1. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Self publishing- good idea?

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by Annihilation, Oct 27, 2014.

    I know I'm not wealthy enough for getting a literary agent and all that other good stuff. I know with publishing it's a one in a million chance to succeed.

    So, I found out about a self publishing company called xlibris, I'm sure most of you have heard of it by now.

    Do you think it's a good idea to invest in? For a first book, would it be a good idea in your eyes?

    Please share feedback.
     
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  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    First off, you don't have to have any money to get a literary agent. They don't charge the author. Legit publishers don't either. And you should be very leery of any "self-publishing company" that charges you for doing the things you can do for yourself. Many are simply re-imagined vanity publishers.

    Before you start thinking of the method of publishing, you need to do a great deal of research on both methods of publishing so you don't base your decision on false or misleading information.
     
  3. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    NO NO NO!!!!

    Don't EVER pay a company to self publish your book which is something you can do just as effectively with a little time and patience and for a lot less than £100

    @shadowwalker is absolutely spot on when he says do a great deal of research before you decide.
     
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  4. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Self-publishing is not new. And it's fairly common, and often repeated advice... everywhere... to AVOID at all costs, any "self publishing company." Any! Don't go near any of those places. They don't help you. There is zero, zero, zero benefit to using them.
     
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  5. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    If people are good enough as they say, they should be the one getting free offers. You shouldn't be paying anybody. I don't trust publishers so I just do everything myself. I've heard of people who were turned down and they're succeeding as self publishers.
     
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  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure why you don't trust "publishers" (pretty generalized statement), but there are many reasons why good books are turned down, and very seldom is it because publishers were dumb. And yes, some of these books go on to do relatively well when self-published, but there's no guarantee of that, either.
     
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  7. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    Because a lot of them are scams! I've heard of people who did go to a publisher and got nothing out of it. It goes both ways in everything and I'd rather not take my chances. Plus, I get most of the percentage if I self-publish anyway.
     
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  8. Michael Jeffries
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    Michael Jeffries Member

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    Any kind of publishing involves significant effort. Convincing a publisher to take a chance on the work of a relatively unknown or unpublished writer is difficult even with an agent. Self-publishing requires the writer to become a promoter and dedicate nearly as much time to this as to writing. I'm unpublished, but I've been studying the battle ahead of me. My most likely route for my first work will be self-publication. From there I might start sending future manuscripts out into the world to see if anyone will give me a chance.
     
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  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are scams, of course. But typically those are 'self-publishing companies', not actual trade publishers. One has to do 'due diligence' to find out about a publisher before submitting and definitely before signing - which is also why getting an agent is a good idea (and mandatory for most the legit publishers, who won't take unsolicited ms). One should not base the decision on anecdotal evidence, but on facts.
     
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  10. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    Um, I am basing it on facts and personal experience. Where else would I get my information from?
     
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  11. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    thelostxin, of course there are loads of scam publishers, but here's a rule of thumb: if you go into a bookstore, and you don't see any titles by that publisher, they're probably not worth your time. Scam publishers make promises they won't be able to back up, and won't hold up to inspection. The truth is, anyone can get published. Anyone can find a publisher. If you lower your bar low enough, someone will take your work. Not all are intentionally being harmful to the author, but almost all those new, clueless pubs are indeed harmful. You should be paid for your work. In advance. That's how a publisher should work.
     
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  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, there are reputable e-first publishers that don't offer advances. Depends on the genre whether that's a good approach, but no advance doesn't automatically mean a bad publisher.

    Safest approach is definitely an agent. If you don't have an agent, you can check out 'Preditors and Editors' and the publisher threads at Absolute Write to see what experiences other authors have had with that publisher. But as shadowwalker said, at least in the US, most big publishers won't accept submissions except through an agent.

    There are a lot of scams out there, for sure. But there are good publishers, too, companies that can help your book get the exposure it deserves.

    If you DO decide to self-publish, there are good reasons to pay other people. A professional editor is almost always a good idea, and they're expensive. A professional cover design is important, so if you aren't graphically inclined you should be prepared to pay for that.

    It's free to publish via the agent-publisher route, but it's a long time before you see any money.

    It's expensive to self-publish well.
     
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  13. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Bayview, I think there are not "a lot" of e-first publishers that are reputable. In fact, I think you could probably count them on one hand how many are worth your time and almost all of those come backed by established, long standing publishing companies. And those, DO in fact, offer advances. Maybe they'll only offer an advance with an agent, I don't know, but many do. Preditors and Editors is a decent site, but Publishers Marketplace is better. You'll see what agents have dealt with the publisher, and what the advances were (you'll see roughly what they were). If agents aren't dealing with them, ask yourself why.
     
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  14. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on the genre. In romance, e-first publishers are quite common and quite successful. I know quite a few authors who are making good livings writing for them.

    Other genres less so.
     
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  15. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    The point, for me anyway, is not to make blanket judgements based on stories one has heard versus facts. I'm not sure what facts you've seen that make you think *all* publishers are untrustworthy, thelostxin, but I get the feeling you've seen reports of these scam publishers (vanity or "self-publishing companies") and morphed those to mean all trade publishers. That's a mistake, pure and simple. There are ways, as mentioned above, to do your homework on the various publishers, and having an agent or literary attorney to negotiate/explain the contracts has saved many a writer from making mistakes.
     
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  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The problem with Publishers' Marketplace is that not all publishers report to them, and neither do all agents. I agree, though, it's an interesting resource.

    Their classifications are a bit annoying, though. Realistically, the vast majority of first-time writers are looking at "nice" deals - is that $500 'nice', or $49 000 'nice'?
     
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  17. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    That's true. My problem is P&E is that reports come after the fact. i.e. someone has to have reported them for there to be a report. Not being on P&E does not mean it's a good pub. Having a good rating, also, doesn't mean it's good. Case in point, Elora's Cave. I bet a lot or writers are wishing they'd never signed with them right now. Honestly, I just think people need to realize taht you can do well on your own. Nothing against the major pubs. I think they do excellent work for authors. But on your own, you'll do better than a VAST percentage of the small guys. Certianly you'll do better than the itty-bitty micro presses or e-presses that seem to sprout up every time a butterfly coughs.

    Research, I think is what we're telling people. Do LOTS and LOTS of research.
     
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  18. XLadyX
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    XLadyX Banned

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    I agree! If I publish through someone I hope it's like one of the popular publishers that are on all those books that people know the name when they tell someone it. If I have to pay them then I'm not going to publish through them. I'd just advertise and market myself.
     
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  19. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    And my dumb question is where do you do the research? People tell you different things everywhere you go. Seems like an endless circle. I know no one personally who has been published in the genre I am writing in.
     
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  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You look at the credentials of the people telling you things. You want people who have actual experience, and hopefully a lot of it. You look at the rhetoric they use - if they can't talk about one method without dissing the other, they're probably working from an agenda or bias, which makes their information unreliable at best. As with anything, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Be objective. Ask questions. Take everything with a grain of salt.
     
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  21. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Knowing someone wouldn't help anyway. Do you know OF anyone? Of course you do. Who published them? Do they have an agent? Who? Query them. Point is, don't aim low. Aim high. Again, I have zero against self publishing, or even *all* small presses, but if you're going for a trade deal, Aim. High.
     
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  22. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely. Always start at the top and work your way down. And have plenty of patience stored up. (Just make sure your book fits with the agent or publisher - no point querying a top agent who doesn't handle your genre.)
     
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  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did you pay any money, any money at all, to that publisher? If you did, then they weren't a legitimate publisher.
     
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  24. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    If you're paying a site to publish a book, that's a vanity press operation, a scam in most cases. Legit sites like CreateSpace and Lulu take a commission when you sell a book. Now, you do have to invest money in your book; editors, advertising, cover design, and there are companies that will do this for you. But never PAY to PUBLISH a book.
     
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  25. Ryan M Pelton
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    Ryan M Pelton Member

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    Yes sure. Please go ahead. Many people invest in their first book. And believe me I have seen people getting success after the first publication.
     

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