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terribleminds said:
And that's great. It makes sense for you, so more power to you. It does not always make sense for everyone else. Which is the overarching point: there is no One Size Fits All approach for writers and how they choose to publish.

-- Chuck
Okay, I see your point. I do.

Last comment about that: I think that Hugh's article makes a salient point that the struggle to be published traditionally is essentially equal to unnecessary suffering.

Hey, Chuck, are you gonna officially join us over here at KBoards? Fill out your profile and sig? Come on, it'll be fun. It's so funny how you are on your best behavior over here, it's like talking to an alter-ego Chuck Wendig.
 

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terribleminds said:
It's not a cop-out...
Yes, it is.

...and that's a little presumptuous of you to say what other people should or should not do.
I'm not saying what they should or should not do. I am saying that there are better and worse plans. Better plans involve actually making headway. Worse ones involve waiting on validation from agents/editors. People can still do as they please. Does not make all plans equally brilliant.

You are your own boss.
I know. I'm terrible to work for too. I hate me. ;)

Not the boss of everyone else. Writing and self-publishing are two entirely different skill-sets. Further, traditional-publishing and self-publishing require two different risk/reward proposals. Not everyone is comfortable with one or the other.
Entirely different skill sets? I would love for you to tell me what precisely a selfpub author needs to do that is so radically "out there" that it is "radically different" . . . the ability to use a computer? To upload a file? To pay someone to design a cover? (10$-50$ premades abound.) To trade edits/beta reads? (Like tradpub authors never do critiques?)

For instance: you find query letters time consuming and demoralizing. Should I tell you that's a cop out? That if you can't hack a simple query letter, you should learn? I won't tell you that. You don't think it's worth it? Don't do it.
It's not writing a letter ( to quote you: "zzz") that's the problem. I can do that in my sleep. Any writer can. But find me a traditionally published author who finds rejection invigorating. Pleasurable. A joy. They don't. It's not fun. (There's entire books written on how to deal with the process of rejection. How not to get down. How to keep on.) But in the end, it's necessary.

Only it's not anymore. You don't have to do that crap to publish.

Point overall is, don't presume to tell people what they should do, particularly in something like writing -- which is a career with many peculiar and particular in-roads. Or, as I'm fond to say, we all dig our own tunnels into a writing career. What I do, what Hugh Howey does, what you do, can and should look very different from one another.
I don't disagree with you. But I think you've made the assumption that me pointing out what is generally a wiser path means I am trying to force people to take it. By all means, I am not. I firmly believe in doing things the way one feels they should be done.

But that involves making mistakes. Be it via tradpub or selfpub, we will ALL make mistakes. I'm not any more right to do any of the things that I have done than anyone else is. What matters is where we end up and how we feel. I do believe (and so do a number of others, of course) that given the paradigm shift of the past half decade, tradpub is currently lacking very good selling points as a path into writing. The biggest one seems to be that you don't need to learn how to do anything but write. Only that's complete crap, because pretty much all marketing is left up to a newbie author anyway. One in what, a hundred . . . a thousand? . . . one will get amazing pushes from their publisher because they write the next Twilight. All others will sink or swim on their own sweat.

I maintain: if you're smart enough to write at a professional level (and not everyone is, but we have to go from the standpoint of talking about people who are) you're going to be able to master the few basic tasks it takes to format and upload an ebook/POD book. Beyond that, as I said, you're in territory you share with tradpub: you need to market your book, because unless you're one of the anointed few, you're SOL as far as marketing muscle.

For some reason you are equating people pointing out that tradpub is generally a waste of time with people forcing others to do something in specific. I can no more force another writer to self publish than I can make you (apparently) recognize that selfpub is about as difficult to learn as driving a car. (I think it took me more time to learn to drive the car, actually.)

*shrug*

People can do as they please. Lets all make our own mistakes, by all means. But why not be honest with each other about the possibilities, and how difficult they truly are. (As in, I really wish people would make it sound like selfpub is so horrendously complex...it's not.)
 

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Chuck, I appreciate that you took time to come over here. But I have to tell you. The statement someone else made that it sounds like you say self-pub is an option but then pour cold water on it. A lot of people are getting that vibe from you. I did. My best friend just told me about the article, not knowing I'd already read it. And that's the vibe they had gotten from that article and others by you. And they're not self-pubbed. You may not intend it but people are getting that sense of things from you.

I'm not hot and bothered about it, though. My business is good and I long ago realized that most authors are terrible at running their careers as a business. I'm not going to try to run their businesses for them and tell them what to do. I pretty much limit my rah-rah, such that it is, to the choir.

I have written successful query letters and I'm having success self-publishing. Different skill sets? Maybe. But if it's your business, you have to learn it whether you want to or not. I did. Just like doing taxes. My dad was a farmer. He hated working with chemicals but had to do it as the business changed. And it was difficult but he did it. That's life. An author shouldn't make their decisions based on what's easy for them or requires new skills but what's best for their business.
 

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David Alastair Hayden said:
Chuck, I appreciate that you took time to come over here. But I have to tell you. The statement someone else made that it sounds like you say self-pub is an option but then pour cold water on it. A lot of people are getting that vibe from you. I did. My best friend just told me about the article, not knowing I'd already read it. And that's the vibe they had gotten from that article and others by you. And they're not self-pubbed. You may not intend it but people are getting that sense of things from you.

I'm not hot and bothered about it, though. My business is good and I long ago realized that most authors are terrible at running their careers as a business. I'm not going to try to run their businesses for them and tell them what to do. I pretty much limit my rah-rah, such that it is, to the choir.

I have written successful query letters and I'm having success self-publishing. Different skill sets? Maybe. But if it's your business, you have to learn it whether you want to or not. I did. Just like doing taxes. My dad was a farmer. He hated working with chemicals but had to do it as the business changed. And it was difficult but he did it. That's life. An author shouldn't make their decisions based on what's easy for them or requires new skills but what's best for their business.
That's something some authors don't realize: that self-publishing is the same as starting a small business. Most small businesses stay in the red for the first 3-5 years. The owners have to work 24-7. It's not something to be taken lightly. Self-publishers need to learn the ins and outs of business and the craft of writing. I never even touched a spreadsheet until I got into this trade.
 

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terribleminds said:
It's not a cop-out and that's a little presumptuous of you to say what other people should or should not do. You are your own boss. Not the boss of everyone else. Writing and self-publishing are two entirely different skill-sets. Further, traditional-publishing and self-publishing require two different risk/reward proposals. Not everyone is comfortable with one or the other.

For instance: you find query letters time consuming and demoralizing. Should I tell you that's a cop out? That if you can't hack a simple query letter, you should learn? I won't tell you that. You don't think it's worth it? Don't do it.

Point overall is, don't presume to tell people what they should do, particularly in something like writing -- which is a career with many peculiar and particular in-roads. Or, as I'm fond to say, we all dig our own tunnels into a writing career. What I do, what Hugh Howey does, what you do, can and should look very different from one another.

-- Chuck
D*mn I wish we had a raised eyebrows icon.

Let's start with that "simple query letter": yeah the one that an author spend weeks polishing for each and every separate agent or publisher you query, because you know d*mn will that no one writes just one. Didn't you mean HUNDREDS of query letters and tracking the results and following up on who has requested partials and fulls and whether they've responded in the time they said they would. And then follow-up queries to find out why the agent who requested a full manuscript hasn't said a thing although he said he would have a response within six weeks?

Then again, how long has it been since you've been in that position. Maybe you don't have a clue what it is like starting off in the current publishing environment.

What's more, you blatantly misrepresented what Hugh said. He NEVER said not to consider trad publishing. Considering the size of his trad contract, that would be rather ridiculous.
 

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I am so confused by some of the reactions. Hugh made good points. Chuck made good points. I don't agree with Hugh's statement that self-publishing is "better" as a start, but it's obvious why he would think that. The part that I actually disagreed with was, "self-publishing is easier than traditional" because that's just not true for everyone. Some people just don't have the equal balance of creative and business savvy to self-publish and be successful at it. I think we all here, whether you made a couple hundred a month or a couple thousand a month, can agree that you have to be pretty good at the business side of things to do this well. But if you can't, and you can manage to get traditionally published, then that road would be "easier" for you.

One last comment, this is a quote from Chuck's post:

"Hey, self-publishing is cool!

Traditional publishing is cool, too!

Both have strengths. And also weaknesses.

Not everybody is fit to be their own publisher.

Not everyone is fit to deal with a traditional publisher."

How is that pouring ice water on self-publishing?

Saying you're willing to consider offers from publishers, while continuing to self-publish, means you aren't putting your eggs in one basket. Just sayin'.
 

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It's amazing that I'm being painted as an all-or-nothing Konrath disciple. Just because self-publishing is the best way to get started doesn't mean it's the only way. Signing away lifetime rights and control over works that could be available forever is always an option. Just an inferior one.

What I hope to see is that the changes hybrids are forcing on publishing houses will trickle down to the writers who despise us. They won't even know it's happening. Non-compete clauses will simply disappear. Finite terms of license will become the norm. Print and digital rights will be negotiated separately. And I won't care one bit who causes this, only that it happens.
 

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Here's the thing about this argument: Everyone has the opportunity to be right. All paths could lead to Oz... or no where... Or HN's Football match.

What I'm NOT understanding (and I stopped reading the comments on the article because of this) is all the anger about people not agreeing with you (big you, not any you specifically)... I get it around the aggressive troll people, but people who just have a different view point?

So what?

The worst part about this? A big article put out into the world that drew a lot of attention about self-publishing turned into something in the comments I'm glad my name wasn't tied to.

I'm not angry. I'm not judgmental. I hope we ALL get success and I hope we all get it in the ways that are individually the healthiest for our lifestyles and stress-levels....and with all those variables (how people define success, what is stressful, what they want out of their writing, etc) I REJOICE that there are a several paths to publication now.

We live in an amazing era to be creative and part of that creativity is finding your own path. Best luck to all.

 

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Hugh Howey said:
It's amazing that I'm being painted as an all-or-nothing Konrath disciple. Just because self-publishing is the best way to get started doesn't mean it's the only way. Signing away lifetime rights and control over works that could be available forever is always an option. Just an inferior one.
EXACTLY.

That's where most of us having an issue with Chuck's response come out. Not at the fact that you do, yes, advocate for self-pub. But that you're cast as only doing so because it worked for you (you self-published long before you broke out) and that you think it's the "only" way . . .

What I hope to see is that the changes hybrids are forcing on publishing houses will trickle down to the writers who despise us. They won't even know it's happening. Non-compete clauses will simply disappear. Finite terms of license will become the norm. Print and digital rights will be negotiated separately. And I won't care one bit who causes this, only that it happens.
Amen.
 

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Caitie Quinn said:
I REJOICE that there are a several paths to publication now.

We live in an amazing era to be creative and part of that creativity is finding your own path. Best luck to all.
And really, I think that was the message both posts were really trying to say. At least, that was my takeaway. No snark needed from anyone.
 

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Hugh Howey said:
It's amazing that I'm being painted as an all-or-nothing Konrath disciple. Just because self-publishing is the best way to get started doesn't mean it's the only way. Signing away lifetime rights and control over works that could be available forever is always an option. Just an inferior one.

What I hope to see is that the changes hybrids are forcing on publishing houses will trickle down to the writers who despise us. They won't even know it's happening. Non-compete clauses will simply disappear. Finite terms of license will become the norm. Print and digital rights will be negotiated separately. And I won't care one bit who causes this, only that it happens.
Like I said, I agree with you that self publishing is the only approach that makes sense (at least to me). I find it sad that authors give up power over their creative works in the way you describe. I couldn't do that.
 

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terribleminds said:
But I also assure you, self-publishing is not automatically the "best" or most certainly the "only" way to start out publishing. That's absurd and is disproven by countless others who have done and are doing differently.
-- Chuck
The thing is, for the vast majority the choice is not self publish or traditionally publish, the choice is self publish or dont publish at all.
 

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Adam Pepper said:
The thing is, for the vast majority the choice is not self publish or traditionally publish, the choice is self publish or dont publish at all.
I look at it as selfpub or play the lottery.
 

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Victoria Champion said:
That's something some authors don't realize: that self-publishing is the same as starting a small business. Most small businesses stay in the red for the first 3-5 years. The owners have to work 24-7. It's not something to be taken lightly. Self-publishers need to learn the ins and outs of business and the craft of writing. I never even touched a spreadsheet until I got into this trade.
Same here. Learned how to use spreadsheets in high school, not that it's hard, and never needed to until now. I was in the red for the first 9 months.
 

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Hugh Howey said:
It's amazing that I'm being painted as an all-or-nothing Konrath disciple. Just because self-publishing is the best way to get started doesn't mean it's the only way. Signing away lifetime rights and control over works that could be available forever is always an option. Just an inferior one.

What I hope to see is that the changes hybrids are forcing on publishing houses will trickle down to the writers who despise us. They won't even know it's happening. Non-compete clauses will simply disappear. Finite terms of license will become the norm. Print and digital rights will be negotiated separately. And I won't care one bit who causes this, only that it happens.
Hugh:

Surely you can see where it rankles a bit that you claim to know the "best" way to do something? Claiming best -- like everything is ranked somehow -- is what makes it sound like One True Way-ism. I know writers for whom self-publishing just doesn't fly. Why would they need to be told differently if they've found success in other ways? Why must there be a sense of superior versus inferior? It smacks of the tribalism that does us all little good.

-- Chuck
 

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Hugh's right. It's pretty much that simple.

Maybe my experience is anecdotal, but I've been a latte sipping, NPR listening, BBC watching eastern liberal elitist my whole life and everyone I know writes or wants to write. I knew one person who ever got a trade  book deal and she made "meh" from it. In the last three years I've had dozens of friends quit their jobs, several hit best seller lists, and in my household we've made $500+ per month despite being mediocre writers and terribly lazy in production (oh the joys of a 2 year old).

I'll take my anecdotal evidence thanks. I'll take it to the bank.
 
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