Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,826
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

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


bobstro wrote:
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.

I don't take issue with reader critiques AT ALL, nor do I take issue with commenting on publishing success.  As a reader, you are in the game of reading (to continue the metaphor).  What I take issue with is a non-writer telling others the "right way" to be successful in something they've never even tried to do, and probably never will.  I'd be like me telling Dean the right way to become a successful pilot.  If I did that, I'd sound pretty arrogant, wouldn't I?

 

The thing that I take issue with in relation to the Howey article is that as much as he comments on Terribleminds that he's not saying everyone should self-publish, he said that in the Salon article (and in many other places also).  In fact, he says that's the best way for everyone to start in the quotes earlier on in this thread.  The truth is that there is no one best way.  Writers have options now that they never had before.  It used to be there was just one door, and now there are not just two, but a whole bunch of doors.  The appearance of new doors does not mean that everyone who still chooses the original door is an idiot, or a luddite, or someone who just doesn't "get it," or whatever other reference we've seen in the various articles and comments floating around.  It just means options, and last I checked, options were a GOOD thing.  So why are so many people, including Howey, so quick to declare that there is one right way for just about everyone?

 

There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY to find success in the publishing industry.

 

There is, however, a LOT of misinformation, and a lot of people throwing out blanket statements that really only apply to a small segment of the market or a small segment of people.  At a retreat last month, a few other writers and I were talking about how fortunate we were to have found our way to the various organizations and resources for writers, because we knew so much more about the industry than most writers do.  So I see a lot of this stuff, and I shake my head, and it makes me sad that so many folks are going to believe it.

 

There's a new Terribleminds post up today that covers some of the bad advice that I've seen (including the one I mentioned upthread about self-pubbing while querying the same book).  In addition to the stuff Chuck mentions, I've seen people say that self-pub is a great way to gather feedback on a first draft. I've seen blanket statements that agents are only out to get your money and don't do anything you can't do on your own, and that all editors do is copy edit and you can do that yourself (it's a LOT more than copy edits, and no you can't).  And this is just the tip of the iceberg of garbage floating around.

Bibliophile
5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
0 Kudos

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

This:

 

The appearance of new doors does not mean that everyone who still chooses the original door is an idiot, or a luddite, or someone who just doesn't "get it,"

 

*****

 

No. It just means that anyone who is WEDDED to the original door is missing out on an opportunity.

 

Perhaps your biggest success will be when you let go of what  YOU THINK works and try out different things and figure out WHAT REALLY WORKS FOR YOU.

Bibliophile
5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
0 Kudos

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

TnTexas

 

Regarding this:

 

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

 

*****

 

This: 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.

 

*****

No, it's not a gamble.

 

If you study and analzye what works for books that become successful and websites that become successful and apps that become successful and movies that become successful there are REPEATABLE patterns.

 

It's just easier to say - It's a gamble.

 

It's a lot of hard work and a lot of strategy and taking a lot of shots. So, yes, you can hide behind that crutch of saying 'That writer found success by chance'. However, the truth is that the writer did a lot of things right and had better strategy and was more OPEN to opportunity.

 

*****

Right now is a big opportunity because the path for indie writers has cleared up IF writers are willing to put aside their beliefs and SEE WHAT REALITY IS OFFERING THEM.

 

*****

 

Think about it. Are all these indie authors who find big success mad? JA Konrath, the Donovan Steele guy, Hugh Howey.

 

Why are all of them sharing everything about their success?

 

Because it's a HUGE opportunity for authors.

 

And for anyone who UNDERSTANDS it's maddening. That everything writers want - millions of readers, good money, recognition - is right there for the taking. But they won't take the blindfolds off.

 

*****

 

This is also very true - 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.

 

*****

 

For anyone who has ALREADY created a brand and found loyal readers, it's a terrible thing. Because now suddenly their 'only we exist' status is gone.

 

For anyone who is already chosen by Publishers or Amazon or B&N - it's bad. Because their advantage is no longer huge.

 

For every other author - it's a very big deal.

 

For 80% of such authors it's better to go straight to readers.

 

That is what my understanding of Hugh Howey's post is.

 

*****

 

There's a very big revolution going on in books. People just don't understand.

 

The entire publishing industry is going to crumble and then rebuild. In that transition, there are going to be a few thousand writers who are going to create readerships of 3 to 30 million readers and be set for life.

 

No one gets it though.

 

There are perhaps a few hundred indie authors who really understand both

 

a) The opportunity that exists.

b) The fact that indie writers are BETTER PLACED to grab it than anyone else.

 

*****

 

But there are a few thousand spots available. That's why people like Hugh Howey and JA Konrath share all they learn. They WANT indie writers to flourish.

 

It's a testament to how deep in the matrix most authors are that they still are not willing to listen.

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,826
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

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

[ Edited ]

5ivedom wrote:

This:

 

The appearance of new doors does not mean that everyone who still chooses the original door is an idiot, or a luddite, or someone who just doesn't "get it,"

 

*****

 

No. It just means that anyone who is WEDDED to the original door is missing out on an opportunity.

 

Perhaps your biggest success will be when you let go of what  YOU THINK works and try out different things and figure out WHAT REALLY WORKS FOR YOU.


Is this directed at me, or are you speaking to the universe with "You"?

 

If this is directed at me, what makes you think I'm wedded to anything, or that I haven't already done my personal assessment of what really works for me?

 

You seem convinced that if someone sees trad publishing as their personal correct door, then they are "missing out on an opportunity" and need to "let go of what  YOU THINK works and try out different things and figure out WHAT REALLY WORKS FOR YOU".  That seems, to me, to be dictating what's right for someone else.  When you are not even a writer.  Arrogant much?

 

Saying that self-pub is the best route is just as bad as saying  trad pub is the best route.  It's two sides of the same discrimination.

 

THERE IS NO BEST ROUTE.  THERE IS ONLY THE BEST ROUTE FOR A GIVEN WRITER.*

 

--

 

*Or maybe there is only Zuul?

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,826
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

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


5ivedom wrote:

No, it's not a gamble.

 

If you study and analzye what works for books that become successful and websites that become successful and apps that become successful and movies that become successful there are REPEATABLE patterns.

 

It's just easier to say - It's a gamble.

 


No, it's a gamble.  And writing a book and writing an app are not the same.  I would know as I've done both.  I will, actually, do a little of both today, as I do many days.

 


5ivedom wrote:

 

For 80% of such authors it's better to go straight to readers.


Be careful posting numbers like this.  Some of us may ask you to back them up with facts.

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,059
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
0 Kudos

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

[ Edited ]

keriflur wrote:

I don't take issue with reader critiques AT ALL, nor do I take issue with commenting on publishing success.  As a reader, you are in the game of reading (to continue the metaphor).  What I take issue with is a non-writer telling others the "right way" to be successful in something they've never even tried to do, and probably never will. 

 

Ah, gotcha. 

 

The thing that I take issue with in relation to the Howey article is that as much as he comments on Terribleminds that he's not saying everyone should self-publish, he said that in the Salon article (and in many other places also).

 

There's obviously a lot of history (baggage) that trails along with Howey that I wasn't aware of, so I was just reacting to the Salon article.

 

As a complete neophyte, contemplating only a poke at the nonfiction market, it strikes me that there's a Venn diagram of options, with overlapping areas of self-, vanity and traditional publishing. I think that ebooks and ebook distribution methods have blurred, or at least expanded the boundaries of each so there's more overlap today. The steps between each are incremental technology-wise. It's the "business" that seems to be tricky. As a technologist, I'm not so good at that part. Reading articles about the deliberate blurring of definitions by vanity publishers (such as this one) make me feel better about my confusion.

 

In short: Unless you're way into the business of publishing, probably better not to read those sorts of blogs thinking you understand it. Now I know why everybody else in the room rolls their eyes when I start talking networking with other geeks.

 

(In fairness to me, this thread is in the Community Room, so I didn't think to don my jacket and tie.)

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,826
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

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

[ Edited ]

bobstro wrote:

 

As a complete neophyte, contemplating only a poke at the nonfiction market, it strikes me that there's a Venn diagram of options, with overlapping areas of self-, vanity and traditional publishing.

 


And don't forget kickstarter.  There are lots of folks raising money to publish on kickstarter.

 

Also - Nonfiction publishing and fiction publishing are very different animals.  While for self-pub the basic process is the same - write, revise, revise, revise, fact check, hire an editor, etc., etc. - for trad pub the process is completely different, as you submit a proposal, not an MS, and they generally want proof of a platform (blog following or the like).  You'll also obviously have different market and audience concerns than fiction writers do.  If you're seeking advice for self-pubbing nonfic, you should look to the folks that have done it (Chuck Wendig is one, but there are others), as opposed to the fiction-only folks.

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,059
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
0 Kudos

Publishing jargon

[ Edited ]

keriflur wrote:
[...] If you're seeking advice for self-pubbing nonfic, you should look to the folks that have done it (Chuck Wendig is one, but there are others), as opposed to the fiction-only folks.

 

After reading the post you linked to, I perused his site and wound up buying 4 of his books. Chuck owes you a few ducats.

 

So what is that effect called in publishing terms? You made a public posting linking to his blog post, and that, in turn, resulted in sales. Not exactly word-of-mouth, but Chuck didn't attract my notice either. You made it happen, yet you get no direct benefit from having done so. THAT is the effect I want to leverage, though I'd love to give such indirect referrers some credit.

flyingtoastr
Posts: 3,052
Topics: 55
Kudos: 2,980
Registered: ‎11-11-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Publishing jargon

That is the very definition of word-of-mouth.

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,059
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Publishing jargon

Well yes, toaster, that I get. But Keri didn't point me to his books, initially. I'm more interested in whether there are any clever ways of capturing or quantifying such "referrers". Word of mouth is great, but how to quantify it, short of a "how did you hear about us?" survey?