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Publishing and Promoting > Few Publishers

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message 1: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments There are few publishers but many writers who desire and want to publish their works. Publishers want to make a profit and they aim to maximize their income. Most works are proven genuine and potential but can't overcome the publishers rejection pen. Many publishers won't take on every writer even though the work is good. Expect rejection slips and there is no magic wand to getting published. It is a question of luck to get published and it is a lottery out there to have your work published.

Some times it is the background of a writer that publishers consider rather than the work itself and there are limitations and that reduces the cost of publication. There is a saying " There is plenty of harvest but few reapers" and publishing is a trial and a hard task, a tough endurance that is worth the effort. A book that is rejected doesn't necessarily mean it is bad but it is an opinion and suggestion of courage and determination. Keep the light of writing with new writing and writing never dies and it is not dead. Writing is like a new birth and celebration without it there would not be publishers and publishers depend on you gifted writers. Right now publishers are looking out for your work and don't be discouraged or feel anxious or dismayed. There will always be another day.


message 2: by Jan (new)

Jan Notzon | 221 comments Wise words, David.


message 3: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Publishing is an expensive exercise and a publisher to stake an interest on a writer has to undergo a lot of scrutiny. The best books that are not published are the greatest books. No one can understand why a publisher rejects a writer. All books are in a pantheon of great books. Publishers receive requests from many writers and are overwhelmed with submissions and it is their job to sort out who to publish.

There is no need and purpose to write if you don't aim to publish. A popular writer will gain publication because he/she has an audience. But not all of us are popular and there are few celebrities among us. Publishers take a risk to publish unknown writers and they have to make a living like a writer. There is a backlog as far as submissions are concerned.


message 4: by Steven (new)

Steven (goodreadscomstevenkerry) | 138 comments It is not so much that they so often reject one's submission. One expects a collection of rejection slips; it's the norm. and part of the process. What is most frustrating is that most publishers rattle their quivers at writers by warning them not to send "simultaneous submissions". I initially thought that meant "Don't send us more than one different manuscript at the same time", but was soon informed it meant "Don't send your work out to another publisher 'cause if we hear that you did you're toast". So, of course, one makes a good faith attempt to do just that, then hunkers down and waits.. and waits. ...and waits, eventually realizing 4-6 weeks is more like 8 to10 weeks or longer. Finally one receives a cordially worded, blunt variation on the following: "We have carefully considered your submission and find it does not meet our current publishing needs". Unless one is 25 rather than a more mid-aged writer like myself, one can easily count gray hairs sprouting while waiting for these interminable replies. I understand most publishers are understaffed for the number of submissions they get. Submissions to 3-4 publishers can eat up a year of your life just waiting for replies. I could write "Anna Karenina" while waiting for some of these publishers to respond! Sometimes, depending on the book, I will wait through this process as my manuscript makes its slow trek toward desks drowning in sludge-piles, but with other efforts I intend to take it straight to the publishing house of DIY; that is the option every writer has in our world, the odds be damned. Whether published by an established press that does little in the way of actual promotion or going it alone one may have a fabulous book; it's the marketing that is the tougher challenge as well as the reaon so many books fail to find an audience. (You may correct me if I am wrong of course.)


message 5: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Steven you have got a point and nailed it on the coffin. I believe one has to be patient and count your luck on your fingers. The waiting is agonising and some times frustrating to be put on hold. This industry is not regulated and your work is your job application. It remains in the publishers clout to decide whether they will take on a script. The script remains your treasure and proposal and it takes time and effort to get a publisher. Marketing an author remains an Achilles heel and it is a large mountain to climb. Getting a book published doesn't end all the woes and a writer can only write what best suits him or her and you are not writing for a publisher but for an audience. Publishers have clout they decide what the general public likes and they are in control over their presses. There are no specialist presses to identify an interest. Acquiring the services of an agent can complicate matters and it is not every man's cup of tea. Publishers have the authority and are leaders in their own right.

They have the power to make a writer and it is the publishers that make a writer who they are and it is not writers who advance the power of the publishing house. Readers read the label and trademark of publishing houses rather than authors and readers maintain a tradition to read books by established publishing houses and they feel more comfortable and settled rather than reading independent presses. Traditional publishing houses have reputable writers that attract readers and have a track record of producing good writers.


message 6: by Steven (last edited Aug 17, 2016 01:38PM) (new)

Steven (goodreadscomstevenkerry) | 138 comments Thank you. And don't forget to mention the "best" part of signing your book to a publisher: it was my experience that they get 50% of whatever your book makes. Just imagine how many "e-books" one must sell in order to make a less than paltry royalty check. On the other hand, don't do that math. I write because I enjoy it; if something goes over or my fan base goes ga-ga in support of my books, that's frosting on the creative cake. If you're in this for the money you might do better selling Tupperware, at least until you hit with your Harry Potter!


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan Girard | 13 comments in which case I think that I shall remain an Indie Author for the time being so as not to have to ration my meager pickings...and cut the pie into tinier portions..."please sir can I have some more?" S.


message 8: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments You don't become a writer to make money and this isn't a goldrush. You are a writer to part with words of wisdom. Being an indie author offers its own challenges and hurdles that means you become your own publisher. There are advantages in being an indie author and you cover and take on the services of a publisher. You can't make a career or a living because of the meagre royalties. There is nothing like a decent living to live on your writing and you have a priority to decide what best suits you as a writer. Writing is a talent and patience is required to reach your comfort zone. Please don't discard the writing but persevere and have courage.


message 9: by Joe (new)

Joe Clark | 32 comments Several years ago, someone I know published his first book through Vanity Press. He paid a small fortune and then sent everyone he knew a copy of his book with a bill for $35. I kept the book because I was too cheap to pay for sending it back but I refused to pay for the book. Now I have my first book out and my second in the oven cooking. Publishing the first one wasn't cheap but it was a lot less expensive than my friend's Vanity Press book. I haven't sold a single copy and it certainly isn't a potential best seller. But my book club did a Beta read for me and gave me a big pat on the back. Some of my friends have asked for autographed copies. There is a payoff there. I'm not going to get rich diggin a ditch or writing novels but I can have a lot of fun. I feel a little sorry for book publishers - They have to make money and they have to guess what will sell in order to do that. Indie publishing puts the risk on the author. They both compete in the same market place. The publishers have the advantage of a well-oiled machine but every mistake is expensive.


message 10: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Publishers have resources to print and distribute their books. Many people working in the publishing sector cooperate fully with mainstream traditional publishers and an indie author has no privileges set in place and has no luxuries as far as marketing one's books. Indie authors have no privileges and many bookshops and reviewers are not sympathic to them and their books are not well received. Self publishing leaves one on the edges and few resources are incurred or put in place by a Self publishing house to market a book and a publisher can't promote a self published book. Publishing is a precarious venture and business and you can't spend yourself to success and expect less or nothing and remember you are always at a loss. There are many books out there and the choice is limited to pick your book.


message 11: by Steven (last edited Aug 18, 2016 09:15AM) (new)

Steven (goodreadscomstevenkerry) | 138 comments I have reached the conclusion that many, if not most, books are written in the same way that a lot of songs are: to express something in one's experience you just absolutely have to express or it will drive you a bit mad. It's a form of self-therapy, like most good art. Of course, I am talking about fiction or poetry, not non-fiction, which is more an expression of an enthusiastic passion for a particular topic one feels one has expertise in or something unique to share. I also think publishers are deluged with memoirs, especially from older writers who feel they must document their life journey, a literary version of swinging the bucket list, even though unless they are or were famous, probably few people are going to read it. I chuckle at the term "vanity" when it comes to writing or the arts, for it is such a sad/funny truism that so much time and effort goes into projects that will not make any money and will only be lauded by one's family and circle of friends. Even many independent publishing houses are just vanity presses for writers who want to make it look like they are not just publishing their own books, but helping other writers get published. However, without such "vanity", at least in the beginning, we would perhaps be denied what become great writers, great composers, etc. One must be "vain" enough to write a book, but realistic enough to admit the odds are against it being the next Charles Dickens classic or Stephen King best seller. Two older men that I know had books published over the past 2 years; both tried to cleverly disguise the fact that their books were memoirs, and neither is famous, although both are accomplished. One of them has sold almost no copies 2 years later and has one review on Amazon: (mine). I asked him why his circle of friends had not read and reviewed it, and he replied, "They said they don't understand it." (The book is, put it mildly, a perplexing, intellectualized maze, a nearly impenetrable disguise for a memoir). The other's book came out 2 months ago and is a memoir as well. He now has 2 reviews, mine and his editor's, along with much touting of the book by his long time partner. And no sales; did I mention no sales? One must adjust one's excitable fantasies a bit and keep one's ego and expectations in check, firmly grounded in that most coldly exacting of realms: reality. The adoption of a clear philosophy of "enjoying the journey" (rather than the angst-indulgent bemoaning of the appearance of a Publishers Clearing House-like royalty check jackpot) is in order if one wishes to proceed with the work-intensive life of a writer. That being said, I can honestly say I have no regrets in writing my books; it's wonderful self-therapy if you have the patience, perseverance, and a behind that can sit for stretches at a time. If you feel the book in your blood, bloody well write it, but skip the ego tripping in the process. Prepare instead for the exquisite torture of literary humiliation and hope for a happy ending.


message 12: by David (last edited Aug 18, 2016 10:00AM) (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Steven wrote: "I have reached the conclusion that many, if not most, books are written in the same way that a lot of songs are: to express something in one's experience you just absolutely have to express or it w..."

Everyone has an experience of publishing a book and the consequences of carrying out that project. We have highs and lows of publishing and it is like a scene of a crash whether you have survived; so is publishing. It is question of luck and chance that will lead to prosperity and posterity. There are gains and losses. Each writer that aims to write and publish must know it is an expensive venture and should have the greatest preparedness and eventuality; otherwise it will shatter your dreams and expectations.

Writing is a journey and an adventure and we all derive pleasure from writing and it is an enjoyable experience and to have readers is an icing on the cake. We need to write for the world rather than for our individuality. Books are universal and outward looking and cover a wide spectrum. Every book has a message which dispenses information, ideas and ideals. A book reflects a background and offers us an outlook on life and its myriad of traditions. It is good you have kept on with your writing.


message 13: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments David wrote: "Publishing is an expensive exercise and a publisher to stake an interest on a writer has to undergo a lot of scrutiny. The best books that are not published are the greatest books. No one can under..."

The best books that ARE published are great books, too. And plenty of people write for the need to write--to get it out of themselves, without any thought of publishing--look at Kafka.


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan Girard | 13 comments Steven wrote: "I have reached the conclusion that many, if not most, books are written in the same way that a lot of songs are: to express something in one's experience you just absolutely have to express or it w..."
Indeed Steven...took the words right out of my mouth...couldn't have said it any better myself...it is a very humbling experience and one of great perseverance and strength...it is character building...Reality...a very good word...Reality check...but in a really good and satisfying way. My journey has been very rewarding to date and oh so...shall I say...a lesson in 'ego-slaying'...so much so that I am now seriously working on book 2.


message 15: by Mellie (last edited Aug 18, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments David wrote: "You can't make a career or a living because of the meagre royalties..."

That's simply not true. Writing is my full time job and I know numerous other indies who are all full time writers. You just need to read the Author Earnings reports to see how many indies are making in excess of 25k/year. Being indie is your best shot at generating a living wage from your writing, but you need to treat it like a business. You need start up capital and you need to build a team of professionals you can rely on.

Certainly with so much crap being self published, there are visibility issues for an indie. The bar has been raised, but if you produce a quality, polished product you have every chance of selling as good as, if not better, than a traditionally published title.


message 16: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments There are many successful writers who make it their occupation to write and they are cushioned by a great promotion and marketing network. Many periodicals hardly consider reviewing self published books. Kafka wouldn't come to our attention if it wasn't for his friend publising the book after Kafka's death. Each writer is profoundly gifted in their chosen field. Self published works are hardly reviewed and a self published writer struggles to gain a simple review. There vast reasons why mainstream newspapers fail to bring self published works to the reading masses. They are proud newspapers who fight for their reputation and status. Self pubished books have a great stigma attached to them and self published works are called "Vanity" books as if they are worse than a paper it is written on. There is a collection of rejected books that end up being self published but fail to be reviewed.

Self published books are treated as a second class citizen and are not received with open hands. Self published books are considerably overlooked and the media do not help matters by rejecting them without being reviewed. There is no writing that is crap each book has a tapestry of ideas and those ideas are neglected by reviewers and there are few outlets and channels where to market your work. Every writer is discovered through their writing and not through hearsay.


message 17: by Steven (last edited Aug 18, 2016 04:01PM) (new)

Steven (goodreadscomstevenkerry) | 138 comments "There is no writing that is crap each book has a tapestry of ideas and those idea are neglected by reviewers and there are few outlets and channels where to market your work."
Not sure I agree, but I do think you have a philosophical point in that every writer is trying to express something, even if it is no more than "Maybe if I write a book about MY LIFE I will get famous and rich". I'm sure there are a ton of those self-published every year.
Actually there are entire genres of books that I consider crap, lol, but that's just me and my own taste (or lack thereof!)


message 18: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 27 comments David wrote: "There are many successful writers who make it their occupation to write and they are cushioned by a great promotion and marketing network. Many periodicals hardly consider reviewing self published ..."

David,
Perhaps you might find my experience interesting of trying to find a publisher, and then being commercially published by a well known publisher, but regretting the whole experience.

https://silverfox175.wordpress.com/20...

https://silverfox175.wordpress.com/20...


message 19: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Commercially published books have a great advantage over self published books. Reviewers are receptive to traditionally published books and you have to take on the role and responsibilities of a publisher if you self publish and there is no magic wand for being successful.


message 20: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 27 comments David wrote: "Commercially published books have a great advantage over self published books. Reviewers are receptive to traditionally published books and you have to take on the role and responsibilities of a pu..."

I agree, which is why I posted the blog, because being separated by continents from my publisher I had little, if any, input in to marketing the book in the country of the publisher. Hindsight is great :-o)
A friend of mine, who lives in the US, has sold close on 100k of her first e-book via Amazon, so it can be done . . . she is about to release her second book - which is the sequel.


message 21: by David (last edited Aug 19, 2016 03:39AM) (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments There are several ways to succeed but self published books have to rely on the services of a publisher. It is true that a self published writer can't determine what is sold overseas and finds it hard to promote a book in a local setting let alone in a foreign country. Your book is held in stock and it becomes invisible to readers.

Readers can hardly access your book and it just becomes another statistic of books out of print but in print. It becomes an inventory and inaccessible to readers. Even books which are on print on demand are held at the mercy of the reading public. There are many obstacles and stumbling blocks faced by a self published writer.


message 22: by Steven (last edited Aug 19, 2016 07:38AM) (new)

Steven (goodreadscomstevenkerry) | 138 comments I was signed to a publisher with my first two books. I did not get the impression any of the authors were selling a lot or making much money. However, the publisher added the income from 50% of our books to sales profits from her own and has been somewhat successful as a viable business. The publisher did very little to promote my titles, that was left to me to figure out. It's a thrill to get paid royalties, but it didn't exactly pay the rent. I think it's a game of what lights up the imaginations of readers; if your book is nothing different from the competition it probably won't do much business. Formula in writing is like formula in songwriting; it can get you in the race, but also make you disappear into the competition due to sheer volume of other writers doing the same stuff you are. As a songwriter I was told by my publisher my last demo was "like everything else being written by Nashville songwriters". I was trying to be "commercial" and apparently I succeeded to the point where it worked against me. So I said "T' hell with it. I am gonna write the music again that I really feel passionate about", and same with books!; genre and formula are not for me, gonna at least try and take the road less traveled without being so weird and esoteric no one understands my work. (I have a friend that wrote a book that is so esoteric and intellectual it has sold nothing, so one must walk a fine line in appealing to readers but also bringing something fresh to the table).


message 23: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments You need a publisher who is dedicated to you and your work, so that a publisher might carry out all the necessary marketing and promotion. Some publishers sit on their backs and fail to recognise that there is work to be done. A book or record won't sell itself it needs all the vital input otherwise it is more likely to fail. A book needs a signpost and a sense of direction. Music can appeal to many because it is listened to but a book can gather dust on the bookshelf. A book needs life of its own and an author has to make an appearance like on book festivals. There are several suggestions to promote a book in the tradition way and there is no method how to promote a book but each review can attract readers than a book which has no reviews; yet a book cannot speak for itself. Even an advertisement can speak volumes. There needs to be a visibility of the book.

Walk in any bookshop and you are spoilt for choice, you become overwhelmed with several titles. Books need a sense of direction and where and how can a book attract readers? You need publishers who are dedicated and willing to market and promote your books and without marketing a writer and publisher will remain at the bottom of the pile. You need to get your priorities right. A book needs life of its own, otherwise it will be a dead book just printed but no readers. Readers need to appreciate the book like the author who wrote it. Each book is written with passion and rigourness and in the same spirit an author has to give the book a life of its own. Self published books are not recognised but an author can overcome all eventualities and become a head of a corner.


message 24: by Mellie (last edited Aug 19, 2016 02:56PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments David I don't know where you are getting your information from about the industry, but it is erroneous and misleading. You don't appear to have a real understanding of how either traditional publishing or self publishing works. Perhaps that is because your only experience appears to be in publishing via vanity presses, which make their money by scamming naive writers, not by selling books.

David wrote: "Readers read the label and trademark of publishing houses rather than authors "

Wrong. Readers follow authors. Show me one reader who gushes about Random House or Harper Collins or S&S? They don't. Readers become fans of books and authors and pay little to zero attention to who published a book.

David wrote: "There are several ways to succeed but self published books have to rely on the services of a publisher. "

Wrong. As a self publisher you run your own business, you do not publish via a publisher, that would be either a vanity press (scam) or traditional publishing. As an indie, I contract my own editors, proofreaders, formatters and cover artists.

David wrote: "a self published writer can't determine what is sold overseas "

Wrong. As a self publisher I deal directly with retailers who distribute and sell my books. I know exactly where my books are sold and the quantities.

David wrote: "You need publishers who are dedicated and willing to market and promote your books "

Wrong. Indies have access to many of the same marketing and advertising opportunities as traditional publishers. These days most promotion is done online and it has levelled the playing field.

David wrote: "Self published books are not recognised "

Wrong. Self published titles occupy the same space on the USA Today and NYT bestseller lists as trad published books. Readers do not differentiate by who published a book, they simply want a great book to read.


message 25: by David (last edited Aug 20, 2016 06:27AM) (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments There are few self published books that appear in the NYT and that is the exception rather than the rule. Newspapers are not crying out too review self published books. You are not looking at the wider view that self published books are not sought out by readers and it is not hot cakes we talking about. You are looking at a narrow and small picture as regards the status of self pubished books. Self published authors can't sell their books around the world unless if you have deep pockets.

Can you mention a self published author whose has made news? Many well known authors are published by well known publishing houses. I have not come across an author whose made a name for themselves and the only one I can think of is JK Rowling who opted for a traditional publisher. As a self published author you are fighting against a wide supply of books and there is a competition to review titles. Your books are at the bottom of the pile. You can't generalize and assume that self publishing is equal to traditional publishing or indie publishing. Not all authors use the same marketing skills and to manage their marketing and you can't assume that self publishing has an equal playing field like a traditional publishing house. You might be in your comfort zone taking on the marketing and promotion.


message 26: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments David wrote: "There are few self published books that appear in the NYT and that is the exception rather than the rule. Newspapers are not crying out too review self published books. You are not looking at the w..."


Your stance is at least ten years out of date, if not more. With the emergence of PoD publishers in general and CreateSpace in particular, the difference between self-published and house-published books in many cases has gotten so small you've probably got self-published books sitting on your shelf that you think are traditionally published, not realizing that "XYZ Publishing" is a one-author, zero-employee publisher.

Master of the Universe, was first posted online in 2009 as Twilight fan fiction (You probably know it better as Fifty Shades of Gray )

Or you could just do a short search;you find pages like this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronald-...

And don't forget Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

You could also find hundreds of authors who may not have "made news," but are making good livings from the royalties of their self-published books.

On the other hand, your argument about "fighting against a wide supply of books" applies perfectly to getting picked up by a traditional house. Even for those manuscripts selected, you can also find thousands of traditionally-published books that not only haven't sold enough to recoup their paltry advances, but the house won't release the copyrights back to the authors to let them try elsewhere. A house is always looking for the next blockbuster, and they're quick to push a mediocre-seller out of print to roll the dice on a new hope. Meanwhile, an "one-author publisher" with 20 books making $50 a month (what house would keep a book in print at that level of sales?) is staying above the poverty line, even if the don't do any more work at all.


message 27: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments There is a small proportion of self published authors who are sitting comfortably and you can't rely on POD unless if your book has a history of wide advertisement and that your book is known by readers and has a social media coverage and profile. POD can't be applied to a wide demand of books by libraries and they can only attract a small clientele of book stockists. There is no clear picture and line how self published books can succeed with POD.

POD has no visbility and is concealed with book stocks and your book just becomes a statistic. No book can be held in stock if it has no sales or history of sales. Self published books can't be compared to traditionally published books; it is like comparing oranges to apples. Each has a different operating system and there is no equal playing field and some opt for social medium while others are anachronistic and each publishing house has a way of doing business. Even if traditional publishers can't recoup their funds a writer's profile and prestige is assured.


message 28: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 5 comments David wrote: "You can't make a career or a living because of the meagre royalties. There is nothing like a decent living to live on your writing and you have a priority to decide what best suits you as a writer..."

I'm sorry, but I disagree.
Anyone willing to commit to hard work, constant improvement and putting time in the chair actually writing can make money with writing. Actually, over a few posts you've made points I respectfully disagree with. I can think of quite a few self-published authors that are reportedly making a comfortable living from writing. Only recently has one negotiated a hybrid contract. That means that a publishing house is gambling on his popularity, which you claimed they would never do.

You claim the publishing houses have all the power. Not any more. Publishing houses make money by taking a large chunk of royalties, that's true. Again, I can name many independent authors (Indies) who choose to self publish so they maintain control over their work. I am one of them. Publishers will take a monetary gamble with a book, and if that gamble doesn't pay off within a specific time-frame, your contract is not renewed and you're left dangling by the shirt-tails. Back to square one. Too bad if the audience wasn't ready for your style, or if your cover was wrong or your book was shelved incorrectly (which happens a lot).

You claim there is very little choice. Again, I disagree. Even if one does not have Kindle and doesn't shop with Amazon, there are a great number of options to find books, short stories and more. There are more reviews sites than I can name that constantly help readers decide on books they might like to read.

with respect, your information is outdated, sir, and frankly not helpful.


message 29: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments What I meant it is hard to rely and depend on your writing especially if you have to promote your work and if you succeed you are one in a million and a rarity. I may not represent my ideas to self published writers but I have seen few readers come out of the net. It depends on what kind of input an author applies to market and promote their books. There different paths to take to promote your work and there is never any singularity method how to promote your books. All writers struggle with their work and this is across the deck. There are different ways readers buy books and access their books. Self published books have to compete with traditional publishing houses, that is a fact.

As a self published author you haven't the tools and resources availed to you like other wealthy rivalries who invest in the author at whatever the price and cost. Your book becomes an image rather an a good for sale. As a self published author you have no clout even though you monitor your sales and where your work is distributed that alone is not suffice. Realistically speaking, there isn't space to cushion an author's expenditure and losses to publish their works. You can't spend yourself to succeed, there needs to a bar and limit.


message 30: by Carolyn (last edited Aug 21, 2016 09:11AM) (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 5 comments David wrote: "What I meant it is hard to rely and depend on your writing especially if you have to promote your work and if you succeed you are one in a million and a rarity. I may not represent my ideas to self..."

I understand what you're saying, truly. I disagree with thinking about publishers as wealthy rivalries. I had a deal with a publisher before, I did not start out as a self published author. My publisher was not wealthy, was not a vanity, was not a print on demand, and yet still did not have 'clout' as you put it, nor connections. I have more connections today as an Indie than my publisher did then. Self publishers have more clout and influence than you know. You see the world of self publishing and assume it is the same as the highly competitive world of print publishing. It is not. Many Indie authors are supportive of their colleagues, because we understand how much work is involved in being successful. Frequently we gain readers through suggestions and word of mouth, as well as marketing.

Many of us have budgets for expenditures such as covers, editing and marketing. Many have taught themselves how to do things that reduce the financial risk. No limits are required. We have enough limitations set on us by people who say we can't reach our dreams.

We can, and we do.


message 31: by William (new)

William Lehman | 13 comments David wrote: "There are few self published books that appear in the NYT and that is the exception rather than the rule. Newspapers are not crying out too review self published books. You are not looking at the w..."

Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, Cedar Sanderson, just off the top of my head. you sound like a shill for the big four. We've had enough of gate keepers, policial checklists and litmus tests for publishing my friend. Your data is out of date, look at the sell through for indi V big 4.
You speak of "book stores" what's a book store? There are only two of them within 40 miles of me, and one of those is a used book store. Amazon is the new mall, and not all that new. People don't go to book stores anymore, that's why they're dieing, so why do I care what sort of access to this particular dinosaur tad publishing gives me?


message 32: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Carolyn wrote: "David wrote: "What I meant it is hard to rely and depend on your writing especially if you have to promote your work and if you succeed you are one in a million and a rarity. I may not represent my..."

I meant bookshops.


message 33: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Carolyn wrote: "David wrote: "What I meant it is hard to rely and depend on your writing especially if you have to promote your work and if you succeed you are one in a million and a rarity. I may not represent my..."

Yes there are a lot of opportunities and dreams and hope I have not shattered your dreams it is true it can be done and we can do it. There is a lot of pessimism and we should remain optimistic.


message 34: by William (new)

William Lehman | 13 comments you still don't get it, call them book stores, book shops, "fine retailers" or any other label you want. They're one with Jacob Marley. They're DEAD. Gods, the only remaining brick and mortar big store left (and 90+% of the small book sellers died decades ago due to the Big stores) is in desperate trouble, and just fired their CEO to try to lighten ship.

Dude, the old ways are one with buggy whips. They may be useful for some limited situation, like oh say Surry races, but how many of those are there in the world? Oh and the amish, you can sell them to the amish... good luck with that business model.



message 35: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments There you have got it. It is what it is. Nothing to make of it but to take charge.


message 36: by Wendy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:45AM) (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments David wrote: "What I meant it is hard to rely and depend on your writing especially if you have to promote your work and if you succeed you are one in a million and a rarity. I may not represent my ideas to self..."

If, by "one in a million," you're counting everyone who ever wrote a book and put it on Amazon just to have copies to give to friends and family without any expectation that it would earn any real income, you might be right. If you're serious about writing as an income source, and get even a small stable of books up (especially if you've got a series, where later books can use the momentum from earlier books), you've at least got the income of a part-time job, and you can use that freed-up time to do something you haven't had time to do before (or obviously, write some more).

There was a couple (I want to say I read it on Penny Hoarder, but don't quote me on that)--major debt--spent a month burning the midnight oil to write a bunch of pulp romance and ended up making $60,000/year (on that one month's work).

I attended a webinar that interviewed a guy who self-published an amazon best-seller (in personal development, which seems to be the mother lode right now). A major publishing house noticed it and offered him a $5,000 advance for the rights--and he laughed at it. He was making that much in a day!

I've got five books up right now. Four are piddling to crickets, the fifth is making $50-100 a month, depending on season (after being rejected by the publisher I specifically wrote it for). It's also the one that was conceived from the start to be a series--at least four books. I get them done (the hanging point is that--being craft books--I have to get prototypes made and photographed, and they're graphics-intense beasts to lay out), I expect the series to pull a good $200/month, conservatively. That may not sound like much, but that's as much as my part-time job made me most months, and for that I had to put in 40 hours a month, every month, whereas creating the book only cost me about 100 hours--once.


message 37: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments William wrote: " you still don't get it, call them book stores, book shops, "fine retailers" or any other label you want. They're one with Jacob Marley. They're DEAD. Gods, the only remaining brick and mortar big ..."

We've got a bookstore (had two for a while), in a town under 10,000. Plus a coffee shop that sells used--and sometimes new--books. And WalMart (Had Kmart, too, but they folded a couple of years ago).

You're analogy to buggy-whips is . . . amusing. I was going to point out all the uses for buggy-whips today, but in a quick search for "buggy whips," I found several articles about the analogy being used to point out the myopia of buggy-whip manufacturers (regarding their products as "buggy-whips" rather than "transportation starting devices") being the real cause of their demise. I think you suffer the same myopia in looking at bookstores. Fortunately, there are bookstores that don't share your view.


message 38: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments You are correct to mention that self published writers can achieve their aim when they land a contract with traditional publishers and also a writer to turn down a contract and I think not all writers can achieve that feat. Publishers are like predators when they realise that an author has great sales they come rushing in to scoop you up. Profit is put in the first place rather than looking at the quality of the work.

Publishers fail to realise that a writer suffered for their art and they fail to reward and honour the travails that a writer has gone through. It is convincing that so many writers are fighting for the same pie and must follow unwritten rules to make and achieve the unachievable. All writers deserve to be rewarded as all their works deserve the reader's atttention. There are writers who can't land a publishing contract because they have no history of sales and some are turned down because they are considered novices.


message 39: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments David wrote: "What I meant it is hard to rely and depend on your writing especially if you have to promote your work and if you succeed you are one in a million and a rarity."

You're spouting complete rubbish and ignoring anyone who doesn't agree with your decades out of date ideas. Thousands of indies are making a living through their writing. Thousands are making over $25,000 year. Read the Author Earnings report:
http://authorearnings.com/

Numerous indies are hitting the NYT and USA Today bestseller lists. Do you even read the lists? You keep saying indies can't, but their names are there in black and white every single week.

You keep saying indies can't access the same advertising and promotion tools as trad publishing. Again you're wrong and seem to have no idea how marketing has evolved in the digital age. Your marketing ideas are 30 years out of date. E-books are sold online. The marketing is online and indies are far better adapters with those tools than trad publishing. Thats why indies are snapping up the e-book market while trad publishings market share is declining. But again that doesn't fit with your outdated view, so you'll ignore the reality of how the publishing landscape has changed.

Now is the best time ever to be an indie. Today indies are making far more money and earning full time livings, through their novels.


message 40: by Wendy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:09PM) (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments David wrote: "You are correct to mention that self published writers can achieve their aim when they land a contract with traditional publishers and also a writer to turn down a contract and I think not all writ..."

Publishers DON'T CARE how much the writer suffered, unless it's part of the story they're trying to sell. There is NO INDUSTRY where how much one suffers to produce outweighs the quality of the product. "All writers deserve to be rewarded" is bleeding-heart liberal/communist CRAP that has NEVER worked in ANY market. Either the market gets so flooded with mediocre work that the customer base abandons it in disgust, or the shares of the proverbial pie get so small that the good writers abandon the market as not worth their investment.

Throughout this entire discussion thread, you've been standing on your soapbox repeating your position despite multiple respondents showing you the errors in your basis. How often do you spend $15-$25 on a newbie author writing about something you're not sure you're going to like? And yet, you expect a publisher to invest thousands of dollars in man-hours and materials for the same reason? Reality check: most traditionally published books don't even earn back their advances for the publisher. (But you think they should be taking risks on even more books that are even less likely to make a return on their investment--like the banks did on sub-prime mortgages that led to the 2008 housing meltdown.) This is the EXACT SAME THINKING that's ruining our education system, bankrupting half of Europe, and threatening to bring America crashing down. If you got your way, there might be a short-term boom, but within ten years(if that), the whole industry would come crashing down and the only published authors left would be the super-best-sellers that had the name to ride it out, and the uber-rich that could afford to run their own publishing houses.


message 41: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Lauder (suzan_lauder) All publishing is vanity, no matter what route you go. You're vain enough to believe your work deserves to be published.

There are lots of smaller independent publishers and minor imprints that allow you to submit elsewhere as long as you keep them aware. They usually get your book out much faster than the big guns and allow you to submit directly, saving the agent's cut. I have a friend who submitted 6 places and got 4 offers to weigh.

Indie and hybrid are for authors who are in a rush to get their books out instead of waiting 6 months to several years for someone who has a queue of authors who will get their time in the sun before the publisher releases the next book, or for those books that don't fit into into a neat box of publishers' requirements.

Sometimes the author is at fault for pouring out the sides of that neat box--there is a reason for word counts, and that's to make authors take some responsibility for paring down a manuscript that goes off in too many directions or contains redundancies, among other problems.

There is no shame to hybrid. If the book doesn't fit a publishing contract that pulls costs off the top, they choose to pay a professional to manage their project. Not everyone wants to be a publisher, which amounts to being a project manager juggling an editing team, cover designer, format and layout artist, printing contractor, and marketing on your own. Thing is, many self-published authors cheap out by avoiding editing costs and/or using non-professionals in their project team, and it shows. If you wonder why your book isn't selling, perhaps you need to look at more professional approaches to cover and marketing, for instance.


message 42: by Suzan (new)

Suzan Lauder (suzan_lauder) A.W. wrote: "David wrote: "What I meant it is hard to rely and depend on your writing especially if you have to promote your work and if you succeed you are one in a million and a rarity."

You're spouting comp..."

I follow an author group on Facebook. They post the bestseller lists and give kudos to self-published authors who are listed. There are two or three self-pubs out of a couple dozen total each time. That's good, but hardly "numerous."

You cited a successful self-pub, E.L. James' Fifty Shades trilogy. She was lucky her topic matter caused her book to go viral, because it was a piece of crap editing wise. In any case, she was quickly contracted by a big five publisher. That way, her paperbacks are on the sandwich displays in malls rather than in a cardboard box in her store room. Someone arranges her signings; she doesn't have to talk her local used book store into letting her sit there for an hour on Wednesday.

However, it's not difficult to find successful authors who decide to self-pub after they've gained a name with an initial release with a big publisher. But do you really think they have Aunt Sally editing and make their own covers on GIMP? They pay--much like the author who has hired a hybrid company.

80% of my author friends are self-published and reasonably successful for romance writers, yet even those who put out 5 books a year make less than I can at my day job. My meticulous style means I'd be lucky to put out one or two novels per year if it was my full-time job. Self-publishing would steal from my writing time!

For every self-published author who makes a living off their books (and there are few places you can live on that $25,000 you mentioned), there are tens of thousands who do not. Hugh Howie's reports have skimmed off the top 10% to say people make a living--that means 90% don't. That spin works in our society, though, and he knows it. People expect to win the lottery on one in a million odds, except there are 999,999 in a million chances they'll lose.

David has a point about self-pubs needing a publisher. Many so-called self-published books pay a printing service for formatting and get their ISBN "free." What they don't realize is they just "hired" a publisher. Not that different from what people disparage as "vanity!" Legally, the person holding the ISBN is the publisher. You want to change printers? You have to get another ISBN, and the original printer still has the rights to publish your book if there's demand. I know an author who describes it as "a nightmare that continues to haunt me years later."

Again, for the record, I believe there is no wrong way to publish. I'm fed up with the self-publishing pep rally bent on dissing traditional publishing and hybrid publishing as if they're doing something selfless and pure in comparison. Yet I feel for my self-published author friends who work hard to do as good a job as a publisher when they put out their books, because they get a bad rap from crap self-pubs.

Yes, there is such a thing as crap books, and it's the disease of a minority of self-published books: genre fiction that's pumped out in assembly-line fashion to make a quick buck with no attention to editing, formatting, etc.

But just because there are some bad apples in your basket doesn't mean you have to disparage those who have chosen another route because they'd rather be writing than acting as a project manager.


message 43: by William (new)

William Lehman | 13 comments Wendy wrote: "William wrote: " you still don't get it, call them book stores, book shops, "fine retailers" or any other label you want. They're one with Jacob Marley. They're DEAD. Gods, the only remaining brick..."

yup there's still folks making buggy whips, I think I mentioned that there was still some limited use for them... How big is the market, compared to the 1890s? or even 1920? yup there will always be book stores, if you use as your argument against going Indi or small house though that "the book stores won't carry you", that's tantamount to the argument that "you can't make a living making inflatable tires, buggies don't need them."


message 44: by Mellie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 03:57PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments Suzan wrote: "You cited a successful self-pub, E.L. James' Fifty Shades trilogy. ."

If that's aimed at me, I never cited ELJ and for the record, FSOG wasn't self published. It was released by Writers Coffee Shop, which is a small Australian publisher.

David said indies never make the lists. I pointed out they do. And there are far more indies on the list each week than "2 or 3", particularly if you look at the romance titles making the lists each week. The indies often aren't apparent to a casual glance as they use imprint names, making it appear as though the book was published via a publisher.

I never said authors were living off 25k. I said thousands of authors make 25k+ (as evidenced by the Author Earnings report) and I said that numerous authors make a full time living. Since you disparage making 25k/year, I assume you make far more than that. Kudos to you. Many indies are happy making 25k+ a year. I know I am and I can live on that, but as you said it depends where you live in the world and your individual circumstances.

There's a lot of false information thrown around by both camps. And people's perception is skewed by the groups where they hang up or find their information. If you only mingle with SPAs who simply aren't selling, then you'll think its a futile path. Personally I prefer to frequent groups with top selling indies who treat this as a business. I've learned so much by listening to people making 6-7 figures a year and realised that thousands of indies are doing exceptionally well and I plan on being one of them.


message 45: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn McBride (carolynmcbride) | 5 comments There's a lot of passion in this thread!
It was never my intention to speak poorly of traditional publishing. Each author has to determine their own path for themselves. But I do want to go on record and point out that I've read some fabulous, dynamic, well-written and well-edited self published works. I've also read some traditionally published shit.
Limited viewpoints do neither camp any good.


message 46: by David (last edited Aug 30, 2016 08:30AM) (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments I have no idea why I should concentrate how much an author has to earn to succeed in their chosen writing. The point is not to look and examine the earnings list to prove a point. Yet you might find that countless authors are on the earnings list but that doesn't bear the truth over other authors loosing out. Any amount of earnings don't indicate whether an author is earning sufficiently. I don't know what is enough and appropriate and how much is appropriate. We all write to succeed and no failure is comforting. There are many ways to excel in writing. There isn't any magic wand for a writer to choose their genre, theme and whether it will excel. Writers of all shades have to maxmize their potential and that too is vanity. I agree that all writing is vanity so is life. You suffer for less and feel pain for much.

Who is there to determine whether an author has succeeded? We need a sense of direction rather than prevaricating. Books are sought after and a writer has to have ways to offer them to readers in all avenues, be it on Amazon, bookshops and online. Word of mouth is still the preferred way that readers can apply and engage in to recommend books.


message 47: by David (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments We are all in different boats but heading in the same direction. Some people write to publish and vice verse. The aim is to reach the coast and avoid the tradewinds, storms and these storms are to figure out how to publish, edit and market your book. Where and why isn't there a signpost how to assist you market your book? You have to carry out a marketing plan and a list of contact details because your book has to appear under a marketing umbrella that suits you. The plan could be that reviewers review non-fiction and you have a fictional book that is a dilemma. The sea can offer surprises as is publishing. Marketing a book never ends there are backlists and modern titles, all books are trying to figure how to succeed. There are reference books where you could source out how to market your book.


message 48: by Wendy (last edited Sep 01, 2016 09:31AM) (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments Suzan wrote: "Many so-called self-published books pay a printing service for formatting and get their ISBN "free." What they don't realize is they just "hired" a publisher."


You're confusing "press" with "publisher." The "publisher" is the entity responsible for making the "private" manuscript available to the public (See?--same root.) The publisher is the one who decides on the layout, sets up marketing, and determines pricing--basically, they're the ones that decides "this manuscript is going to be a book." If you got into the nitty-gritty, you'd find there are a lot of "publishers" that don't maintain their own "press."

The press (or "printer") prints the book. The only requirement to be considered a "press" is that it possess a machine that makes copies of what the contractor asks for. They could be the same as the publisher, they could be one of many presses used by that publisher, they could be serving several publishers, or all of the above. I don't know if CreateSpace own their American presses (they use at least three), but I doubt they own the overseas presses, they probably have contracts with local presses.

Back in the day, churches would type up cookbooks, go off to the local printer (who also prints ad circulars, flyers, wedding invitations, and copies documents of all kinds), and get a few hundred copies made as fund raisers. (Nowadays, they probably use CreateSpace). By your argument the church wouldn't be the publisher, but a company that probably doesn't even keep a copy around after the print run would be. Ask yourself this: if you wanted another copy, which one would you contact, the church, or the printshop? Your answer is the publisher.

In the case of PoD's like CreateSpace, the traditional duties of "publisher" are split between the author and the PoD--which, as I said--may or may not be an actual press.


message 49: by David (last edited Sep 01, 2016 09:59AM) (new)

David Ssembajjo | 82 comments Thank you for the clarification which I duly acknowledge. It was just a discrepancy which you have completely corrected the error. Publishers need presses or printers after working out the layout and distribution of the copy. Some printers distribute the book if they can and they have a contract to streamline their business. It is a collaboration and both printers and publishers are interwined. You have to be an expert to completely understand the publishing business.

I understand that POD is the preferred system for most small publishers rather than holding books in stock and this is not what authors should resort to and an author can't imagine or predetermine the market or demand for the book. You are at a disadvantage to remedy POD situation. Your book remains in the supply chain but can also mean that it is undeliverable if the title is not in demand and it is a cheap way of delivering the book through POD and it is a cost effective way for saving the publisher losses. Having few printed books in stock will save publishers a great deal.


message 50: by Mellie (last edited Sep 01, 2016 12:43PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments David wrote: "I understand that POD is the preferred system for most small publishers rather than holding books in stock and this is not what authors should resort to and an author can't imagine or predetermine the market or demand for the book."

Umm.. No. Again, do you have any practical experience or are you just making it up as you go along? For indies the majority of sales will be e-book, but indie paperback sales are growing. If the e-book is selling then there will likewise by a demand for the paperback. Personally, I use expanded distribution and make a steady couple of hundred a month from POD paperback sales. It's not a huge amount of money, but it is actually the most cost effective way to deliver paperbacks, worldwide, to those readers who prefer that format.

I used to have a trad deal and my books in B&N stores. I sell more POD titles as an indie than I ever did by having my book on a B&N shelf. And I'm not hit with crippling return fees.


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