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

Kerifleur, fivedom needs proof? What we are doing is considering a future where self publishing is part of the mainstream. Right now the marketing and access to experienced editors gives traditional publishers the edge.

 

Predictions of a self publishing wave have fallen short ever since the pc became practical. That doesn't guarantee it won't eventually arrive. Fivedom has a model, who knows? You seem to be insisting the current model is destined to continue. I understand you believe in it's advantages. I think self publishing is growing, access to software, editing, markering needs to improve, but I see no obstacles that are insurmountable.

 

Perhaps the self publishing true believers seem to be drinking the kool aide at times, but in the USA with stagnant or declining incomes for most, a smaller pool of avid readers, publishers failure to address their cost structures, the price advantage of self publishing may prove decisive, whether authors prefer it or not.

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

[ Edited ]

patgolfneb wrote:

Kerifleur, fivedom needs proof? What we are doing is considering a future where self publishing is part of the mainstream.


I'm fairly certain that 5ivedom is talking about how to be successfully published NOW.  If he's going to espouse a model, then yeah, he should put his time where his mouth is.

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

[ Edited ]

patgolfneb wrote:

Predictions of a self publishing wave have fallen short ever since the pc became practical. That doesn't guarantee it won't eventually arrive. Fivedom has a model, who knows? You seem to be insisting the current model is destined to continue. I understand you believe in it's advantages. I think self publishing is growing, access to software, editing, markering needs to improve, but I see no obstacles that are insurmountable.

 

I suspect the main reason predictions of a wave fall short so often is that they look at the process, be it self publishing or traditional, as "the goal", when the author's intent is simply to put copies in front of readers (ideally, paying readers).  Just like all the other predictions, going back to the paperless office, it focuses on something that's only part of the story. I need to do business. If it's paperless, cool, but that doesn't make me money.

 

Now I'm the first to admit that I'm only casually involved in this game, but it sure seems to me that self-publishing is only an evolution, an incremental change, in the process of "getting published". I read the posts by Chuck Wendig and Hugh Howey, and while they each insist that the other guy is wrong, I read words coming out that are mostly the same.

 

Self-publishing seems, to me at least, to be just one more alternative in the process. In and of itself, it's not my goal. Now to traditional publishers, it's disruptive, revolutionary and perhaps dangerous. To an author stymied for any reason, warranted or not, it's liberating in a storming the gates, stick it to the man sort of way. Otherwise, looking at it dispassionately, both as a writer and reader, I don't really care how the book I'm reading or selling got on the shelf (physical or electronic), so long as it got there.

 

Sure, the rules are changing, but more in the way the lines around of the goalie net have changed in hockey (sorry, it's April) -- incrementally rather than radically. Read Howey or Wendig, and they're still largely describing the same game overall. The "publishing" step is just one of many. I suspect that there's someone out there that succeeded going the vanity press route as well. Dig down, and the publishing step is just one of many. Their success probably has more to do with all the other steps, in which they probably aren't all that different from others.

 

This is why I have a hard time with 5ivedom's suggestion that just pushing the various buttons to get published will lead to success. They're not the same thing.

 

[Edit: Case in point: Prior to reading this thread, I had never been aware of either Wendig or Howey. On an off-the-cuff reference, I went to Wendig's site and wound up buying a few titles. Today, clearing out my email inboxes, I click on the Powell's news and as I'm about to press delete, I notice "Wool by Hugh Howey". Now both of these guys have my attention, not by getting published, but by arguing about it. These guys are clearly doing more than just "getting published" to make sales. Clever.]

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5ivedom
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

I don't think people realize just how big of a change this is.

 

It's not a 'new type of buggy whip' change. It's a shift from horse-drawn carriages to cars.

 

*****

 

This, what PatGoflNeb wrote -

 

Perhaps the self publishing true believers seem to be drinking the kool aide at times, but in the USA with stagnant or declining incomes for most, a smaller pool of avid readers, publishers failure to address their cost structures, the price advantage of self publishing may prove decisive, whether authors prefer it or not.

 

*****

 

This is a HUGE factor. $10 books just can't keep competing with $1 and $3 books.

 

Companies like Amazon are manipulating the rankings by weighing higher priced books more. And lots of subtle things.

 

Otherwise by now the lower priced books would have taken over.

 

In 2008 there used to be 2 or 3 books below $5 in the Top 100.

 

Then in 2010/early 2011 there were 30-35. With most at $1 or $2.

 

Then Amazon started manipulating the rankings. And now we have less.

 

However, the trend is that readers, rather unsurprisingly, prefer lower priced books, provded they are good enough.

 

*******

 

Right now we are seeing MASSIVE attempts by Amazon etc. to hide the successful indie authors.

 

That's the only reason there's still debate amongst people and people think indie authros haven't gone mainstream.

 

*******

 

We could just wait a few years - All that pressure that is building up is going to blow away all the levers and safeguards that Amazon etc. are using to hold back the waves of indie authors that are slowly taking over.

 

*******

 

Anyways, there's a record of all of this discussion now. So in a few years we'll know whether this was all conjecture or whether we really were in the middle of a Gutenberg level transformation of books and just didn't realize it and/or weren't willing to accept it.

 

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

 

Right now we are seeing MASSIVE attempts by Amazon etc. to hide the successful indie authors.

 

That's the only reason there's still debate amongst people and people think indie authros haven't gone mainstream.

 

 What?!? How do you figure?  And what would be their motivation?

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

That's what I'm wondering. I would imagine Amazon would be one of the kings of self-publishing and would want people to know about it.

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

In another thread it was stated self pub is 25% of BN e book sales. It didn't indicate whether that was $ or copies sold. If that is $ then self pub copies sold would be comparable publisher copies. If that is true paper books are even more crucial to publishers than I thought.
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Omnigeek
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Registered: ‎01-25-2011

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

5ivedom, I'll disagree with you.  This is NOT a massive change.  The only difference between this and the $1-2 fanfic you have seen on tables at any science fiction/comic/anime convention for the past 20 years is the potential reach of the distribution.

 

$10 books most certainly CAN compete with $1-3 books if the quality or author cachet are there.  That's what a lot of the Self-Pub True Believers don't get -- so much of the self-pub market right now is pure and utter garbage that discerning (or lazy) readers will be willing to pay more for the Tor/Baen/S&S/etc. imprint that they know has at least gone through some filtering and editing.

 

I don't put much past Amazon in terms of market manipulation but they don't have to manipulate rankings for higher priced books to continue to perform because the higher priced fare is in general what people want to read.  2010/2011 was a huge growth year for ereaders; people were getting on board in massive numbers and trying a lot of new stuff including "cheap" reads.  I would contend the numbers of cheap reads in the Top 100 went down because so many people found that they got what they paid for.

 

Admit it, you liked the Yugo 25 years ago, didn't you?  ;-)

Currently reading: Destiny of the Republic, The Heritage of Shannara, Lonely Planet: Melbourne & Victoria
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keriflur
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers


patgolfneb wrote:
In another thread it was stated self pub is 25% of BN e book sales. It didn't indicate whether that was $ or copies sold. If that is $ then self pub copies sold would be comparable publisher copies. If that is true paper books are even more crucial to publishers than I thought.

I can't speak for the adult market, and I do hear that ebooks are a higher percentage of that market, but for YA, some trad-pubbed authors are reporting that AS MUCH AS 25% of their sales are ebook.  This means that 75+% of the market is paper.  Children's (YA, MG, and PB) is the only actively growing segment of the book industry, and ebook sales are highest in YA.

 

The percentage of YA ebooks sold is increasing, BUT, from what I've read, this is more due to an increase in adults reading ebooks (and YA crossover appeal), not teens.  There are also some indicators that self-pub YA is largely read by adults.

 

IMO it's interesting how the market is segmenting out by age.  I wonder if money is a factor, and as today's teens and tweens age they will move into the ebook market, or if their current preference for paper will carry into adulthood, moving the adult trend back to paper.

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

[ Edited ]

5ivedom wrote:

I don't think people realize just how big of a change this is.

 

So you honestly think you're the only one that gets it? That the rest of us can see the changes around us and not put two and two together?

 

It's not a 'new type of buggy whip' change. It's a shift from horse-drawn carriages to cars.

 

What is? Are you talking about writing? Publishing? Selling? the game from end-to-end? What exactly is this transformation? Books have already undergone a significant and ongoing jump from paper to electrons stored in various ways. Book sellers have already begun the game of adapting, though we're still very much in the early stages. Writiers have shifted from pen and paper, through typewriters to computers, and electronic submissions are not new. So what exactly is the transformational change you're talking about? Publishing? That's surely changing, but I think publishing is part of "the game". There are now more variations than before, and more considerations (which is what the self-promoting spat between Hovey and Wendig seems to be about), but publishing remains only part of the story, not the whole story. You're not being very specific here, 5ivedom. What is changing in your opinion?

 

[...] This is a HUGE factor. $10 books just can't keep competing with $1 and $3 books.

 

Why not? They have for decades. While $1 books might sell MORE copies, it's not a zero sum game. It's entirely possible for $1 book sales to reach astronomical sales, yet $10 books continue to sell well, especially if they're worth it. In recent weeks, I've seen responses here indicating that B&N purchasers are less interested in the cheapest product, thus justfying B&N's often-higher prices. I don't agree with this, but you can't have it both ways. Discerning buyers will pay more, or they won't. (I think the notion that they'll pay more from one source for some measure of "quality" is questionable.)

 

Companies like Amazon are manipulating the rankings by weighing higher priced books more. And lots of subtle things.

 

Oh really? Mind a link then? How about the NYT top 100 and all the other top lists? It's true that publishing via the traditional path makes things like promotion and advertising happen more consistently, but that doesn't mean self-pub'ers can't do them. They do have to do them, though, which is what the spat is about.

 

Otherwise by now the lower priced books would have taken over.

 

In 2008 there used to be 2 or 3 books below $5 in the Top 100.

 

Then in 2010/early 2011 there were 30-35. With most at $1 or $2.

 

Then Amazon started manipulating the rankings. And now we have less.

Exactly what manipulation are you talking about? Is Amazon colluding with the other top lists?

 

However, the trend is that readers, rather unsurprisingly, prefer lower priced books, provded they are good enough.

 

By the same token, readers will also pay more for a higher priced book, provided it is good enough. My walls are mostly decorated with cheap prints (a few), but we own a couple of nicer pieces that we paid far more for. It's not either-or. A plethora of cheap stuff does not eliminate the desire for nicer stuff. It's not like a car where you only need one or two, and the cheaper one will usually do. Startbucks is still selling overpriced mocca-latte-whateverinos right next to Dunk N Donuts.

 

[...] That's the only reason there's still debate amongst people and people think indie authros haven't gone mainstream.

 

Who thinks they haven't gone mainstream? There are plenty of examples of some that have done well. You seem surprised. I'm not, and I'm not even tracking the trends.

 

[...] Anyways, there's a record of all of this discussion now. So in a few years we'll know whether this was all conjecture or whether we really were in the middle of a Gutenberg level transformation of books and just didn't realize it and/or weren't willing to accept it.

 

Again I must ask, what do you mean? Books? Publishing? Reading? Buying? Selling? Books have undergone that transformation already. Reading has, though not fully. Your fave, Google, has already made many, if not most, books locateable via search and keywords. Publishing, buying and selling are still in the early days of change, no doubt.