1. Alex Gaddy
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    Alex Gaddy New Member

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    Published/Not Published..and the gray area of Self Published.

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Alex Gaddy, Nov 14, 2012.

    I have just now entered into the process of trying all avenues of publishing. Hooray for effort eh? But I am seeing the defined rules of what is considered published, change before my very eyes.

    Back when I was 19 years of age and working as a Personal Assistant in Los Angeles...self-published was a very dirty word. It was the pimple face kid/balding 50 year old man in the cafe who hounded you with a printed manuscript or screenplay, "Take this! Read this! It's the next big thing I swear you will not be disappointed!". And one for one, the guys who had published their own stuff, had handed me a pile of garbage. :mad:

    Modern age: Some people have had serious success by self publishing. Everyone is tired of hearing about 50-Shades of Bile.... But I'm going to point to it as a modern self publishing success story. She wrote overly sexual fan-fic on the Twi-hard website and actually got kicked from it for the sexual scenes. She took the thing and renamed it, self published for Kindle through a company in Australia and BOOM. Loads of housewives are reading softcore porn with a sociopath twist. :confused:

    Even independent musicians and film are having their breakthroughs. One band i have seen personally while bartending in Dallas Texas are about to broadly release their first mainstream album, just on the participation through things like Kickstarter.com :D

    Publishing houses are shrinking. Big companies are swallowing up smaller ones and it seems that there is an increasing gap between the dizzying heights of Stephen King's colossal success figures and the kid in the coffee shop who makes enough tips to pay for his cable every month.

    I have personally seen most book stores in my area close down or convert to more merchandise-friendly storefronts with very little in the way of actual books on display.

    Are we seeing a change in the publishing climate? Can people who have enough grit and inspiration actually make it as a self pubbed author in this digital age? :confused:
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, publishing is changing. Yes, people who self-publish can become successful. But self-publishing takes a lot of time and money. In my opinion, writers are much better off going the traditional publishing route, where the publisher pays the writer (instead of the other way around). You should also keep in mind that the examples you mentioned are the exceptions to the rule.

    By the way, there are a lot of previous threads about this very topic. You'll find a ton of useful information in them.
     
  3. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    People need to make sure it gets edited thoroughly. That's often the major difference. Self-publishers forget, or are too arrogant/lazy/ignorant to get a pro edit.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not yet. I don't think that self-publishing has become a viable alternative; the successes, especially for fiction, are still in the lightning-strike realm. I don't know what it's going to take for it to become viable--some sort of solution to the winnowing problem, I think--but it's not here yet.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Unfortunately, I don't think this problem will ever go away. Self-publishing has become so easy to do that we're going to see even more poorly written stories and novels being self-published in the future.
     
  6. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Self-publishing by too many people will do to the market what unsolicited manuscripts have done to publishers.

    Book buyers, sick of buying crap, will look for legitimate sources to wade through the rubbish. They will build their own filters, and most likely only target books from well established sources of quality; ie: publishers, or websites that do the selecting for them, culling the crap and leaving the good stuff to select. To be that one book of quality in a sea of online (or bookstore) trash is like being that one manuscript of quality on a publisher's desk in a pile of trash.

    The ease of self-publishing will swamp the market with rubbish and drown the good stuff, and once again we will require established, reputable sources of 'quality assurance' to legitimize our work, and getting to them will be just as hard as getting to the current publishers... the circle of life...
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    People are going to continue buying crap. It seems like people want a quick and easy read over a book they actually have to think about.
     
  8. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    That's their choice. One's man's crap is another man's gold.
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Too many writers look at the big successes in self-publishing and don't see (or refuse to accept) that the reason they make the news is because they are the exceptions - just like those seeking trade publishing forget that King is an exception. Most self-publishers are lucky to break even (if they spend any money at all for editing and cover design); most trade published authors need to keep their day jobs, though they typically make a lot more than self-published authors. The real exception to self-publishing success is in nonfiction, which has always seen SP as a viable and "acceptable" way to publish.

    The other problem most self-publishers have is that they have no understanding of how much work it is, that they are not just the writer any more - they are the publisher. It's a business.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all that and a big 'amen!' shadow...
     
  11. paulaitchison
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    paulaitchison New Member

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    I see the publishing industry going the same way as the recording industry.

    5-10 years ago we saw god awful and poorly 'edited' independent albums start to swamp MySpace/iTune - exactly like we are seeing with eBooks on blogs and Amazon just now.

    The end result for big record labels and, in the near future, big publishers, is not grim at all! For authors it the start of a major increase in work load.

    There will soon be no need to sign up young talent, back their first half a dozen god awful novels/songs and hope that they will eventually produce a #1 hit. That wastes a ton of time, money and resources - all better spent on the big names already signed to the publishing house.

    In the age of Alexa Analytics & Amazon, all an agent/publisher will have to do, with a little Google search, is find out what hits/sales an author's blog/website and Amazon account are getting and they can swoop in and pick out the talent/novels that already have a 'buzz' about them. That means that writers have to add editing, marketing, cover design, SEO expertise, blogging and god knows what else to their skills set.

    I work in marketing, so maybe I'm just being cynical. I hope so...
     
  12. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course, the difference between music and books is that publishers don't pick up god awful writers and hope for the best. That's why they're called "gatekeepers". :)
     
  13. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That's not what I mean by crap. I mean the poorly written, bad bad bad stories you'll find being churned out by most novices. Stuff that is not easy to read.
     
  14. geniegirl027
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    geniegirl027 Member

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    I have seen a lot of change and I am still pretty young. Where I used to live there was a few book stores and all but one closed. I literally cried I was so upset. I think with more technology developing reading a book physically just isn't the solution anymore. They read off their nooks and kindles, and smart phones or laptops. I love reading books because they smell good and give me more of a visual. Screens sometimes hurt my eyes and get old after awhile. This, discussion and stuff, is not bad, but I prefer to read books outside of technology. Not that I haven't, because I do for school, but I prefer to do them separately.
    What are other's thoughts?
     
  15. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Self-publishing can still be done physically, and ebooks can still go through a publisher. The industry needs a quality filter, either way.
     
  16. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Actually, self-publishing in e-books is already viable. It all boils down the product quality and service (which in this case is marketing). Amazon pays .70 cents on every $1.00 spent on a e-book. Apple is only .40, but that's neither here nor there.

    However, if you're putting out pure slop, then slop is what one will get in return. Despite the arguments, e-books are growing, and will continue to into the future. I personally don't see Barnes and Noble being a brick and mortar store eventually. Not next year or ten years, but eventually they'll end up being a e-book retailer. Paper books will reign supreme until the Nook and Kindle hits the big time-which will happen. Right not they're in the left side of the marketing bell curve, which is product growth. Eventually they'll hit the peak, and slide down the other side when newer and better technology comes along.

    However, if one has a hard time breaking into the big six, there are several reputable independent publishers-either in e-book or paper-out there to explore also. There's more then one way to skin a cat provided your manuscript is not pure slop.

    They will eventually be the wave of the future, which puts the independent publishing houses on the same footing as the Big Six. Once again it boils down to product and service (marketing and cover art). If one goes cheap on that section, then you won't work out.

    There's many ways to be successful in business, even if you have a poor product, but one cannot survive without the service. That's the key to everything in the world of retail business transactions.
     
  17. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think anyone's arguing about e-books or their growth. We're talking about self-publishing.
     
  18. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Which IS part of self-publishing. To independently put out a e-book also is self publishing.
     
  19. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, of course. But e-books are published by trade publishers as well. It's only a format, not a form of publishing.
     
  20. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Unfortunately, ebook formats and selling falls under the category of self-publishing when done by an individual, which means the point of the original post has been taken into a extreme direction that is incorrect. Any publishing by a individual, whether paper or e-book, is self-publishing, not just "formatting."

    E-books have made the playing field level for people who go through indie publishers, or do it themselves.

    Point Blank.
     
  21. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sigh. Yes, the format has allowed people to self-publish who otherwise would not have been able to. That doesn't change the fact that it is only a format and done by all forms of publishers - self, trade, academic, vanity, etc etc.
     
  22. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    I think this discussion has gone from what is classed as published and what is classed as unpublished to a discussion about quality. The fact is if it has been made available to the general public whether by the individual or a publisher it has been published. It's as Simple as that really.
     
  23. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Yes, and allowing any idiot to publish a book means that many idiots will. Then, finding a good book will either be looking for a needle in a swamp, or going to the needle shop where you know they have needles, and then we'll be back to the start of publisher vs self-published all over again.
     
  24. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    it's a never ending cycle unfortunately Selbbin
     
  25. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    No my thought is that self pubbling is comming of age. Yes there is dross being self pubbed, there is also really good stuff. And the one thing that self pubbling has done is allowed a lot of people who might never have been published at all, to get their work out there, good or bad. It adds to the variety and gives readers a greater choice.

    I mean take Fifty Shades of Grey. Not my thing at all and I haven't read it - but my understanding is that it would not have been trad pubbed at all, or at least not without a lot of pushing by the author. Too edgy or some such. Most publishers wouldn't have taken the chance. But the author did, she backed her work, and now she has a runaway best seller on her hands. And you've got to ask, how many other works would never see the light of day simply because they are not 'commercial' or maybe push boundaries.

    What is needed is some sort of system, universally recognised, where the poorly written stuff gets marked as poorly written while the good stuff gets marked as such. A quality seal. I expect one will probably come along soon enough.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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