Author Topic: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years  (Read 2863 times)  

Online RightHoJeeves

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #50 on: September 12, 2017, 02:11:39 PM »
After the NAB (national association of broadcasters) meeting in Austin last week, it looks as if radio is experiencing a resurgence in millennials.

Glad to hear we're finally not responsible for the death of something.

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Offline SamuelGately

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #51 on: September 12, 2017, 02:33:59 PM »
So, please correct me if I'm misguided, but I also think that today indie publishing may be the more promising path to traditional publishing than querying. At least, if I were an agent, I would find talent among the high performing indies and offer them representation. They've demonstrated initiative and craft and often bring an audience with them. Maybe not every indie takes that deal (but I know I'd jump all over it for the chance to have cake/eat to).

I appreciated the porn industry comparison, but I've always viewed the publishing industry more like the music industry. And if I'm a talent rep in music, I'm not sitting in my office listening to demos, I'm scouring the local scenes to see who has risen up (and learned to be a pro along the way). Even Bieber got a following on YouTube before he was signed. He was an indie. How proud we should be to share something.

 

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Offline MonkishScribe

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #52 on: September 12, 2017, 02:45:34 PM »

I appreciated the porn industry comparison, but I've always viewed the publishing industry more like the music industry. . . . Even Bieber got a following on YouTube before he was signed. He was an indie. How proud we should be to share something.

Dammit, it's bad enough to be compared to the porn industry. Did you have to bring Bieber into it?! :P

Online Seneca42

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #53 on: September 12, 2017, 04:45:13 PM »
So, please correct me if I'm misguided, but I also think that today indie publishing may be the more promising path to traditional publishing than querying. At least, if I were an agent, I would find talent among the high performing indies and offer them representation. They've demonstrated initiative and craft and often bring an audience with them. Maybe not every indie takes that deal (but I know I'd jump all over it for the chance to have cake/eat to).

This is how they "should" view it, but I'm not sure they do. Let's put the porn example aside for a minute... a just as apt analogy would be tech startups. That's how the tech industry works. The big boys make trends but the little guys develop trends. It's the startups that are working on things that will be a smash 5+ years down the road.

The reason is logical. Why should the big boys tinker around with a 1,000 "might be successful" ideas. Let 1,000 different companies tinker, then when it's clear which have the products/services the world needs, just scoop them up (the others go bankrupt and let their shareholders take the loss). Sure, you'll pay a silly premium and turn the founders into gazillionaires, but it's still way cheaper than funding the 1,000 companies in search of that one stellar idea.

In that model tech startups aren't competitors to the big boys, they are future acquisitions. Heck, the ones that look really promising will even get funding from the big boys to help them along.

The trads should be doing this. But as far as I can tell they aren't. They see indies as competition rather than an endless pool of talent just waiting to be sorted through and acquired. Although Amazon Imprints seems to get this (which is no surprise given they are owned by a tech company).

My guess is there's an elitism in the trad world. They don't need to go looking for talent, they are already separating the wheat from the chaff. They simply refuse to put the work in to go in search of talent, and so, as time goes on, their roster will get weaker and weaker.

But if they were smart they wouldn't see indies as competition or "failed TP authors", but rather talent waiting to be snatched up for the right price.

I've never sent a manuscript to an agent. Ever. I didn't "fail" at that, I never even bothered with it. TP are making a huge mistake if they think they still have access to all the talent in the market. They don't.



Offline AlecHutson

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #54 on: September 12, 2017, 05:29:45 PM »
So, please correct me if I'm misguided, but I also think that today indie publishing may be the more promising path to traditional publishing than querying. At least, if I were an agent, I would find talent among the high performing indies and offer them representation. They've demonstrated initiative and craft and often bring an audience with them. Maybe not every indie takes that deal (but I know I'd jump all over it for the chance to have cake/eat to).

I appreciated the porn industry comparison, but I've always viewed the publishing industry more like the music industry. And if I'm a talent rep in music, I'm not sitting in my office listening to demos, I'm scouring the local scenes to see who has risen up (and learned to be a pro along the way). Even Bieber got a following on YouTube before he was signed. He was an indie. How proud we should be to share something.

I've only been paying attention to the publishing industry for the past year or so, but this honestly has been one of the things I've found most surprising. Successful indie authors bring thousands - if not tens of thousand - of fans, and they have clearly passed the test of the marketplace and demonstrated that their work resonates with readers. Any debut writer is essentially a leap of faith for a publisher, and a writer already battle-tested should be pursued, I would think.

Let's talk about fantasy, the genre I'm most familiar with. Mark Lawrence (big-time trad-pubbed fantasy author) developed a system for measuring how popular a book is based on its Goodreads ratings. His contention is that all books (at least in fantasy) are reviewed at roughly the same rate, so you can cut through the marketing hype and tell by the number of ratings how popular a book actually is. 

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.jp/2017/08/the-biggest-fantasy-debuts-in-past.html?m=1

You can see that it has gotten much harder for trad-pub to manufacture big adult high/epic fantasy debuts. (In YA it still seems possible). Why? Well, for one thing, most publishers insist on pricing ebooks (even for debuts) well above what casual fantasy readers are willing to pay for an unknown author. So that's just being stupid, on their part. The one big adult fantasy trad-pub debut this year (Kings of the Wyld, by Nicholas Eames) has a Kindle price of 4.99. (That they'll actually learn the correct lesson from this does worry me). More and more often, it's indie fantasy that is killing it if we apply this Goodreads system.

So why aren't agents / publishers looking to scoop these emerging indie writers? I'd be interested to know. A few years ago trad publishers approached indie luminaries like Michael J Sullivan, Anthony Ryan, and James Islington. All had been extremely successful, and in the years since they've turned into some of the biggest names in fantasy. Given the success of these authors in transitioning, why aren't publishers at least approaching big-selling, well-reviewed emerging indies? I'm in a Slack group with some of the biggest names in indie fantasy, and to my knowledge, none have even been contacted by a (reputable) agent or house looking to collaborate on future projects. If I ran an agency / publishing house, I'd task an intern with finding the top-selling / best reviewed indie writers of the past few years, and at least make some overtures. 

Alec Hutson

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #55 on: September 13, 2017, 12:09:03 AM »
So, please correct me if I'm misguided, but I also think that today indie publishing may be the more promising path to traditional publishing than querying. At least, if I were an agent, I would find talent among the high performing indies and offer them representation. They've demonstrated initiative and craft and often bring an audience with them. Maybe not every indie takes that deal (but I know I'd jump all over it for the chance to have cake/eat to).

I appreciated the porn industry comparison, but I've always viewed the publishing industry more like the music industry. And if I'm a talent rep in music, I'm not sitting in my office listening to demos, I'm scouring the local scenes to see who has risen up (and learned to be a pro along the way). Even Bieber got a following on YouTube before he was signed. He was an indie. How proud we should be to share something.

A few years ago, when NA exploded, traditional publishers scooped up a bunch of authors, but I haven't heard of that happening in the last few years. I figure it's because they aren't willing to pay what most indie authors would want. I doubt I'd look at a deal with any exclusivity or one offering less than 30-50k/book as an advance and I'm hardly a bestseller (technically, I am a USAT bestseller, but not really. I do make six figures). Even the 30-50k is a little low for giving up my rights. I'm confident I can make that myself based on past and current sales and marketing, but long term sales are really unpredictable on Amazon. It would be nice to have a sure thing. I would be willing to take a pay cut for guaranteed cash and another income stream/a new pool of readers.

But savvy indie publishers know that a low advance contract means no marketing push from the publisher. So you might as well just publish it yourself.

Online Seneca42

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2017, 08:38:54 AM »
So why aren't agents / publishers looking to scoop these emerging indie writers? I'd be interested to know.

Wild guess, but most likely they don't want to  p*ss  off their existing roster of authors. Have you seen the way traditionally published authors talk about indies? It's brutal.

So imagine a world where everyone for years berates and denigrates indies... then a trad publisher starts acquiring indies? It's just too much of a shock to the culture... to offensive a concept for "high" society.

To my tech analogy, in that world entrepreneurs are idolized... 4 guys in a garage with duck tape, motherboards, servers and who look like they haven't had a haircut in a year or shaved in a week - "wow, wtf are you guys working on? Is it cool? Show me what it can do! Maybe there's some seed funding if I like it."

In the traditionally publishing world - "You published your own book? How cute. Oh and you got a few sales, so adorable. Now you must excuse me, I have a brunch meeting uptown at a fabulous new bistro. Too-da-loo."

The big guys are legacy and indies are disruptive, the two rarely gel well.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #57 on: September 13, 2017, 09:21:11 AM »
That's a great post. And some of what I'm shaking my fist against is the transient nature of nearly everything that humans do. I'm feeling a little glum today about my place in all of this.

Don't let yourself think about it. That way lies the abyss.  :-X

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Online Bill Hiatt

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #58 on: September 13, 2017, 09:34:14 AM »
A few years ago, when NA exploded, traditional publishers scooped up a bunch of authors, but I haven't heard of that happening in the last few years. I figure it's because they aren't willing to pay what most indie authors would want. I doubt I'd look at a deal with any exclusivity or one offering less than 30-50k/book as an advance and I'm hardly a bestseller (technically, I am a USAT bestseller, but not really. I do make six figures). Even the 30-50k is a little low for giving up my rights. I'm confident I can make that myself based on past and current sales and marketing, but long term sales are really unpredictable on Amazon. It would be nice to have a sure thing. I would be willing to take a pay cut for guaranteed cash and another income stream/a new pool of readers.

But savvy indie publishers know that a low advance contract means no marketing push from the publisher. So you might as well just publish it yourself.
I think you've hit the nail on the head. In the last five years I've read about a number of people who turned trad deals down because they were already doing really well on their own. A few people will still take the trad deal. I think Amanda Hocking moved over after selling more than one million books. I can't think of too many recent parallels, because trad publishers aren't willing to offer enough in many cases, just as you suggest. It's true Amazon can be chancy, but so can a trad deal. It might be worth it for a writer making a living to jump on an A list trad deal that would lead to long-term best seller status, movie deals, etc., but who would take that jump to become a midlist author? Publishers do approach indies, but they tend to wait until the indie is so successful that that trad deal doesn't have the luster it would have had at the beginning of a career.


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Offline WHDean

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #59 on: September 13, 2017, 10:34:49 AM »
Wild guess, but most likely they don't want to  p*ss  off their existing roster of authors. Have you seen the way traditionally published authors talk about indies? It's brutal.

Nah. It's all dollars and cents. What anyone thinks of their dealings is the reason they have PR departments. Publishers are in the money-making business. They look at the sales curve, calculate expected earnings, and offer a deal when they'll make money. Steady but modest earners are not what they're after. The big hits are where the money is. Books sales being distributed on a power curve, one Andy Weir is worth 100 mid-listers. The cost of making a deal with a modest earner isn't worth the expense and risk.

 

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2017, 11:08:29 AM »
Nah. It's all dollars and cents.

one Andy Weir is worth 100 mid-listers. The cost of making a deal with a modest earner isn't worth the expense and risk.

But a modest earner today could be a blockbuster tomorrow. It takes time for newer authors to permeate the book sphere and get big (years often). So basically you have a ton of diamonds in the rough. Grab them early and they are cheap, wait until they are polished (ie. blockbusters) and you can't afford them.

To me it should be logical to view indies as a talent pool that readers are constantly vetting. The only reason to be ignoring that pool is out of cultural spite and prejudice (ie. cutting off their noses to spite their face; viewing indies as a group of wannabes and rejects).   

But I used to see that kind of thinking all the time in business. Businesses are just a groups of people and they fall into groupthink just as readily as any other group. Get enough people reinforcing the same stupid ideas and no matter how stupid they are they will seem reasonable and even wise to the group. 

Offline WHDean

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #61 on: September 13, 2017, 12:44:54 PM »
But a modest earner today could be a blockbuster tomorrow. It takes time for newer authors to permeate the book sphere and get big (years often). So basically you have a ton of diamonds in the rough. Grab them early and they are cheap, wait until they are polished (ie. blockbusters) and you can't afford them.

To me it should be logical to view indies as a talent pool that readers are constantly vetting. The only reason to be ignoring that pool is out of cultural spite and prejudice (ie. cutting off their noses to spite their face; viewing indies as a group of wannabes and rejects).   

But I used to see that kind of thinking all the time in business. Businesses are just a groups of people and they fall into groupthink just as readily as any other group. Get enough people reinforcing the same stupid ideas and no matter how stupid they are they will seem reasonable and even wise to the group. 

You're looking at a power curve market through a bell curve lens. The vast majority of doctors who finish med school will get jobs making a wage very close to one another because it's a normal market with little uncertainty--the bell curve applies. The vast majority of authors will not make anything and a tiny minority will make almost everything--winner take all, the power curve applies. Here uncertainty is high because bestsellers operate like contagions. An investor in the book market (= a publisher) has one and only one reliable strategy: Spot the contagion as it's breaking out--that is, catch the author on the way up and sign them.

Sure, you can go the old-fashioned way, banking on prospects and cultivating talent. But this approach is losing viability as publishers' brands lose their selling power. The Tor stamp, for example, doesn't carry the power it once did in the SF market, which translates into less power to turn coal into diamonds. Just look at the top 100 authors in SF.

You don't need prejudices to explain something when economics alone would vitiate the lack of them. In other words, even if publishers were as open-minded as you are, they wouldn't make money the old way anymore. So Occam's razor applies: Publishers don't court mid-listers because they can wait around for them to come up with a hit on their own dime.   



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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2017, 01:28:09 PM »
You're looking at a power curve market through a bell curve lens. The vast majority of doctors who finish med school will get jobs making a wage very close to one another because it's a normal market with little uncertainty--the bell curve applies. The vast majority of authors will not make anything and a tiny minority will make almost everything--winner take all, the power curve applies. Here uncertainty is high because bestsellers operate like contagions. An investor in the book market (= a publisher) has one and only one reliable strategy: Spot the contagion as it's breaking out--that is, catch the author on the way up and sign them.

Sure, you can go the old-fashioned way, banking on prospects and cultivating talent. But this approach is losing viability as publishers' brands lose their selling power. The Tor stamp, for example, doesn't carry the power it once did in the SF market, which translates into less power to turn coal into diamonds. Just look at the top 100 authors in SF.

You don't need prejudices to explain something when economics alone would vitiate the lack of them. In other words, even if publishers were as open-minded as you are, they wouldn't make money the old way anymore. So Occam's razor applies: Publishers don't court mid-listers because they can wait around for them to come up with a hit on their own dime.

Are new writers really more likely to have a hit than midlisters? I can name tons of authors who were midlisters until a hit catapulted them to bestseller status. I bet the same is true of traditionally published authors.

Offline Edward M. Grant

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2017, 02:00:56 PM »
Are new writers really more likely to have a hit than midlisters? I can name tons of authors who were midlisters until a hit catapulted them to bestseller status. I bet the same is true of traditionally published authors.

Remember: trade-published best-sellers are as much made as found. Take a decent book, put it in every book store in the world, get mass media coverage, and you have a best-seller because lots of people will buy it. It won't go viral and hit the Harry Potter level unless it's the right book at the right time, but it will sell a lot of copies.

And it's easier to get mass-media coverage for 'an amazing new writer' than an established one.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 02:05:37 PM by Edward M. Grant »

Offline Edward M. Grant

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #64 on: September 13, 2017, 02:04:16 PM »
I figure it's because they aren't willing to pay what most indie authors would want. I doubt I'd look at a deal with any exclusivity or one offering less than 30-50k/book as an advance and I'm hardly a bestseller

Ditto, and I've never even made $3k from a book yet. Even $50k wouldn't necessarily be enough to convince me to take the risk of signing up with a publisher with their non-compete clauses and other nonsense.

They simply can't afford to offer most indies an amount that's worth our time.

Offline WHDean

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #65 on: September 13, 2017, 02:26:24 PM »
Are new writers really more likely to have a hit than midlisters? I can name tons of authors who were midlisters until a hit catapulted them to bestseller status. I bet the same is true of traditionally published authors.

I didn't mean to imply that. The point is that it makes more sense to catch a book--whether by a new author or a mid-lister--early in the contagion cycle than it does to bank on mid-listers writing a hit or turning a mid-lister into a bestseller, which carries too much uncertainty because the only big money is in bestsellers.



     

Offline Herc- The Reluctant Geek

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #66 on: September 13, 2017, 02:28:44 PM »
Quote
Self-publishing can be a popular and accessible option for writers who wish to bypass the traditional route altogether. But while there are some wild success stories in self-publishing, they tend to be genre works - romance, erotica, science fiction, crime, young adult, and Christian lit. I've yet to meet an author who felt their self-published literary novel or memoir generated enough sales to make up for the amount of time and money spent marketing them.

Oh please. Fear of failure is what I'm getting here. I label all of my fiction as lit fic because it doesn't sell, which seems to me to be the one defining feature of literary fiction. If no one wants to read it, then it's lit fic. It doesn't matter if it's got space ships in, or vampires, or heroines with bodices that need ripping, if it languishes in the millions on the Amazon charts, then it's lit fic.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #67 on: September 13, 2017, 02:52:00 PM »
Amazon Publishing does exactly this--acquires successful indies to write a book or series for them. They use KDP as a talent pool. Authors who take that deal do so because the push APub gives their series can spill over onto their indie books.

Many, many bestselling authors I know who publish indie also have NY or London trad deals. Not unusual at all. Similar to the "eggs in many baskets" idea. There's no real ginormous secret to it. You just have to sell extremely well and want to expand to other markets. (For example: paperbacks.)

Other indies prefer to retain control over the publishing schedule and their books' presentation and marketing. Many of the big names, however, started out in trad. (Others didn't.) Sometimes they had bad experiences that drive them to retain all control now.

You have to be doing very well, though. I've already made 500K this year. I've had APub interest, but have never been approached by a NY pub, or for that matter by an agent or even an audio publisher. I've made mid-six figures for 4 years straight, and APub isn't currently interested in me. I'll wipe away my tears, I guess, with these pieces of green paper.

(No, actually, I'm kinda hurt, but there you go, it is what it is.)

Offline Edward M. Grant

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #68 on: September 13, 2017, 02:59:44 PM »
Amazon Publishing does exactly this--acquires successful indies to write a book or series for them. They use KDP as a talent pool. Authors who take that deal do so because the push APub gives their series can spill over onto their indie books.

Good point. Amazon imprints are probably one of the few--possibly the only--publishers who can make it worth an indie's time.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #69 on: September 13, 2017, 03:02:39 PM »
Good point. Amazon imprints are probably one of the few--possibly the only--publishers who can make it worth an indie's time.
And yet I know many people who have hybrid careers, including deals with NY publishers. Depends on the author, the genre (some genres simply do better trad), and many other factors.

Offline Edward M. Grant

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #70 on: September 13, 2017, 03:21:41 PM »
But you said they were already best-sellers. They're pretty much guaranteed profit for the publishers, and don't get the usual take-it-or-leave-it contract.

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #71 on: September 13, 2017, 03:32:45 PM »
Interestingly, I just noticed a recent post on Kris Rusch's site about how publishers are dumping established best-sellers who aren't best-sellery enough. If the publishers are doing that, it's no wonder they're not looking for midlist indies. They want the big hits, and don't want the hassle of dealing with measly 100k-sellers.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #72 on: September 13, 2017, 03:44:39 PM »
But you said they were already best-sellers. They're pretty much guaranteed profit for the publishers, and don't get the usual take-it-or-leave-it contract.
Unless you're making well over seven or eight figures, you aren't getting any gigantic advances, typically. I always smile at the figures I see thrown around in threads like this--people who are making five figures a year saying they'd need a 50K advance per book. Not happening. I didn't get anywhere remotely close to that, and I consistently make mid six figures a year.

To get big money and a great contract, you probably need to be selling over 100K copies of EACH of your books. Montlake Romance, for example, will dump authors whose Montlake books don't move over 100K copies. Instead, they'll go after other indie authors and gamble on whether their books will hit that mark. They're going into it with more information, yes, but they're still looking for really, really strong performance in order to continue.

Offline Rosie A.

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #73 on: September 13, 2017, 03:47:50 PM »
Interestingly, I just noticed a recent post on Kris Rusch's site about how publishers are dumping established best-sellers who aren't best-sellery enough. If the publishers are doing that, it's no wonder they're not looking for midlist indies. They want the big hits, and don't want the hassle of dealing with measly 100k-sellers.
But wouldn't that be more sustainable in the long-run? To have mid-list authors who are prolific and consistently bring in profit over the length of a career? It seems like publishers have an outdated system, which  brings me to the "why I'll never understand" writers like the OP article author. I read Kris Rusch's article too and shook my head. Why keep your novels stuffed in a drawer when isn't the point of writing a book so that others can read it? Even if a handful of people read it, that's still better than zero.

Like I said before, I have a friend who I think is a really, really good writer. Devoted to learning her craft and writes Renaissance style historical fantasy with paranormal elements. Her books have a lot of potential. She has written 20 full length novels and countless shorts/novellas. She absolutely refuses to go Indie. What the hell!? I gave up years ago trying to get her to see the light. She is now on her 21st novel and has slowed down her querying. She says she will never give up. I keep hoping one day she'll get furious enough at being rejected to publish something on Amazon.

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Re: Article: Why 'm Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years
« Reply #74 on: September 13, 2017, 04:15:27 PM »
Unless you're making well over seven or eight figures, you aren't getting any gigantic advances, typically. I always smile at the figures I see thrown around in threads like this--people who are making five figures a year saying they'd need a 50K advance per book. Not happening. I didn't get anywhere remotely close to that, and I consistently make mid six figures a year.

To get big money and a great contract, you probably need to be selling over 100K copies of EACH of your books. Montlake Romance, for example, will dump authors whose Montlake books don't move over 100K copies. Instead, they'll go after other indie authors and gamble on whether their books will hit that mark. They're going into it with more information, yes, but they're still looking for really, really strong performance in order to continue.

You're proving my point.

Not all of my books have made more than 50k in profit. Plenty have made much, much less. A few have made quite a bit more. But, based on my last two years of sales and marketing data, I'm very comfortable saying my average book will make more than 30-50k over its lifetime. Will that change next year? Maybe, who knows? My segment of the market could fall apart. Or I could have a runaway hit and be the next Vi Keeland.

I'm willing to take a paycut for a tradpub deal, but only so much of a paycut. Why would any indie author take a lowball advance from a traditional publisher when it's well known that low advance contracts = no marketing money from the publisher. You might as well do it all yourself.

Montlake is an exception, because they're Amazon, and Amazon controls KU visibility. I think most indies would take a much bigger paycut for a Montlake contract, though I have seen plenty of authors who don't sell anywhere near the 100k units/book level get Montlake contracts. I have no idea how well their Montlake books do/what their contracts look like, but I do know they have Montlake books out despite generally being midlist/KU midlist.