DIY Pub

News, trends, and the future of publishing
Post Reply
heyjude
Posts: 3
Joined: April 3rd, 2010, 2:07 pm
Contact:

DIY Pub

Post by heyjude » April 19th, 2011, 12:40 pm

You decide to publish your manuscript and your dreams are small. You don’t want much. A $15,000 advance, enough to buy a SmartCar. You query. You query. You query. You query. Nearly eighty times. You get rejections. You get silence. You’re asked for a few chapters. You’re asked for the full manuscript and you’re over the moon. And then you get rejections. You get silence.

And then you take an ebook workshop because your friend who wants to publish a book of short stories doesn’t want to go alone. And you realize you could do it. You could self-publish.

Most of your friends don’t have Kindles. You don’t have a Kindle. So you decide to publish an ebook through Kindle Direct. That way, your friends won’t be able to see it and laugh. Or snicker. They won’t even know it’s out there. If you don’t tell anybody, nobody will know it’s out there. But then it won’t sell. So you have to tell somebody, some strangers who will tell other strangers. You set the book at $2.99 which is ridiculous. Who could expect a book priced at $2.99 to be good? But you do it because you’ve heard that the response is better if you set your price low.

Your expectations have dwindled. Now you only want to make enough money to buy a Kindle, so you can see what your book looks like. You have one friend with an iPad. She could download your book, but you still don’t want her to know because no strangers have bought it yet and it’s the stranger buyers who are important.

But you still haven’t published it. You can’t say you don’t have time. You can have it up there in an hour. So you make excuses. You need a blog and you have nothing to say. And you have this problem of having your actual name as your domain name, so if your friends ever decide to look up your name, there you’ll be with your website. And your blog. You have to have a blog to peddle the book. And they’ll see your blog and comment and you’ll know they’ve seen it. And then they’ll be curious about your book. They’ll go out looking at Kindles, not to buy, just to look. But they’ll go together, two by two. And somebody in the group will buy a Kindle and you still won’t have one because you haven’t sold enough books to afford one.

And you’ll wonder, WTF? Why isn’t Kindle paying me to publish this book?

User avatar
J. T. SHEA
Moderator
Posts: 492
Joined: May 20th, 2010, 1:55 pm
Location: IRELAND
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by J. T. SHEA » April 19th, 2011, 3:30 pm

So you steal a Smart Car and use it to run over all your friends, and all 80 agents. No more laughing or sniggering after that! Then you steal a Kindle and download your own e-book from a pirate site.

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by Margo » April 19th, 2011, 4:58 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:Then you steal a Kindle and download your own e-book from a pirate site.
LOL. You are Hemingway reincarnated, aren't you?

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Hemingway: To die. Alone. In the rain.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by Margo » April 19th, 2011, 4:59 pm

So all joking aside, is this a hypothetical or a personal tale of frustration? Cuz it makes a difference to my response.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Mira
Posts: 1354
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 9:59 am
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by Mira » April 20th, 2011, 7:25 pm

Um.

I think that the person in the example, whether real or hypothetical may be rushing abit. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to self-publish a book and make it available to millions, but be scared to show it to your friends.....seems like a set up.

I would recommend that people share their book with a professional editor, and be very confident in its quality, before they self-publish. I really think that self-publishing in order to find out if your book is any good could be a very discouraging process. A dangerous one, actually, because it could make people feel less confident in their skills and stop writing.

Publishing really should be the very last step taken when your work is absolutely and completely finished and polished. This is especially true with self-publishing, because there are less objective eyes on the work. Too many people may be rushing their work out before it's really truly ready. It's good to slow down and be careful. This is your work! Make sure it's the best it can be - don't close your eyes and cross your fingers, as tempting as it may be. :)

That's what I think, anyway.

heyjude
Posts: 3
Joined: April 3rd, 2010, 2:07 pm
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by heyjude » April 21st, 2011, 10:10 am

Hey, Margo -
Pathetically, pretty true. Feeling a little cynical these days.

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by Margo » April 21st, 2011, 11:40 am

heyjude wrote:Hey, Margo -
Pathetically, pretty true. Feeling a little cynical these days.
I'm usually not the cheerleader type, but... I can say a few things that might change your perspective a little bit, depending on your exact situation, which I know not. Forgive me if you're already acquainted with these ideas. Or maybe it will help to hear (read) them again.

-Successful self-publishing is usually not about overnight success. A writer might only sell a few dozen copies over several months. Then word of mouth suddenly picks up, and sales the next month exceed all previous months combined. My suggestion is give it five years of real effort before you count yourself a success or failure.

-Sometimes the problem is nothing more than the wrong cover, the wrong title, a weak product description, or a poor choice of pen name (or lack thereof). The great thing about ebooks is that they lend themselves to experimentation. Tweak this. Replace that. You maybe get a different outcome.

-Let's say for the sake of argument that you published too soon. The book wasn't quite polished enough, or you need some more development of your technique. Unlike print books, ebooks can be taken down, fixed, and put back up. Plenty of writers talk about having done that after readers pointed problems out to them. So maybe the first book isn't your masterpiece. It's still a brick in the road on the way. Make the next one better and the next one better. A larger body of work does seem to help establish a self-published author. You have to build your brand.

-Sincere interaction with writers and readers can make a difference. Do you regularly participate in writer forums (oh, like maybe this one, which is a pretty darn good one when we're engaged in conversation and not swamped with promotional one-offs)? Do you ask questions and share experience and offer advice without using it as an opportunity to promote but because it involves you in a community? I'm going to be self-publishing for the first time in a couple of weeks or so. I already have people promising (unbidden) to buy my stories and a handful of fan mail. 99% of that is due to the fact that I have been interacting with the writers here and at workshops and conferences and on my blog. The only one of those undertaken intentionally for promotion was the blog. When I'm here, I'm here because I like the people here and have a lot of experience to share and a slightly unhealthy compulsion to point out pitfalls to my fellows. The response is warm and supportive, and a few people around here are really pushing for me to succeed even if they don't think self-publishing is the way they'd want to go. In short (LOL), build yourself a support system somewhere, make yourself a sincere member of the community, and you might be surprised at how many boosters you'll have hawking your book on their blogs and leaving Amazon and Goodreads reviews.

-Luck seems to play a big big part in breaking out in self-publishing. You can't make it, but it could also strike anyone anywhere anytime. Just because it hasn't doesn't mean it won't.

Finally, I'll mention that someone else posted over in the Books section of the forum looking for feedback on the cover of their self-published book. The feedback was very interesting. No reason you can't look for assistance here, too. Maybe it's the cover. Or the title. Or a weak opening. We can help fix that.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

heyjude
Posts: 3
Joined: April 3rd, 2010, 2:07 pm
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by heyjude » April 21st, 2011, 12:34 pm

Thanks, Margo. Actually, I'm doing most of that. I belong to two writers' groups and have a very committed chapter-exchange/editing partner. I paid a bundle to have my manuscript evaluated by a professional editing company (they said it was good!), I've taken several Gotham writing courses and have been told repeatedly my writing is solid. Therefore, I expected a bit more interest from agents.

The thing about not wanting my friends to read it first is because they're so nice, they'll likely tell me it's good no matter what. I want total strangers to want to buy it from what they see.

It's not actually up yet. I'm still trying to choose a cover, set up a website, etc. I'll check out the other forums for help with this.
Onward!

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by Margo » April 21st, 2011, 1:41 pm

heyjude wrote:It's not actually up yet.
Ack, not sure how I missed that! Maybe reading the original message yesterday and too much multi-tasking and not re-reading this morning. So, anyway, yeah, use us if you need us.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
J. T. SHEA
Moderator
Posts: 492
Joined: May 20th, 2010, 1:55 pm
Location: IRELAND
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by J. T. SHEA » April 21st, 2011, 6:12 pm

Heyjude, don't call yourself pathetic and cynical. That's our job.

Gotham writing courses? Now THERE'S an idea! Forget the Smart Car. It's so small it may not even hurt the people you run over, much less kill them. Steal the Batmobile! Anyone who survives getting knocked down will be incinerated by the exhaust. Sweet!

Margo, you have a slightly unhealthy compulsion to point out pitfalls to your fellows? You don't say! I'd NEVER have guessed! I can't wait to read your self-pubbed stories and critique their lack of prologues and dreams and epilogues.

And yes, there sure is a lot of fowl play in Hemingway's books. I hear all those bullfights were actually cock fights in his early drafts.

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by Margo » April 22nd, 2011, 2:59 am

J. T. SHEA wrote:Margo, you have a slightly unhealthy compulsion to point out pitfalls to your fellows? You don't say! I'd NEVER have guessed!
You'd prefer the indiscriminant cheerleader? Oh, yes, sending your query for that faery novel on pink paper, written in glitter pen, with wittle bits of butterfly-shaped confetti in the envelope would be a great idea! Rah rah rah! My advice might get you rejected, but I'm super nice and sooo perky! Bubbly, even. Does everyone feel mutually validated now? Yay!

No, I can't do it. Typing that made me throw up a little in my mouth.
J. T. SHEA wrote:I can't wait to read your self-pubbed stories and critique their lack of prologues and dreams and epilogues.
LOL. One of the reasons I seriously considered using a pen name.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
J. T. SHEA
Moderator
Posts: 492
Joined: May 20th, 2010, 1:55 pm
Location: IRELAND
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by J. T. SHEA » April 22nd, 2011, 1:11 pm

Yes, Margo! I love indiscriminant cheerleaders. It's the outfits and...Oh, wait. That's not what you meant.

Ok, I won't send the faery novel on pink paper. And no glitter pen. And no confetti. But can I still send a horse's head to the first agent who rejects me?

But I do feel mutually validated now. Yay!

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by Margo » April 22nd, 2011, 1:47 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:But can I still send a horse's head to the first agent who rejects me?

0_o

You know...I sense an unfilled niche business opportunity. Do the heads have to be real? Cuz I like horses too much.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
J. T. SHEA
Moderator
Posts: 492
Joined: May 20th, 2010, 1:55 pm
Location: IRELAND
Contact:

Re: DIY Pub

Post by J. T. SHEA » April 22nd, 2011, 9:10 pm

You're right, Margo. I like horses too much too. Though I couldn't eat a whole one. I'll just have to send the whole horse. Once I find a quarter mile of wrapping paper...

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest