1. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    Konrath's publishing/bookselling predictions for 2014

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by lex, Dec 28, 2013.

    I thought these might interest some forum members: http://jakonrath.blogspot.ca/2013/12/konraths-publishing-predictions-2014.html :)

    If anyone's instinctively inclined to be dismissive of them, or to accuse Konrath of having an agenda, they might like first to take a look at his predictions from December 2009 (to which there's a link inside the post linked to above), which were ridiculed by some at the time, and see what proportion of them turned out to be reasonable. ;)
     
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  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I can agree with a lot of what he's saying. For example, Barnes and Noble prices are just way too high. A lot of the book lovers I know prefer Amazon or used book stores, so they're losing quite a few customers to places with cheaper prices. Also, ebooks are definitely becoming more and more popular, so I can see libraries trying to take advantage of that.

    That being said, with all the self-published books out there, people are going to have to wade through more crap to find the gems.
     
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  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Konrath most assuredly has an agenda to promote self-publishing. He is by no means an impartial observer of industry trends. A look at his blogs and other Internet information about him readily reveals that.

    Self-publishing is an option, but don't be fooled into thinking it is going to replace traditional publishing in the foreseeable future.

    There are no shortcuts to success, no matter how you define it. Every path has its pitfalls and its attractions. Keep a realistic set of expectations.
     
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  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even a broken clock is right twice a day. That's about how much I'm willing to give Konrath. He's spread more misinformation and caused more divisiveness than any ten authors put together, and done more harm to those who want to self-publish than any good he might have done had he not been so vindictive over his rejections.
     
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  5. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    I agree that it would be nice to hear these things a little less from Konrath and a little more from the far more widespread and representative "midlist authors" who are so successfully making their livings through self-publishing, some of them having failed - to varying extents - to do so through traditional publishing. (However, his happened to be the site where I saw this announced).

    With all the research firms such as Forrester and others still projecting rapid, double-digit growth for digital publishing, with the massive increase in mobile devices, and with countless other factors, it's pretty clear that this is very much "still the beginning" for self-publishing.

    The Kindle platform is clearly going to continue to grow and the cream will - as ever - rise to the top. I haven't been so excited about such an opportunity before. The Kindle authors with whom I stay in touch are all doing phenomenally well. So much so that it's becoming a little less "remarkable" how many are steadily making increasing five-figure monthly incomes through the platform.

    Many of this new wave of successful authors are people who are pretty much uninterested in doing a lot of marketing and don't really have the skills/experience to do much. However, they're skilled (just like traditionally published authors) at writing for their target audiences and in their targeted genres, and they tend to be great storytellers.

    Above all, they're people who consistently write high quality material which people want to read.

    Eventually, it may even become possible for members of writing forums to spread the good news about such opportunities without immediately encountering an instinctive barrage of reservations from a prejudice-motivated minority. But enough of that for now - it's back to writing, for me. ;)
     
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  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Writing forums do not a market make, nor can you expect them to. The Kindle platform suffers from the same ill as all other self-publishing venues. They may facilitate putting a manuscript into a distributable form, but they do nothing to help distinguish the quality writing from the flood of crud.

    This is not a minor glitch that can be remedied with some minor adjustments, It is inherent in the self-publishing paradigm, because there is no independent arbiter of quality to satisfy in order to produce the product. For that reason, the traditional publishing model will remain the dominant path for new writers to gain recognition. The traditional approach filters out most of the worst garbage. The new writer will still have to excel among the volume of other unknowns, but the odds are only poor, not utterly hopeless.

    Turning a book into a distributable format is the easy part. Getting it out to a wide population and making it stand out is the part that self-publishing does not, and can not, adequately address.

    Once an author becomes known, the entire game changes. And those are the statistics that are used to make self-publishing appear more attractive than it is, the statistics of the author who has already gathered a loyal fan base through the traditional model.
     
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  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's clearly happening. It's there. I see it every time I shop at Amazon for my Kindle.

    I have bought and enjoyed self published books. I have bought and enjoyed traditionally published books.
    I have bought and regretted self published books. I have bought and regretted traditionally published books.

    To say that self publishing is a fad or that there is no chance of lucrative gain is ridiculous and flies in the face of empirical data. The same was said of E-Book devices that some purists still scorn for their lack of paper glue smell or touch or feel or whatever other artsy my skirt/pants are made of organic wheat sentiment they hold to their oh-so-sensitive bosoms. I like the idea that people are taking to self publication because it smells of democracy. That's the artsy feelsy organic-wheaty thing I hold to my bosom. ;)
     
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree @Wreybies . And I think it is inevitable that things will continue to move in that direction. It is understandable that people invested in the traditional route, or in the dream of pursuing that route, will maintain a negative view of self-publishing, but I suspect in the near future it will become increasingly plain, even to a lot of the holdouts, that self-publishing is viable. I think we're going to see more traditional publishing houses pick up self-published authors as well. Self-publishing a work no longer ensures that a traditional publisher will refuse to consider it.
     
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  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of the newer hurdles for those hoping to self-publish is the trend of successful traditionally published authors releasing their backlist. It's not new, but it's increasing, either in conjunction with their traditional publisher or self-publishing.

    Nothing wrong with that, just more competition, and making it a little harder for those without an establish fan base or platform to get traction.

    Yes, there are plenty of examples (as listed in the article by Hugh Howey) of self-published authors making $100 or more a month in sales. But those are folks who step forward and want to tell of their success. There are far more out there that are silent, because there isn't any success to talk about.

    Just as someone should approach the traditional route well informed and with eyes wide open, so should someone approach self-publishing.
     
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  11. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    I agree; this will surely continue to become more common.

    Far from it. Publishers are not silly: they increasingly appreciate that a book's having an already proven market is an advantage rather than a negative, from their own perspective.
     
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  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I wonder if any of the major literary awards will ever consider self-published books/authors as nominees.
     
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  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I wonder if the self-publication world will eventually create it's own set of awards.... ;)
     
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  14. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    Some already do (in that self-published books are perfectly eligible for submission to them).

    I wouldn't think the awards sponsored by traditional publishers will encourage it as much, though of course some of their own income comes from digital publishing, these days. (I'm not, of course, suggesting that "self-publishing" and "digital publishing" are the same thing, but there's quite some overlap there, in reality).
     
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  15. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    What I hate to see is the derisiveness on both "sides" toward the other. While I refuse to paint self-publishing as the godsend for writers that many do, I also refuse to say it's for those who cannot make it into publishing any other way. I would like to see the "empirical data" that shows self-publishing can be as lucrative for authors as trade publishing overall, because as far as I have seen, it's all self-reporting. And while those who do make decent money are more easily persuaded to point that out, those who do not remain silent, or inflate their figures, or simply state "I'm making good money at it". And quite frankly, there are so many different types of authors self-publishing (nonfiction, fiction, backlists, hybrids, etc), I think it's difficult to say anything about self-publishers' success as if it were one entity. Even with fiction, one has to look at the individual genres to see where SP is making a splash and where it is failing miserably. And it's equally difficult to find out hard facts about trade published authors - so how the hell can anyone know which method is better for which author? They can't. Period. There are way too many variables to consider, so arguing about which is better overall is ridiculous.

    I just think it would be nice, preferable, and more useful if people, whether trade or self-published, would leave the rhetoric behind and just discuss the pros and cons of each. But perhaps that's Konrath's real legacy - divisiveness and derision.
     
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  16. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    I'm just happy to be able to start off threads discussing things like this, now, as one has always been able to in other writers' forums: when I tried (regularly) in the summer of 2012, their initial posts were all deleted before almost anyone even had a chance to read them. Some expression of ill-informed prejudice isn't nearly as bad as that kind of malicious censorship. Thanks to Daniel and others, things are improving, so let's drink to that. [​IMG]
     
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  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There is a certain derisiveness going both ways, but at least in my personal experience the derisiveness going from those who advocate only the traditional route toward self-publishing is a lot worse than what goes in the other direction.
     
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  18. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I know there are a few awards specifically for self-published authors, but these awards are not as well-known and do not pay as well as some of the other awards out there. I know the National Book Award does accept self-published books as nominees, though there are strict requirements one must meet.

    I just looked this up, and apparently the Pulitzer Prize does consider self-published books as long as they're in paperback or hardcover form. A self-published book has never actually won the Pulitzer, however.

    So it looks like self-published authors can be considered for a lot of the same prizes as traditionally published authors. I didn't know that.
     
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  19. lex
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    lex Contributing Member

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    I think a lot of literary prizes (such as the UK's Man Booker prize) depend on "publisher nomination" of books, sometimes with a restriction as to the number of titles any publisher can nominate in a given year. I've certainly read somewhere that self-publishers are allowed to submit their own books.

    And of course some previous winners of the Man Booker and other literary prizes have elected to self-publish their future books. :)
     
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  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    And on other forums, I've found just the opposite. But really, what good does it do for either "side" to put down the other? What we should all want is for writers to make an informed decision on publishing so they do what will work best for them and their book. After all, each one of us has our own view of "success". Name-calling and breast-beating does nothing but make those doing it look like idiots.
     
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  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed. But it's also necessary to dispel some of the propaganda surrounding self-publishing. Too many people get sucked into it because it looks like an easier route to the same market as traditional publishing.

    Rejection letters are discouraging, and somewhat intimidating. But they serve a purpose. They don't eliminate, but they limit the quantity of rank sewage the potential buyers have to wade through to find works worth reading from the sea of unknown writers. And for the writers themselves, it keeps them honest, makes them write at a professional level of quality. All you have to do is look at some of the fluff dumped onto the market by the most famous names, who have become too profitable for a publisher to risk criticizing, to see how easy it is to get sloppy if those rejection letters are no longer in the picture.

    Also, make sure you don't confuse e-publishing with self-publishing. Many of the statistics put forth to promote (deliberately promote) self-publishing intentionally blur that distinction in order to inflate the expectations of those considering self-publishing. But e-publishing sales figures are fully dominated by traditionally published titles released in electronic form; the self-published material is only the tiniest of blips on that landscape.

    There's a lot of misinformation that circulates around self-publishing. As I have said many times, there are good reasons for choosing self-publishing. But there are also disreputable parties profiting by selling services to support self-publishing, and spreading misinformation to attract writers who should instead be persevering at submitting traditionally for what they want to achieve.

    It's not hate and prejudice, it's fighting against deliberate deception for profit.
     
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    May there always be Cinderella tales like this one:

    Self-published author wins $25,000 PEN prize
     
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  24. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I found these two from the list especially interesting:
     
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  25. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree, Cog. One should always look at who's saying what and why before believing everything they read. That's why I refuse to even look at anything Konrath has to say; if he's right about anything, someone else will also say it (someone who doesn't have a chip on their shoulder, that is). People continually confuse self-publishing with e-publishing; they constantly use "traditional" instead of "trade"; many seem bound and determined to put trade publishing on its last legs ("dinosaurs") in order to make self-publishing seem more attractive; and the constant harping on royalties while ignoring advances drives me up a wall. At the same time, while the lack of gatekeepers definitely allows a lot of crap to be published, there are very good writers who self-publish, and the constant "they aren't good enough to get a trade contract" is equally wrong.

    I guess my main point is that we should be able to look objectively at publishing methods and help each other decide which method would be best for each writer and their individual goals - and at the same time, make sure that no one is making decisions based on exaggerations or misinformation, just as we help each other decide which method of actually writing our books will work best for each writer.
     
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