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


keriflur wrote:
This very much varies by topic for me.  My previous two novels didn't require a lot of research, but the current one is set in various locations in Europe and the MC is a safecracker on a heist crew, so I've had to do copius amounts of research on everything from lockpicking and safecracking to major heists and how they were performed, Interpol and CIA research, explosives, a whole host of laws, and all kinds of random things like what kinds of food you can get delivered in Vienna and whether you can buy stitch kits at drugstores in Dubrovnik.  And that's only what I've done so far - I still need to spend some time with a doctor to make sure all my injuries and deaths are accurately portrayed, with a safe tech to make sure I haven't bungled anything, some time at the gun range to make sure I've got all that stuff right, etc., and then location research is scheduled for this fall, to make sure I capture all the right details of all the right places in the book (smells, flavors, feel for the cities, etc).

It's all very interesting, but OMG there is a lot of it.


I've always maintained that the amount of worldbuilding that goes into a fantasy/sci fi novel and an ultra-realistic "real world" novel is functionally the same, the only difference is where your research comes from.

 

You're definitely correct that there are some types of fiction that need to be as exhaustively researched as an academic non-fiction work. And on the flip side, there are some kinds of non-fiction (autobiographies, for example) that require very little research. 

 

Writing is wacky fun.

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

[ Edited ]

I write speculative fiction (everything I write has fantastical elements), so I have all the real-word research because I'm using real places and my characters are human or human aspect, but then I have a ton of fantasy worldbuilding too.  I built a rules bible for my fantasy stuff before I started (because this is not my first rodeo), so most of the worldbuilding was done before I started with the MS, but I've added and changed things as needed.  On the flip side, most of the real world research is still to come.

That said, IMO high fantasy and hard sci-fi are harder to write, because everything is a variable.  You get to make it all up, but you have to make it fresh and different, and at the same time make it real for the reader, and that can be really hard.

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

I seem to recall Jerry Pournelle writing on his Chaos Manor "daybook" that only about 10% of the material he and Larry Niven write ever gets published because they generate so much background material to make their worlds realistic. That includes the calculations to establish realistic timelines and planetary orbits of course but also includes such things as poetry or songs, artwork and history for the cultures they are creating.
Currently reading: Destiny of the Republic, The Heritage of Shannara, Lonely Planet: Melbourne & Victoria
flyingtoastr
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Re: So is this supposed to turn me off to self-publishing?

[ Edited ]

That distinctly reminds me of the last high fantasy project I was working on (before it had to be shelved due to circumstances completely out of my control). I had written an absolute ungodly amount of background information just on the politics and geography of the two small continents the story was going to take place on. I hadn't even begun on establishing a magic system, much less character backstory or even a real plot aside from a 2500 word outline.

 

The longest piece was a 14000 word essay (using correct grammar and written in-universe) on the history of one of the countries that the story takes place in. And I'm definitely light compared to some authors (since I generally just write for fun) - Brandon Sanderson not only has hundreds of pages of "bibles" for each series he writes, but also has an overarching bible for the mythos that ties them all together. And the High Fantasy video game Elder Scrolls V had over 1100 pages of books that you could pick up and read throughout the game. Fantasy and Sci Fi authors are a special breed of crazy.

 

Oddly enough, worldbuilding is the part I enjoy most about writing. I think it's part of the history student in me coming through. I've always loved delving into the little geopolitical, sociological, and economical factors that round out a world. It's also something that really bugs me when an author doesn't put enough effort into it. There seems to be a "here's the forest people, here's the desert people, here's the Anglo-Saxon people" blandness to a lot of mass-market fantasy. That's cool, you have a group of people from the desert. Why did they choose to live there? How has it affected their society? How does it affect their relations with other societies in the world? What is their political structure like? What is their economy based around? How did it affect their religion? How do all three of those shape their interactions with outsiders? Give me meat, darn it, not tropes!

 

I devour the world encyclopedias that a lot of big fantasy authors are putting out for all that kind of background information.

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


bobstro wrote:

Unfortunately, they don't clarify what that 28% living off of writing are averaging, but presumably it's more than $500. I'm not focused on the $10,000 average. The fact that MORE than half made more than $500 is what I found interesting, assuming that by half, they mean numbers.

 


Still the wrong focus. If 50% are making under $500 the odds are quite good that 80% are making less than $750.

 

Consider an artificial example of 99 people making $1000 and just 1 person hitting big with $99000. That produces a case where the average also is $10000.

 

This is not a bell curve where, for every person making $100 there is another making $19900. It's a skew (at best) where for every 99 making $100 there may be one (whoops, my math was off in the prior paragraph) $990100

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5ivedom
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Re: So is this supposed to turn me off to self-publishing?

Keriflur, why don't you self-publish the stuff that 'you had to shelve'?

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

No, not the wrong focus Wolfraed. I was surprised that they're seeing anything, much less $500. That's all. I get how the numbers work.

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


5ivedom wrote:

Keriflur, why don't you self-publish the stuff that 'you had to shelve'?


???

 

I don't have anything I had to shelve.  Not sure what you're referring to.

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

[ Edited ]

FYI: Here's the full explanation regarding average self-pub earnings from the Taleist survey:

 

Be­ware the “av­er­age”

On av­er­age, the re­spon­dents earned just over US$10,000 from their self-pub­lished books in the year, and less than half of that from tra­di­tion­ally pub­lished books. Be­hind these fig­ures, how­ever, is what we in Aus­tralia like to call a “two-track econ­omy.” A small group of self-pub­lish­ing au­thors were earn­ing about 75% of the re­ported rev­enue. These Top Earn­ers are as fas­ci­nat­ing to us as they will be to you, so we look at them in de­tail in Chap­ter 5.

 

While the av­er­age rev­enue was about $10,000, the me­dian rev­enue (that is, the point at which half the re­spon­dents earn less and half earn more) was under $500, which re­flects this un­even dis­tri­b­u­tion. To be ab­solutely clear, you’d be ac­cu­rate if you re­ported that the av­er­age self-pub­lisher in our sur­vey earned $10,000. But the re­al­ity is that half the self-pub­lish­ing au­thors who an­swered the rev­enue ques­tion earned less than US$500 from their self-pub­lished books in 2011. That being said, it’s also worth re­mem­ber­ing that 53% of the re­spon­dents self-pub­lished their first book in 2011, so the rev­enue analy­sis is, as they say on elec­tion night, based on “early fig­ures.”

 

Again, I'm not confused about the average, just surprised at the median, particularly considering just over half of respondents are relative newbies. I have spent a lot of hours on hobbies that never yielded anything near $500. Of course, that may say more about the population of Taleist respondents than anything else. These are just the first of anything approaching hard numbers that I've seen on the topic. Can anybody point to more authoritative numbers?

 

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

AFAIK this is the most comprehensive survey to date.  I'm sure Amazon has tons more info but they won't be sharing it.