Author Topic: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"  (Read 15764 times)  

Offline Jan Thompson

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Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
« Reply #75 on: November 11, 2013, 09:14:42 am »
Thanks. I actually get a real kick out of the fact that I sell about 20-30 books per month in India. And according to what I see on goodreads, I do well in Australia, Bulgaria Sweden and Norway for some odd reason.   

Out of curiosity, did you sell your books written in American English or did you edit it into UK English for those countries? Just wondering about the mechanics of it. TQ.

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    Offline Jan Thompson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #76 on: November 11, 2013, 09:22:20 am »
    In addition, many contracts put restrictions on how many books a year an author may write and how he may publish them.

    This was one of the major turning points for me when I was deciding TP vs SP.

    TP authors I know of who are prolific are unable to publish more than one book a year due to the inability of their publishers to handle it bc of many reasons e.g. they have many authors lined up for publication, their editors are swamped, the marketing department wants things published to coincide with events, limited resources, whatever. In fact some TP authors are advertising now for books that won't come out for another year. It's sad, really.

    Some of those authors are trying to negotiate with their TP to "allow" them to write shorter works in between their full-length novels. Some of them are also trying out SP in unrelated genres.

    Now I am waiting to see the trends of smaller TP that might let their authors write more books per year because they have a smaller author pool and production timeline and lower overheads.

    Offline Error404

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #77 on: November 11, 2013, 09:29:06 am »
    After glancing through this thread the last couple of days, all I've taken away is that the definition of 'success' is very subjective.  There was a thread on KBoards quite a few months back where everyone was asked what they considered success.  Most chose a liveable income over fame and fortune (less stress that way).  Is a liveable income no longer possible?  Is that the definition of success people keep assuming is impossible now?

    On a related note, somebody above mentioned that 10,000 wasn't a liveable income.  I could happily live off of that much a year (hence my comment about success having a subjective definition).

    Offline Claudia King

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #78 on: November 11, 2013, 09:41:25 am »
    Success in general is very hard to find for "emerging authors who are still finding their audience". I don't think the slush pile is any more forgiving than getting lost in the depths of the KDP sales ranks, but heck, at least when you have a book up on Amazon you usually get some sales to reassure you that you're not a terrible hack.
    I doubt I'd even have gotten a single book written if I'd been forced to go down the traditional publishing route.

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    Offline Richardcrasta

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #79 on: November 11, 2013, 09:48:16 am »
    Publishers seem to think they are doing you a favour by publishing your book, but without authors writing stories there wouldn't be any publishers in the first place. Treat authors with a bit more respect.

    Good point!
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    Offline ElHawk

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #80 on: November 11, 2013, 09:57:18 am »
    Now I am waiting to see the trends of smaller TP that might let their authors write more books per year because they have a smaller author pool and production timeline and lower overheads.

    Yes.  I have a very strong suspicion that smaller presses that are able to be more nimble and flexible with their releases and their contracts will really come into their own over the next few years...  In many ways they look like a much more palatable option than the boilerplate contract from a major TP.

    Is a liveable income no longer possible?  Is that the definition of success people keep assuming is impossible now?

    Not according to my bank account.  

    Quote
    On a related note, somebody above mentioned that 10,000 wasn't a liveable income.  I could happily live off of that much a year (hence my comment about success having a subjective definition).

    Totally depends on where you're living, for certain.  In some areas, it's a perfectly comfortable income.  Where I live (Seattle), well...I made $11,000 in 2010 and I was so poor that I could only budget $75 per month for food.  I ate essentially nothing but lentils, rice, and apples for that year.  So a person can survive on it in a major city, but I wouldn't recommend it!  And goodness help you if you need to go to a doctor, even for a minor condition!
    « Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 10:02:13 am by ElHawk »


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    Offline Sarah Stimson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #81 on: November 11, 2013, 10:06:01 am »
     And goodness help you if you need to go to a doctor, even for a minor condition!

    Not such an issue for us in the UK as our healthcare (and prescription medicine if you are poor enough) are free.

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    Offline cinisajoy

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #82 on: November 11, 2013, 10:07:27 am »
    After glancing through this thread the last couple of days, all I've taken away is that the definition of 'success' is very subjective.  There was a thread on KBoards quite a few months back where everyone was asked what they considered success.  Most chose a liveable income over fame and fortune (less stress that way).  Is a liveable income no longer possible?  Is that the definition of success people keep assuming is impossible now?

    On a related note, somebody above mentioned that 10,000 wasn't a liveable income.  I could happily live off of that much a year (hence my comment about success having a subjective definition).
    You could ask 100 people what they considered success and you would get 200 different answers.
    Is a liveable income possible, the answer is yes but in any field you will have to work hard to get it.   This applies rather you are a writer, musician or hvac guy/girl.

    The big thing (problem) in the writing field is that some people think oh I can write a book, put it on Amazon and make a fortune with no other work involved.   I do not think the world works that way.

    Success is all in how you look at it.   For some people, success might be the ability to pay the rent and buy diapers.  For others it might be making $500 a day.   For others that magically number might be a 1 million.
    Some people think they need a partner to be successful, others don't.
    Success depends solely on what a person thinks it is.    
    Although sometimes other people's perceptions are fun too.   I am not a singer (although I did take 3 years of choir) but I was once offered a job as a lounge singer.   It was not I was that good, it was solely that I was better than the other 2 I was singing with.  So I guess I was a successful singer that night.
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    Offline writerofthesky

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #83 on: November 11, 2013, 10:23:50 am »
    Yes.  I have a very strong suspicion that smaller presses that are able to be more nimble and flexible with their releases and their contracts will really come into their own over the next few years...  In many ways they look like a much more palatable option than the boilerplate contract from a major TP.

    I agree with you that a small business with fewer cooperate and bureaucratic restrictions can better adapt to immediate changes in the marketplace.
    However, I can also see smaller presses being more constrained in regards to the financials. 

    If I had to predict I would say the big publishers will cut their losses and concentrate on larger markets and leave the niche markets to the smaller press and SP. Much like the movie industry focuses on males 15-35is because that demographic goes to the movies so much and independent films fill some of the gap.

    But I wonder if authors will want to surrender their books to the smaller presses. Perhaps, instead, if the can't get one of the "Big 5" or is it 6?, they'd rather just self-pub as it has lost much of its stigma and it can only become more acceptable as the years go on. I wonder if the smaller presses will be able to offer authors the advance they seek or the same prestige. So mostly I wonder if instead of small presses filling those niche gaps it will be self-pubbers or maybe groups of authors that form together to share services like translation or book cover design or foreign rights.

    I only recently became interested in writing again after finishing college so I have no direct experience with TP (big or small) since the most economically viable option seems to be SP so I may be entirely wrong.   

    Offline 31842

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #84 on: November 11, 2013, 10:38:34 am »
    Yes to what everyone else has said.  But having been around the self-publishing world for a couple years now, I feel like we're starting to go into the tail-end of the gold rush (which is not a bad thing!).  I remember when YouTube came out, people started making webseries.  Pretty soon the studios weren't accepting scripts anymore.  They began using YouTube as the new slush pile and told every aspiring writer/director/etc. I know to produce a webseries instead and send them the link.  A handful of projects were scooped up for deals with Xbox and Sony, and they were optioned for TV shows and movies.  Pretty soon YouTube was filled with a glut of webseries.  Happily, production values increased as the competition for attention became more fierce.  People decided to stay on YouTube rather than option their projects because of the ad revenue.  But then those optioned projects didn't turn into the bajillion-dollar money makers that the studios expected, friends on Facebook started getting tired of being asked to watch another five-minute short, and everything slowed down.  But the fallout now is that I've seen creators start making shows more aimed at quality rather than just the shows they thought would make the money rain.

    On our end, I feel like last year there were a lot of news articles about how you could print your own money by self-pubbing.  But the madness seems to have tapered off a bit.  The offers still come in, but not at the rate they were in 2011 and 2012.  The Top 100 seems to be dominated by self-pubbers who have been around awhile instead of the insta-hits.  I think everyone is just a bit more savvy, writers and readers alike.   I feel like things have stabilized from "shiny new technology!" to "normal".  I could be wrong and just be describing the trunk of the elephant, but it does seem like there has been a bit of a shift this year.  YMMV.

    Offline ElHawk

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #85 on: November 11, 2013, 11:01:06 am »
    I think everyone is just a bit more savvy, writers and readers alike.   I feel like things have stabilized from "shiny new technology!" to "normal".  I could be wrong and just be describing the trunk of the elephant, but it does seem like there has been a bit of a shift this year.  YMMV.

    I think you're right...and I think it's a great thing!


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    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #86 on: November 11, 2013, 11:12:19 am »
    Can someone give me a definition of "mid-lister" please?
    I believe where the phrase came from is from publisher catalog lists. The bestsellers go at the top and those with some following in the middle, thus 'mid-list'. Anyway, that's what I've been told. It is a somewhat out of date term but still applies to those of us who achieve some following and regular sales but nowhere near bestsellerdom. :)
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    Offline Ugg

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #87 on: November 11, 2013, 11:43:35 am »
    Out of curiosity, did you sell your books written in American English or did you edit it into UK English for those countries? Just wondering about the mechanics of it. TQ.
    It's all American English. My UK following built gradually really exploding over the past six months. As for the rest, I was a surprise to me when I started to notice it.

    Offline Sarah Stimson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #88 on: November 11, 2013, 11:45:27 am »
    It's all American English. My UK following built gradually really exploding over the past six months. As for the rest, I was a surprise to me when I started to notice it.

    As a British reader, it never bothers me when it's in American English.




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    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #89 on: November 11, 2013, 12:33:11 pm »
    They absolutely can, right now.  However, things are changing incredibly fast, and I think it's a gamble whether they will remain such a huge advantage in visibility for long.  We just don't know.  I don't think that all traditional publishers are going to go extinct, but I think they are going to have to change their gameplan significantly in order to survive.  Some of them are already seeing the writing on the wall (finally!) and doing things like offering digital-only contracts to authors (WITH NO ADVANCE...WTF).  So currently, tradpub, even with the big guys, is not necessarily going to give an author any visibility or media reach.  In that case, why bother?

    In addition, many contracts put restrictions on how many books a year an author may write and how he may publish them.  Such a contract wouldn't be for me, for almost any publisher and for almost any advance, because we just don't know how hard TP is going to struggle over the next several years.  Currently it's taking publishers 18 months to two years on average to go from signed contract to shipped books.  That's time for a LOT of change in this industry, and if you've got a contract restricting what you can write and publish, that's a lot of potential money you could lose between now and then, you know?

    I actually had a publisher offer me a contract for Baptism for the Dead, but I turned it down because the book wouldn't even be published until late 2014 (this was January of 2012) and the press, a fairly small one, just didn't have much budget for promoting my book and the advance wasn't nearly enough to hold me over for 2+ years.  I have never regretted that decision.  I would make the same one again in a heartbeat, even if it came from a huge press, unless I got a very significant advance.

    And all that delay and all that possibility for a brutally restrictive contract could be bypassed by a fortunate author who lucks out with a great agent and a great deal, only to have her contracts cancelled for one or all of her books because things changed at the publishing house.  This has happened to more than one author I know personally who do tradpub.  Can you imagine going through years of agent-searching and submissions and another year of editing only to have your book dropped because "the vision has changed" at the publisher who signed you?  You'd have to start over from square one.

    All of these things can and do happen in tradpub.  Just because it has been a great experience for you doesn't mean it's a great experience for everybody.

    That's why I said I'd look very, very carefully at the contract before I'd sign anything.  Things are changing too fast to accept overly long waits for publication, dinky advances, and especially restrictions on what one does with the rest of one's work.

    Exactly!

    Well, your model requires that one get a good literary agent first.  While that works out fantastically for some, like you (an hooray that it's been such a great ride for you), it doesn't work out well for everybody, as we've gone round and round about in other threads.  In fact, for most authors the search for a suitable agent delays things by YEARS.  In that time, she could be self-publishing and gaining her platform that way, and turning into one of those high fliers.  Most of those high fliers didn't become high fliers by magic.  They wrote excellent books (usually several of them), and then they promoted them well and intelligently.  And for most of them, it has reduced the frustrating wait in finding agents and publishers, if that's what they want.

    One of the details that is left out is that it is approximated that 90% of the manuscripts agents take on never sell. *boggle*

    No, I can't back that up although I've read it many times. It does reflect what I have heard from many, many authors who were excited at signing with an agent and then nothing happened. And before self-publishing, all my sales were made on my own; my agent never sold a thing. Dean Wesley Smith says that an agent's job should be negotiation, not selling and that is something to think about. But what if you don't have anything to negotiate.

    Obviously, sometimes an agent is a good idea, but for many of us, an agent would be a bit like an appendix.  ::) :P
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    Offline Jan Thompson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #90 on: November 11, 2013, 12:53:15 pm »
    One of the details that is left out is that it is approximated that 90% of the manuscripts agents take on never sell. *boggle*

    No, I can't back that up although I've read it many times. It does reflect what I have heard from many, many authors who were excited at signing with an agent and then nothing happened. And before self-publishing, all my sales were made on my own; my agent never sold a thing. Dean Wesley Smith says that an agent's job should be negotiation, not selling and that is something to think about. But what if you don't have anything to negotiate.

    Obviously, sometimes an agent is a good idea, but for many of us, an agent would be a bit like an appendix::) :P

    LOL. I read that as "an agent would be a bit like an appendicitis." (No offense to agents at large.)

    I don't have stats either but I have anecdotes where writers with agents found their manuscripts languishing in slush piles anyway because their agents were not able to find a publisher who wanted said manuscripts for whatever reasons. If it goes on too long, that is sometimes the reason for the agent and writer parting ways.

    I'm seeing these days some authors putting on their website little blurbs like "Represented by [fill-in-blank] agency" but then blog about "some day I'll be published." So yes, I agree with you. Just by getting an agent is not an automatic pass to publishing. In fact, I have heard of agents waiting for 2-4 years before their agents sold their first publishable book.


    Offline Ugg

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #91 on: November 11, 2013, 01:38:08 pm »
    As a British reader, it never bothers me when it's in American English.




    I've noticed that's the case. US readers can be a bit funny about it, but I think it's something UK readers expect. They seem to make the mental adjustment without a problem. The first time I read The Lord of the Rings I was quite young and remember being taken aback by words like colour, labour, and the like. My uncle had to explain it to me.

    Offline Jan Thompson

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #92 on: November 11, 2013, 01:54:02 pm »
    As a British reader, it never bothers me when it's in American English.

    Thanks. That's good to know. I asked bc some of the authors out there e.g. James Patterson and Michael Connelly, have different covers for their UK editions, something not all of us can afford, and I often wondered if they made a special edition to switch to UK English though I couldn't tell right away.

    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: Self-publishing is "more elusive for emerging authors?"
    « Reply #93 on: November 11, 2013, 03:20:32 pm »
    LOL. I read that as "an agent would be a bit like an appendicitis." (No offense to agents at large.)

    I don't have stats either but I have anecdotes where writers with agents found their manuscripts languishing in slush piles anyway because their agents were not able to find a publisher who wanted said manuscripts for whatever reasons. If it goes on too long, that is sometimes the reason for the agent and writer parting ways.

    I'm seeing these days some authors putting on their website little blurbs like "Represented by [fill-in-blank] agency" but then blog about "some day I'll be published." So yes, I agree with you. Just by getting an agent is not an automatic pass to publishing. In fact, I have heard of agents waiting for 2-4 years before their agents sold their first publishable book.


    LOL Well, a bad agent might be like appendicitis. An agent you don't need is more like an unneeded appendage.
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