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Hiya, I'm new, and of course am writing a book.  I'm a fan of kindle having one myself but came here as directed by another book that suggested here was a good place for some help, inspiration, motivation etc.

My intention was to finish the book and then try the old fashioned route of sending it to agents.  But scanning the posts here it seems that everyone here is chatting about self publishing and I begin to wonder if maybe thats a better way to go.

Would love to hear some views on traditional publishing v self publishing, and if you are all predominately going to self publish or are some of you still hoping for contracts?
 

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At conferences, I wear a T-shirt that reads "Auto Releaser."

I don't know why the term hasn't caught on.

 

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Clements said:
Would love to hear some views on traditional publishing v self publishing, and if you are all predominately going to self publish or are some of you still hoping for contracts?
Welcome, Clements!

I think you'll find a healthy mix here. Some SPA, some trad-published, and those with fingers in both cookie jars. :)
 

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Just about everyone here in the Writer's Cafe is self-publishing at least some of their work. But we do have many members pursuing both self and traditional publishing simultaneously.
 

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I'm a traditional publisher. I've had my work published by traditional publishers and now have them with our own company, so I sort of understand what it's like self publishing. It's much easier for me to promote our authors than it is to promote my own books (although bookselling is never easy) so I'll put the next one with another traditional publisher again. However, I'm really impressed at what I can see self published authors achieving here. I would always try to get an agent and traditional publisher first, starting with the major publishers and then going for a good smaller publisher. After that I think self publishing is a good option and authors can be very successful. I'm sure there are also authors who choose to self publish from the outset for very good reasons of their own.
 

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I'm fairly new to this game, as well. I just uploaded my first work of fiction to Amazon and am moving through the learning curve at Createspace. Since writing is more a hobby for me, my plan is to see what I can do on my own.

Also, I'm getting too old to sit around waiting for someone else to give me the green light. Self-publishing has advanced significantly in the last 10 years. It seems silly to me not to take advantage of the opportunities it presents simply because of antiquated prejudices against it.
 

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Adele Ward said:
I would always try to get an agent and traditional publisher first, starting with the major publishers and then going for a good smaller publisher.
Others take the opposite approach, building an audience until they come to the attention of major publishers. Remember this: If you self-publish you have time to build your audience, in fact, all the time in the world. If you go through a traditional publisher, you make the bulk of your sales in the first six weeks. SIX WEEKS. (I've had Threads out now for 12 years, and six weeks to me is like, "What??")

Only if you're a major major major author will they spend money to market you, and that's only during the first year - unless you're one of maybe 100 authors worldwide. Good luck with that. For the rest the clock is ticking, and they count your sales, and calculate your worth to their bottom line. They pull the plug on you very early in the game.

Most mid-list authors are on their own anyway for marketing, and they only make a fraction of the royalties of indies. Traditional publishers won't give you time to build an audience because they're on to the Next Big Thing. So they take you out of print within a year, more often than not. And now they're smart enough to hang onto your e-book rights, so you have to wait and wait or fight and fight to get them back. Lots of authors managed to do this, and are self-publishing books that publishers threw away - and are making money.

Before you go with a traditional publisher, see a lawyer.

In the meantime, self-publish, get to know your audience and the business, and give yourself the leverage it takes to make good decisions about your own career.
 

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Welcome, Clements. :)

I started publishing a loooong time ago (fifteen years in October!), and back then traditional publishing was really the only route that made sense. I was lucky enough to sell to a major publisher without an agent. Alas, my contract was cancelled after my first book, and I wrote for small e-presses for quite some time, but now I'm happily self-publishing. Would I turn down a contract if a traditional publisher if someone made me a really good offer? No, because my sales haven't been stellar, and there's a good chance I could make more money with a trad publisher than I do self-publishing. (I actually do have an ebook coming out with a trad publisher later this year, but that's a reissue of my first book. I may try to use that to sell them a few more, though.)

But here's the thing about traditional publishing. Someone new to the industry may have trouble believing how slowly those wheels roll. It can take months to acquire an agent (assuming you ever find one at all, which is far from a given), and then it can take a year or more for that agent to find you a publisher. (Mileage varies; it is of course possible for an agent to love you and sell your book to a publisher next week, but it's not terribly likely.) And then your book will likely be scheduled to be published in a year to eighteen months after you sell it. Traditional publishing is sloooooooow. I am so sick of the rejection-go-round that I am grimly determined not to get back on it. I have nothing against major publishers, but they'll have to come to me this time.

It's really not an either-or, though. There are plenty of people around here who've made a bit of a name for themselves self-publishing, and have then gotten a contract. Or you can self-publish one book and keep trying to peddle another to agents. The nice thing about indie (self) publishing is that writers now have lots more options than we once had. Figure out what you want most, and what you think you might get out of trad publishing versus self publishing, and then you'll have some idea what you want to do.
 

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I started self-publishing in late 2011.  Before that I went the old fashioned route in the small press markets.  I still do a mix of both today. My most recent releases are both small press published by a small publisher and self-published. I try to keep all routes open at the moment.  ;)

Most of the shorts I write I still try to go to magazines, anthologies and so on.  I've read various experiences on here, there are some that are using agents, some doing big publishers with great contracts and others that are exclusively self-publishers. There are editors here, publishers, freelance artists. It's a wealth of experience.

Welcome aboard!
 

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I've gone both ways. Trade gets me into a lot of other markets and I tend to sell better. Alas, I'm on Select with my first SP title, so I'm a bit hamstrung in that regard, so the comparison is not quite equal.

 

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I have done both. My Alex Bellamy mysteries were self-published several years ago before it became really fashionable!! My Casey Holland series is traditionally published. I value both because each strategy brings something different to the table. Self-publishing of course offers more control and the lack of pressure to meet deadlines imposed by others, but self-publishing has allowed me to get my print books into the Chapters/Indigo chain here in Canada, and be reviewed in publications that don't bother with self-published books, which has definitely helped sales. My publisher is small so there was no advance, and producing the book is a truly collaborative effort. I have a say in how the cover will look, for instance.

Will I continue to do both? You bet. I just wish I had time to write the other series I've been planning to start!
 

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Most of us here are self-publishing, yes, but many are doing both and a few are all traditional.  We're a much more welcoming group than many other writing forums you can find.  

If I learned anything from the past three years of working with two different agents on two different books and querying a third book, it's that you don't NEED an agent or a traditional publisher anymore to launch a great writing career.  And readers are out there waiting for more good books right now, and they're more likely to try out an indie book than they've ever been before.  I dearly wish I had not wasted so much time trying to get in with the traditional publishing industry for several years, and had just jumped straight into doing it myself.  Just one of my self-pub titles earns more than I make at my day job every month...however many months it takes to find an agent + however many months to find a publisher + the long wait to actual publication...and that's assuming an agent can sell your book at all (two couldn't sell mine!).  It's a lot of potential income to give up.

Right now the most successful model in terms of maximizing profitability for the author seems to be "hybrid" -- self-publishing some, and having some out with a traditional publisher.  You would be wise to give self-pub serious consideration for your first few books.  Many authors have been offered traditional contracts on their self-published stuff, or on new stuff due to their success as self-publishers.
 

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Mathew Reuther said:
That's how I meant it!

Other T-shirt ideas:

Self-publishers Give Themselves a Hand
Selfies Try Harder
Always Be Releasing
Take Me to the Gatekeepers So I Can Turn Up My Nose at Them
*&^%$# Algorithms
Ask Me About Select
My Other T-Shirt is a Towel on my Chair (that's for David Adams)
 

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Dalya said:
That's how I meant it!

Other T-shirt ideas:

Self-publishers Give Themselves a Hand
Selfies Try Harder
Always Be Releasing
Take Me to the Gatekeepers So I Can Turn Up My Nose at Them
*&^%$# Algorithms
Ask Me About Select
My Other T-Shirt is a Towel on my Chair (that's for David Adams)
Oh so many possibilities. So few days in the week to wear T-Shirts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
chrisstevenson said:
I've gone both ways. Trade gets me into a lot of other markets and I tend to sell better. Alas, I'm on Select with my first SP title, so I'm a bit hamstrung in that regard, so the comparison is not quite equal.
Sorry i'm going to sound thick, but hardly understood a word of this one. Trade? Select? Hamstrung? Confused!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nell Gavin said:
Others take the opposite approach, building an audience until they come to the attention of major publishers. Remember this: If you self-publish you have time to build your audience, in fact, all the time in the world. If you go through a traditional publisher, you make the bulk of your sales in the first six weeks. SIX WEEKS. (I've had Threads out now for 12 years, and six weeks to me is like, "What??")

Only if you're a major major major author will they spend money to market you, and that's only during the first year - unless you're one of maybe 100 authors worldwide. Good luck with that. For the rest the clock is ticking, and they count your sales, and calculate your worth to their bottom line. They pull the plug on you very early in the game.

Most mid-list authors are on their own anyway for marketing, and they only make a fraction of the royalties of indies. Traditional publishers won't give you time to build an audience because they're on to the Next Big Thing. So they take you out of print within a year, more often than not. And now they're smart enough to hang onto your e-book rights, so you have to wait and wait or fight and fight to get them back. Lots of authors managed to do this, and are self-publishing books that publishers threw away - and are making money.

Before you go with a traditional publisher, see a lawyer.

In the meantime, self-publish, get to know your audience and the business, and give yourself the leverage it takes to make good decisions about your own career.
Thanks Adele, I just wanted to say your post was really helpful as it highlighted things I had never considered before
 

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Clements said:
Sorry i'm going to sound thick, but hardly understood a word of this one. Trade? Select? Hamstrung? Confused!
Trade = Traditional publishing (i.e. a contract with a publisher)

Select = KDP Select. An exclusive version of the regular Kindle Direct Publishing that you can do via Amazon. If you put your book in Select, you get some perks - such as the ability for people to borrow your book (which gets you a share of the monthly borrow money pot) and the ability to put your book up as free for up to 5 days in a 90 day period. It also gets you 70% instead of 35% in a couple of the currently smaller selling Amazon stores such as Amazon India. However, because it's exclusive, if you put a book in Select then you can't offer an electronic version anywhere else online during that 90 day period (and you have to opt out if you don't want it to automatically renew you for another 90 days.) You can, however, sell a print copy anywhere you like.

Hamstrung = in this instance, it means, either being unable to do something or it being very difficult to do it (in other words, being exclusive in Select means that he can't attempt to get into the venues that traditional publishing gets him into as it would be against the terms and conditions to sell the electronic versions elsewhere.)

Hope that helps. :)
 

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I've a hand in both cookie jars, some with publishers, some I have self-published. It all depends on the book. I self-publish a lot of my own short stories, as for some publishers they have too short a word count for the publishers to even look at them. I didn't want to artifically pad them out just so they'd have a longer word count. Am I alone in that one of the editors with my publishers asked me to add stuff, not cut it? ;)
 
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