later, but I have to say the experience was great! You can check out their website for full details - but they're the same as a traditional publishing house (except you pay them for it). They go through Baker & Taylor and Ingram.

    I've actually seen their books at the local Barnes & Noble. (They DO offer returnability so that's a huge plus and step to getting it on the shelf.) They put the book on Amazon and B&N.com for you. There's plenty of marketing tools they offer. Yes, there was a lot of work involved, but it was definitely worth it. They gave a very detail editorial evaluation, then I re-edited to fix the problems. After that, they edited it again for punctuation and grammar. (There are higher packages they offer if you feel your book needs more than that. They suggest what they think is best if you're unsure.) When they finished, I got to review it to give the final approval.

    You actually get the final approval for everything, start to finish. And, they do a good job on covers.

    Like I said, my novel isn't out yet. But, so far, I'm glad I'm self-publishing. I'm not in it to make millions (even though that would be awesome). I write because I love writing. I think if I had an agent breathing down my neck, it would become work instead of a passion. :rolleyes: To each their own though! I'm going to market the crap out of my novel and hope for the best!

    I think it depends on what you're trying to get out of it.
     
  16. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    At the request of friends and family, I put out a poetry chapbook using Lulu (I purchased my own ISBN, however, and you can get them much cheaper than Mitch was saying).

    Besides the copies given away or sold to friends and family (which was the main point of the chapbook, I certainly didn't do it for profit, hence picking poetry instead of my unpublished stories or a novel or something), I've sold about 6 copies to strangers via a local bookstore that took a few copies on commission. I'm also offering copies up through amazon myself, though being poetry, I doubt it'll ever sell. I've had one random sale via Lulu.com itself, probably someone finding the link off my website as far as I can tell.

    The numbers I've heard on self-pubbed books is that they sell 75 copies on average. Of course, many sell 0 and a few sell thousands, so average is relative.

    If I choose to self-publish fiction in the future, I'd go the kindle/ebook route. Getting a self-published book out to stores and known to the public is tough, and getting the printing costs low enough to keep it at impulse-buy pricing is tough too. Putting a novel or novella up on kindle for people to try out is cheap (provided you can format it properly and design a good cover) and you can price it at .99 or 2.99 or any price small enough that someone might take a chance if your cover looks nice, the sample is good, and you've got a book description.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's self-contradictory, doncha think?
     
  18. A.Rose
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    A.Rose New Member

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    lol, yes. You're right. I meant that they go through the same processes with you as a regular publishing house would.
     
  19. Janus
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    Janus Member

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    ANYONE ! who designs a over for you and 'retains' the rights to it, is a RUN RUN situation in my opinion.

    Also regardless wether you self publish, pay to publish, etc... If you pay for the service then the book, files and print reafy PDF's should be yours. Simple as that. Also one more thing. Templates...

    Horrid samey, samey, templates. Never deal with anyone who uses them for book covers. I also think there is a bit of printing law here. I believe that if you pay for something, it is yours and includes the right to use, market and exhibit as you deem necessary.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    artists retain the rights to their own work...

    authors can only 'own' the cover art if they created it, or the rights to it are sold/assigned to them contractually...
     
  21. Janus
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    Janus Member

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    I have worked in Graphic Design for over 20 years, the issue with book covers is like any other form of pay for art situation. A tranfer of rights is what is needed.

    I commonly once a client has paid for work fill out and sign what is called a 'transfer of rights' to my clients. That should be done no matter what. What I am doing is giving over my rights for the artwork I created, so that they may do what they please with it.
     
  22. love mikaela. <3
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    love mikaela. <3 New Member

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    I have thought about doing this, but I don't think it would be best to do so.
     

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