Author Topic: Have books become folk art?  (Read 7717 times)  

Offline Gone 9/21/18

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Re: Have books become folk art?
« Reply #100 on: August 24, 2010, 12:00:14 pm »
I apologize if this has already been referenced in this thread or another, but I just discovered it.

http://josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/dear-publishers/#comment-1157

It's a pretty articulate summary of the case for indie publishing and goes into the fact that not everyone's goals are the same.
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    Offline tbrookside

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #101 on: August 24, 2010, 12:19:31 pm »
    Quote
    One story I haven't seen in the media is how vanity presses are probably in even more danger than traditional publishers; I wouldn't be surprised if we see the end of many vanity presses in the next couple of years, and I'm talking about the true vanity presses that take advantage of unpublished writers, not Smashwords, Lulu, or Createspace.

    I think that is a good point.  I routinely Google for self-publishing news, and you see ads for all the thousand dollar services.  I see those and wonder to myself, "Who's still calling these guys?"

    They are toast.  Burnt to a crisp, stuck on the surface of the sun toast.

    Offline David 'Half-Orc' Dalglish

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #102 on: August 24, 2010, 12:22:45 pm »
    I wouldn't call the vanity places dead yet. They'll learn and adapt as well. You got to figure, they prey on misinformed, and those desperate for feeling they've been "Published". They'll start downplaying other places, talk about how much easier they are. They'll make it seem like they're more respectable. They'll talk about how CreateSpace leaves you getting nowhere, but they'll promote you in various ways. If we hit the slush pile apocalypse, Vanity's will try to come across as the ones getting your name out, elevating you above the filth.

    Just my opinion.

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    Offline 13893

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #103 on: August 24, 2010, 12:28:43 pm »
    Or "legit" entities like PW will sell real estate in their promotions ghetto to self-publishers.

    Oh, wait...

    Offline zoewinters

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #104 on: August 24, 2010, 12:34:58 pm »


    I look at it this way - If I need to build a platform before I'm worth signing, and market my own work after I'm signed - why don't I just publish my own work until I 'break out?' I'm still writing, publishing and making money.

    If I want to go this route the definition of "Breaking out" changes to "getting a trade contract." It still may not happen until after five or six books. What changes is who owns the early work and where that work is available.

    http://normanspinradatlarge.blogspot.com/2010/08/complete-publishing-death-spiral-parts_13.html

    Is a dollar bill somehow inferior because it isn't a ten or a twenty? If so, please send me all your one dollar bills!  :D :D


    This was a lot of the reason I went indie. Then I got into it and realized I loved it and saw the growing opportunities in digital publishing and thought "screw trad pub, I'm going to figure out this crap on my own!" 

    Z

    Offline amanda_hocking

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #105 on: August 24, 2010, 12:41:54 pm »
    I apologize if this has already been referenced in this thread or another, but I just discovered it.

    http://josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/dear-publishers/#comment-1157

    It's a pretty articulate summary of the case for indie publishing and goes into the fact that not everyone's goals are the same.

    That's right on.

    Offline zoewinters

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #106 on: August 24, 2010, 12:42:52 pm »
    I think what everyone is in violent agreement about is that whether to stay indie or go with a traditional publisher depends on your goals and on the financial opportunities that each give. If your goal is just to write and get your books out there where readers can find them, e-publishing lets you do that in a way that doesn't cost you thousands of dollars paid to vanity presses to get a few thousand copies that will molder in your basement. Instead, you can now make some decent money selling ebooks, which will reward independent writers who produce good books that are well-packaged and cleverly promoted. (One story I haven't seen in the media is how vanity presses are probably in even more danger than traditional publishers; I wouldn't be surprised if we see the end of many vanity presses in the next couple of years, and I'm talking about the true vanity presses that take advantage of unpublished writers, not Smashwords, Lulu, or Createspace).

    But if you are writing books to make a living (so that you can ditch your old job), you'll certainly have to consider the financial ramifications of staying indie versus going with a publisher. In my case, I wanted to reach as many readers as possible, and though ebooks are growing at an exponential rate, most sales are still currently in stores. In two years, those numbers will be very different, but for right now that's the situation. In addition, I'd be surprised if I ever would have gotten deals for The Ark in UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, and all the other countries without a US publishing deal. Although I'm not anywhere near the league of Stieg Larsson's sales, you can get an idea of how the US market compares to the rest of the world by looking at his numbers: he has sold 4 million books in the US, but he has sold over 40 million books worldwide. That percentage is not uncommon for authors of thrillers, which are what I happen to write. Yes, with the advent of Amazon Kindle UK, I could have put my books on that store as well, but I never would be able to put my books on Amazon Kindle Deutsche because I would need a German translator. And remember that Amazon Kindle UK wasn't even a faint glimmer when I got my publishing deal last year (47 Internet years ago).

    So truly take a deep look at what your goals are before you decide to take either the indie route or the traditional publishing route. Either way, you'll get to do what you love, which is write. But the effort, hassle, financial rewards, prestige, and desired readership should all be factors you consider in your decision.


    Boyd,

    While I respect everything you're doing... I have to disagree that a trad publisher is what you want if you want to make a living. I want to make a living, and I'm pretty close to it already. If I made every month what I made in June, I'd be making a living... at least for my area of the country. I'd be making the kind of money we've BEEN living on.

    And that's not with a big backlist built yet.  Digital is growing. It will continue to grow. I believe print is on the way out. I don't think it will happen overnight but I do think print will become a subsidiary right sooner than we all think. Print may never die "completely" but it will become more and more unlikely to net a "living wage" for more and more authors.

    If you sign with a trad publisher and give them your e-rights, to me that's not the wisest financial choice when we're at the front of the wave of the digital revolution for books.

    Where does one need to be right now if they want to "follow the money"? They need to be in digital, priced economically. They need to be positioning themselves for good sales ranking and exposure in the Kindle store.  Having your ebook released for $6-$10 is not going to give you the kind of traction you need to get greater visibility.

    Sure, SOME people will sell wonderfully at higher ebook prices. But for most on the midlist that's just not going to happen. Pricing under $5 (a concept nearly foreign the the big 6 right now), makes a huge difference in visibility and exposure.

    In an increasingly digital world, the sales one can get on the Kindle are going to become more and more important.

    I think the idea of making a living as an indie, while the exception now... will become much more common in a few years.  I think Amanda Hocking is WELL on her way now if she isn't there already.

    I'm on my way.

    So are many others.

    Most trad pubbed authors aren't "making a living" either. Some do, most don't.

    Same with indie.

    But I think saying if one wants to "make a living" they need to buy a ticket on the Titanic, might be a tiny bit short-sighted.


    Z

    Offline Victorine

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #107 on: August 24, 2010, 01:00:19 pm »

    In an increasingly digital world, the sales one can get on the Kindle are going to become more and more important.

    I think the idea of making a living as an indie, while the exception now... will become much more common in a few years.  I think Amanda Hocking is WELL on her way now if she isn't there already.

    I'm on my way.

    So are many others.

    Most trad pubbed authors aren't "making a living" either. Some do, most don't.

    Same with indie.

    But I think saying if one wants to "make a living" they need to buy a ticket on the Titanic, might be a tiny bit short-sighted.


    Z

    Yes, this is a very good point.  And may I point out that many of these indies who are making it or almost making it have only a few books out.  As their backlists grow, their income will grow.

    My book, with it's meager sales, would have been off the shelf by now if I had traditionally published.  But as an indie, I can come out with another book and the first one is still available.  If that second book takes off, the first most likely will take off as well.

    Or, let's say that doesn't happen, but I plug on and my sixth novel takes off.  All of a sudden my first five are taking off too.  See where I'm going with this?

    And I must say, even thought I'm not replacing my job yet with my sales, I'm pretty darn happy having an extra few hundred dollars a month for something that was sitting on my computer hard drive gathering digital dust.

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    Offline boydm

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #108 on: August 24, 2010, 01:20:52 pm »

    Boyd,

    While I respect everything you're doing... I have to disagree that a trad publisher is what you want if you want to make a living. I want to make a living, and I'm pretty close to it already. If I made every month what I made in June, I'd be making a living... at least for my area of the country. I'd be making the kind of money we've BEEN living on.


    Zoe,

    Actually, I don't think we disagree. What I said was "if you are writing books to make a living (so that you can ditch your old job), you'll certainly have to consider the financial ramifications of staying indie versus going with a publisher." I was specifically not endorsing one route or the other. If you're selling $500 worth of books a month, and the only traditional publishing offer you get is for an advance of $2000, it seems pretty clear that you should stay an indie. On the other hand, if you're making $500 a month and a publisher offers you a $500,000 advance, it seems pretty clear that you should go with the advance. However, most situations will not be that clear cut, and there are other factors to consider, which I pointed out. A one-time windfall, even if you never earn out the advance, has to be weighed against the risk you take that your sales might fall in the future. Just because you are earning $500 on the book each month now does not mean it will earn that much in the future; it may go up because of increased e-reader sales and a bigger market, or it may go down because of more competition. I think most people here are betting on the former, and I would to, but it's still a risk. Nothing goes up forever; just look at the stock market or home prices.

    And when you sign with a publisher, you are not giving them your rights. You are selling the rights, and contracts are negotiable. If you aren't offered what you think your book is worth, you always have the option to walk away, which is exactly what Joe Konrath has done. Indie publishing has given authors more negotiating leverage than they've ever had before, and that's a wonderful development.

    Offline zoewinters

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #109 on: August 24, 2010, 01:32:00 pm »
    Zoe,

    Actually, I don't think we disagree. What I said was "if you are writing books to make a living (so that you can ditch your old job), you'll certainly have to consider the financial ramifications of staying indie versus going with a publisher." I was specifically not endorsing one route or the other. If you're selling $500 worth of books a month, and the only traditional publishing offer you get is for an advance of $2000, it seems pretty clear that you should stay an indie. On the other hand, if you're making $500 a month and a publisher offers you a $500,000 advance, it seems pretty clear that you should go with the advance. However, most situations will not be that clear cut, and there are other factors to consider, which I pointed out. A one-time windfall, even if you never earn out the advance, has to be weighed against the risk you take that your sales might fall in the future. Just because you are earning $500 on the book each month now does not mean it will earn that much in the future; it may go up because of increased e-reader sales and a bigger market, or it may go down because of more competition. I think most people here are betting on the former, and I would to, but it's still a risk. Nothing goes up forever; just look at the stock market or home prices.

    And when you sign with a publisher, you are not giving them your rights. You are selling the rights, and contracts are negotiable. If you aren't offered what you think your book is worth, you always have the option to walk away, which is exactly what Joe Konrath has done. Indie publishing has given authors more negotiating leverage than they've ever had before, and that's a wonderful development.

    Oh.

    Well crap.

    I'm sorry Boyd, I definitely did misread what you were saying. I implied stuff you didn't put into your post. I apologize.

    And you make several good points. I agree that most decisions to drop indie in favor of trad or vice versa are not so clear cut. And yes, it is all a risk. Indie or trad. There are no guarantees in this business.

    Z

    Offline boydm

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #110 on: August 24, 2010, 01:36:48 pm »
    Oh.

    Well crap.

    I'm sorry Boyd, I definitely did misread what you were saying. I implied stuff you didn't put into your post. I apologize.

    And you make several good points. I agree that most decisions to drop indie in favor of trad or vice versa are not so clear cut. And yes, it is all a risk. Indie or trad. There are no guarantees in this business.

    Z

    No worries. And I realize that the market has changed dramatically in the past year since I got my publishing deal. I'm not saying my decision would be any different now, but last year the iPad and Nook didn't exist, the Amazon Kindle UK store was a long way off, and the idea of making a living self-publishing ebooks was in its infancy.

    Offline amanda_hocking

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #111 on: August 24, 2010, 01:43:27 pm »
    I jumped into self-publishing six months ago. My reasoning came from people like Joe Konrath and Karen McQuestion. I said, "Hey, if they can do it, I can try it." At the time, the argument was the same as it is now - indies can't make it, except with the few exceptions like Joe and Karen.

    People like Boyd got their big deals with the Ark, and people were still saying, "Indies can't make it, except with the few exceptions like Joe, Karen, and Boyd."

    I know there's even more indies that I'm leaving out (sorry if I didn't mention them, but feel free to throw their names out), and there's people like David McAffee and Zoe Winters, who aren't having quite as dramatic success, but are still doing quite well.

    I feel like it'll just keep being the same sentence. "Indies can't make it, except for the few exceptions, like Joe, Karen, Amanda, David, Zoe.... etc."

    And my point is this - I don't think I'm the exception or that Joe is or that any of us are.

    I also don't think that just because a book is published it will be successful - that counts for both trad and indie. Nothing comes with a guarantee. But I think that in terms of the likelihood of doing really well with indie vs. trad, the playing fields are at best even, and at worst, indie is the better bet.

    That is just MHO, of course.

    Offline K. A. Jordan

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #112 on: August 24, 2010, 02:19:14 pm »
    This was a lot of the reason I went indie. Then I got into it and realized I loved it and saw the growing opportunities in digital publishing and thought "screw trad pub, I'm going to figure out this crap on my own!"  Z

    Exactly! :o (Now I'm doing it) 

    Mind you, if I hadn't spent the last (XX) years working with software, I may not have taken the plunge. But I know software, formating, I can write html in notepad - so why not? Marketing is not a steep learning curve when compared to tcp/ip. Now, if I were a technophobe with a status hangup...a totally different story.  ;)

    Indie is a better gig than working tech support. My book went up 8/2/10 it is too soon to have any opinion, beside "way cool."

     8) 8) 8) WAY COOL!
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    Offline zoewinters

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #113 on: August 24, 2010, 05:45:20 pm »
    I jumped into self-publishing six months ago. My reasoning came from people like Joe Konrath and Karen McQuestion. I said, "Hey, if they can do it, I can try it." At the time, the argument was the same as it is now - indies can't make it, except with the few exceptions like Joe and Karen.

    People like Boyd got their big deals with the Ark, and people were still saying, "Indies can't make it, except with the few exceptions like Joe, Karen, and Boyd."

    I know there's even more indies that I'm leaving out (sorry if I didn't mention them, but feel free to throw their names out), and there's people like David McAffee and Zoe Winters, who aren't having quite as dramatic success, but are still doing quite well.

    I feel like it'll just keep being the same sentence. "Indies can't make it, except for the few exceptions, like Joe, Karen, Amanda, David, Zoe.... etc."

    And my point is this - I don't think I'm the exception or that Joe is or that any of us are.

    I also don't think that just because a book is published it will be successful - that counts for both trad and indie. Nothing comes with a guarantee. But I think that in terms of the likelihood of doing really well with indie vs. trad, the playing fields are at best even, and at worst, indie is the better bet.

    That is just MHO, of course.

    I'd be doing a lot better if I wrote faster! :)  And part of writing faster would be... if I would stop arguing with people on the internet, LOL. (Not, you. Not arguing with you. Just in general... i tend to be kind of debate-y.) But... I did get words written today... fiction words. So yay!

    And I agree, this "exception" stuff is rather silly. Just like in trad pub, we are all on our individual publishing journeys where several different factors come into play for one's success and the speed of their success. A big factor in a lot of that is the number of books one has available.

    Since a lot of this indie author movement (at least in it's current form with the Kindle) is fairly new, most of us have not built our backlists yet. I said when I started out that I was on a 10 year plan, and that if I hadn't reached the level of success *I* wanted to achieve by that point, THEN we could all talk about how Zoe made a stupid decision.

    We're just now getting to the end of Year 2 for me. (at the end of November.)

    I've got a long way to go. By the time I get to year 10, I expect to have a decent backlist. And if my work is worthy, it will find the success I want. I've already had a lot more success than anyone thought I could. Selling over 22,500 ebooks in a couple of years... especially when I only had one title for the first year and a half... isn't all that unsuccessful for someone with no marketing department behind me.

    I know others have had far more success and that's awesome, but, many people have a habit of moving the goal posts... first you'll never sell 150 copies... then you'll never be the JK Rowling of the indie world. That's quite a big leap!

    Z


    Offline K. A. Jordan

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    Re: Have books become folk art?
    « Reply #114 on: August 24, 2010, 07:00:30 pm »
    People who say things like that don't allow for the phenomena of 'breaking out.' Which can take six or more books even for a 'trade published' writer. With the "Death Spiral" sales mentality how do you ever get to the sixth book, unless you go Indie in the first place?

    Where but Indie will the midlist author be in a 'three books and you're out' mentality? There are some awesome writers who have been dropped by the trade publishers (cough *Spinrad* cough) when he's sitting on what may be his best book.

    My point remains the same - no matter how you define 'breaking out' you are going to have to 'go Indie' in order to get there - especially for the next few years, while the market wars between 'trade pub,' e-pub, micro-pub, content sites and Indie duke it out with the rotten economy.

    Interesting times, my friends, very interesting times.
    ....

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