Author Topic: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"  (Read 15771 times)  

Offline bberntson

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Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2013, 12:12:07 pm »
There are always exceptions to every rule, but I think it's safe to say do what feels right, what you're comfortable with, and don't give up.  I think someone already posted this in another thread, but it's very encouraging for those of you who are simply passionate about what you do, and refuse to give up.  If you love to write, you write, no exceptions.  I really think it's that simple sometimes.  

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/10/quitter-quitter.html
« Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 12:17:26 pm by bberntson »

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    Offline Jan Thompson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #26 on: November 09, 2013, 12:13:01 pm »
    Wow, you beat even me! I worked for 15 years before finally breaking through - did get a good deal in the end though  :)

    Good for you!!

    I was writing in an obscure subgenre that no tradpub wanted LOL but in the end I had a direct offer from the acquisition editor of a small tradpub for my ms though by then I had made up my mind to self-publish (soon) and keep 70% of the royalties. So it worked out for me too! :-)

    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #27 on: November 09, 2013, 12:22:46 pm »
    I saw a graph recently in an article about self-publishing that showed how the sales figures across the board at Amazon for self-published authors was an almost perfect match for those of traditionally published authors: i.e, that a tiny number of superstar authors occupied the highest rankings and sales, while around 99% of authors occupied the "long tail" of the graph with sales and rankings sinking rapidly into obscurity. If that graph is an accurate representation of the situation now, they it would appear that success in SP is just as hard now as in traditional.

    However, in the interest of optimism, the same article made two important distinctions between the two industries;

    1) Although a new SP author may be languishing in the low ranks, they're still published and able to gain visibility. An author seeking a traditional publishing route is not.

    2) There are many authors occupying a "sweet-spot" in the tail of that graph, not achieving superstar sales but earning a good living from their work. Many are full-time authors too. Again, this is contrary to traditional publishing, where many mid-list authors cannot afford to make a living entirely from writing as their "cut" of advances and royalties etc is so much smaller.

    Bottom line: ELHawk is right, it's a tough business the whole way through. But at least the SP author is already in the running and not sitting around waiting for a traditional publishing house to miraculously offer them a deal...


    I'll third the "it's a tough business" statement. Doesn't matter how you do it, it is simply tough. And there are indeed quite a few of us 'mid-listers' making a living at it.

    Interesting for us to agree for a change. :)
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    Offline RJJ

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #28 on: November 09, 2013, 12:28:26 pm »
    I'd think it's safe to say that success is going to be a lot less likely for a newbie today than it was for a newbie hitting the market a year or two ago. A lot less likely. It's getting harder by the minute for established authors, too. The bottom line is that the market is grossly saturated not only with newbies but with the big houses (remember when every newbie celebrated the impending death of the evil big 6 on every blog written two years ago?) Far from vanishing, the big houses have adapted nicely. The market is also saturated with free and cheap books, to the detriment of all of us who are actually trying to make money. Bottom line, there's a lot more noise now than there was a year or two ago. It's harder and harder for any one person to be heard above the roar.

    Offline ElHawk

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #29 on: November 09, 2013, 12:45:15 pm »
    I never thought I would hear you admit this, Dean. I admire you for being a big enough person to do so. 2) really is a stunning realization, isn't it? :)

    Hahaha!  Group hug.





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    Offline Christa Wick

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #30 on: November 09, 2013, 02:25:59 pm »
    I saw a graph recently in an article about self-publishing that showed how the sales figures across the board at Amazon for self-published authors was an almost perfect match for those of traditionally published authors: 

    Since Amazon doesn't release those numbers, I'm suspicious of any such graph.

    Offline Justawriter

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #31 on: November 09, 2013, 02:37:18 pm »
    I met a woman recently who signed a digital deal with Harper Collins and got ZERO advance. I'm not sure I'd take what Harper Collins has to say too seriously, if that's the alternative they have to offer. But maybe she was the exception...

    Just got back from spending the day at Crimebake conference and last night an editor from Kensington said he'd heard of a digital only imprint from one of the big ones, he thought Random House, that not only offered no advance, but also expected the author to earn out on the costs of things like their covers. Craziness.....

    Offline Wansit

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #32 on: November 09, 2013, 02:40:03 pm »
    I met a woman recently who signed a digital deal with Harper Collins and got ZERO advance. I'm not sure I'd take what Harper Collins has to say too seriously, if that's the alternative they have to offer. But maybe she was the exception...

    Just got back from spending the day at Crimebake conference and last night an editor from Kensington said he'd heard of a digital only imprint from one of the big ones, he thought Random House, that not only offered no advance, but also expected the author to earn out on the costs of things like their covers. Craziness.....

    Flat out insane.

    Offline Kat Lilynette

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #33 on: November 09, 2013, 02:50:35 pm »
    With the massive reader acceptance of e-publishing and also being able to supply those readers with print-on-demand services, I really have no idea why anyone would give the rights to their work to a publishing house. Unless, of course, they're giving you a TON of visibility you couldn't get otherwise. But, from what I hear, even if you go through a publishing house, you're still doing all the legwork yourself and making less money.

    I know I have no experience in this area, but the whole thing just seems like a no-brainer to me because traditional publishing just doesn't seem to bring enough to the table. The ever-growing number of self-published, millionaire authors, authors who are making a good living, and authors who are making a great living, seem to reaffirm that belief for me.

    The ebook market is finally starting to level out. The initial gold rush is over. And all that's left is the fruit for those who are willing to work hard enough to get to the top of the tree.
    « Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 02:52:36 pm by Kat Lilynette »

    Offline Chris P. O'Grady

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #34 on: November 09, 2013, 02:58:41 pm »
    I beg to differ on the point of it being "more elusive" for emerging writers. Presuming these emerging writers are also self publishing, I would not have ever seen 99% of your work. Period. With the advent of self publishing I get to view title after title. It's a brand new world. Admittedly the competition is greater but so is the visibility of the work. Your work is like gold embedded in quartz waiting for its chance to be liberated. ;D

    Offline Greg Strandberg

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #35 on: November 09, 2013, 03:08:07 pm »
    If you're going by a complete lack of mental grasp, then I don't think it's anymore difficult than anything else or its historically been.  Figuring out how to upload a book for the first time is probably just a difficult today as it was years ago.  Self-publishing is getting a little hard to define.  You have people just self-publishing to Amazon, others to Smashwords, others to retailers individually, and then all the print self-publishing.  If you're talking about the profits that many are seeking, then yes, I do believe those are cleverly and skillfully elusive to many authors, whether new or old.

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    Offline FictionalWriter

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #36 on: November 09, 2013, 05:26:53 pm »
    I agree but I think it's just harder overall, for everyone. Even some of the bigger names.

    Offline Ugg

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #37 on: November 09, 2013, 05:31:37 pm »
    It sounds as if she's right on the money. How many posts on KB are about exposure, marketing, and PR? How many arguments have erupted about the need for professional editing, cover design, and proofing? And of all the posters, how many are still struggling to find an audience?  

    Offline Jay Allan

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #38 on: November 09, 2013, 06:55:40 pm »
    It has always been difficult to sell a significant number of books, self or trad publishing...and it always will be.  Just as it is difficult for people to build careers as actors, musicians, etc.  But this comparison is constantly misrepresented.

    You cannot compare trade published authors one for one with self-published ones.  Probably one in one thousand prospective trade published authors ever get a contract, while that whole 1,000 can self-publish.  If you want to compare accurately, you would need to take the entire pool of people who have submitted to a trade publisher, whether they were accepted or rejected and then compare this to the pool of self-published authors.  That is the accurate comparison, and, if the numbers were available, I don't think it would support trade publishing.  If you take a trade published author who sells 10,000 books and average them with 1,000 who died in the slush pile, your average in the trade published group sold 10 books.  Those are the kinds of numbers they like to show for self-pubbed authors.

    An "emerging" author is someone who has to get a trade deal to even get published, and the vast majority of them won't.  It's great for trade publishers to scoop off only the ones they accept and compare them to everyone in the world who put a few hours into throwing a book up on Amazon.  I'd like to see a real comparison of apples vs. apples. 

    Offline RaeC

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #39 on: November 09, 2013, 07:13:25 pm »
    It all seems so stupid when you consider the probability of actually being trad-published, multiplied by the probability of achieving the type of trad-pub success necessary to build that type of platform and following to "transition" to self-pub success. So yes, that 1% stands a better chance of self-pub success than any Joe Blowriter, but I refuse to believe that 1% will actually average 99x more self-pub sales than self-pubbers without a trad-pub background.

    Writers stand a better chance of success going straight to self-pubbing than trad-pubbing.
    « Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 07:21:08 pm by AdrianC »
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    Offline Jan Thompson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #40 on: November 09, 2013, 11:07:47 pm »
    Writers stand a better chance of success going straight to self-pubbing than trad-pubbing.

    Good quote.

    Offline ChrisWard

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #41 on: November 10, 2013, 12:54:41 am »
    Last time i looked on Amazon there were 63,000 odd ebooks published in the last thirty days. For arguement's sake, say that's 20,000 authors publishing three books each. How many of those writers will become outliers? Perhaps one, or maybe two. So yeah, just guessing by the sheer numbers I'd reckon it's extremely hard for a new self-published writer to get a look in.

    However, how many trad slots are available for that same pool of authors? Perhaps one, or two.

    It seems to me that however way you look at it, you're better off self-publishing. And if you want to pursue a trad contract, then submit manuscripts that are already available on Amazon for sale. Better than having them on your hard drive doing nothing.

    Offline ElHawk

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #42 on: November 10, 2013, 06:46:23 am »
    It sounds as if she's right on the money. How many posts on KB are about exposure, marketing, and PR? How many arguments have erupted about the need for professional editing, cover design, and proofing? And of all the posters, how many are still struggling to find an audience?  

    Yes, of course.  It just seems silly, the way she phrased her statements.  It's harder for authors who don't have a platform to find visibility than those who do.  In other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west; this and more on the eleven o'clock news.  And it seems a little disingenuous to imply that author visibility is more difficult in self-publishing than it is in traditional publishing.  They seem equally difficult to me, from what I've observed.  Trying to skew the article to make it look like it's a Sisyphean task to self-publish if you're a nobody does seem like a clear implication to me that the same is not true in traditional publishing.  Which is not the case.


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    Offline Hugh Howey

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #43 on: November 10, 2013, 06:57:45 am »
    It has already been said in the thread by others, but what else does anyone expect? "Success comes to those with a large following. It's more difficult for people who have no following."

    It's also easier for a plumber or a restaurateur to do well if they know a thousand people in town. Move to some place new and hang a shingle and see how hard it is out there. Yo, it's hard out there. It ain't news.

    What drives me nuts about this line of crap form a major publisher is that they are subject to the same exact rules. How did J.K. Rowling's new release do without her name on it? Exactly.

    Publishers sound like real estate agents (apologies to those of you who are one). They make it sound like you can't do business without them there to take a cut. Travel agents used to say the same thing. Well guess what? Tools came along and times changed. The same sorts of economic and personal decisions led to my wife and I buying and selling our own homes in the states where it would have cost us. Yeah, it's a little more work. But it sure is more enjoyable to be in charge, to make the decisions that affect your life, and to see the results of your hard work end up in your own pocket and not someone else's.

    I totally understand a publisher having a different opinion. I would too, if my career was based on taking advantage of people. Hey, it's also smarter to lease a car. And don't you want to extend the warranty on that shiny new gadget you just bought? And don't you want insurance for that rental car?
     
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    Offline seela connor

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #44 on: November 10, 2013, 07:06:33 am »
    Hey, this is completely true.

    The exact same thing has happened in mobile application development. In the beginning (2008) you could make a fart app and make a million dollars in the App Store. http://venturebeat.com/2008/12/23/iphone-fart-app-pulls-in-nearly-10000-a-day/

    I can tell you from insider knowledge of this that almost all of the top games and apps now spend millions of dollars to get to the top of the App Store and Google Play. For a new game, it's probably $200K in advertising just to get listed. And there's a huge market that has grown out of that opportunity.

    Also, the apps are almost all free now with some kind of upgrade option and aggressive in app advertising/purchase used to fund them.

    There are still a few indies that break out, but it's the exception not the rule. And most of them find backers who are willing to spend the money to advertise in exchange for a chunk of the revenue.

    As the number of ebooks increases, discovery becomes the biggest challenge. It seems like there are three paths:

    • Ebooks become like everything else, driven by advertising to get traffic. The industry for this hasn't matured like it has in mobile apps.
    • You start by building traffic and then turn that traffic into an opportunity to sell to readers. (BTW, I think this is the model that Selena Kitt stumbled into. She was in early into ebooks, but she also had a huge readership over at Literotica and they followed her to ebooks.)
    • You bet on getting lucky. Not a sane strategy.

    Honestly, I see the game changing again over the next few years as technology and assumptions about technology change. But for the next five years it's going to be harder and harder for indies to find readers.

    Offline Jan Thompson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #45 on: November 10, 2013, 08:22:37 am »
    And it seems a little disingenuous to imply that author visibility is more difficult in self-publishing than it is in traditional publishing.  They seem equally difficult to me, from what I've observed.  Trying to skew the article to make it look like it's a Sisyphean task to self-publish if you're a nobody does seem like a clear implication to me that the same is not true in traditional publishing.  Which is not the case.

    This. I think you nailed it. I think that's what's between the lines that kept gnawing at me when I read the article but I couldn't find the words to describe what that chomping noise is. I think what you said is what what the article was implying.

    Everybody knows that publishing, whether tradpub or selfpub, like any other business, is hard in various ways. As Hugh said:

    It has already been said in the thread by others, but what else does anyone expect? "Success comes to those with a large following. It's more difficult for people who have no following."

    It's also easier for a plumber or a restaurateur to do well if they know a thousand people in town. Move to some place new and hang a shingle and see how hard it is out there. Yo, it's hard out there. It ain't news.

    And as RJJ said:

    I'd think it's safe to say that success is going to be a lot less likely for a newbie today than it was for a newbie hitting the market a year or two ago. A lot less likely. It's getting harder by the minute for established authors, too. The bottom line is that the market is grossly saturated not only with newbies but with the big houses (remember when every newbie celebrated the impending death of the evil big 6 on every blog written two years ago?) Far from vanishing, the big houses have adapted nicely. The market is also saturated with free and cheap books, to the detriment of all of us who are actually trying to make money. Bottom line, there's a lot more noise now than there was a year or two ago. It's harder and harder for any one person to be heard above the roar.

    But when Hutton said something like the following without saying that it's her own opinion (thereby implying Harper Collins agrees with her), it's like my cat scratching a steel post. Is she saying that selfpub is not an art? Not "carefully curated" or "beautifully crafted" or "expertly packaged content" or "meaningful" or "powerful?" I am not sure whether to feel insulted as a selfpub writer or say "sticks and stones" LOL.

    (Emphasis mine:)

    Quote
    "Protecting the value of carefully curated, beautifully crafted, and expertly packaged content has never been more critical than at this moment. We can talk about any number of practical reasons why an author would chose to publish with a traditional house broader distribution, marketing support, editorial and design expertise, expert pricing analytics and consumer analysis. But in my mind, the real reason that traditional publishers are still relevant today is because of the value they place on helping make each piece of content they publish as beautiful, as meaningful, and as powerful as it can possibly be." - Daisy Hutton for Harper Collins?

    Offline ElHawk

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #46 on: November 10, 2013, 08:44:04 am »
    but I couldn't find the words to describe what that chomping noise is.

    It's always either a rat in your walls or a Libbie Hawker in your walls.  Neither is good news.

    Is she saying that selfpub is not an art? Not "carefully curated" or "beautifully crafted" or "expertly packaged content" or "meaningful" or "powerful?" I am not sure whether to feel insulted as a selfpub writer or say "sticks and stones" LOL.

    Yes, that is what she's saying.  It's not true, necessarily (sometimes it is, but sometimes it's also true of tradpub!)  That's what people who are still heavily reliant on the traditional publishing model want readers and writers to believe.  At least, that's what the people who haven't yet figured out a way to work within the new parameters of the book world, where writers actually have some control and can choose to walk away from deals, want others to believe.  That's the final grip they have, that perception that true quality can only come from tradpub (and, by implication, that only quality comes from tradpub), and they're not going to loosen their grip without a lot of protest.

    « Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 08:49:38 am by ElHawk »


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    Offline Skye Ronan

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #47 on: November 10, 2013, 08:56:26 am »
    The last two trad-pubbed books I bought, I quit reading because they were so boring. Yeah, and one of them had a ton of proofreading errors.

    Offline EC

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #48 on: November 10, 2013, 09:12:33 am »
    I think Daisy Hutton should get the Troll Of The Week award. Who cares what she thinks, just write, do your best and carry on. 


    Offline Cherise

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #49 on: November 10, 2013, 09:14:35 am »
    If you stick with it and just keep on chugging away, eventually you will succeed.



    Sadly, this is not true. We do people whose talents lie elsewhere a great disservice when we say this.

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