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  1. Keyvee
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    Keyvee Member

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    Self-Publishing vs. Publishing house

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Keyvee, Aug 28, 2008.

    What is better?
    Imagine two situations
    First one:
    you have a webpage concernig your book. 100-200 visits a day. You sell there your work as an ebook. The same ebook is advertised on every book concerning site.
    Second one:
    After a year of trying you have finally found an agent or someone who is willing to publish your book. They want to change lots of info which they find let's say not suitable for the book they would like. They want the book look like as they see not as you see it and of course you get small % for every sold copy.

    So once again what is better? which situation can put you worldwide? which situation can make you more famous and in which way can you earn more money?

    Anyway, I would like to see Your view point on self-publishing and Public House publishing or having an agent.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First, I would say your scenarios are rather slanted. Scenario 1 assumes that your site has gained you the kind of attention that sells books. It assumes you have successfully assembled your eBook from a manuscript, and it has somehow instantly gained the attention on key book-promoting sites that send buyers to you in droves. I say instantly, because you gloss over your production and marketing time, while taking care to mention the year to get the same skills on board from professional agents and publishhers.

    Then you assume that th epublisher wild require you too make massive changes to your nmanuscript, and in the end pay you only a teensy percentage of the sales revenue. A publisher is unlikely to suggest massive changes. It's not worth their trouble, when a simple rejection is much lest costly of their time.

    A professional publisher will have the experience and the contects to market your book effectively. Your agent would be the one to suggest massive changes, based on his or her experiences with what the market is open to. The agent will do the legwork of seeking publishers, and has the contacts and credentials to get the manuscript considered. The publisher has the expertise to turn the manuscript into a cleanly typeset product, and tos design the cover for market appeal (also perhaps selecting a new title that will market better). You are saved the logistics of managing the website ande-commerce software, building interest among potential buyers markets, and many other details that would chew up your time and money.

    If you are a good enough writer to write a saleable novel, kudos to you! But don't assume that that is all the expertise you need to take it from manuscript to lucrative market.
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    In most cases, the traditional way is always better. I'm no expert on working with agents, but I'm thinking that if they see a book that they think needs so many changes that the writer won't recognize it anymore, they will probably not take it. It makes more sense to put their efforts into books that they feel are ready.

    With self-publishing, you get more freedom, but it can cost thousands of dollars and you may not sell them. With traditional publishers, they will do a lot of the work for you in terms of getting a cover design and all that, give you an advance of a few thousand dollars and then you get royalties once they've sold more books than what the advance covers. Plus, you're guaranteed to get into more stores and libraries where people will actually see your book. I don't know about anyone else, but the only place I go to look for new books is the bookshelf. I don't look for advertisements and websites.
     
  4. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Allow me to help you out in your little set up. It seems you have slanted things off, And I want to put this out to give you an idea of how far slanting can push things around.

    Imagine you have two choices: You can either.

    In the end, it is a matter of what you want to do, and what you feel the most comfortable doing.

    But both ways will take work, effort and time.

    After all, if it was easy... everyone would do it.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keyvee,

    First, I don't think you are setting up a proper either/or...unless you have had a reputable agent offer to represent your work to publishers, and only on the condition that you change it beyond recognition.

    And the only other option is then to self-publish.

    I took a look at your website, and if the work in question is the one posted there (chapters of it), then you are already working toward only being able to offer it as a reprint, which will be very very unlikely to happen. (It does--Old Man's War was picked up from a blog by Tor some few years back).

    If the novel in question is the one partially posted on your website, it does need major revisions. I cannot say for the plot and theme, but the grammar--especially the paragraph structuring and dialogue--need some serious editing.

    If you sent your work to a good agent and she said, you need to change this and fix this, then you might strongly consider what is suggested, especially if it's more along the lines of editing and revising, than changing the characters, major plot/story lines. The other thing to consider is that agents survive by knowing the market, and if she is making suggestions along those lines, maybe they have merit.

    With self-publishing this, if you do, I suggest that if you're looking at what is up on the website and thinking it is well written, you might consider hiring an editor to help you fix it up. All the marketing and effort in the world will be an even steeper uphill struggle if the product has major flaws.

    Your bio online here indicates you're in Poland, but an English teacher. It is possible that if your strength is in Polish rather than English, going for that market first, and then if successful, it would be easier to get reprint rights sold to an English speaking market (Canada, USA, UK, Australia, etc).

    Just my thoughts on the issue. Take them for what they're worth. Good luck on whatever direction you decide to take.

    Terry
     
  6. ciavyn
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    ciavyn Senior Member

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    Keyvee,

    Just my personal experience here. I know two authors who have self-published, one of which I have had the opportunity to watch from rough draft to bound and published. If you truly want to self-publish, you need to spend some time with those that have done it successfully, and see if it is really a challenge you are up to. It is one HECK of a lot of work.

    I figure it this way: you can either do a lot of work on the front end - sending out to publishing houses, findng an agent, etc. or a lot of work on both ends - writing, finding an editor, coming up with thousands of dollars to get it printed, cover art, marketing, PR, advertising, etc.

    Check out both sides honestly, and then make your decision. I'm not a fan of self-publishing, primarily because I've watched two very motivated writers get bogged down with it. It's hard to write when you have manage everything yourself.

    And don't worry someone wants to change what you write - you want to make money, right? So does the publishing house that buys your book. They are going to send you in the direction you both want to go.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all good observations/advice!... i'd suggest taking it seriously, keyvee...
     
  8. Keyvee
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    Keyvee Member

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    I have read all of Your advice. It really made me think. I must consider what You have written, Thx guys.
     

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