Publishers and Self-Publishing

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by OmahaRenegade, Apr 5, 2011.

  1.  
    OmahaRenegade

    OmahaRenegade New Member

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    A question for publishers: If an author attempts to self-publish, only to decide to switch to a publishing house later, does a publisher become biased against that manuscript? And if so what are the professional/marketing aspects of this bias?
  2.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    I'm not a publisher, sorry, but I'd guess that most publishers are thinking long-term, anyway. Not just this Ms but the ones that follow.

    Also, if your self-published material achieves sales, I'd have thought that would encourage them somewhat. Like bands with a following. They have a jumping-off point.
  3.  
    Anne Martin

    Anne Martin incorrigible

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    I was just at a conference and listened to some publishers and agent panels. They will want to see a significant track record of sales and hits on your personal website. They might consider taking it on if you are selling in the thousands, otherwise, they might just be interested in your next book. If it is a series, try querying book 2, mentioning the successful sales of book 1, and then they might just re-publish book 1 as well.

    The best thing to do, of course, is get an agent, and they will walk you through it.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  4.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    They are only likely to be interested in publishing a book that has already been self-published if the book sells tens of thousands of copies first. They may be interested in looking at the next one if the first one sells two or three thousand copies.

    Most self-published authors manage to sell about 100 copies. If you work very hard at promoting your own book, and have a gift for marketing, you could be successful and be one of those who sell enough to look good to a publisher. If you don't plan to do a lot of legwork and make a lot of contacts, or if you are shy about approaching strangers, self-publishing is not a good way to launch your career.

    Low sales figures mean that bookstores will be reluctant to order your next book. And knowing this, publishers will be reluctant to publish it. They'd rather publish a brand new author who comes in with a clean slate.
  5.  
    OmahaRenegade

    OmahaRenegade New Member

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    Anne and Teresa: Thanks for the input, it's greatly appreciated.

    I hope to sell well. I'm bootstrapping my own operation, with my website "Renegade Data Core", and will be marketing via Google AdWords, FaceBook Ads, and Deviant Art once I have a product to sell.

    I would just hope that, if self-publishing isn't successful, then publishers won't shun my work completely. I could see how they might want the NEXT book and not the one or two that were self-published. Starting with a new slate and going from there is probably better than trying to spin up something dead.
  6.  
    Anne Martin

    Anne Martin incorrigible

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    Of course, if you are selling in the tens of thousands, then why bother getting a publisher for it? You must be doing something right. You'll only be cutting your profit by a huge margin. I have heard of one author who after successfully self-publishing five books, got herself an agent and a publisher, so she could concentrate on writing.

    You will probably need more marketing channels than that. Those are all speculative. You need to get out on every suitable forum you can find and push the book to the hilt, while being careful not to spam the sites. You'll make more enemies than friends that way.
  7.  
    OmahaRenegade

    OmahaRenegade New Member

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    Yeah. I plan to go further than just those three. That's just the launch pad, so to speak, for my site.
  8.  
    rdenning

    rdenning New Member

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    I had some contacts with a couple of publishers lately who felt my work was pretty decent BUT given the economic times/ difficulty launching a new author etc etc sorry mate but cant take you on BUT come back if your SP sales are 1500+.
    That gives you an idea. These two were smaller companies than the big Mainstreams.
    My sales are only 200ish+ so a way to go;-)
    I did a blog on how I approached SP here:
    Richard's Ramblings Post Topic Quick Guide to methods of self publishing a book
  9.  
    OmahaRenegade

    OmahaRenegade New Member

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    Thanks rdenning. Your blog post is very helpful and I will add this to my knapsack of tools in my quest to self-publish :) You made me remember to get ISBNs (I've been putting that off), and I never thought I'd have to register as a publisher. Both good steps.

    Also glad you have a link to a line editor. Do you know anymore links to editors?
  10.  
    rdenning

    rdenning New Member

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    You don't need to become a publisher and bother with ISBNs if you use a POD service like Lulu. You can just use theirs. BUT you do if you want to have your OWN ISBNs you own and work with Lightning Source etc.

    I would definitely recommend Jo Field as she is very easy to work with and very thorough. We will occasionally go beyond the brief and suggest additions but you can take them or leave them and she is not offended.

    I also used this service:
    Proofreader and Editorial Services
    Natasha proof read my early editions but did not do a line editor role at that time. BUT she does offer the service.

    In the summer of 2009 I did a lot of work with the Oxford Literary Consultancy and they helped me learn a LOT about writing, description, author voice and point of view (although JO has taken me further)
    Oxford Writers
    Really they gave me the jump start to get going.
  11.  
    rdenning

    rdenning New Member

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    OH an for what it is worth I have a number of articles in my blog about Self publishing, kindle, ebooks etc etc. I have only been doing this lark for a couple of years at most but some of what I have picked up MIGHT be of value.
  12.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    Mark Robson is one of the members here who has successfully jumped from being self-published to multiple book contracts with Simon & Shuster.

    However, the caveat is that Mark is exceptionally hard working, has indefatiguable energy, and has never stopped stopped promoting his work offline, doing talks as well as setting up stall across all the relevant conventions.

    It also took sales in excess of 30,000 copies of his self-published trilogy before the mainstream publishers looked at him seriously.

    Bottom line is that it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of energy to make those sales work enough to get attention.
  13.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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  14.  
    rdenning

    rdenning New Member

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    Yes I am impressed by the hard work Mark had to put in.
    IT was amusing recently when I did a talk at a school on Time Travel and when we were discussing how to get published, the options of getting an agents and mainstream, vs self published etc, one of the kids piped up with "so are you rich then?"
    Made me smile. Seemed disappointed when I said no!
    But it goes to illustrate the fact that the public assume there is endless money to be had in books. The reality is different.

    I told them that it is very hard work to get anywhere in publishing whatever the means you choose and particularly self publishing.
  15.  
    OmahaRenegade

    OmahaRenegade New Member

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    Yeah, I'm definitely not in this for riches (though wouldn't it be cool...). I just love to create, and writing has been the best medium for me to do that (I draw, too, but not to a professional degree). I'd much rather be doing something I enjoy and be self-sustaining than be miserable and rich. I work in a job now where I make a lot, but there is zero job satisfaction...in fact the level of job satisfaction is a negative value. Not worth it.

    I've favorited your blog, rdenning, and will read more :) thanks! I'll also take a look at Mark's stuff.
  16.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    I do freelance editing/book doctoring. I don't do copy editing, so if that is what anyone is looking for I'm not the person they need, but I do work with writers to improve theirs books and their writing in general. I do a detailed critique of the manuscript, plus a general assessment of plot, characters, structure, world building, and whatever else needs to be addressed. Although I've raised my rates somewhat since the thread below was posted, they are still quite reasonable.

    For anyone interested in learning more:

    http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/527158-freelance-editing-service-open-for-business.html
  17.  
    psychotick

    psychotick Dangerously confused

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    Hi,

    Self-publishing through an ebook or similar is a risk if you want to jump tracks later to the traditional route. I'm fairly sure publishers being business people will check out anyone they seriously consider working with, and if they find low sales that's going to be a turn off for them. The general view seems to be that ebook sales of aspiring authors are low, so I'd think carefully before taking that step. I did it, but I'd already been rejected by a number of agents so the risk for me wasn't high, and the reward of simply getting something published was well worth it.

    On the other hand, ebooks are slowly growing in market share, and what you publish now by them might only gather some limited interest, but in a few years time that may be significantly more. Its hard to be certain.

    Cheers.
  18.  
    DrMclony

    DrMclony SF Author

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    well, I have helped dozens of others traditionally self publish in the past, which is a very costly exercise (there was no viable PoD in those times)

    I now am self publishing with Createspace, and realistically I can't fault it.

    Regardless, the marketing side is always your own responsibility. This is the hard yards. I joked elsewhere that the precise number of copies sold to make the whole thing worthwhile was 3. With traditional self publishing, the requirement to purchase thousand copy runs (if you were lucky!) and the need to then sell them and market them all yourself meant break even often never occurred financially, with the many thousands of dollars you spend on your baby (the book) being lost funds in reality.

    The advent of decent PoD services changes everything. And there ARE authors now earning well through traditional publishing avenues who started with this kind of method.

    Now then - the other thing: What are YOUR precise benefits going to be? A lot of us are actually going to be far better off into the future of publishing if we avoid the traditionalist large publishing houses. You get paid more, faster, and easier per book sold through PoD's now than you used to get paid through the big boys.

    Think about the way the Music industry has changed - in Australia at least, in the last 15 years or so, independent artists have blossomed in a way the industry really didn't want them too. Publishing is on the verge of the same. You need to do the hard yards, but if you are willing, the world is yours.
  19.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    I haven't seen any information online claiming that self-published authors were earning any significant income.

    Anyone who thinks they should avoid the large publishing houses I think is a tad deluded and potentially jaded.

    It's worth noting that as ebooks develop larger marketshare, the marketplace becomes even more crowded. In which case, a serious marketing plan becomes seriously needed. At present, only the large publishers can hand that on a plate.
  20.  
    OmahaRenegade

    OmahaRenegade New Member

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    I completely agree with the need for a strong marketing plan. I already use Google AdWords and FaceBook Ads, and will be expanding to other sites' marketing tools (DeviantArt, for example). Already my site's FaceBook page has 62 followers, and is growing! :)

    Additionally I have a blog. And, when I finally begin to publish I'll contact sites and blogs such as Fantasy Book Critic who are willing to review self-published works and write blog posts about them.

    Finally I'm going to purchase booth space at several smaller conventions around my area and plug my work. I wanted to get a booth at this year ComicCon in L.A., but it's really pricey. Not out of my price range, per se, just more than is needed to spend for the current size of my operation. Instead I may head out to ComicCon and plug the book via word of mouth and business cards. We'll see.

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