London Book Fair Debrief

Dan Jones

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Morning all,

Some of you might be aware that I attended the London Book Fair this week at Kensington Olympia. It was an interesting experience and I learned quite a bit about different aspects of the industry, and I thought I'd share some of that here that would be relevant to those of us with an interest in writing and publishing.

The day started with me meeting my old mate and general top banana @Venusian Broon for a coffee and a gossip in Kensington, and then it was off to the fair.

Firstly, I should stress that the Book Fair is almost exclusively geared towards the corporate side of the industry, and featured in the main, organisations specialising in:
  • publishing (duh)
    • fiction
    • non-fiction
    • academic
    • specialist
  • manufacture
    • typesetting
    • print-on-demand
    • traditional litho and digital printing
    • design (including specialist designs such as pop-up books, textile books etc)
    • imprinting
  • translation
  • sales & distribution
  • Cataloguing
  • Trade association and industrial representation
On the face of it during my first walkaround the vast, glass Art Deco Swiss Roll that is Olympia, one little aspiring author could be forgiven for feeling slightly out of place as the corporate reps did deals together.

It wasn't until I had an extortionate bite to eat in the Children's books section that I realised there indeed was a section devoted to authors and writers, who are of course the brains of the industry. So tucked away right up the back was a section called "The Writer's Block" (yeah, groan) where there was a series of talks all day about the ins and outs of (mostly) self-publishing. There was also a Q&A about plot and character development with Peter James but I wasn't overly interested in that, preferring to stick to the aspects of the industry relevant to writers.

Professional Self-Publishing Services
Or "DIY Publishing" as people were increasingly calling it. This seems to have expanded from merely putting your efforts on Amazon using KDP and Createspace for the hard copy equivalent.
Companies such as White Fox, Silverwood and Matador now exist to provide authors with a bespoke service to create a quality of product that is arguably greater than might be achieved by the author alone. This service can include enlisting editors, proofers, printers (different types), book jacket/cover designers, marketing and PR plans and distribution.

From what I can see you can pick and choose what you want from these possibilities and pay a flat fee for the services that cost (ie book jacket design) or you can choose not to (for example I wouldn't ask for help with social media, web design etc).

Some other companies will not necessarily ask for flat fees up front but will take a cut of your royalties. Crucially, all of them involve the author at every stage of consultation, allowing you to retain creative control.

PR & Marketing
The talk I attended by the PR and marketing specialists were illuminating. For those unsure of the difference, marketing is advertising you pay for, while PR is getting a trusted third party source to say something nice about your book. This might be, say, getting a review in the Guardian, or Sunday Times, or a mention on the BBC somewhere; whereas marketing would be an advert in the Guardian or similar.

The general feeling was that, as journalists don't work to anything unless they have a three-four month lead time. If you're self-publishing, therefore it's best to give yourself the lead time that works for you rather than rushing something out to give yourself the best chance of receiving good PR.

Another difference between the two is that marketing costs money, whereas PR costs time. You pay marketeers to develop good ads and coverage, whereas PR involves pestering journalists editors, local outlets, bookshops, influential bloggers, and anyone else you can think of to push the word out. "Luckily" as the lady doing the PR talk said, you can of course hire a PR agency to do this for you. They don't come cheap, with a 3 month campaign costing in the region of £3000. Arguably good PR pays for itself, and it's said that in his early days James Patterson invested all of his advances on marketing and PR, to extremely good effect.

One last thing: don't pay for press release writing services. They can cost up to £200 and are a con. A decent writer may be able to concoct one theirselves if they're so inclined, but a marketing package should include them as a matter of course.

Regional Publicity
All that marketing and PR is very expensive and perhaps not an immediate option unless you've built up a wad of cash from elsewhere. So some alternative options to generate not insignificant would be to focus locally. To focus on Chrons, @Jo Zebedee has done this very effectively, particularly with Inish Carraig. Working the local press and publicity outlets is a double-pronged tactic for many authors: it not only focuses on where the author lives, so is therefore a local interest story; but also it may enable you to focus on the setting of the book. To take the IC example, Belfast is not only Jo's home but her setting for the book. That gave her a double-edged attack, which she worked pretty well and has resulted in good sales, coverage and even nomination recommendations.

Established author Margaret Dickinson goes even further. She lives in Lincolnshire, and all her books are set there. Early in her career she would arrange small tours in local bookshops and libraries. As her career progressed she would expand these tours to include 35 venues across Lincolnshire, visited inside a month. During these tour months, her sales would typically be 4000-5000 units shifted per week, enough to propel her onto local, regional and even national bestseller lists. These sales then have a knock on effect for a couple of months, and will eventually trickle away but by the time she's knocked out another book she's ready to repeat the cycle, to aggregative effect.

Local press, including local glossy mags (my local one is Essex Life) are usually keen to provide feature pieces on local authors, as are local newspapers if you badger them (nicely).

The Third Way
There is a "third" way also. To wit, setting up your own publishing firm and becoming one of the corporate set yourself. Here at Chrons, arguably the most well-known person to do this is @Gary Compton with TBP, but more recently my auld mucker @ratsy has done so with Woodbridge Press.

At a basic level this may involve simply taking on the mantle of the self-publishing author and handling typesetting, design and distribution through light-touch channels such as Amazon, but with effort and investment it could be much more.

This enables one to be one's own outlet for whatever work has been produced, and opens up other possibilities, such as becoming members of trade associations and industrial clubs lending greater prestige.

Giving up ownership to your books to your company allows you to think of revenue generation through sales of products rather than through royalties. Your publishing company would have to negotiate deals with designers, manufacturers, translators, and distributors directly, but cutting out the traditional middle man (or, more accurately, by becoming your own middle man) means you can slice your lead times and costs by quite a bit.

And of course, if you're feeling particularly nefarious you could hire a Panamanian accountancy and law firm to handle your financ.... no, let's not go there. Seriously though, many of your expenses would be tax-deductible and could end up reducing outlay. It may (and I stress the "may") also be better to undertake negotiations with people such as designers and other professionals from a professional standing yourself.

A Challenging Market & An Entrepreneurial Approach
These options are IMO worth exploring and once again leaves the author 100% creative control over their projects. It's an extremely entrepreneurial approach, one which isn't traditionally adopted by authors, many of whom still dream of the big advance and hitting the big time, but the reality is that big publishing houses are, in challenging econoic circumstances, are extremely risk averse, and will only really adopt very conservative new titles which they are certain will tick the "what's hot" boxes. And even then that's no guarantee.

At least this way you can spend the two years of your life you'd otherwise spend waiting around on publishing houses' lead times on creating, designing, and pushing out the lovely piece of writing you've spent so much time and love on.

While the landscape is extremely challenging for newbie authors going down the trad route, the UK business landscape is very conducive to entrepreneurs and start-ups, and there are lots of ways in which BIS (Department for Business, Innovation & Skills) support start-up businesses.

Conclusions
As for me, I've just listed highlights here. There were other interesting aspects to the show but these are the headlines for writers as I perceived them. Personally, I haven't decided which direction I'm going to take my novel down once the MS is of publishable quality. It may be I still try the trad route, but the lead times make me balk, and I've certainly had some of my snobbishness about SP-ing dispelled. I think that snobbishness (for me,at least) may derive from the sheer amount of – I shan't say poor quality, but – rushed books that have been delivered without full thought about all the corporate, under-the-bonnet stuff that writers don't always want to think about. I may well go down the SP-ing route if I can gather a small war-chest of cash together to assist with that initial push. And I'm not ruling out setting up my own company either. It would certainly be an adventure. We shall see.

I may PM some people with whom I feel there may be some ideas and products of particular interest from the show (I'm all for supporting my fellow authors, and I feel we should push that as part of the Chrons ethos wherever we can, especially the established members), but perhaps if anyone has any questions they could stick them down here and I'll do my best to answer.

Apologies for the long post, I hope it was a little bit useful, or at the least interesting.
 

Dan Jones

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Thanks Ph, and you're welcome.

Another thought just came to me as I was going through the bumf from the show. There is always a "Second Third Way" which I didn't see covered at the show but would make sense. And that would be for a small consortium of like-minded (and business-minded) authors to launch a publishing business together. Pooling resources, talent and time could make for an interesting joint venture. It would also increase the amount of titles available to that publisher manifold, and from what I saw at the Fair more titles = more opportunities from a publisher's perspective.

Something else to mull over, and something I'd theoretically be in favour of doing with the right-minded people.
 

Brian G Turner

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Great write-up!

It may be I still try the trad route, but the lead times make me balk, and I've certainly had some of my snobbishness about SP-ing dispelled.
Same here - I used to think that traditional publishing was the only way to be a viable author. But by all accounts they'll do little for a debut author other than put them into book shops (a declining market) with a great cover, but tell them to do all the promotion themselves.

The one serious advantage trad publishing still offers is the big advance - but even then, it's taken from future earnings that treat the author as an affiliate rather than a producer (low % from variable sale price, rather than fixed cost per unit).

Even in-house editing seems more focused on copy editing than developing the author to write better, which used to be a big plus, now cut back.

I don't doubt that the people in publishing are wonderful and dedicated and really believe in what they're doing. But IMO the bean-counters at the top are killing the traditional publishing business, and making it an increasingly unattractive proposition for a serious writer.

Which means if - like me - you've paid a ton for editing, and already have your own platform, then there's a real opportunity to make a success from self-publishing.

Additionally, I've read some seriously good self-published authors, especially in science fiction. There are definitely some great gems out there.
 

Brian G Turner

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Ooh - this is timely - the issue of rights:
World Rights: Agents Hold Firm

Specially, an agent calling foul over "world rights" deals that publishers are making with agents:

Every time a publisher makes a subsidiary rights deal for an author and takes a percentage commission, a conflict of interest arises. When the rights deal is with a publishing imprint within the same international corporation, that conflict can be on the War of the Roses scale. Because there are then four interests to balance: the interests of the domestic publisher; the interests of their sister publisher abroad; the general corporate interest; and the interests of the author, which are generally lost along the way, necessitating the most interfering of agent representation.

...

And, with publishers often taking approximately 25% of translation deals (sometimes even plus sub-agents commissions, which is wholly unjustifiable and not something DHA allows), once you have taken your 15% of net on top, if your client's large advance does in fact ever earn out, your author is effectively receiving only 64% of the value of the advances and royalties in their book as opposed to the 80% they would receive on rights deals made by their agents.
(My bolding.)

And that's before we even get to the issue of film and merchandising rights, which I've seen agents Tweeting that publishers are trying to claim by default in their contracts, to increase any share of the pie that they can - and all against the author's interests.

And that's before we even get to the awful eBook royalties and poor pricing strategies by publishing companies which diminish those royalties further.

Remember when it was good enough for publishers to make a profit on selling books to book stores??
 

Ray McCarthy

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Also a SP eBook + POD paper is in print forever. The Trad published book could be pulped or remaindered if it's not doing well in 1st few months. Many books don't get much spent on publicity, most "fail", yet even when your book isn't getting ANY promotion, or is out of print the "rights" can still be with the publisher for 25 years, or your life or life + 70 years.
The Traditional Publishers want exclusive deals, yet none market world wide or g'tee any particular expenditure on marketing?
 
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Gonk the Insane

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Thanks for posting a fascinating summary, @DG Jones. I also began with a "trad publishing or no publishing" view, but recently I've been considering a self-publishing approach. Nothing finalised yet, but I think it's where I'm headed (I've already done a fair bit of research and haven't been put off yet!)

The decision to set up your own company or not is a big one, I think. I'm still a bit on the fence about it, but might leave that for the moment - it's something you can always start at a later date. But, as with so many writing decisions, there's not a right or wrong answer...:(

I'm all for supporting my fellow authors, and I feel we should push that as part of the Chrons ethos wherever we can
Nice to hear, I feel much the same, and I'm sure others do; the way folks help each other hear is, for me, one of the things that makes the site great. So far my contribution's mostly been reading books written by members - still plenty more to go through though!

I for one would certainly be interested in hearing more of anything that you think might be of interest.
 

Ray McCarthy

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Companies such as White Fox, Silverwood and Matador now exist to provide authors with a bespoke service to create a quality of product that is arguably greater than might be achieved by the author alone.
Though SOME of the vendors are 21st Century equivalent of "vanity publishing" scammers. Esp some acting as expensive cut to sell you independents.

It's true it needs totally different expertise to actually writing to:
  • Format correctly for eBook
  • Format correctly for a particular printed paper book size
  • Get cover art (again different rules and formats for eBook and printed. Printed is much harder to format)
  • Final edit
  • Final proof (repeat several times as you may put in mistakes doing proof corrections!)
  • Paper proof (Chapters can mysterious start on wrong side of page)
  • Image formatting (different for print, ebook etc)
  • Setting up blog
  • Social Media accounts and what to put on them (NOT spam about your book)
  • Setting prices and marketing channels.
  • Backups.
  • Uploads.
  • Finding beta Readers and how to use them

However you can probably learn all of it here, or get links. Even so, some people (many people?) doing self publish might be better with some mix of friend / family member / paid indie / company doing these things.

CreateSpace isn't cheap, but they do offer professional help on many of these issues. I think their prices are maybe average for "professional" services.
For DIY read all the relevant posts here and also these free eBooks:
The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, an Ebook by Mark Coker

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, an Ebook by Mark Coker

Smashwords Style Guide, an Ebook by Mark Coker

I'd not agree with everything he says* and obviously he prefers Self Publishing and eBooks to paper or trad. publishing (Smashwords does let you link a book page of eBook to a printed version, more than one link too. Amazon will only list what is on Amazon, no links allowed, except oddly the USA Author's page may link to RSS feed of ANY blog or website!). POD revolutionises the long tail on paper publishing. Some Trad publishers are using Lightning for small runs or POD.

He does say that if it's a choice between editing and marketing, spend the money on marketing with maybe spending $45 to $100 on a cover from an indie (where you can see examples) if you can't afford the "professional" service as the next important expenditure.

[*Particularly I think Pinterest is even more **** than Facebook, there is some point to Twitter and Facebook and his advise on how to use them is good. He also doesn't promise you'll make any money, even if you do everything right and have a good book. A good book is the important bit followed by cover and blurb, which has to be not only good, but not misleading]
 

Dan Jones

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Though SOME of the vendors are 21st Century equivalent of "vanity publishing" scammers. Esp some acting as expensive cut to sell you independents.
This is true but the ones I saw at the show were reputable and professional. I spoke to welcoming and experienced staff, I saw their products and have picked up a fair amount of bumf. It's good quality. White Fox in particular had their authors there, including John Schwab, who compiled a coffee table book non-fiction account of backstage in the West End over a 12 month period. It's called Curtain Call and I saw the book - I have to say it was a very beautiful thing, with high production value; and also Dan Gennoe, author of the novel All Neon Like Love.

But you're right - be careful out there, there are probably some dubious characters in the shadows, though the firms I saw are certainly doing their bit to elevate self-publishing to greater heights.
 

thaddeus6th

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There is still a big 'soft' plus to traditional publishing which is that it has more kudos.

Lots of good writers self-publish, but you can't know, until you try, whether that's because they failed to get a traditional gig or because they're doing it by choice. For that matter, even serially rejected books can be very good.

I bought by mum a self-published book for Christmas (didn't even realise it was until after it arrived), but the ratings were great and she really liked it (for that matter, my dad read it afterwards). [The Secret World of Christoval Alvarez, by Ann Swinfen, for those wondering].

Gonk, the collaborative/friendly approach is one of the best aspects of writing. It's both cordial and works from the self-interest perspective (the next best thing to someone buying your own book is someone buying a similar book, after all).
 

Brian G Turner

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Lots of good writers self-publish, but you can't know, until you try, whether that's because they failed to get a traditional gig or because they're doing it by choice.
George R R Martin absolutely dominates the fantasy market - yet almost no literary agents represent epic fantasy, nor list GRRM as a preference. Those who do rarely need open their books to new authors.

According to what agents have said, if they received a query for Game of Thrones, almost all would reject it immediately because a) it starts with a prologue, b) it has too many characters, c) the word count is too high, d) mediaeval fantasy is out of fashion. I've even seen one agent comment that Game of Thrones would be unpublishable now because of how the industry has changed in the past twenty years.

In fact, I can't think of any big epic fantasy author who has come to publishing via the querying route.

GRRM and Robert Jordan were already in the business, and didn't even need to make formal pitches to their agents; Patrick Rothfuss was turned down by every agent he submitted to, and you might never have heard of him except for winning that short story competition; Steven Erikson couldn't get anyone to even look at his Malazan series until he was established as a non-fiction writer; Joe Abercrombie was picked up because he was the friend of a friend of a new editorial assistant at Gollancz. Even Brandon Sanderson didn't come via the agent route, but instead was plucked from the TOR slushpile 18 months after submitting.

All of which should be sobering for anyone writing epic fantasy - readers and publishers want it, but the majority of agents won't consider it from a debut author.

And by epic fantasy, I mean secondary world fantasy with multiple protagonists, ie, not a single main character supported by love interest, best friend, mentor, and antagonist POVs, such as from Robin Hobb, Brent Weeks, Peter V Brett, etc.
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
Since I've been named and shamed :D , some thoughts, for what they're worth.



Professional Self-Publishing Services
Or "DIY Publishing" as people were increasingly calling it. This seems to have expanded from merely putting your efforts on Amazon using KDP and Createspace for the hard copy equivalent.
Companies such as White Fox, Silverwood and Matador now exist to provide authors with a bespoke service to create a quality of product that is arguably greater than might be achieved by the author alone. This service can include enlisting editors, proofers, printers (different types), book jacket/cover designers, marketing and PR plans and distribution.

From what I can see you can pick and choose what you want from these possibilities and pay a flat fee for the services that cost (ie book jacket design) or you can choose not to (for example I wouldn't ask for help with social media, web design etc).

Some other companies will not necessarily ask for flat fees up front but will take a cut of your royalties. Crucially, all of them involve the author at every stage of consultation, allowing you to retain creative control.
These are becoming more popular, but can be a bear pit and, often I feel, come close to the vanity end of the market (not that that's a problem so long as you know that's what you're getting into.)

For instance, Realmwalker publishing have come to my attention in a range of places this week - so much so that I tagged Victoria Strauss in one of the my posts. Essentially, this is what (in my understanding - their website is light on details) they have been doing, albeit calling themselves a publisher and taking their cut. Anyhow, many authors are not happy, claiming they haven't been paid etc. I don't know the ins and outs of it all, but once you contract to a firm like this you're in a contractual agreement and may struggle if things go wrong.

Bottom line - know what you're getting, what you're paying for and make sure any contract - especially involving rights - is in order.


Regional Publicity
All that marketing and PR is very expensive and perhaps not an immediate option unless you've built up a wad of cash from elsewhere. So some alternative options to generate not insignificant would be to focus locally. To focus on Chrons, @Jo Zebedee has done this very effectively, particularly with Inish Carraig. Working the local press and publicity outlets is a double-pronged tactic for many authors: it not only focuses on where the author lives, so is therefore a local interest story; but also it may enable you to focus on the setting of the book. To take the IC example, Belfast is not only Jo's home but her setting for the book. That gave her a double-edged attack, which she worked pretty well and has resulted in good sales, coverage and even nomination recommendations.

Established author Margaret Dickinson goes even further. She lives in Lincolnshire, and all her books are set there. Early in her career she would arrange small tours in local bookshops and libraries. As her career progressed she would expand these tours to include 35 venues across Lincolnshire, visited inside a month. During these tour months, her sales would typically be 4000-5000 units shifted per week, enough to propel her onto local, regional and even national bestseller lists. These sales then have a knock on effect for a couple of months, and will eventually trickle away but by the time she's knocked out another book she's ready to repeat the cycle, to aggregative effect.

Local press, including local glossy mags (my local one is Essex Life) are usually keen to provide feature pieces on local authors, as are local newspapers if you badger them (nicely).
I've found this a nice way to get some coverage, especially if you're the type of writer who is happy to get out and about. I do okay in Northern Ireland, ticking over in a few bookstores. However, often sff sits outside the main writing interests locally as so much of it is online and I think the effect may be a little more limited in genre than elsewhere. But! Local newspapers are now on line. That one page write up can be spread on twitter, facebook, forums. So a little goes a long way. Also, you can build a nice following locally as people want local writers to succeed - much as we support the sportsperson from down the road - and are prepared to chat and spread the word.

Local cons are good, too - don't worry that they're small. The people going to them tend to both be real fans, and support local writers (and enjoy local themes, if you can throw that one in, too.)

But be prepared to give something back. I helped organise a writers showcase event, I am active in a facebook group linked to that and I come and go out of that. I'm supportive of the Dublin 2019 bid facebooking, tweeting and shouting it out to everyone that moves.



In terms of the other bits and pieces mentioned - collaborative working with other authors and/or coming together as shared publishing interests. These are growing for definite and something that, if you think you can work with the others in the group, can be great for shared platforms, sharing costs etc. It's definitely something to have on your radar as a writer.

In terms of publisher vs self publishing - going with a publisher will give you more time to write the next one. It most likely will not get you an advance, unless it's a huge publisher.

Self publishing is quick and relatively cheap, there is a supportive community out there, but it is a bit more work and certain doors will be closed to you (retail in particular, and library orders).

I think the big thing is to ask yourself if the publisher will be doing enough to earn perhaps 70% of the profits. And the big challenge for small presses is to prove that they are and to do so that means three things:

1. Breaking retail, the one thing a SP can't do themselves
2. Putting promotional stuff out there - press packs, bookmarks, business cards, setting up reviews and interviews. Crucially, this has to be over and above what the self publisher can get easily for themselves.
3. Making sure the additional sales justify that % of the profits.[/QUOTE]
 

The Big Peat

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I have to say from the beginning I've aimed at self-publishing. I've actually grown more aware of what I'd miss out and more open to submitting to trad publishing - but I'd still do self-publishing first and seeing what I'm missing out on later. So some of those posts feel very relieving.

Particularly as I do like Epic Fantasy, and I am considering going down that path, and if Brian's right that agents don't want to know, then well, I'm not going to bother with that one... and it does seem slightly ludicrous when so many of the heavy hitters in fantasy have been in that field.

Thanks Ph, and you're welcome.

Another thought just came to me as I was going through the bumf from the show. There is always a "Second Third Way" which I didn't see covered at the show but would make sense. And that would be for a small consortium of like-minded (and business-minded) authors to launch a publishing business together. Pooling resources, talent and time could make for an interesting joint venture. It would also increase the amount of titles available to that publisher manifold, and from what I saw at the Fair more titles = more opportunities from a publisher's perspective.

Something else to mull over, and something I'd theoretically be in favour of doing with the right-minded people.
That was my very first thought on reading your opening post. It seems to be the logical extension to self-publishing. I don't know how the costs work out, but I do know it's very common in music for established musicians to start their own record label, and I can't imagine the costs are that much more prohibitive for authors to follow the same route.
 

ratsy

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All very good and insightful posts. Thanks DG for sharing all of that with us. It is an interesting time for authors, and for publishers. It seems the big guys are changing their strategies out there to compete with online and self-publishers these days too. Marketing teams really are what stands in between you and that big deal, and that is only if you were one of the lucky few to make it past the slush pile and into the editors recommended pile.

It is almost impossible to know what the right route is as an author. For myself, I eventually want to have published books out there, but what do I want from it? Do I need my book to be in a pile at Costco with a $9.99 sticker on it, me knowing that means I am seeing less from that sale than from selling an Ebook at 2.99 on amazon? I don't know.

Having started my own small press, in an age where small presses are dropping out, may sound crazy but I think there is a niche companies like Woodbridge can fit into. I think with a good plan I can succeed out there, and have confidence that I will. That being said, I am looking to get distribution once I have a couple titles out there. I do want to make the investment to give myself and my authors the opportunity to hit as many revenue streams off the books as possible. I am sure I'll be able to do this as long as I keep focus and limit the releases I put out. This will allow me to give a lot of my energy to the projects I have on hand.

I really love hearing about all of these things. I love hearing about Chrons authors ventures into Self-publishing, and the trad market, and think that while we may not all have best-sellers (yet) that we all work hard at doing what we love. That is where the success will come in. Not from the person who writes a book, tosses it on amazon and when it doesn't sell, they go back to their lives.

Put the time in, and we will all have success, at one level or another.
 

millymollymo

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Thanks for this DG, I wanted to make the LBF but London and all? It aint Kansas. Interesting read and consideration all round though, food for thought and fuel on the fire, shall we say.
 

pambaddeley

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As Jo says, you need to do your research carefully before going with a company offering a package rather than taking the DIY approach. Also, quite a few agents and even publishers now have their own self publishing 'arm' with inferior packages to the ones a trad pub author would get.

this site has been around a while and reviews a lot of self publishing outfits; this is the latest review they did for Matador for example - Matador – Reviewed (Updated, Feb 2015) | The Independent Publishing Magazine

The site does an index each month and the links are clickable though I note that some of the reviews of the companies are a bit long in the tooth now (haven't looked at this site for a couple of years) - Publishing Service Index: March 2016 | The Independent Publishing Magazine
 
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Montero

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In terms of writers collective doing publishing -
I remember an outfit called Citron Press (or was it Lemon Tree Press um) that was promoting itself maybe ten years back - and that was about ten authors doing collective publishing - couldn't find anything via Google.

There is also a group of sff authors who are all trad published, who are putting out new works and back list as a collective. Can't remember name. Tried googling and couldn't turn them up. They edit each other's books. Also sell direct.
 

martin321

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In terms of writers collective doing publishing -
There is also a group of sff authors who are all trad published, who are putting out new works and back list as a collective. Can't remember name. Tried googling and couldn't turn them up. They edit each other's books. Also sell direct.
An example of that sort of thing is Closed Circle Publications, which is run by C.J.Cherryh and a couple of other authors.
 

E.Maree

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This is a really great, even-handed write-up. Thank you so much for spending the time and effort to write this. I love that you've embracing the business side of it, which is so, so important for anyone wanting to go the self-publishing route.

I dislike 'service providers'/packages. They're a lot more expensive that sourcing spexialists yourself, and you have a lot less control. I'd much rather pick an editor I know, trust, and feel I could work collaboratively with instead of trusting a third party. Same with cover art. I don't want to pay for an unnecessary middle man.

Brian, the worlds right issue is a HUGE and honestly scary problem. It seems to be happening more and more, and it's so unfair to authors. Right sales are a big earner for trade published writers and it's worrying to see attempts to take that away. :(

Jo, thank you for such a wonderful and fair analysis of the situation.

Ratsy is right, this is a really interesting time to be a writer.
 
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