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

Omnigeek wrote:

[...] $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.

 

Isn't that the premise behind the B&N App store? That people will be willing to pay more for some degree of curation/vetting? As long as readers have choices, I think some percentage will opt to buy some percentage of what they read from proven sources. 

 

[...] 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.

 

Was that the period the "50 Shades" bump was credited with giving B&N sales a bump?

 

 


 

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

It should be noted when talking about 50 Shades that these books were NEVER self-published.  They were fan fiction that went straight to a small publisher, who released the book as an ebook and PoD, then got picked up by a larger publisher.

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

keriflur wrote:

It should be noted when talking about 50 Shades that these books were NEVER self-published.  They were fan fiction that went straight to a small publisher, who released the book as an ebook and PoD, then got picked up by a larger publisher.

 

Were they in B&N and other big-name stores before the large publisher picked them up?

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

They were available to pre-pay as POD titles from the smaller publisher (for a decent chunk of change - I don't remember the price but it was upwards of 25$ for a paper back, considerably more than the list price paperback now).


bobstro wrote:

keriflur wrote:

It should be noted when talking about 50 Shades that these books were NEVER self-published.  They were fan fiction that went straight to a small publisher, who released the book as an ebook and PoD, then got picked up by a larger publisher.

 

Were they in B&N and other big-name stores before the large publisher picked them up?


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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keriflur
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Re: Hugh Howey: Self-Publishing is Great for Writers

More Hugh Howey fun:

 

Taken from a comment on Terribleminds:

 

"If I had to pull numbers from my butt, which I'm not above, I would say that self-publishing is 600 times better than traditional publishing for 95% of the writers out there. (600 is roughly the difference in royalties [about six times] multiplied by the difference in lifetime of the book [3 months vs. 100 years and 3 months])"

- Hugh Howey

http://goo.gl/TRSvA

 

So, yeah, he definitely thinks self-pub is the "best for just about everyone" route.  And apparently he thinks if you self-pub you're going to live for at least another hundred years and three months.  :smileywink:

 

I find it fascinating that he assumes only 5% of trad-published books are in publication for more than 3 months.  It's clear that number came out of his butt, because it didn't come from anywhere else.

 

Also - 6 times the royalies?  Possibly in percentage of individual book sales, but given the difference in price and copies sold, I'm thinking not so accurate.

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

[ Edited ]

Keri, to be honest, the Wendig-Howey "debate" looks more like an exercise in mutual self-promotion. Each makes exclamation riddled headlines, followed by a lot of text that says essentially the same things. Publishing is lots of work and so on. Both are getting links and free publicity. I like things both have to say, and did wind up buying books from each (Blackbirds, Wool), so they're succeeding. I just don't find the debate itself all that exciting. Publishing is still a step -- albeit a big one -- in the process. They're just screaming about it (Wendig with more profanity.)

 

That's not to say I'm dismissing either of them. Like any self-help book, I'm finding useful tidbits, and other bits to ignore.

 

I do think Howey is trying for a bit of humor when he further explains "... 600 is roughly the difference in royalties [about six times] multiplied by the difference in lifetime of the book [3 months vs. 100 years and 3 months]".

 

What I'm taking out of this is that somebody has to do the work, be it a traditional publisher, an indie publisher or a self publisher. If you can make it out of the slush pile, traditional is great. If not, indie (or self) is an option before giving up. Have I missed something?

 

(I realize my opinions on this are worth about nothing, just observing. Maybe I've lived through so many technology revolutions, they've quit making much of an impresion.)

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


bobstro wrote:

Keri, to be honest, the Wendig-Howey "debate" looks more like an exercise in mutual self-promotion. Each makes exclamation riddled headlines, followed by a lot of text that says essentially the same things. Publishing is lots of work and so on. Both are getting links and free publicity. I like things both have to say, and did wind up buying books from each (Blackbirds, Wool), so they're succeeding. I just don't find the debate itself all that exciting. Publishing is still a step -- albeit a big one -- in the process. They're just screaming about it (Wendig with more profanity.)

 

That's not to say I'm dismissing either of them. Like any self-help book, I'm finding useful tidbits, and other bits to ignore.

 

I do think Howey is trying for a bit of humor when he further explains "... 600 is roughly the difference in royalties [about six times] multiplied by the difference in lifetime of the book [3 months vs. 100 years and 3 months]".

 

What I'm taking out of this is that somebody has to do the work, be it a traditional publisher, an indie publisher or a self publisher. Have I missed something?


Yes, they both agree that story is the most important.  However, I do think the choice between self-pub, trad-pub, and any other route is a big deal if you hope to make a living from your work.  Wendig is advocating that the author should educate themselves and evaluate their options equally, and Howey is stating that self-pub is the one best way.  Very different perspectives, IMO.

 

I'm curious to hear how you like Wool.  I read the sample (the first two pages only), but it didn't draw me in enough to spend the ninety-nine cents.  I am exceedingly picky, though, and there have been a lot of books that, once I stuck it out, I came to enjoy.

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

[ Edited ]

I made a conscious decision to try a title from both (Howey, Wendig) just so I could categorically say I've read one from writers with differing perspectives on publishing. I may have read others, but to be honest, when I'm book shopping, I couldn't care less by which means it landed on the shelf.

 

I've started with Blackbirds. So far, it's interesting. I like it far better than Wendig's blogging style. It has that bit of edge that I always enjoyed from Gibson's cyberpunk back in the day. I'm approaching the halfway mark.

 

I'm simultaneously a bit more than halfway through his "500 Ways to Tell A Better Story". His stream-of-conscious meanderings seem to be affected, mostly for filler or shock value. I'm finding a LOT to highlight, so he's making good points. I thought the gonzo stuff was great when Thompson did it, less so for something I'm trying to learn from.

 

I haven't started on Wool yet. The blurb sounds like the sort of dystopian future/scifi stuff I like. I did go for the omnibus edition. Seems like my money and I are always soon parted.

 

I have realized that I need to expand my horizons to find fiction, so I'm grateful for the pointers. I'm not having luck browsing the shelves at B&N anymore, unless Gibson or Sterling happen to have something new out (which is rare these days). The new vampire look is an instant turn off, so I tend to get grumpy in the aisles. I'm probably more likely to buy a book when I can't see the cover.

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bobstro
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So is this supposed to turn me off to self-publishing?

So I read the Guardian article linked to on Wendig's blog with the title "

Stop the press: half of self-published authors earn less than $500" that is supposed to enlighten me to the hidden horrors of self-publishing. In that I read:

 

Despite the splash caused by self-publishing superstars such as Amanda Hocking and EL James, the average amount earned by DIY authors last year was just $10,000 (£6,375) – and half made less than $500.

 

So wait... the average is that high? Half of those 1,007 lost souls made more than $500. Sure, not enough to quit the day job... but not a bad bit of supplemental income.

 

But a survey of 1,007 self-published writers – one of the most comprehensive insights into the growing market to date – found that while a small percentage of authors were bringing in sums of $100,000-plus in 2011, average earnings were just $10,000 a year.

 

Holy smokes! $10K a year? Again, not small change. I suffer from the affliction of being employed full time, but if my kids don't find gainful employment in their first years out of college, I'm chaining them to a desk in the basement. 28% earn enough to write as their sole income? That's a hell of a lot more than I'd have expected. Seriously, are 1st year college graduates doing any better? While I won't quit my day job, I have been thinking about ways to earn supplemental income when I retire (assuming "retire" doesn't mean "die", which truthfully, I think it does nowadays.)

 

A lot of this indie-versus-trad-versus-pub is sounding to me a lot like a certain small time game publisher pointing out that you're not making money if you're not Rovio. Huh? You are. You're making what you're making. Somebody making a lot more doesn't take that away from you.

 

Now assuming that the vast majority of those 1,007 would never have earned a DIME going the traditional route, why am I supposed to be discouraged when I read that article?

 

I'm not taking sides in the debate over how to publish. I'm just surprised that the small fish are doing a lot better than I'd have expected from a bunch of 'starving writers'.

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MacMcK1957
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Re: So is this supposed to turn me off to self-publishing?

But a survey of 1,007 self-published writers – one of the most comprehensive insights into the growing market to date – found that while a small percentage of authors were bringing in sums of $100,000-plus in 2011, average earnings were just $10,000 a year.

 

Unfortunately, averages are not medians.  The average is skewed by the handful making six-figure amounts, while basically everyone else is making, if they're lucky, that $500.