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what best way to self publish e-books

Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by ewilson1776, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No, because the fact that there is so much self-published crap is why I, and I expect many other authors, have a problem with it. I don't buy self-published books because I know it's extremely likely I'll be disappointed, and I won't self-publish a book because how can I expect anyone else to wade through slush to find mine?

    If you take out the most problematic element of self-publishing, I don't even know what you would be arguing any more? "All things equal, you can earn more money from X." Yeah, okay, but they AREN'T equal so that study is of no value to anybody.
     
  2. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I suspect a lot of it has to do with people who finish a book and can't wait to get it 'out there' and don't take the time to edit properly. I think if you want to self-publish (and you know I'm one of the people who does) you need to be willing to work your arse off to make sure it's as good as it can possibly be. Don't try to rush the process.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    But if you included everyone who wants a traditional publishing deal in the numbers for traditional publishing, you'd end up with much lower average income from traditional publishing, too.

    Like, let's say we have a group of 1000 authors. Of this group, 50 have books that are written well enough, on the topics currently attractive in the currently selling genres to get a trade deal, and they all get, say, $10K advances.

    So if you look at those 50 authors, you would say the average return from publishing is $10K per book.

    But if you look at all the authors who wanted to publish, you'd say the average return from publishing is $500 per book.

    In self-publishing, everyone who wants to publish gets to publish, so their per book return is understandably less. If there were 50 people out of a 1000 self-publishers who had publishable books and we looked only at their numbers, we'd have a more accurate understanding of the meaningful difference between publishing methods, once the variable of book quality/appropriateness is removed.

    (This is not to argue that I think self-publishing is a good idea. Just that we have to be careful what numbers we look at.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No, sorry, this doesn't make sense. At least not with respect to the question I'm asking, which is whether self-publishing or traditional publishing is the best route for an author who has a professional quality product. The only way to answer that is to compare professional-quality products in both routes. Throwing in the amateur stuff is just noise and produces no data pertinent to the question asked.
     
  5. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You'd think there'd be similar enthusiasm in the other arts, though, wouldn't you?

    But you're right -- there definitely can be an emphasis on volume over quality with some of the more evangelical self-publishers. I don't know if there's a business model for art or music or film that says you just need to churn out a lot of product and not worry too much about making things good.
     
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  6. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And we're back to... how do you know which self-published books would have been good enough for traditional publishing? You don't.

    And you can't ignore the 99% of crap that your self-published book will be drowning in, because that's what will drag it down.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe we can't, if that data isn't available (or, at least, it is available but not in readily-digestable form and I doubt someone will compile it). But saying the data for the right comparison, that will provide the useful answer, is not available doesn't mean you just go with a bad test and use those results. The comparison of all self-published works to all traditionally-published works provides no useful information. That doesn't change just because the data that would provide useful information isn't available to us. We just have to acknowledge that we don't have the information we need to make the assessment.
     
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  8. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The 99% is absolutely an issue, but it's an issue that would be reflected in poor sales numbers for the "good" self-published books (if we were able to figure out a way to get those sales numbers).
     
  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    We all agree on something - the data isn't available - so that's a nice place to leave it. :D
     
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  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Heh :D True!
     
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  11. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I suspect there is a certain amount of this kind of thing in music. In fact, I know a few musicians who record their own stuff and manufacture their own CDs—to sell at gigs, etc. Some are better than others. I don't know how you could do this with artwork, though.
     
  12. psychotick

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Bayview,

    Just because I am pro-indie doesn't mean I'm anti trade publishing. I'm not. I just see some horrible problems with it that keep smashing people in the face. And the biggest one to my mind is this entry barrier which is not based essentially on fairness or quality, but how an agent feels about a books saleability and luck. Not to mention this endless belief by so many writers that it is based on fairness and quality.

    My view is that if you go trade you have to know what you're getting into and play the game accordingly.

    For me a number of factors were involved in my decision to accept a publisher's deal.

    The first was that my normal editor was down at the time so I needed to shop around for a new one for the book or else wait. I hate waiting. And so I needed to get a new editor for the book and whoever that was going to be, it was going to be a change for me. Some say it's good to change, but it's still difficult getting to work with someone else.

    The next was timing. There was a publisher that I know who was looking for space opera at exactly the same time - synchronicity! I have had other agents and publishers sniff around - especially after first Maverick and later The Arcanist were published - but always they seemed to be looking for another book in the same genre (or of course a sequel which I don't do) but I'm a pure pantster among writers and so each time the next book in the works was in a different genre.

    Third were contractual issues. I'm an indie and not just proud of it, but needing to make an income from it. I cannot allow clauses like non-competes and options to stop me from continuing my business. This is why I always laugh quietly when people talk about advances as if they are somehow important. They aren't. Not to me. Being able to protect my income stream is. Being paid now or in a years time is irrelevant.

    Fourth is of course that I'm now a reasonably well established author with over twenty books out. And I can write four to six books a year. Sacrificing one book - on the assumption that everything went wrong and it took four years to publish anything and then the deal went bad - wasn't the risk for me now that it would have been four or five years ago.

    Last - and this is probably the thing that motivated me most to look at a trade deal - is market share. As many of you know, I don't market or promote. I've actually contracted who I sell through - so now it's only Amazon and only ebooks and paperbacks with CreateSpace. Smashwords was dropped because they could not compete with KU. But going with a publisher (hopefully) means my books will be put before a wider audience including audiobooks and translations.

    So that was my decision tree and shortly I guess, I'll start to see what sort of fruit it bears.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  13. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, that bugs the crap out of me, too. Even here on this forum, there are some who say this and I have to bite my tongue.

    I've spent as much time studying writing over the last 26 years as I have actually writing and I'm still going back to reread and take new notes on the craft. I get as excited about discovering or rediscovering writing techniques and methods as I do telling stories. (Ask my wife; I'm always bending her ear about these things.)

    So, when some joker comes along and says, "Oh, just wing it. You don't need to know what you're doing," my first reaction is to strangle them. But then I calm down and decide to let them find out the hard way. Give them the rope, so to speak.

    (Whew!) Thanks for giving me an opening for that, @BayView.
     
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  14. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    @Sack-a-Doo! I think you're confusing "learning how to write" with "reading books on how to write." Many of us don't find those books useful, let alone necessary, but we still had to learn to write!
     
  15. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm... Okay, you'd better tell me the difference because I don't see how someone can learn to write without reading about how to write... or taking a class where someone tells them what they need to know.

    Unless you simply mean that anyone can learn to put together sentences... but even then, they learned that in school which brings it back to: somehow they got the knowledge of how the language works. But knowing how a language works and knowing how to use it to tell a story effectively... two different things.
     
  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Through reading actual books--fiction books, assuming they want to write fiction--not 'how to' books. And by writing. You can't find your style from a how-to book, only through practice.

    I've never read a how-to book or taken a writing class. I don't think it's anywhere universal among authors!
     
  17. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I'm with @Tenderiser on this one - analysing (your own and others' work), getting feedback, experimenting, getting more feedback, putting things away and looking at them much later, etc.

    You know that "Learning Styles" business? People are kinesthetic or visual or whatever learners? I think it's missing an entire element, that of those who learn best by passive absorption and those who learn best by active experimentation. (I don't mean passive as an insult... just a counterpoint to active). I lose interest after about five minutes of reading someone else's ideas about writing, but I can play around with my own writing for hours.

    And with over twenty novels published, I still can't tell you if any of them hit the eight point arc or had the right beats or followed a three or five act structure or contained the proper action-reaction sequences or whatever else I hear people talking about.

    Different ways to learn.
     
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  18. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, @Tenderiser and @BayView, points taken. Had I thought through my original reply a bit more before posting, I would have included analysis and experimentation under "learning to write" because, hey, everybody does it.

    But, finding a needle in a haystack goes at least fractionally faster if you know what a needle looks like.
     
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  19. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's why you read great books by other authors - oh, needles! I get it! I need some of them myself...
     
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  20. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    And whether it's analysis-n-experimentation or learning techniques by reading how-to's, it all boils down to 'learning how to write.' What irks me is when people discount the learning process.

    Also, I don't understand why anyone would shy away from learning about the craft in whatever form it takes, even if it means cracking a book from time to time.
     
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  21. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've literally never seen anyone say that on here, or anywhere else for that matter! If anybody thinks you can sit down and write a novel without being a reader then they're an idiot.

    Why would I waste my time on something when I know there's a better way for me to learn?

    People learn differently. It's a thing!
     
  22. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You haven't spent much time around self-publishers, then.

    (Again, there are lots of lovely people working hard to create great books to self-publish. There are just--there are a lot of other people self-publishing as well.)

    ETA: Also, we get pretty frequent posts about people who want to write without being readers... I think there's one going on right now...
     
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  23. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Oh. That explains the Amazon slush pile. :D
     
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  24. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Someone posted this very morning saying that, but I've lost track of where it was.

    Sorry if I've upset you, @Tenderiser. That was not my intention.
     
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  25. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No, you're right - anyone saying that is an idiot. And it really does explain a lot of the crap out there.

    ETA: If I sound grumpy today it's because I want to stab one of my colleagues through the eye with a rusty skewer. Don't take it personally... UNLESS YOUR NAME IS ROBERT JONES.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
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