Musings on the Craft of Writing

►Eavesdropping on a Pubbing Argument

The discussions I’m linking to are long (so long that I printed them off), but for all of us interested in the publishing industry (especially we who are torn about whether we should self-pub or go to the traditional houses), this is well worth our time.

I’ll break it its three main chronological parts:

1) Steve Zacharius (owner of Kensington Publishing) posts this concerning self-pubbing.

2) “Passive Guy” (“PG”) posts a “A Response to Kensington” (and you will see a related link within his first sentence to another post about how little $ the authors make).  Herein you will see Steve Z participate in some of the back-n-forth comments.

3) Of most interest (to me) is the back-n-forth between Joe Konrath (perhaps the most successful self-pubber to date) and Steve Z here:

debate

As I have said, it’s long, but it’s also the most frank, informed dialogue I have ever heard on the subject.  Joe K (apparently) knows the business (and also seems to have no interest in being polite about what he considers to be exploitation on the part of the publishing houses).

I’m slow to be persuaded by a single post, but this one edged me even further away from the traditional houses.  If anyone knows if “PG,” Joe or Steve are misrepresenting some facts, I would love to hear about it.

~Daniel

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2 responses

  1. This is a great post. You can spend much less than $1000 on quality services. I’ve seen excellent covers designed for under $100, and it’s possible to get affordable editing help, for example. While there are authors who spend $1000 to $5000 perfecting their books, there are many professional-looking books on budgets much closer to $100 (and some with no budget are very good, too). It’s a big risk to invest hundreds or thousands on a first book, since there is no guarantee that X number will sell. It’s much less risk to get the first book out there free, or close to it, (but in very good quality) then if you get nice success, you can play with ‘house money,’ so to speak.

    I’m discovering more and more indie authors who are achieving various degrees of success. Not like Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey, but hundreds of books per month. Quality writers, who have marketable work (i.e. there is a demand for it), who diligently strive to improve, get several books out, build connections, and market actively.

    I think much of the tail of books that are scarcely selling include one or more of the following features: publishing experiments, mistakes, authors who gave up, ideas that weren’t marketable, work that wasn’t ready to publish, books that needed much formatting or editing or writing help, problems where the cover and blurb don’t attract the right audience for the content, etc. Those authors who can avoid these problems, write in a way that will appeal to many readers, have ideas for which there is a significant audience, and are motivated and diligent are far more likely to succeed in the long run (including try and try again, and learn from mistakes). If you can grow your numbers steadily over time, which is fairly plausible (though not guaranteed), success is in your future.

    I think the decision depends largely on your objectives, i.e. what you specifically wish to get out of publishing. Is being traditionally published a childhood dream? How badly do you want to get into a chain bookstore? How important is freedom to you, in terms of writing, editing, and cover design? Freedom of publishing rights can be important, too (getting stuck in a contract, not being able to get your rights in the future, etc.) Will the publishers offer you valuable services that you personally will benefit from? Traditional publishing is a better fit for some authors than others.

    There is a growing trend for authors to do both. More and more traditional publishers are self-publishing, too (they write more than they publish, and want to explore how well they can do on their own), sometimes with a pen name. Some start out with indie publishing hoping to do well enough to get attention from traditional publishers.

    January 21, 2014 at 8:45 pm

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