1. Motamat
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    Motamat New Member

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    Options and Concerns

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Motamat, Jun 11, 2015.

    I have posted this threat in multiple forums and I know it mainly focuses on publishing issues, but I really want to hear what all writers have to say and from prespectives and views.
    Being an aspiring author, I have faced many of the challenges that come along with writing and trying to get a book published. I am young and am just starting to dip my feet into the authors world of publishing and this has brought up some questions and concerns about being an independent author and publishing options. I would love to hear from fellow writers and independent authors and see views other share on these. Below, I have included some questions and concerns that I've developed and I am really interested as to others opinions and thoughts on these.
    Independent Authors:
    Many other writers I have talked to and know are commonly torn between wanting to get their book published by a big publishing house but have some hesitations. With the many options provided in todays technological world, there are many self publishing options. With all of the different stories I have heard, I have come up with the general theory that there are many authors who aspire to have a successful novel or book but don't necessarily want to go through a big publishing company (ie. HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, etc.) because they want to keep most of their rights to the book and independence associated with their book which makes independent publishing seem idea. On the other hand, I have concluded that there is not enough support with independent publishing when it comes to things such as editing and marketing, making it difficult for the book to become successful or popular or to profit from it.
    Personally, I write because its my passion and I don't expect to write a NY Times Bestseller and make millions of dollars but I would like to see some success in something I put my heart and sole into and have it out there for others to enjoy.
    So fellow writers, what do you think about this theory that I have drawn up? How do you feel about independent publishing and working through large publishers? What are your concerns and opinions about independent publishing? Is the independent route more appealing/Would you be more willing to go to the independent route if it provided more support and marketing options?
    Please feel free to express your views on this. I enjoy hearing what you all have to say
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum.

    First of all, do you have a completed novel that you are ready to try to sell? If not, then I would fervently urge you to skip everything else in this post and simply concentrate on that.

    However, if you do have a completed work - not just a first draft, but something that has been reviewed, revised, critiqued and edited - then here is my view (disclosure - I am not yet published, but have begun pitching a completed and edited novel).

    One does not simply decide to go to a major publishing house. Such companies do not accept unagented submissions these days. There are some smaller presses that are beginning to do so, but you need to check them out, one by one. Otherwise, your best bet is to begin the process of querying agents. If you get an agent, (s)he will contact editors on your behalf. You should use sites such as AAR or Agentquery.com to find agents who are interested in your genre. Make sure you have a solid query letter. Cold querying is an arduous process, and the key is to find ways to jump the line. But if you do land an agent, part of his/her job will be to protect your rights and options (of course, before signing with any agent, make sure you check them out on Preds and Eds).

    There are several writers' conferences that include pitch sessions. These are opportunities to make a 60- or 90-second pitch to agents or editors. If they ask for chapters or the ms, you've significantly jumped the line (there is a body of thought out there that holds that many agents who ask for submissions only do so to be nice and never read them; I'm sure that happens but, the publishing business being what it is, I would be very surprised if it's the rule). As I posted nearby, I recently attended a pitch conference in New York - the sole purpose was to refine your pitch and make it to several editors.

    It's funny how many writers get defensive about wanting success. We write because we think we have something to say, and, thinking that, of course we want as wide an audience as possible. The statistic I hear a lot is that that the average self-published novel sells about 200 copies. Self-publishing puts the onus (and cost) on the writer for everything from art work to publicity to production and distribution (if published in hard copy). It's a way to go. In fact, if I am ultimately unsuccessful in having my novel commercially published, I will very likely go that route. To me, it's better than nothing. But I will only choose it if all other avenues have been exhausted.

    Every professional I've spoken with has warned me this is an uphill climb. The selection process for commercial publishing appears at times to be illogical and overly dependent on personal whim. At my pitch conference, one member of my group had a novel set in a theater troupe on a bus tour; another had a memoir of working in chartered yacht cruises; one editor picked the novel because she liked buses and rejected the memoir because she hated boats. It's easy to resent an industry that appears to put a much higher value on the celebrity of the writer than the quality of the fiction. But, as the saying goes, if you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler.

    Good luck. And if either @TWErvin2 or @BayView, both of whom are commercially published writers, contradict anything I've posted, take their word over mine.
     
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  3. Motamat
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    Motamat New Member

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    Thank you for your input. This has sparked a new question I have about all of this. Say there was a publishing company that provided editing, support, and fair review, + insight and allows the author to keep independent rights to their book but has the power to market the book and author. Would this be a more ideal way to go?
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    A separate question to ask is why a publishing company would do that. They probably wouldn't stay in business very long if they let the author retain full rights to operate independently.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There really isn't a single 'right' answer. It really depnds on your goals, your skillset, and patience.

    If you desire to get published by a major publisher, expect a long haul--finding an agent first (which some will say is more difficult than finding a publisher). Not all agents are created equal, and having a bad agent is worse than having no agent at all. Some major publishers do accept slush (unsolicited/unagented) mansucript submissions--especially in fantasy/SF (Tor, Baen, DAW, and maybe more). But even then it is a very long slog from slush pile up to someone who can make a decistion to offer a contract. It is swinging for the fences, so to speak, as the odds are very high against finding an agent/major publishing contract. Not impossible, but a long shot. Why bother? Well, that is up to the writer. Plus, while your first novel is making the rounds, you're going to be writing another one, right?

    THere are smaller publishers, which don't require agents. But just because they're small doesn't mean they're necessarily easier to get published through. Not all small publishers are created equal, and as with agents, it may be worse to be published via a small publisher than not at all. You have to do a lot of research before submitting to a small publisher, (check out their track record, other books, quality of their releases, etc.) and even if your manuscript is offered a contract...read the contaract and negotiate. A bad contract is something to walk away from. What constitutes a bad contract? Too much for this post. There are threads here and articles eleswhere that discuss it. There is always the option of getting a literary attorney to assist in this area, should the need arise. If you're writing a niche sort of novel, a small press that publishers that type of book might be the best fit, for example. They'll take a chance on you and they have hopefully developed a readership for their released titles in that area/specific genre.

    THere is self publishing. It's a viable option, depending on the drive and organization and interest of the writer. You'd want to do it right, which means hiring a cover artist, an editor and maybe even someone to layout/format your novel, again depending on your skillset. You will be 'the publisher' in addition to 'the author.' While it offers maximum control, it also places all of the burden on the author's shoulders.

    There are what are termed 'vanity presses'. THey will do covers and editing and printing and get ISBNs and more, all for a fee--usually a large fee. THey often try to make themselves sound like a 'regular' publisher, but they are not. Their business model is to earn money from the author, not from selling books. Often their books are substandared in quality (editing, cover art, layout) and they are over-priced, and thus, not competitive in the market place. Price matters. Why would someone try a new writer who's trade paperback costs $21.50 when a similar book costs $12.99? Or an ebook that is $8.99 vs. $4.99--when they are going to try a 'new author'? In my opinion, you're far better off self-publishing than this route. Your chances of success in reaching readers is far better. There are some reasons a vanity press might be right...but very few. And even among such presses, the cost and quality of services varies greatly.

    But as @EdFromNY said, focusing on completing a manuscript is a top priority. You'll have plenty of time to learn what is or will be the right path for you along the way.

    Good luck as you move forward!

    Terry
     
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  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That sounds more like a vanity press from whom you buy packages of services. I guess it depends on your research - there're likely some that actually do good business - but the question to ask then is why should they try very hard in marketing your work anyway when they've already been paid (by you)? They run no risks whether you book sinks or swims. But these packages are one option to making your self-published book a little more visible and/or presentable, assuming you weed out the scams first, of course.
     
  7. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    I would recommend getting the costs upfront. Editing is prohibitively expensive. I dont even know how much marketing and advertising can cost, but that depends on what you want I guess. A bill board and a commercial during the superbowl is at one end of the spectrum and telling your mom and dad to buy the book is the other.

    I just got back from my editor and while she had nothing but outstanding things to say about my work, the editing is still going to cost me nearl 10k. Im about to be homeless and thats 10k. Im posting this while I still can, so beware.

    I tried my hand at editing, and did it four times no less, and the sample edit showed quite a few errors that I missed. Through vs Though and similar errors are common and really easy to miss. So my choice is stop the whole process or go ahead with an amateurish book that might not be enough to keep me afloat.

    It may not be yuor case, as most authors do this as a hobby, but for those that can't do anything else, things get more tricky. Being disabled limits choices severely. No wonder so many veterans end up on the streets. Enough ranting. I do app0logize for that.

    AB
     
  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You're not that interested in the money (which is good, because pretty much all publishing options end up with little financial reward!) but want "success"--I assume this means you want people to read and enjoy your story? Then sounds like we're on the same page.

    Nearly all self-published books sell in the single or double figures only. Nearly all novels published by major houses will sell in the four figures and up. This makes the answer really easy for me: try my hardest to be traditionally published by a good publisher. If that fails, you have self-publishing to fall back on. Starting with self-publishing is nonsensical to me, with my personal goals.
     
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