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Mrs-Smith
Posts: 780
Registered: ‎08-12-2010
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A question to all my fellow Authors...

I thought about opening a thread that wasn't dedicated to complaining. ;-)

 

Im just curious, are any of you who are listing your works on Pubit or even Amazon, are you also trying to submit to agents?

 

I only ask because I've thought about trying my luck at getting picked up.

So any and all comments to this would be fun to talk about.

 

Melissa

Cloud Nine (A Paranormal Romance of the Guardians of Man)  

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Ms_Kitty
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎01-29-2011
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

So many things have changed in publishing in the last few years it is difficult to guess what will work and what won't.

 

There is a school of thought (Joe Konrath) that print publishing is dead. But others insist Big Publishing will go on forever. I'm in the latter camp - things are changing, but Big Publishing is here to stay.

 

For me, e-publishing is fine for now. Marketing my own work is a time consuming process, but the education I've gotten is worth a lot.  

 

I didn't like the agent query process - takes too long, agents have all these snarky 'rules' you have to follow. Small publishers are nicer, much better about getting back to you. But it is difficult to know which ones are basement business with nice websites and which are being run as businesses.

 

It boils down to the individual writer - what does she want?

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ederyn
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-21-2011
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

I promised a friend I would try to find an agent for my novel before self-publishing, so for now I'm just going to self-publish an anthology of short stories on PubIt and Kindle Singles.  Self-publishing is so much easier, but you don't get any respect as a real writer that way, imho.

Edgy Hours: a Dark Fiction Collection
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Ms_Kitty
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎01-29-2011
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

There are a lot of writers who feel that being published by the trade publishers is the only way to go. It all depends on what works for you.

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Swordarkeereon
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎11-11-2010
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

[ Edited ]

I gave up the traditional press long ago when, after going Indie with some non-fiction esoterica, I was approached with contracts by several large publishers who basically wanted to just take all my hard work (rights and all) and profit off of it while offering me $1 a copy for each copy sold. With NF, I sell the exact number of books I would have sold with any other publisher (niche market). The difference is I keep all the profit. Which makes sense since I did all the work.

 

With fiction it's a bit different, but not. Anymore publishers can only offer you shelf space at bookstores (more distribution) and maybe some advertising. Since bookstores are starting to look like a thing of the past... may not be so lucrative. Regardless, big publishers definitely increase your distribution. That said -- the publishing industry is shifting. Sure - the big publishers may help you build a fan base in a shorter amount of time, but when it comes to $$$ - you make squat. On the flip-side of that - most Indie fiction makes squat anyway so if you can get a large publisher great. Of course watch for contract clauses that say they get first dibs on anything else you write and also remember that you can end up at the mercy of a backlist at some point.

 

I shy away from traditional venues because of things like that. And yeah - it's taken me longer to build an audience (5 years and still working on it), but with each new book I end up with more readers and I'm finally making a livable, taxable income as a writer (most of it from fiction). So it can be done. You just have to be prolific. :smileyhappy:

 

As for getting respect as a *real* writer --- my writing income of $60K a year means I'm a *real* professional writer. I've got fans, too. No - I may not have as many fans as Stephen King or Nora Roberts or whoever, but I have enough to sustain a real writing career. People who decide who gets respect as a writer based on their publisher - that's just snobby. I make more than MOST writers who have contracts with big publishers (and I probably have just as many fans as your average traditionally published writer, too). Just sayin'...


Mrs-Smith wrote:

I thought about opening a thread that wasn't dedicated to complaining. ;-)

 

Im just curious, are any of you who are listing your works on Pubit or even Amazon, are you also trying to submit to agents?

 

I only ask because I've thought about trying my luck at getting picked up.

So any and all comments to this would be fun to talk about.

 

Melissa

Cloud Nine (A Paranormal Romance of the Guardians of Man)  


 

-------------
www.sjreisner.com
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NatashaFX
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-03-2011
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

@Sword, I hear you on all points.  For some, getting a publisher behind them means a lot.  Not to me.  Everything is changing.  If your work piques their interest, they'll come to you.  People are getting book deals and movie deals from twitter tweets and blogs, not even real ebooks.  Anything is possible.  For me, I like having total control over what I write and I don't have to share the profits with anyone. Do your research.  Traditional publishing isn't all what it's cracked up to be.  I think it's more glamorous to say "my publisher blah blah blah".  Doesn't necessarily mean you will make enough to write full time and not have to worry about it. There are still a lot of broke, traditionally published writers out there stressing on their next book or their current book sales.  With the right book, you can make a lot more doing it yourself with full control and you don't have to worry about whether or not someone accepts your next project in order to get the next book contract. And if one book doesn't sell as you hoped, write a better one next time.  No stress.  No one's going to call you and tell you that you're dumped because you didn't make the bar for them.  No feeling like an unwanted step-child because other better selling authors are getting more attention.   Self-publishing has changed so much from the way it was back in the 80s.  There's so many more opportunities now and you don't have to chop off an arm in order to do it.  Plus, I think it's stress-free all the way to the bank and if you start racking up tons of sales on B&N and Amazon, someone will notice and come calling but like Sword mentioned, you may realize that it isn't such a good deal after all.

Also, realize that hollywood is watching as well and you can also get a movie option for your self-published book which may be better than having it in print anyway.  I'd so much rather see my work on the big or small screen than in print any day.  But that's just me.

 

Good luck.

 

Write right and write on!

Natasha

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Jana_DeLeon
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎12-21-2010
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

I don't think traditional publishing is going anywhere, regardless of what some may believe. But I do think publishers are going to have to rethink delivery method and marketing to keep up with the times. I always wanted to be traditionally published and never pursued anything else, and that's what I accomplished. I've published my reverted rights backlist as ebooks to make them available to new readers that discover me through new traditional releases.

 

It's easy for some well-known writers to advocate self-publishing, but I will argue that they did not have to do the heavy marketing than an unknown will need to do to build readership. I did nothing but a blog post and update my website about my backlisted books but have had thousands in sales in a matter of 2.5 months. I can only assume that's because over a hundred thousand traditionally published books are in the marketplace gaining me new readers with every used book sale, library read and recommendation from another reader.

 

I am seriously considering doing one ebook a year that I will publish myself (with professional editing, of course), but I have no desire to cease traditional publishing. I have two books releasing with Harlequin this year and distribution from Harlequin is astronomical. IMHO, it's the best marketing plan I could get and I'm being paid to do it. It's a win-win for me.

 

But individual mileage varies based on individuals. One size does not fit all.

Humorous romantic mysteries set deep in the Louisiana bayous.
Buy my backlist. $3.99/book
http://janadeleon.com
Distinguished Correspondent
Mrs-Smith
Posts: 780
Registered: ‎08-12-2010
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

That's what I thought too. That the traditional way to go was pretty much a waste of time, but I too promised a family member that I would try. I just wish that we as indi writers got just as much support and help in getting our books out there. Under the public nose. Not lost in the system because no one can find me.

I wish I made 60K!! Holy Cow! But then again I've only had my book out for around two months. And it is slow goin'!

This is fun. Talking about what everyone thinks.

 

Thanks for joining in.

Melissa

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Swordarkeereon
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎11-11-2010
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

[ Edited ]

@Mrs. Smith  - I definitely don't disagree with trying to go traditional with fiction. To be honest if one of the big six walked up to me tomorrow with a contract for one of my novels I would seriously consider it (it's just I'm not actively seeking it). Because - like I said - the distribution is worth it provided you're not stuck in a bad contract.  I'd love the distribution for a few books if only to gather a huge audience in a short amount of time.

 

At the same time, every writing conference I've been to lately I hear all the authors published with the big houses talking about how much marketing they have to do, too. So anymore a lot of them are working just as hard as the Indies. Some of my fiction is with a small press at the moment and with small press -- you really do just as much work as you do as an Indie.

 

I have about 9 niche Indie NF and 4 indie fiction out right now. Plus three novels in the small press with two more being released this year. So I've been dabbling in indie and traditional press for quite a few years and have gathered quite a loyal following of fans. That's why I make the money I do. I've got so many books out right now with more coming out all the time and my distribution has finally gotten to around 2500 books a month. But admittedly it was A LOT of work getting to where I am. 

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ederyn
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-21-2011
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

 

Oooh, Natasha brought up an interesting point.  Do you guys know of any writer who was 'discovered' at Amazon or PubIt and offered a book contract by a publishing house?  Do you suppose literary reps or publishers even read self-published ebooks?  And if not, why do you think they wouldn't?

Edgy Hours: a Dark Fiction Collection
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Jana_DeLeon
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎12-21-2010
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

I would be surprised if they spent time combing sites looking for a gem themselves simply because of the lack of time. The main publishers are mostly looked for agented work only and I know my agent has said she receives 500 queries a week. I can't imagine her having time to go looking for clients.

Humorous romantic mysteries set deep in the Louisiana bayous.
Buy my backlist. $3.99/book
http://janadeleon.com
Distinguished Correspondent
Mrs-Smith
Posts: 780
Registered: ‎08-12-2010
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

I would love to be picked up. But while I have a few queries out, Im not holding my breath. I've only got the one book out right now with two more in the works. I've only sold a handful of copies since its been out but Im ever hopeful that it will eventually pick up a good following that will help the others sell well.

I also entered the createspace contest that the grand prize is a contract with Penguin. My first one ever entered so again Im not holding my breath but it would be awesome!

 

What kinds of marketing do you do? Ball park how much do you spend? Just curious as to what I might be able to do.

 

Melissa

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A_R_Wallace
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-20-2011
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

First off: a news flash:

 

Canada's largest book distributor, H.B. Fenn & Co., is bankrupt http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Entertainment/20110203/hb-fenn-bankruptcy-110203/

 

. . . "the company said it has "encountered significant financial challenges due to the loss of distribution lines, shrinking margins and the significant shift to e-books, all of which have significantly reduced the company's revenues."

 

Second: When I first started considering writing a novel, self-published meant a vanity house where you paid to get your garage filled with unsold books. Now with indie publishing in e-book and POD the costs are low, the potential is high. With the numbers of eReaders being sold, our markets are growing.

 

Now it looks like the Big 6 publishers are vanity houses. The New York Times, Author clubs, agents, reviews, and the "Published Author" tag on your website -- that's all vanity. The reality is a two year wait to hit bookshelves and diminishing advances *if* your quality work wins the million in one agent/publisher sweepstakes.

 

Indie sounds cool, control is cool. If a publisher rings me up tomorrow, I will retain e-book rights. I see no reason to relinquish control for a 15% royalty. After that we can talk.

 

Agents and the publishing industry may continue to exist, but not in their present form. They seem to think adding interactive elements in a book will save them. They plan to control all the tech elements. I think freelancers and disintermediation will win. Unless our readers resent tech interruptions of their read, then we may win easily..

 

Third: What happens if you wait a year for an agent to shop your book, wait a year for the publisher to  finally give it a go, wait eighteen more months for it to ship, and then the publisher enters bankruptcy? I don't know.

 

Finally: we are in the right place with the right product. This is fun.

Digital Donna's Book Cover Art
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Swordarkeereon
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎11-11-2010
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

@Mrs. Smith - a lot of my marketing is in person and web based. I take out ads on genre sites. I do guest blogs. I make myself accessible to my readers. I use my very popular NF to sell my fiction. I self promote whenever the opportunity presents itself. I'm a pagan author, so I tend to advertise my fiction on pagan websites as well. Facebook has been a wonderful marketing tool for me. I've joined some co-op author groups where we promote eachothers' books. I do a lot of give-aways and I send out review copies. (Check out bookblogs.ning.com) I always drop off freebies at the freebie tables at conferences and conventions. I probably spend a thousand a year on promotions and advertising, but I can write it all off.  I'd spend more but I have to pay for cover art, editors, etc... with the Indie stuff. That's usually no more than $1000 a year as well (sometimes more depending what I'm putting out).  You can get really good ad deals though. Genre related sites often have really good advertising rates and sometimes they'll have someone there who will professionally design the ads for you for a small fee.  So mostly my advertising is just interacting with people and telling them about my books. So it's time.  All my e-mail has a sig line listing some of my titles and my website (and people look!). Just stuff like that. I started out spending less than a few hundred a year on advertising. As the books started generating more income I was able to afford to do a little more. So I think the key is to start out small and just work it.

 

 

@ederyn - Yeah, I don't think publishers or agents troll around looking to "discover" writers.  However, I think there are publishers out there who keep their eyes open for what's selling because after some of my NF got pretty popular I was approached by some relatively reputable publishers (who had originally rejected said book) with offers which tells me they were watching my sales numbers. So while I don't think it's a common practice, I do think there are occassions where it happens. And it may not be editors doing it, but rather business partners or marketing folks. I don't know. All I know is the same publisher that had originally rejected my book proposal came back with an offer five years after the fact and after my book had proven to be quite the sleeper hit within its little niche.

 

@A.R. - wonderful points. I had a friend who got a contract with Bantam Spectra a few years back. Not only was the sale contingent on her changing the entire story to meet their prescribed "formula", but she was offered several options. She could have a bigger marketing package and a smaller advance, or a larger advance and a smaller marketing package. She chose the larger marketing package. Her advance for the novel was $4000.00.  Oh - and publishers pay for their book listings in industry magazines. A lot of people don't know that. PW, for example, will allow any publisher a listing with a subscription (even Indies - though they stick you in a "special" section).   

 

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MrobMedia
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-04-2011
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Re: A question to all my fellow Authors...

I tried for a year to submit to agents and after three revisions at the suggestion of the few personal responses I received, I was never able to seal the deal. I was too attached to my story to throw it into my Slush Pile with my first novel, so I figured what the heck, I wrote this story for people to read. It's so easy to create ebooks these days, I thought it might be fun. I'm working on novel 3 now, thats the key, to keep writing!