1. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    Publisher know best

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by dave_c, Mar 24, 2011.

    Is it really worth self publishing. I've never tried to get a book published before and was just wondering, if people go on to self publish after being knocked back by publishers, do they ever make any real profit? I would have thought the reason publishers knock you back is because they know what will and wont sell and presumably the work brought to them fits in to the latter.

    just curious more than anything.
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    People can have really good reasons to self publish, but making money is seldom one of them.

    If you writing a book for a small hobby for example, like an book on ice fishing, it might be work self publishing. A publisher might not be interested at all of publishing a book with a tiny target audience, but you might be able to sell it trough fishing magazines and online fishing sites. It probably not make you rich, but if you writing for the love of you hobby and not for the money right?

    Another group that can self publish successfully is really successful bloggers, and they might make a shipload of money.
     
  3. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since the debate that came out of this thread, I've looked into it a bit more, and it looks like fiction is the hardest area to self-publish successfully in. There's still a whole debate there, and a lot of established fiction authors are choosing self-publishing. But if it's literary fiction you're talking about, I think I'd have to side with the conventional wisdom on this issue and say try going with a traditional publisher and then if that fails, try again. The reason is that the publishing world is still dangling the carrot of legitimacy, and it might have something to do with the process it takes to get published. Let's not go there again. On the other hand, it is possible to successfully self-publish fiction. You just have to have a good product on your hands and know what to do with it.

    I disagree with the suggestion that successful self-publishing is like winning the lottery. Absolutely not. That's a very closed minded and ignorant outlook. Authors who have had success in self-publishing had a good marketing plan, a good product, a platform to work with, a good book cover and a good book descriptions. Some of the unsuccessful self-published books on Kindle you notice that there isn't even a single review up -- like they couldn't even bother to have a friend review it or something. You've got to put in some effort.

    If you're interested in some cold hard facts about successful self-publishing (although presented in a somewhat opinionated context,) check out this guy's blog.
     
  4. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    *nods emphatically* That's what I was saying the whole time :D
     
  5. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Sidewinder, you're not the mechanical robot I thought you were!

    I haven't looked too hard for official stats, and the one comment on the matter that I found came from an obscure blog, so this number is unverified. Anyway, the obscure blogger stated that on average, a self published novel sells 20 copies.
     
  6. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha. I am glad to have redeemed myself in your eyes somewhat, guamyankee. The one point I have to concede I was overlooking was the fact that self-publishing can still damage the perceived literariness of a work. I'm not saying I like it, but I have to admit it's true. Any work that I want to be perceived as literary I will go the traditional publishing route, barring any major changes in the industry regarding this issue.

    Averages are misleading, though. The calculation would be based on ALL self-published novels, including the heaps and heaps of garbage. Just like the line of reasoning that self-publishing is like playing the lottery, this implies that nothing you can do will improve your chances at success in self-publishing. That's simply not true. I still think self-publishing can be a great tool for a lot of people if they spend some serious time and effort to learn how to use it.
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    There are lots of things you can do to improve the odds, just like we discussed on that other thread... LOL. The lottery statement was always meant in regards to self publishing fiction when there is no platform already in place. :D
     
  8. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Valid point about the heaps and heaps of garbage. I agree that you can be successful with self publishing. But in order to be successful, you have to write a book that is just as good, and just as polished as books that are published using the traditional route. Sadly, I suspect this is often not the case, hence the heaps and heaps of garbage.
     
  9. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good points in this thread.

    I find that a lot of self published books are simply not up to scratch. I've seen a few diamonds in the rough though. So they are there but harder to find.

    I would be open to self publishing, but I'm going to see how that avenue pans out for my cousin first. She has published the traditional way in the past, and is now going the other route.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whether you publish or self publish you can get shafted or make a success of it. A lot is down to the research and the work you put into it and the quality of the product.
     
  11. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Trish -- not sure if we ever actually did narrow it down to fiction books with no platform, but that's ok. There were
    about 7 or 8 arguments going on in that thread at once, and it took a while for me to realIze that we were talking about completely different things. The main thing I disagreed with was the notion that self-publishing was by default the lazy way to go.

    I do think that successful self-publishing is getting easier in the age of ebooks and Kindle. Seems to me that a lot of people are ignoring the extent to which this change in the marketplace is a factor. Even having a platform no longer seems to be as crucial an element in the success of many self-published books. The main things are a good product with a good cover, a good product description and a low price point. This isn't to say self-published authors should get lazy, however, and you still have to consider the perceived litereriness of your work.
     
  12. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Surely any successful publisher must at least have some idea what will sell well and what will not. That is not to say that they will not make a bad judgment an reject a potential 'best seller'. That is why authors often have to send there ms out to numerous publisher before they are accepted. We have all read about the J.K. Rowling and Stephen King's of the industry.
    They may also reject a ms because it does not warrant enough profit for them (limited market).

    I think it is very rare for a self published book to make any great profit.
     
  13. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not disputing the thing about rejected manuscripts, but to say that profitable self-publishing is 'very rare' is the lottery argument all over again. It's like saying you think you'll have 'better luck' going with a traditional publisher, ignoring the fact that for a book to be profitable it has to be good. I don't think it's quite accurate to say that it's rare if you look at authors who took the right steps and had a good product. There's the rub, though -- it's still a 'product' rather than a 'work of literature.'
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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  15. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    That's a great link, thanks for that. It is hard work. I'm basically chalking up my first novel as a learning experience after hundreds of hours put into it.

    Traditional route or self publishing route, it's hard work either way. But it's hard work that I'd prefer to get paid for over my day job.
     
  16. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah of course she's put a lot of work into it. Have you seen the bottom line on her sales? Ridiculous. What she's saying's a good wake up call to people who think that it's an easy way out. I guess I never really considered the fact that some people are looking at self publishing that way until I got in this debate to begin.
     
  17. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here is an opinion on why not to self-publish by a successful author that takes a slightly different angle than some are looking at:

    Erica Hayes: Self-publishing: but dude, I just wanna be a writer

    It brings out a good point. Do you want to be a writer, or a bunch of other things as well?
     
  18. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to admit, if the guy I'm working for weren't taking care of all the admin and promotional stuff, self-publishing would look a lot less appealing to me in terms of the effort involved. So I think she has a point, although she overstates it. I think it can be an empowering tool though, and I'm much more interested in seeing what it leads to in the future, especially the options it opens up for small press.
     

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