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Distinguished Scribe
Ya_Ya
Posts: 3,334
Registered: ‎09-29-2010

Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

[ Edited ]

keriflur wrote:

Chance, for sure.  But it's chance on the trad pub side too.


True, but at least the trad pub stuff has (usually) been spell and grammar checked...

 

(Edited:  I guess this is the snarky version of keri's last comment which I hadn't read before I posted.)

Bibliophile
5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

I think there is something to be said about 'Writing to the audience's level'.

 

It's perhaps the biggest opportunity for writers, especially self-published ones.

 

*****

What we have is writers who are filtered by the gatekeepers as - What are the best writers for the gatekeepers' perspective on what books should be.

 

OR

 

What the gatekeepers think there is big market demand for.

 

*****

 

However, there are a few things working for indie authors -

 

1) They can investigate for product market fit for much cheaper and much quicker.

 

2) They can write to the ACTUAL reading level of the majority of people. Thus reaching tens of millions of people instead of millions.

 

3) They can price lower - again, this helps them reach tens of millions of people instead of millions.

 

*****

 

Out of the 5-10 indie novels I've read in the last 1-2 years, I can say that definitely, there were a few that were better than main stream ones.

 

In fact two Apocalyptic ones I read were even better than The Twelve by Justin Cronin (though not as good as The Passage).

 

And they were just $1 and $3.

 

*****

 

At $1 and $3, those indie authors can use low pricing to reduce frictioin and also sell to more people. And they can make a decent amount of money.

 

And they can keep refining their craft.

 

*****

I think the biggest thing for indie authors is actually the opposite direction of what is 'The Best Quality Path'.

 

I think they should FIRST find a market. And once they find a market, then they should refine for it. So not worry too much about writing the greatest book ever, but first find the readers who like their work.

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,805
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

I laughed heartily at the comment about reading level.  You should do some research on this subject. I suspect you'll be surprised at what you find.

 

As for finding a market first - good luck with that.  Let us know how that turns out.

Bibliophile
5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

Regarding this:

 

*****

I laughed heartily at the comment about reading level.  You should do some research on this subject. I suspect you'll be surprised at what you find.

 

As for finding a market first - good luck with that.  Let us know how that turns out.

*****

 

I'm not a writer at the moment.

 

However, after observing the market for the last 5-6 years in ebooks, it's pretty easy to tell how to do market research with actual books and figure out the right fit.

 

The problem is that most people are in the print book mindset. And most people want to work against human nature, not with it.

 

*****

 

If you really want to see how to get it done right you only need to analyze the patterns (not the externals or the surface layer things that they talk about) but the patterns of either

 

The top authors right now.

 

OR

 

The new indie authors that rose quickly.

 

*****

You'll see the commonalities.

 

*****

 

So there is

 

What really works, based on human nature and the fundamentals.

 

Versus

 

What is 'supposed to work' AND what we would 'like' to work.

 

If you can forget the latter two and focus just on what really works, then it's straightforward. Then instead of competing against 1 million writers you're just competing against the few hundred who actually get it.

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,805
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

[ Edited ]

5ivedom wrote:

 

I'm not a writer at the moment.

 


THIS.

 

Exactly.  It's very easy to sit on the outside, an armchair athlete, so to speak, and point out failures and ways to get it right.  It's very much another to be in the game.*

 

If you were a writer, you would understand the folly of what you've written here.  It's one of those no-one-can-be-shown-the-matrix kinds of things.  Reader tastes and desires are fickle and ever shifting, and trying to write to them is like trying to hold the ocean in your cupped hands.  And it's even worse if you don't know how to cup your hands because you've never done it before, never bothered to learn how to do it properly.

 

If you want to be a breakout star (and let's be fair, people don't sit down to write their first novel with the hope of making enough to cover a couple months of cable bills), then you need a great hook and a vivid, high concept idea with characters that resonate with readers.**  And you're going to need to know how to tell a compelling story.  You're not going to get there with market research.

 

--

 

*This is why I rarely attend professional sporting events.  Listening to a bunch of (often out-of-shape) adults complaining about the incompetence of a man trying to catch a pass under amazing pressure, that not one of the complainers could catch at even half the distance with an open field and no one trying to take them down, makes me ill.

 

**Yes, our favorite BDSM writer has this - she just stole it from another book and rode that other writer's wave of fans, and controversy, all the way to the bank.

Distinguished Bibliophile
patgolfneb
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎09-10-2011

Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

Bottom line self publishing is becoming a viable alternative for some. For developing writers, for small specialty books, for beginners trying to catch a publishers attention it is a possible route. For the forseeable future professional writers will prefer established pubishers. If a supportive infrastructure develops, especially for the marketing portion self publishing may become a more important part.
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5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

Keriflur, you are making the same mistake you are accusing me of.

 

Have you self-published and found success?

 

If not, then how do you know what it takes?

 

*****

 

I think it's good in a way that LOTS and LOTS of authors still are in the mindset that only the blessings of Publishers will lead to success.

 

Makes it easier for those who are willing to join the revolution and kick aside the gatekeepers.

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,805
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers


5ivedom wrote:

Keriflur, you are making the same mistake you are accusing me of.

 

Have you self-published and found success?

 

If not, then how do you know what it takes?

 

*****

 

I think it's good in a way that LOTS and LOTS of authors still are in the mindset that only the blessings of Publishers will lead to success.

 

Makes it easier for those who are willing to join the revolution and kick aside the gatekeepers.


*rolls eyes*

 

I am impressed at the denseness going on here.  But anyway, moving on.

Wordsmith
TnTexas
Posts: 893
Registered: ‎10-22-2011

Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

5ivedom: Have you self-published and found success? If not, then how do you know what it takes?

 

By studying the topic. Reading about it. Studying traditional publishing and what happens. Comparing the two. Keriflur's a writer. Can't remember if she's had anything published yet or not, but if she hasn't she has been working towards it - and that includes doing the things above.

 

The truth of the matter is being a giant success at self-publishing is as much of a gamble and hard work as it is in traditional publishing. The vast majority of writers - traditional or self-published - aren't going to find enough success at it to quit their day jobs. Some of them won't because what they write doesn't resonate with a lot of people. Some because they can't write nearly as well as they think they can. Just because self-publishing turned out to be a good thing for Hugh Howey, doesn't mean it will be a good thing for everyone.  

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,041
Registered: ‎01-01-2012

Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

[ Edited ]

I re-read the original article, as well as the terribleminds post and comments, and I'm not sure what the consternation is about. As a non-published author (and likely to remain so) I took his comments as "self publishing is legitimate" more than "self publishing will make you great." My current interest in publishing of any sort is focused on boring non-fiction targeting a very specific market niche with a window of relevancy limited to 2 years, so I'm not likely to wind up on any best seller lists, but I did find his point that self-publishing is a concept that customers are familiar with and willing to pay nominal amounts for interesting and modestly encouraging.

 

While Howey agrees in his comments on the terribleminds post, he does emphasize that "... The point of the story isn’t that everyone should self-publish. The point is that for all the coverage the outliers get, it’s the midlist authors who are really the story of self-publishing. It’s the people who would never get published otherwise and are now making hundreds or thousands of dollars a month." In fairness to Howey, he also states that he "... didn’t come up with the title of the piece. Salon did. I called it 'The Story of Self-Publishing.' It was crafted in response to several Salon pieces that went up recently denigrating self-publishing."

 

Keri, by your criteria, should anybody comment on publishing success that doesn't have a best-seller or two under their belt? Armchair athletes have a lot in common with armchair authors, I'd think. I'm not about to do brain surgery, but I don't feel bad commenting on bad work.

 

As to how self-publishing competes against traditional publishing, that's not what he was addressing. Personally, I think the lines are blurring. Vanity presses existed before ebooks. Self-publishing just makes it easier and cheaper to produce your own material.

 

From the customer's perspective, I don't really care if a title is self or trad published. What will get me to click on one will be other factors, with exposure likely at the top of the list, followed by some sort of indication the work is "legit", be it reviews or +1/Likes.

 

From an author's perspective, if you're not at the level where you've got an assistant and marketing staff, I suspect you have to be prepared to do a lot of work yourself no matter what route you take. (We've seen an example of how not to market here in recent days. Annoying your target market is not a good idea.)

 

What is no doubt left to argue over is what will "being published" mean in future years. I do find it a bit ironic that the self-pub tripe may well be all that future generations have left to discover thanks to short-term thinking DRM schemes. Were you published if nobody can read your published work in 10 years?