1. Lilith Addington
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    Lilith Addington Member

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    To publish, or not to publish?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Lilith Addington, Apr 10, 2016.

    Ok, so I'm well aware that I'm putting the cart before the horse here, as I haven't yet finished my first novel. However, I'm looking for advice on publishing given my specific writing situation.

    One: writing is my hobby - I am passionate about it, but it is not my main passion. Violin is my life, and high school falls second behind that. I am not able to commit as much time to writing as I would like, but I still make ample progress (for my age) with my motivation.

    Two: I have a Wattpad account, where I post my poetry. I'm aware that I probably won't ever be able to publish any of this poetry now, since it is free online. I had been planning on posting my novel on Wattpad too, once I finished it, but now this little voice in my head keeps saying, "maybe you shouldn't, y'know, just in case you decide to try to publish it one day." The chance of that is pretty slim, as I'm currently heading towards a completely different career path and, well, it's my first novel so it's not very good. But still...I feel protective over it. I'm not sure I want to have it out there on the internet. Just in case...

    Three: I do want to have at least one hard copy of my novel, for the accomplishment, and so that family and friends can read it. I'm not entirely sure how to go about getting a hard copy of it, but I've heard of sites like FastPencil that you can send your story to, and they'll print it for you for a certain price.

    So, all this leaves me wondering: should I keep my story to myself in case I want to publish it some day? Should I post it online, knowing that it's just my first novel? Should I post it online and try to self publish it for family and friends? Should I keep it off the internet and self publish it? Should I leave it be for a while, so that I can come back and revise it in years to come, with hopes of publication? What sort of sites/programs will make you a hard copy of your book?

    Any and all advice is appreciated! :D
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Considering it's your first novel and a hobby I would go down the Wattpad avenue. My understanding is that Wattpad gives you feedback from readers? That's more valuable than self-publishing and losing it in the ether and it will help you if you ever decide to pursue traditional publishing with something else.
     
  3. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Does Wattpad make it impossible for you to remove your submissions from their site? In most places, or so I've been given to understand, you retain the copyright and can delete entries from your blog or whatever so that they may be re-published in a marketable form. If I'm wrong about this, I think I've given away an awful lot of my recent writing.
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's not a question of copyright, it's first publishing rights. Once something is available on the web on forums, blogs, wattpad, wherever, it's published. You still own the copyright but most publishers will want to be the first ones to publish the work. That's why previously published works are less attractive to them.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's been published, it's been published, even if it was deleted later.
     
  6. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up. That policy sounds sort of nonsensical to me, since it deprives the publishers of a lot of potential revenue. But that's the way it goes, I guess.
     
  7. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Many works can burn through their entire audience really quickly, so if 100 people have read it for free there's no revenue left.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it would deprive publishers of a lot of revenue only if the world had a shortage of unpublished books. But for every traditional publication slot, I believe that there are dozens of high-quality, never-published books fighting for that slot. So publishers don't need to accept an already-published book unless there's a good reason for doing so.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    @Lilith Addington - If you're serious about wanting to get your book 'out there' but aren't prepared to go the traditional publishing route, you could consider self-publishing on Amazon—for Kindle and for pay-on-demand printed copies. That way you would get paid for what you sell, you'd be able to get print copies of your book out there, and get some experience at what sells and what doesn't. You'll need to promote your book yourself, but that has advantages as well as disadvantages.

    However, make sure your offering is of a very high standard (including presentation, cover, etc) before you do this. If you put a crappy book out there, you're going to build the wrong kind of reputation.

    I'd say, since you haven't even written the book yet, you're busy baking pie in the sky, though. Worry about how to distribute your product after you've actually got a product.
     
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  10. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I've read plenty of crappy books, many of them self-published on Amazon. I couldn't even tell you who wrote them.

    The authors I remember and often choose not to read again are the ones whose stories start well, but fall apart later. I'm still slowly working through a trade-published book I got some months ago which is supposed to be monster horror, but I'm 2/3 of the way through and there haven't really been any monsters in it yet. I'll probably finish it, but won't be buying another by that author any time soon.

    Plus, the way Amazon's algorithms work, if a book doesn't sell well to start with, it rapidly sinks into obscurity where people will only find it if they go looking for it. So few readers will find a crappy book unless it's heavily marketed.
     
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  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You are so right, especially in paragraph two. The disappointment factor.

    That's actually the thing that bothers me the most with so many of today's offerings. A great premise and start, and then it all kind of peters out. Either the story itself runs out of steam or the author leaves too many issues dangling, forgets to tie up important loose ends, or—and this is a hard one to address—the story is not emotionally satisfying. The author may take the easy way out for the protagonist that doesn't justify all the stuff the author has put the protagonist through.

    I just finished one that was worthy enough and actually won nominations for important prizes, but not only did the litany of 'wrongs' suffered by the protagonist start to become excessively unlikely, but the big 'twist' at the end was so easy to predict I remember hoping the author was actually pulling a double blind. She wasn't. That clumsy twist could have been so easily fixed. The foreshadowing for it wasn't subtle, and could actually have been left out altogether. Without the foreshadowing, the ending would have had more impact, and the protagonist would have appeared less foolish. I won't necessarily avoid this woman's books in future, but I won't be jumping to read them either. My feeling at the end was ...meh.

    You're right that bad books and authors may simply be forgotten (unless they are VERY bad!) Which is fine, if they never write another book. However, if they do keep writing and publishing, and you do take a look at another of their books (maybe because the author writes in a genre you follow?) and you realise it's the same author you read before, you're not going to buy the second one, are you?

    My point was to be careful not to build the wrong kind of reputation, and I stick by that. You don't want your reputation as a writer to depend on people forgetting your previous mistakes, do you? I was comparing 'bad reputation' versus 'good reputation.' Not 'good reputation' versus 'no reputation.'

    If you haven't put a bad book out there for sale, you have nothing to worry about.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
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