Why I'm self-publishing

Brian G Turner

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I began 2016 with the intention of submitting to agents, and getting a traditional publishing deal this year.

But the first problem I encountered is that agents specialising in sf/f have little interest in epic fantasy.

Which doesn't make sense when you think how successful that subgenre is - but almost none of those best selling books were ever picked up by an agent through the normal submissions process.*

The second is that the more I read about traditional publishing, the more I realised it isn't for me.

Publishers used to support writers with a strong editing team and guaranteed placement in bookshops. But the industry has changed and that's no longer the case.

Worse is that as publishers became more corporate, they've started treating writers really badly - contract terms and royalty rates are increasingly terrible.

Which is all the more surprising when declining book stores and shelf space means most can now only realistically offer ebook publishing for the long term.

And I can do that myself.

I always knew the odds were against me, so I made sure to have a ton of editing done before I even began submitting, to ensure my work was of publishing standard.

And as I've run my own business over the past 12 years - in marketing - I'm not fazed by the challenge of self-publishing.

Anyway, it's no longer a choice - in 18 months time my business savings run out, and I'll be financially screwed. Better if I self-publish to earn even a nominal income.

So this November I'll be self-publishing the first book in the epic fantasy series I've spent over 20 years working on...




*
George R R Martin, Robin Hobb, and Robert Jordan were already published in other genres before turning to epic fantasy. So was Steven Erikson, but his US publisher still abandoned his Malazan series after just one book - and didn't publish any more for 10 years. Patrick Rothfuss only got signed after winning a major writing competition - no agent would pick up Name of the Wind before then. Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson already had publishing contracts, which brought guaranteed money to any agent who wanted it. R Scott Bakker was personal friends with a couple of agents.

Peter V Brett and John Gwynne are the only recent epic fantasy authors I can think of who were signed by agents on a cold submission, and both were picked up only by UK agents.
 

Brian G Turner

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PS - I actually made my decision at the beginning of May, but that was just after I'd sent out a mass submission - and therefore didn't want to mention anything in public, just in case there was the possibility of getting a big deal with good contract terms. :D
 

Jo Zebedee

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Congratulations! I enjoy being self published* (although, for me, indie publishing suits me better especially when I find a publisher I work well with) - it gives a real sense of ownership and pride in the work. Good luck with it. :)

*and am bringing out something new next year on that platform.
 

pambaddeley

Finally published that blooming book!
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Congrats! I'm in much the same position and still editing the first book I intend to self-pub. (y)
 

MWagner

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Thanks for posting this. I'll be facing a similar choice in the next year or two, and your analysis of the epic fantasy market is sobering.

Good luck with your self-publishing efforts, and keep us posted on your progress.
 

Nick B

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Good on you Brian, I think its a good choice. Plus, if you are successful in your market, publishers may come to you.
 

Juliana

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Looking forward to reading it! Having followed your journey over the 4 years I've been a Chrons member, I'm happy to see you reach a decision you're happy with. :)
 

The Big Peat

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Congrats and good luck.

Also...

George R R Martin, Robin Hobb, and Robert Jordan were already published in other genres before turning to epic fantasy. So was Steven Erikson, but his US publisher still abandoned his Malazan series after just one book - and didn't publish any more for 10 years. Patrick Rothfuss only got signed after winning a major writing competition - no agent would pick up Name of the Wind before then. Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson already had publishing contracts, which brought guaranteed money to any agent who wanted it. R Scott Bakker was personal friends with a couple of agents.

Peter V Brett and John Gwynne are the only recent epic fantasy authors I can think of who were signed by agents on a cold submission, and both were picked up only by UK agents.

Clucking bell. That's, er, pretty sobering stuff. I'm not gonna lie, I was just sat in the bath considering whether to submit to agents with my fantasy book, and that's just washed away any intention to do so.
 

Jo Zebedee

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Congrats and good luck.

Also...



Clucking bell. That's, er, pretty sobering stuff. I'm not gonna lie, I was just sat in the bath considering whether to submit to agents with my fantasy book, and that's just washed away any intention to do so.

Sub if you want to. Epic is actually quite hot in the market at the mo.
 

The Big Peat

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Sub if you want to. Epic is actually quite hot in the market at the mo.

Aye, but do I want to?

Its not Epic anyway, so I'd have had to look at things closer to whateverthehelli'mwriting* for a better idea, but even so it gave me a cold feeling.

I'll figure things closer to the time :)

*technical genre term, honest guv.
 

ratsy

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Brian, I think you can do very well with it. I look forward to seeing it and I will do anything I can to help promote it. Best of luck!
 

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