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The Sun God's Heir: Return (Book One)
by Elliott Baker


Kindle Edition published 2017-01-02
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Product Description
For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century Bordeaux two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, steals a life determined to continue a brutal incarnation begun long ago.

Under the guidance of Pharaoh, two brothers grew strong in knowledge and power, one a physician, the other a general. With the pharaoh’s untimely death, a deep hatred blossoms. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. To protect those he loves he must regain the power and knowledge earned in an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies as the memory and power of a lifetime as physician to Pharaoh returns.

Determined to continue a reign of terror that once caused the Nile to run red, Horemheb takes over the life of a young man mortally wo…

Author Topic: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene  (Read 5136 times)  

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2018, 09:28:33 AM »
You do not have to do a ton of work as an indie, necessarily. I guess it depends whether you think it is hard to get a book formatted and edited and to get covers made and a blurb written, which is the bulk of what New York does for most books. For me, that's the fun stuff. An awful lot of former trad authors are now hybrid or indie, and many are making six or seven figures a year.

(Personally: hybrid. But most of the money comes from indie. I have trad contracts on one book series plus some of my audio and three German translations. The translations (I have three I had done on my own also) are the main area where trad is much easier.)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 10:42:33 AM by Usedtoposthere »

Offline Bob Stewart

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2018, 10:39:44 AM »
1) If publishers want to be successful, they need to consider the digital-first model.

Wouldn't that annoy their B&M retailers?

I have another question, re the slush piles. Given that these days it's nearly impossible to get a book into a big 5 publisher without an agent, are the submissions sent in via agents also handled by the interns first? Surely the more successful ones can get it to an editor directly, can't they?


Offline ParkerAvrile

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2018, 03:38:47 PM »
Fair enough! Getting into brick & mortar stores is great. I remember when I saw the first book I ever designed on display at an Indigo. I guess lots of people are still drawn to that idea. But is being in a brick & mortar store that important? Unless you're a big seller, with a display (which most publishers have to pay co-op for), you'd likely only have 1 or 2 copies in the store; and, even then, the only way anybody is going to find your book is if they specifically look for it. The only other way I see of making a good amount of sales at brick and mortars is to hand-sell. That takes charisma, and a lot of grit. I see what you mean about not inspiring confidence in authorsbut, with a good track record, this shouldn't be an issue.

Self-publishing is a lot of work, haha. More than I care for. And print books from print-on-demand services are nowhere near the quality I'd like from a book. I really think that books need to be beautiful again.

Have you seen any of the Unbound books?  I am funding a couple of projects but I have not actually gotten one of the finished hardbacks yet to see how the art etc. looks. I am certainly hoping for a beautiful book. I do think a lot of profit going forward will go to those who create beauty rather than grinding out digital works faster and ever faster. Just as many musicians aren't making money from the music but from the vinyl record collectors. It has to be an art object, or people will just pirate or stream the stuff.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 03:41:24 PM by ParkerAvrile »
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Offline GeorgiaCM123

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2018, 03:55:54 PM »
Publishers have a huge vested interest in protecting the industry they've built:
This is part of it, for sure. But, in my opinion, a very small part. It's not as malicious as it's made out to be, either.
Publishers already have the infrastructure in place, (the distribution, and the booksellers), and it's a lot easier to play to their strengths than to commit to a whole new way of doing business.

Publishing ebooks erodes the very industry they've spent years building up
I don't think this is true at all. Are they scared of cannibalization? Not really.
Profit margins for ebooks are actually higher than those for print. A lot higher. I think ebooks are a huge opportunity for publishers to expand their business.
But this means changing their business model and that's not something that comes easy.
I've always been an advocate of digital first--print later. IMO, that's where publishers need to go in order to find success in the future.


I'd have to agree. Traditional publishers see ebooks as just another format. They can and do compete with indie authors in ebooks, but for some authors and books, print may sell better than ebook formats (in part, due to their large print distribution networks). The trad. publisher will choose to put money into print rather than ebooks if that is the case. It may not be as clear cut as that always, but they are a business, and they have to put their money where they know it will make the most return.

Offline solo

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2018, 05:41:56 PM »
This. NY is pretty clueless about how to sell books. And they had their chance with mine. I'm way too happy with my indie income to consider NY again unless, like you said, there were wheelbarrows full of cash involved.

I second the motion.  :D

I refuse to jump through the hoops of mighty literary agents and wise publishing editors. For a truckload of cash upfront? Maybe.

Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2018, 04:15:43 PM »
While others may think differently, if a traditional publisher approached me with a deal of eBook only, and paperback maybe, he'd have the door slammed in his face. In fact, it would have to be a really good deal on paperback, hardback, audiobook, and CD, before I'd even consider the normal eBook deal. And I mean REALLY good. I know beyond any shadow of doubt that I can move more than 150K eBook copies a year, so any deal would have to deliver that same kind of traffic for all other formats.
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Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2018, 07:28:55 AM »
You do not have to do a ton of work as an indie, necessarily. I guess it depends whether you think it is hard to get a book formatted and edited and to get covers made and a blurb written, which is the bulk of what New York does for most books. For me, that's the fun stuff. An awful lot of former trad authors are now hybrid or indie, and many are making six or seven figures a year.

(Personally: hybrid. But most of the money comes from indie. I have trad contracts on one book series plus some of my audio and three German translations. The translations (I have three I had done on my own also) are the main area where trad is much easier.)

That's the part that's fun for me too! Really looking forward to jumping in the indie scene (there really is more money in it).
Publishers do more than the formatting/editing/design/marketing. There's also QC. Lots of professionals who've been in the industry for years; and who love their work, are looking at your work. It's bound to improve if you're willing to cede some control. It depends on the publisher, and you're relationship with them.

At my last job, our authors really trusted us. And we had really good working relationships with most of them. There have been instances in the past where it was a painful back/forth.

Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2018, 07:35:06 AM »
Wouldn't that annoy their B&M retailers?


This model isn't going to take away anything that Amazon doesn't already. B&M's are failing, but it's not publishing's job to keep em afloat.
They need to adapt. Brick and mortars need to become community hubscultural centres.

I have another question, re the slush piles. Given that these days it's nearly impossible to get a book into a big 5 publisher without an agent, are the submissions sent in via agents also handled by the interns first? Surely the more successful ones can get it to an editor directly, can't they?

It depends on the agent/agency and their relationship with the editor.
The big ones go straight to the editors. Interns still handle some of them. Editorial assistants handle some of em. The bulk of them still need to be vetted. 


Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2018, 07:37:23 AM »
I'd have to agree. Traditional publishers see ebooks as just another format. They can and do compete with indie authors in ebooks, but for some authors and books, print may sell better than ebook formats (in part, due to their large print distribution networks). The trad. publisher will choose to put money into print rather than ebooks if that is the case. It may not be as clear cut as that always, but they are a business, and they have to put their money where they know it will make the most return.

This is what was so frustrating for me. I like ebooks. But the company doesn't.
I pushed for our last batch of conversions (of backlist titles), and coordinated with the digital vendors to get a bit of marketing loveand we sold more ebooks in that month than in the history of our company. Yet, we didn't do any cross-promotion; even though I pushed for it. It's so frustrating that most publishers still treat ebooks as the ugly stepsister.

Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2018, 07:40:20 AM »
Have you seen any of the Unbound books?  I am funding a couple of projects but I have not actually gotten one of the finished hardbacks yet to see how the art etc. looks. I am certainly hoping for a beautiful book. I do think a lot of profit going forward will go to those who create beauty rather than grinding out digital works faster and ever faster. Just as many musicians aren't making money from the music but from the vinyl record collectors. It has to be an art object, or people will just pirate or stream the stuff.

I have not seen any Unbound books; the specs seems fine (120gsm interior paper). The thing I'd be worried about is the cover stock. I'd have to hold a copy in my hands to say anything about that. Digital presses are getting pretty good!

Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professionalnew to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2018, 07:43:04 AM »
While others may think differently, if a traditional publisher approached me with a deal of eBook only, and paperback maybe, he'd have the door slammed in his face. In fact, it would have to be a really good deal on paperback, hardback, audiobook, and CD, before I'd even consider the normal eBook deal. And I mean REALLY good. I know beyond any shadow of doubt that I can move more than 150K eBook copies a year, so any deal would have to deliver that same kind of traffic for all other formats.

Hahaha, you a savvy author. Do you think you'd sign a deal to keep ebook rights, with a small/no advance? If the majority of your sales are digital, it seems like it could be a good deal!

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2018, 07:57:30 AM »
That's the part that's fun for me too! Really looking forward to jumping in the indie scene (there really is more money in it).
Publishers do more than the formatting/editing/design/marketing. There's also QC. Lots of professionals who've been in the industry for years; and who love their work, are looking at your work. It's bound to improve if you're willing to cede some control. It depends on the publisher, and you're relationship with them.

At my last job, our authors really trusted us. And we had really good working relationships with most of them. There have been instances in the past where it was a painful back/forth.
When I talked about getting covers, formatting, and editing done, I was assuming those were being done outside, not by the author. Professional hybrids generally have the same QC on both kinds of books.

On audio, my QC is better than my two publishers'. On German translations, the publisher does better. (I had a very expensive CE/proofreader, but in the last book, somebody was sloppy, and there were too many errors EVEN AFTER the proofreader went back through the book again. Maddening.) On ebook/paperback, about the same.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 09:10:14 AM by Usedtoposthere »

Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2018, 09:14:13 AM »
When I talked about getting covers, formatting, and editing done, I was assuming those were being done outside, not by the author.

Yes, I understood that you meant getting those things done outside; but, finding designers, formatters, and editors + vetting them will take time. It also takes time to go back and forth with these contractors (unless you've built these relationships). But, of course, once you have the infrastructure in place, I can see it being a lot easier.

Professional hybrids generally have the same QC on both kinds of books.

I agree and disagree. I'm sure those who have been through the traditional model, will know how to produce a high-quality book. But it's a little overzealous to claim that they have the same QC. Sure, they're good enough to not negatively impact sales; but, they aren't running around winning literary awards. In terms of production, it's not even close. I can spot a selfpub cover from miles awayeven the good ones. And when you pick up one of these print-on-demand books, it's very clear that the production value is very low. Again, they'll "pass" so to speak. Most people can't tell the difference and the books will still sell, and that's what's really important.

I'm a bit of a snob.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2018, 09:26:14 AM »
Yes, I understood that you meant getting those things done outside; but, finding designers, formatters, and editors + vetting them will take time. It also takes time to go back and forth with these contractors (unless you've built these relationships). But, of course, once you have the infrastructure in place, I can see it being a lot easier.

I agree and disagree. I'm sure those who have been through the traditional model, will know how to produce a high-quality book. But it's a little overzealous to claim that they have the same QC. Sure, they're good enough to not negatively impact sales; but, they aren't running around winning literary awards. In terms of production, it's not even close. I can spot a selfpub cover from miles awayeven the good ones. And when you pick up one of these print-on-demand books, it's very clear that the production value is very low. Again, they'll "pass" so to speak. Most people can't tell the difference and the books will still sell, and that's what's really important.

I'm a bit of a snob.
You might want to check the Audies and the Ritas, for two. In my genre, indies and hybrids are most definitely winning awards. Many hybrids (I am speaking of very successful authors) use the same editors, proofreaders, and cover artists who also work with them on their traditionally published books. I know I've used the same (highly regarded) developmental editor on trad and indie. She works with quite a few authors on both their trad and indie books. That is a common practice, since publishers outsource most of their editorial and cover work now. Believe me, indies who sell well are using the same folks.

Personally, my review average is higher on my indie books from the past couple years than on my trad books, and on my audio as well, since my QC is much better than the publishers'. (I have two series done in audio by publishers, and four series I have done myself. My Audie nomination was on an indie book. :) Another ACX romance novel got an Audie finalist nod this year.)

Certainly true about quality of product on paperbacks, but romance isn't really about paperback anymore, so that isn't a major factor for me.

You are free to believe that bestselling tradpub is higher quality than bestselling indie work, of course. You won't be the only one! But it's pretty misleading to compare all indie work to tradpub. More interesting to look at what's working at the higher sales levels.




Offline PenNPaper

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2018, 09:30:21 AM »
I couldn't care less about awards. I'm doing this for the money, not the accolades. And that money is significant. I made 39 times more last year than I did when I was traditionally published.

Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2018, 09:38:39 AM »
She works with quite a few authors on both their trad and indie books. That is a common practice, since publishers outsource most of their editorial and cover work now. Believe me, indies who sell well are using the same folks.

+1


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Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2018, 09:46:28 AM »
You might want to check the Audies and the Ritas, for two. In my genre, indies and hybrids are most definitely winning awards. Many hybrids (I am speaking of very successful authors) use the same editors, proofreaders, and cover artists who also work with them on their traditionally published books. I know I've used the same (highly regarded) developmental editor on trad and indie. She works with quite a few authors on both their trad and indie books. That is a common practice, since publishers outsource most of their editorial and cover work now. Believe me, indies who sell well are using the same folks.

Personally, my review average is higher on my indie books from the past couple years than on my trad books, and on my audio as well, since my QC is much better than the publishers'. (I have two series done in audio by publishers, and four series I have done myself. My Audie nomination was on an indie book. :) Another ACX romance novel got an Audie finalist nod this year.)

Certainly true about quality of product on paperbacks, but romance isn't really about paperback anymore, so that isn't a major factor for me.

You are free to believe that bestselling tradpub is higher quality than bestselling indie work, of course. You won't be the only one! But it's pretty misleading to compare all indie work to tradpub. More interesting to look at what's working at the higher sales levels.

Oh, I don't doubt that some indies can/do win awards; but I'm talking about the overall quality of selfpub books vs. traditional published books. I know this isn't fair to those who put a lot of effort into their selfpub programs; but all in all, the quality is lower.

I just want to quickly say that just because you use the same people, it doesn't mean that the quality is the same. There are less eyes on the thing.
Yes, you use the same editor, designer, proofreader etc. But is the edit going through a managing editor? No. Is the proofread checked by the managing editor? Again, no. Are there entire sales and marketing departments providing input? Again, no. Is the art director looking over the cover? No. For the people who work with both traditional/self-pubs; from what I've seen, the work done for the traditional pubs is a lot more polishedmaybe they're taking more liberties, or maybe budget constraints limit what can be done. I don't doubt that there are some people out there doing work that is better than what they've done with traditional publishers.
But those people are rare. If you find yourself working with one of these people, count yourself lucky!

I'm not saying that the quality isn't good. I'm just saying it's not as good. Most people won't notice. And I really want to emphasize this:
it will hardly impact sales, if at all.

The difference between a book that's 8/10 and a book that's 10/10 is almost negligible to the average person.

And I really want to emphasize this as well:
I'm a bit of a snob.




Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2018, 09:57:47 AM »
I want to know if you know how long typesetters at trade pub houses have to work on a fiction book, and how much they make per book.


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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2018, 10:00:39 AM »
Oh, I don't doubt that some indies can/do win awards; but I'm talking about the overall quality of selfpub books vs. traditional published books. I know this isn't fair to those who put a lot of effort into their selfpub programs; but all in all, the quality is lower.

I just want to quickly say that just because you use the same people, it doesn't mean that the quality is the same. There are less eyes on the thing.
Yes, you use the same editor, designer, proofreader etc. But is the edit going through a managing editor? No. Is the proofread checked by the managing editor? Again, no. Are there entire sales and marketing departments providing input? Again, no. Is the art director looking over the cover? No. For the people who work with both traditional/self-pubs; from what I've seen, the work done for the traditional pubs is a lot more polishedmaybe they're taking more liberties, or maybe budget constraints limit what can be done. I don't doubt that there are some people out there doing work that is better than what they've done with traditional publishers.
But those people are rare. If you find yourself working with one of these people, count yourself lucky!

I'm not saying that the quality isn't good. I'm just saying it's not as good. Most people won't notice. And I really want to emphasize this:
it will hardly impact sales, if at all.

The difference between a book that's 8/10 and a book that's 10/10 is almost negligible to the average person.

And I really want to emphasize this as well:
I'm a bit of a snob.


Maybe some of those people should have listened to the audio of my suspense novel that had two chapters out of order right near the end. Fortunately, they sent me author copies, and I DID listen and got it fixed, because I care a lot more than they did. Hell of a way to ruin a mystery.

Every hybrid I know has stories like that. Some people are fully indie because of stories like that (or of the publisher turning down a story idea as too "out there"--an idea that went on to make the author millions); others are hybrid but do their own QC. Some hybrid authors who write for my publisher (which is well regarded) hire their own proofreaders, because the publisher's proofreaders leave too many errors. They still publish with the outfit, because it does a LOT of marketing. That's the plus for sure.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 10:09:09 AM by Usedtoposthere »

Offline AmpersandBookInteriors

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2018, 10:07:20 AM »
Maybe some of those people should have listened to the audio of my suspense novel that had two chapters out of order right near the end. Fortunately, they sent me author copies, and I DID listen and got it fixed, because I care a lot more than they did. Hell of a way to ruin a mystery.

Or one of my clients who said she was reading through her author proof and realized they hadn't made changes to her narrative, and she drove to the publisher's offices and told them about the error and she was informed she had 30 minutes to make the changes before they went off to print. I can't imagine those changes received any end-production attention.


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Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2018, 10:07:28 AM »
I want to know if you know how long typesetters at trade pub houses have to work on a fiction book, and how much they make per book.

I've typeset hundreds of books for trad publishers and I work anywhere from 1230 hours on each and my rate is 50/h.
Sometimes I cut a deal, because a lot of it is my being finicky with kerning and line spacing.

I typically make between 12001800 per typeset job.
Sometimes lower. It depends on length/complexity or if it's a design-to-spec job/ a new design.

I'm awed by some of the rates I see people charging indies. How much work could go into an 150200 dollar job?

Offline SammyTeas

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #46 on: March 19, 2018, 10:09:27 AM »
Maybe some of those people should have listened to the audio of my suspense novel that had two chapters out of order right near the end. Fortunately, they sent me author copies, and I DID listen and got it fixed, because I care a lot more than they did. Hell of a way to ruin a mystery.

SO SORRY TO HEAR THAT. That's 100% unacceptable. I guess it also depends on the publisher and the people they use. Some publishing houses I've worked for are understaffed and not all books get the attention they needthat's one point for self-pubs!

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #47 on: March 19, 2018, 10:11:33 AM »
I've typeset hundreds of books for trad publishers and I work anywhere from 1230 hours on each and my rate is 50/h.
Sometimes I cut a deal, because a lot of it is my being finicky with kerning and line spacing.

This is pretty much how long I spend on a fiction job, so good. Makes me happy, thank you.

Quote
I typically make between 12001800 per typeset job.
Sometimes lower. It depends on length/complexity or if it's a design-to-spec job/ a new design.

This also makes me happy, thank you!

Quote
I'm awed by some of the rates I see people charging indies. How much work could go into an 150200 dollar job?

Doubtfully more than 1-3 hours of work per job.  I agree; typesetting is one of the most important parts of book production and it is woefully neglected in the indie world, overall.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 10:26:32 AM by AmpersandBookInteriors »


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Online ShayneRutherford

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2018, 10:20:25 AM »
Oh, I don't doubt that some indies can/do win awards; but I'm talking about the overall quality of selfpub books vs. traditional published books. I know this isn't fair to those who put a lot of effort into their selfpub programs; but all in all, the quality is lower.

I just want to quickly say that just because you use the same people, it doesn't mean that the quality is the same. There are less eyes on the thing.
Yes, you use the same editor, designer, proofreader etc. But is the edit going through a managing editor? No. Is the proofread checked by the managing editor? Again, no. Are there entire sales and marketing departments providing input? Again, no. Is the art director looking over the cover? No. For the people who work with both traditional/self-pubs; from what I've seen, the work done for the traditional pubs is a lot more polishedmaybe they're taking more liberties, or maybe budget constraints limit what can be done. I don't doubt that there are some people out there doing work that is better than what they've done with traditional publishers.
But those people are rare. If you find yourself working with one of these people, count yourself lucky!

I'm not saying that the quality isn't good. I'm just saying it's not as good. Most people won't notice. And I really want to emphasize this:
it will hardly impact sales, if at all.

The difference between a book that's 8/10 and a book that's 10/10 is almost negligible to the average person.

And I really want to emphasize this as well:
I'm a bit of a snob.

Quality is in the eye of the beholder. What you think is better, I might think is worse.

And you're right, if the story is good, most people won't care that it didn't go through three extra people. That extra 2/10 might make a book look a bit prettier, but most people are in it for the story, and won't let the fact that the book is 'only' 8/10 dissuade them from buying it. The fact that there are loads of people here on this very board who make four and five figures A MONTH makes this quite clear. I wonder how many traditionally published authors can claim to make the same kind of money?
     

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Longtime publishing professional�new to the self-publishing scene
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2018, 10:23:51 AM »
I want to make it clear that I do believe the bar has been well and truly raised. It used to be that you could put out an indie book without good production values and succeed, if the story was good, because there wasn't much out there and the lower price was a big lure. Now, bestselling indie books are generally indistinguishable from bestselling trad books, and you can't really get away with that anymore. (I except things like the ghostwritten 99-cent books that have flooded the KU contemporary romance market; they are using other means to achieve success.) It's a pretty mature market, and a crowded one. To do well, you pretty much have to up your game.

Ebook readers aren't reading a typeset book, so things like printing and gorgeous layout are less important, beyond something that is clean and looks pleasing. How much of your audience is ebook probably depends on your genre. In romance, it's most of it. (Ebook and audio, where quality control really matters.)