1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The Right Way to View Self-Publishing

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Steerpike, Jan 27, 2014.

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  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Good link.

    I love how he basically argued both sides and exposed the hypocrisy. lol.
    I agree with his points bout self-publishing - don't look at it as a easy-in but treat it with the same respect due traditional publishers, however, how often can a writer discern their own work - at an editors level?

    I'm on several sites and I've clicked links to their self-published books, read their excerpts and thought whoa-boy this still needed a lot of work.
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Writers that can't do it need to hire someone who can. If you can't edit your own work and don't want to hire an editor, then you don't deserve to have your work bought by readers.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Am I smelling a new career opportunity for certain types of people here? Someone who is willing to help an author edit a book so they can self-publish it? Kinda like beta reading, but for pay? Worth experimenting, if you have the talent and time for such a thing.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There are quite a number of people who do that, actually. Some of them are quite busy and make good money at it.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Favorite line in the blog so far...

    As @Steerpike has already noted, that niche is being filled as we speak.

    I like his take. It's similar to how I feel about gay rights. Less, giant rainbow-splosion pride parade, more education and hard work at adopting, accepting and maximizing the goal we say we want.
     
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  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love Wendig - have for quite some time now.

    As to equating betas with professional editors - I hope people really don't fall into that trap. There are different types of editing and you (generic) want the real professionals in each - those with actual experience, not just someone who beta'd a few stories and has a decent grasp of grammar and decides to "turn pro". One area where authors truly need to do their homework before they toss their money out the window.
     
  8. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    That was a good read and kinda funny.
    Too bad there is quite a bit of trashy self-publishing going on like the one I linked in my thread a few months back.

    I don't think I could ever self-publish, I doubt I have the expertise or know-how to get it out there.
    I'd rather focus on writing and going the traditional route.
    Maybe in the future?

    Yeah, beta-reading for pay is an odd job as there is actual editors with degrees and whatnot who can help you much more.
    Odds are they're pricier so I can imagine why a beta reader would be more attractive to someone already sinking their money into self-publishing.
    Not saying all beta readers are bad at it, I think it's business that's in the stage of figuring out of how to weed the good ones from the bads.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you can't edit it yourself and do a damn fine job of it, you should hire a professional editor. Someone who has experience and a track record demonstrating they know what they're doing. Just having beta readers isn't sufficient, in my view, unless one of your beta readers happens to be such a person.
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I disagree about hiring an editor. It's not worth the price, and chances are you'll never make that money back from sales. Besides, if you can't do a good job of editing your own manuscript, you shouldn't be publishing in the first place.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Traditionally -published authors have editors. Should they just stop publishing if they can't edit their own work?
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, they should. An editor at a publishing house is not the same thing as a freelance editor you would hire to edit your manuscript. They're most likely also looking for different things. An editor at a publishing house is looking to see how marketable your manuscript is. They may also suggest changes to help bring out your voice (which freelance editors can do as well, but be prepared to spend a lot of money). On the other hand, my impression is that most writers hire freelance editors for detailed feedback on the manuscript or for help with SPaG.

    Also, editors at publishing houses don't cost the writer anything.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    When you self-publish, you become an author and a publisher, so naturally you're going to take on the the roles of the publisher. That includes hiring an editor if you can't do it yourself. And editors for freelance works do all of the same things you cite. There's no difference between the two except who is paying, and as I said above, you are now the publisher, so it stands to reason you take on those roles.

    If someone doesn't want to be author and publisher both, then fine. But if you're going to take on both roles you should ensure that you've done them well.
     
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  14. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    So you have no problem with potentially spending $1000+ on an editor? That's not something I would advise new writers (who presumably don't have a lot of money) to do.
     
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  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You don't have to spend that much if you don't want to. You can get editors who have worked with traditional publishing houses for around $700 for a novel, doing the full range of editing you're talking about. I've seen some with less experience advertising rates of under $500. You can also find some that charge as much as $5000.

    But if you're going to be a publisher as well as an author, then you have to be one. It's like an artist who sells his work in other people's galleries and just pays a commission, versus one who opens his own gallery. He goes from just artist to artist and gallery owner, and now he has to pay wages, utility bills, rent, and so on.

    You're taking on two roles instead of one. If you're going to self-publish, and you can't be bothered to put together a professional product, you might as well not do it.
     
  16. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I really like this blog. We have to go into our craft with the right attitude.
     
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  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You're basically starting your own business. Starting any business has risk and requires investment. You may fail and not earn back what you put into it. Your chances of succeeding are better if you invest in your business to do what you need, which means hiring people to do the things you can't do yourself.
     
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  18. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    "It's nothing personal, Jack. It's just good business." :cool:
     
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  19. Delise
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    Delise Member

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    This motivated me greatly. I'm glad it was posted.
     
  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely agree with Steerpike re: editors. We're not just talking proofreading here, for one thing. And I doubt many trade published authors have gone from acceptance to bookshelf without any editing required. There comes a point where writers have to decide if they're actually willing to invest in the self-publishing - if not, they shouldn't do it. I'd rather wait and save up for proper editors than put out something half-assed.
     
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  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, @shadowwalker. I admit the other viewpoint baffles me a bit.

    As I said, when you self-publish, you're taking on both roles. You are author and publisher. So it stands to reason you're going to take on the expenses of the second role - editing, cover art, and so on.

    I think it is best viewed as starting a business. Upwards of 80% of restaurants fail in their first year, but you wouldn't tell someone who is starting a restaurant not to invest anything, not to hire staff to do things she can't do, &c. So why would someone advise a self-publishing author not to invest in their business.

    Your competition isn't just people throwing up amateur work on Amazon. That's the least of your competition. Your competition consists of books from traditional publishing houses and those self-published works of like quality. If you're not willing to invest in your business and do it right, why are you doing it?
     
  22. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The way I see it, when you become a publisher, it means taking on the role of an editor, not paying one. I don't see self-published writers paying others to promote their work or put it in the right format. Why would editing be any different? That's just my view.
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, self-published authors do both of those things, when they can't do it themselves.

    The analogy to a publisher meaning doing it yourself doesn't hold up well, in my view. Publishing companies have multiple staff members to handle everything from acquisitions to editing, covers to marketing, &c., and you're saying that a self-publishing author should instead handle all of these tasks themselves? It's unrealistic. That's not the way traditional publishers handle it, and it's not the way most self-published authors are going to be able to handle it if they want a decent product.
     
  24. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    So if I can't create my own book cover, I should't have one? What will I do with my pages? If I can't edit with the same level of objectivity as someone who is less invested, I shouldn't publish? That doesn't register.

    Going to a publishing house would afford me both cover/marketing and editing. It's quality control. If I publish myself, I ensure quality control by learning, writing, and editing to the best of my ability, then contracting aid from others who can make it better. One perspective is rarely enough in producing a work, no matter who publishes it or how. Therefore it is unfair to say that writers should have to do the jobs that are normally distributed among many people for good reason.

    Writer-publishers could take the extra time and become experts in design, formatting, marketing etc. but they may be better off (regarding quality) by becoming savvy in these areas and contracting professionals in these areas. That's just business. Specialization is a proven method of production; however, the writer-publisher should be skilled enough to maintain effective oversight of their project.

    It all comes down to business sense. Do you have money to invest? Do you have a product that should yield a return? Are you willing to contract professionals? If not are you willing t learn what professionals know? Not all published writers can do much more than write and edit (I'd be willing to bet this is true most traditionally published writers), and they still have their work edited by professional editors.
     
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  25. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    @Steerpike and @Andrae Smith, I guess I see your point. However, I still think hiring an editor isn't necessary. Maybe I'm being optimistic here, but there certainly are writers out there whose works don't need much editing in the first place. Sure, editors might be able to make the piece better, though I don't think the casual reader would notice any difference. I do believe there are writers out there who could write something, edit it themselves, and self-publish it, and the finished product would be on par with some of the high caliber writing you see from traditionally published writers.

    Also, I think too many aspiring writers have the wrong idea about self-publishing. This article from The Guardian shows that 77% of self-published writers make less than $1000 a year. That means if you include the cost of hiring an editor and an artist to design the cover, chances are you're going to lose money in the process. We always hear the success stories, but we never hear about the guy who lost money. To be fair, aspiring writers may also have the wrong idea about traditional publishing because they hear about people like Rowling and King. But considering how popular self-publishing has become and how many people advocate it, I think aspiring writers are far more disillusioned when it comes to self-publishing.
     
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