Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't Go Down That Road

For those of you who haven't seen Pet Sematary or the South Park episode that references it, I am comparing self-publishing to reanimating the dead: sure, it sounds cool (especially if you've run out of other options), but 99.9% of the time it's not a good idea. (Whether or not self-publishing will get you murdered by zombies remains to be seen.)

In Monday's comments, akashina asked what I thought of an author's opening his or her own press to publish his/her books, and how this might compare to self-publishing via large companies like Lulu. While I do think that going with a company like Lulu is the lesser of two evils, there are a number of caveats attached.

First, I strongly suggest that you not self-publish unless your book is not intended as a commercial endeavor (i.e., you don't expect anyone beyond your friends and family to read it), you're catering to an extraordinarily small niche audience (e.g. people who want to learn how to make vegan, gluten-free cupcakes using only ingredients available in North Korea), or you intend to simply disseminate it for free on the Internet (in which case, why not just save your money and make a .pdf e-book out of it?). While it's true that the traditional publishing model screens out a fair amount of good, salable material, it also screens out the most abominable garbage you've never seen. The quality of self-published material is, on average, unequivocally far inferior to the quality of traditionally published material. Almost without exception, every writer benefits from a good editor.

Second, I can't stress this enough: you should not self-publish out of frustration or the belief that your book is "too good" or "too smart" for the average agent or reader. Most people are not as good writers as they think they are. I'll reiterate: if you've done literally everything humanly possible to publish your novel in the traditional sense and haven't even gotten a nibble (no requests for the full MS, no personalized rejections, nothing), it's probably not very good. Keep working, keep learning, and write a better novel.

Third, if you are dead-set on self-publishing, I recommend you do your research and go with a company like Lulu that specializes in this sort of thing. While self-publishing via an outside party can signal to industry professionals that you're (potentially) impatient or overly confident of your abilities, it at least earns you the opportunity to have your work showcased in a somewhat professional manner (and we do hear the very occasional story of a self-published novel being picked up by an agent). Opening your own press to publish your work (and no one else's), on the other hand, will not only be perceived as the height of hubris and ignorance of how this business actually works, but will probably cost you far more money than a basic Lulu-type package (assuming you actually shell out the money to do it right). A $9.99 domain name and a bunch of .pdfs of your novels available for paid download does not a professional press make.

In short: if you don't have a very good reason for self-publishing, don't do it (at least not in print; the e-book revolution may change things in the next five or so years). If you feel you must self-publish, do it right. Printing your own material without anyone else's help—no editors, no publicists, no marketing directors, no advertising budget, no nothing, nada, zero, zilch—is not only likely a tremendous waste of your time, but your hard-earned cash, as well.

32 comments:

  1. What I like about self-publishing is that it gives me greater interaction with my audience. I get to see who's buying my books, who's signing up for my newsletter, who are my "biggest fans" over time, so to speak. This is one of the frustrating things about traditional publishing (or even ebook publishing, through Amazon)--I don't get to know the people buying my books.

    Better, more attuned & granular interaction with your fanbase is key to marketing now. It seems silly to hand that over to someone else.

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  2. Really? I go to ten or twelve author blogs where it seems to me that traditionally published authors have plenty of chances to interact with their audience. I don't see how having a publisher has any effect whatsoever on whether you know who signs up for your newsletter. After all, it's your newsletter and not handled by a publisher, yes?

    Also, of what fanbase do we speak? Most self-pubbed novels have a fanbase of a few hundred people at most. Trad pubbed novels have much larger fanbases, with plenty of evidence for authors interacting directly with them.

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  3. If you've done literally everything humanly possible to publish your novel in the traditional sense and haven't even gotten a nibble (no requests for the full MS, no personalized rejections, nothing), it's probably not very good.

    I understand the point you're trying to make. I've seen the posts that said exactly what you're responding to. Even still, this comment can get tiresome at times. It's common enough among writing blogs, and it belittles the challenges of the query process. Querying is not easy. Sometimes it seems even more difficult than writing the actual book. And that speedbump in the process to publication can be harder for some to get over than others.

    I know that's not who you were targeting with the comment, but some days it's hard for an aspiring writer to be told, "No one's interested in your book? Then it must suck." If only it were that easy.

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  4. Interesting. It might be cool to take a break from traditionally published books (minus Giller Prize Winners of course)and see what's out there in the self pubbed world. One man's garbage could be another woman's treasure.

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  5. This is spot-on. Self publishing is rarely a good idea. There are a few who do well with it, but it's a VERY few, and generally there's something else going on that helps them succeed.

    John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are two examples. (At least, I'm pretty sure Scalzi self-publishes; Wil goes through a small press that he's deeply involved with, which is just another form of self-pub). But both of those guys are basically already famous. Famous people already have a name and a fan base. It's much easier for them to collect thousands of followers on twitter, drive readers to their blogs, and thus build up market interest in their books.

    If you're already famous, bully for you! Go ahead and self-publish. Even if your stuff is, as Eric writes, the most horrible garbage ever chances are you'll still sell a bunch of it.

    But I've seen non-famous people pull it off. One that comes to mind is a Canadian writer named Randolph Lalonde (@randolphlalonde on Twitter). He writes and self-publishes as a full time job, putting out a couple of different sci-fi series. But it really is a full time job: he has to do the writing, editing, production, and promotion. He has to contract with artists for book covers and acquire rights to those images. He has to maintain his own website, stay abreast of ebook formats, and make sure his books are available on every platform his readers might want to read them on. He has to set up his own author events at libraries and bookstores. He has to account for all his sales and do his own taxes. And on and on and on. Really, it's two full time jobs: one as a writer, one as a publisher/marketer. And neither job is easy to do well.

    For all that, he keeps himself fed, clothed, and housed, but not a whole lot more. It's not like he's living in an eight bedroom mansion with a butler bringing him caviar on crackers at the ring of a silver bell.

    If you're a writer whose work is good enough to actually attract and keep readers, and you're willing to do two--or maybe that all adds up to three--full time jobs' worth of work for less than what one corporate job would pay you, then by all means self publish.

    Otherwise, do as Eric says: focus on improving your writing, keep querying, and someday you might get the break you've _earned_.

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  6. I was going to comment, but Atsiko and Jason Black have pretty much beaten me to everything I was going to say.

    Joseph, I hear you, as I am currently unpublished myself, but will say (for what it's worth) that I think Eric is spot-on. Yes, the query process is daunting and difficult, but really? If you can write a novel that's good enough to be sold and published, then you can write a query letter that reflects that. It might take a lot of tries, but then again, didn't your novel go through draft after draft?

    I trust agents to know what good, saleable writing looks like. If they tell me that mine isn't up to snuff (and I don't mean one or two or even ten, more like twenty or thirty)- to the point that I can't blame it on the subjectivity of the business- then I'll put my novel in a drawer and use what I've learned to write another one.

    In the end, the process has to make me happy by virute of the fact that it IS. Of course I want to be published one day. But not badly enough that I'll do it myself. For those who do, that's great for them; heck, it's why the self-publishing industry exists. For those who want it.

    I just don't think we should confuse apples with oranges here. Just my 2/c.

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  7. Eric,

    I have to disagree here. Lulu is an atrocious way to publish a book if you actually want to sell copies. You can cut out Lulu and go to LSI directly and save your readers bunches of money. Worldwide English distribution is also possible and easily attained.

    Also, traditional publishers are narrowing their lists. I have many friends who are being dropped by their publishers. It is harder than ever to get picked up.

    Two trends favor the self-publisher: 1) bookstores are closing and people are turning to Amazon and other online outlets to save money. Traditional books maintain a cost advantage and are more visible on bestseller lists, but they are on the same shelf 2) Ebook sales are increasing. (well executed)Self-published ebooks look just like traditionally published ebooks except they cost half as much and the author gets paid more.

    The number of articles from respected sources, Joe Konrath is one, championing self-publishing are increasing. More and more the voices I hear bemoaning self-publishing are those with something to lose.

    CJ

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  8. Wow. Great post. I think all I was going to say has been said. I've been querying and it is frustrating but I won't self publish. Why? I put hours and hours of work (and if you look real close, a little bit of blood, sweat and tears) into my manuscripts. I can put a few more hours (or months, or years) into finding the right publisher.

    PS. Well said Kimberly.

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  9. You're overstating things a bit. If you're talking about self-publishing a mainstream novel, I agree with you. But sometimes self-publishing is the only way to go. Where I work, for example, we printed a self-published Yizkor book (Holocaust memorial book). The author had singlehandedly translated the entire book (about a tiny town called Ivenets in what is now Belarus) from Yiddish and Hebrew and couldn't find a publisher. Yet this is the only English record of the history of the people in this town--and an amazing glimpse into a lost world. She had the book professionally edited and designed and it's a beautiful and important book. Another book we did was a series of letters from an immigrant woman sent home to Italy--it's heartbreaking. She also had it professionally designed etc. Yes, this one will appeal mainly to her family, but it's a gorgeous and interesting book. Most self-published books are crap--but some people understand that there's more to creating a book than sending a file to Lulu.

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  10. what if you already have an audience and a venue to showcase your work? I am not talking about family and friends. That is my case. I was already to go down the traditional path. But I have a small fan base, built up online and real life. And a store willing to showcase my work. Granted it will probably not get any further than my town. But I am not going into this thinking I will strike gold.

    I am going into it because I have people that want a book in their hands of my writing. But I have not just slapped any old thing. I rewrote and rewrote one of my stories. Handed it to a freelance editor and got a lot of critique back before it hits the press. In this case Createspace.

    My point is things are changing in publishing. If more self published authors take the time to make their work professional. Believe me, I have read some horrible stuff, the professional looking and sounding work will stand out. And with the ground swell of writing out there, you have to stand out.

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  11. MJR, those fall under the category of non-fiction with a niche market. Sellf-publishing works very well for that sort of title. But commercial fiction not so much, which is where most of the focus of this debate is--because there's a debate to be had there.

    Mari- The problem with self-publishing right now is that it lacks the infrastructure of trad publishing. It is possible to put out some very excellent material through self-publishing, and many people have done it. But for many debut authors without a lot of experience in business, it can be very dangerous or murky.

    You can find some good editors and other freelance or contract workers to do a lot of the stuff that publishing houses do. But publishing houses have a lot of experience that their employees have built up over the years, and they tend to do better on the teamwork. It's also a load off of the author's mind. Many writers are just not suited to the kind of work that self-publishing requires. If someone is, more power to them, but it's still going to be a difficult road for most of them.

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  12. Some of us write well, some not so well. Be that as it may, I, for one, am too damn old to wait around weeks, months or years for some agent to deign to glance at my mss before rejecting it because it is in Caslon instead of Times New Roman, or the indent on the paragraphs is one space incorrect for their submission guidelines.

    At $25 a pop to print a submission, $12.50 for S&H one way, I don't have to be rejected too often to have paid for self publishing anyway.

    I have a new strategy. I have an editor, a cover artist, blurb contributors, a Facebook fan page and a website (rlpace.com). I will produce my book for well under 2K and submit it with a two sentence query: This is my book. Do you want to represent it to a larger house?

    Meanwhile, I'll flog my book with all my might, go where I need to, do what I need to, speak where I must, infiltrate libraries and have everyone I know go in every bookstore in a tri-state area and ask if they have my book in stock.

    I think the traditional model, if not broken at least has serious sand in the gears and it is up to new writers to become their own brand names.

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  13. Holy Lord, I almost died laughing. I think I broke something.

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  14. "Opening your own press to publish your work (and no one else's), on the other hand, will not only be perceived as the height of hubris and ignorance of how this business actually works ..."

    Sorry, but that's only second-worst. The acme of ignorant hubris is to start your own press and try to persuade other writers to publish their books through it. Not only does it have all the stupid drawbacks of self-publishing, but you're cajoling your fellow authors into sharing your folly.

    The bleakly funny part is that by recruiting other unpublished writers, you're actually reducing your own chances of being read. The reading public has a strong aversion to slush. If you surround your own book with other people's unsaleable work, you're increasing the chances that a browsing reader will try to read one of those other books first. When they discover how bad it is, they'll be repulsed, and they'll never come back again.

    Robert Pace said: "Some of us write well, some not so well. Be that as it may, I, for one, am too damn old to wait around weeks, months or years for some agent to deign to glance at my mss before rejecting it because it is in Caslon instead of Times New Roman, or the indent on the paragraphs is one space incorrect for their submission guidelines."

    Robert, if your book got rejected, it wasn't because it was in Caslon, or had six-space indents. It was because the person who received it didn't sufficiently enjoy reading it.

    If they'd really enjoyed it, and you'd not only mis-formatted it but left your full contact information off the cover letter, they'd have spent significant time and effort hunting you down. There are almost no sins that won't be forgiven someone who's written a book that people enjoy reading.

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  15. One additional point of which those considering self-publishing should be aware is that a self-published author is not eligible for many author guilds and organisations and does not qualify for many/most awards. It's also very rare for anyone (with a sizeable audience) to review anything self-published. And a large amount of people will dismiss the content of a self-published book without even a glance.

    Self-publishing is not the worst thing an author can do, but I feel it's an option best put off until you've been plugging at the traditional markets for a good many years. Give yourself a chance not only to leap the hurdles of submission, but also to improve and mature as a writer before taking that step.

    On the flip side, not receiving requests for fulls or any real interest in your submissions is not necessarily a sign that your novel is "probably not very good". Some genres are completely unpopular at the moment, the publishing industry (like many others) is struggling with a global financial crisis, and at times "different" will not sell irregardless of its quality. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to be objective about your own writing, or to find people who are able to point out what is or isn't working. That's why time is such an important factor - something you thought was amazing five years ago, might appear clumsy and embarrassing after you've let it sit for a while.

    But if, after five (or more) years and however many subsequent novels, your books still read well to you, and you're still feeling like a square peg trying to fit in a round publishing hole, the simple pleasure of seeing your own books on your shelf may make self-publishing worthwhile.

    Everyone's mileage may vary.

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  16. You mean even when you encounter a book that's published the "regular" way that's not really good there's still something worse in the self-publishing realm? I shudder at the thought!

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  17. @Teresa. I've had my books well received by other authors, agents and even a publisher or two. I've been told, "It's a great story that deserves an audience, but it's not MY type of novel. I'll pass it on to an agent friend of mine that handles this sort of thing."

    I beg to differ that these people (for the most part) will search the ends of the earth looking for me, or any other first time author. My experience suggests they sit in their leather chairs waiting for more dreck to filter in from an 'established' (read bankable) author. You want to sit by the metaphorical mailbox for the next few years hoping and praying the publishing gods will deliver you from obscurity? Be my guest, I'll be out hawking my books, in print, complete with ISBNs and cover art.

    Vanity? Perhaps so, but I'll at least have taken a swing at success and I'll sleep soundly at night.

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  18. Eric,

    Thanks a lot for addressing my question -- this is huge help.

    Anna.

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  19. Dear Eric:

    what about going with a publishing house that doesn't require you to be agented before you submit? There are quite a few of these houses out there, and most of them are reputable.

    I also beg to differ with Ms. Host. I have a writing buddy that self-published, and she marketed the book herself through social media and networking with other authors and reviewers. She's on her 5th self-published book (all POD books) and her sales are fairly robust. Last year, she made $150k after taxes. Of course, she spends at least 5 hours a day promoting her books, but she considers that to be an effort worth making.

    Regards,

    Wilma

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  20. @ cherose - is your friend a fiction or non-fiction author? I fear I wasn't specific, but was approaching the discussion from a fiction author viewpoint. If your friend is making $150k/year selling self-published fiction, I can only offer her my awe and congratulations.

    For non-fiction, self-publishing is a very viable option.

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  21. For me self publishing just made sense. At the moment I have 3 cookbooks and 2 chapbooks self published. I choose to do that because they work together with the items I sale in my two online stores. And selling them only in one place makes them so much more unique.
    Hating on self publishing just because you think you might know more than others isn't always true. Self publishing isn't for everyone.. but it can be for anyone.

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  22. You know, I think people make blanket statements about self-publishing because they really don't understand just how much it's changed over the last few years. With that said, self-publishing is not for everyone. You have to approach it like a business, you have to make your work the best it can be and promote it. If you can't or won't do that, then stick with the traditional route.

    When I self published my mainstream chick lit novel (should've been doomed from the start), I had one goal in mind--to get my work out there so I could start building an audience. I promoted like a crazy woman, got some great review, and was eventually approved by the B&N small press buyer and got it stocked in select stores across the country. I set it up on Kindle and my sales were really great--put me in Amazon's Top 100 African American book list and a couple of other lists. The great reviews, however, attracted an editor from a publishing house. And the interest from an editor landed me a literary agent. If I had thrown my book in a drawer, that never would've happened. If I had kept querying, it might have happened, but who knows when. My book's been out 5 or so months. What will happen with the editor? I dunno, deals fall through all the time. But it's on submission and has a chance to get published--and perhaps a better chance than before because it's market tested. Women love it.

    In terms of self publishing, I usually advise authors against using services like LuLu, Authorhouse, etc. because they essentially give up control over their book to middlemen. And when you're trying to get into bookstores and retailers you must offer flexible terms (standard wholesale discount, returns. With services like Lulu, you can't set your discount and usually have to pay some ridiculous fee to offer returns. If you work through major distributor printers (Lightning Source, TextStream), you can offer flexible terms and they are by far among the cheapest to set up with. Plus you get listed with Ingram and Baker and Taylor, the distributors major retailers use to stock stores.

    More and more frequently, I see Kindle authors with great sales and getting picked up by publishing houses. Self publishing is almost becoming a proving ground, where books have to demonstrate commercial viability before a house will pick it up. If you put out a great product (well-edited, great cover) and promote it, it can work. I'm proof positive of that. And there are many other indie authors who can say the same.

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  23. "While it's true that the traditional publishing model screens out a fair amount of good, salable material, it also screens out the most abominable garbage you've never seen. The quality of self-published material is, on average, unequivocally far inferior to the quality of traditionally published material. Almost without exception, every writer benefits from a good editor."

    Eric, you normally give good advice. This is dreck.

    I thought the DaVinci Code and Twilight were both the most abominable garbage, but never mind. Lets say the author doesn't headhop (Dan Brown does, btw) and can spell, has a good grasp of grammar, yadda yadda yadda.

    The fact that there is so much crap out there is your reason why people shouldn't self-publish? Are you a bloody eejit?

    There is crap everywhere. I've been to restaurants that gave me food that was tasteless, yucky, minging, and made me want to spew. Are you suggesting I never eat out in any restaurant ever again?

    I have went home with women I shouldn't have went home with. Are you suggesting I never have sex again?

    I'm sure you get my point. The fact that something has a lot of crap in it is no reason to not do something much better.

    And, hello, freelance editors.

    "Second, I can't stress this enough: you should not self-publish out of frustration or the belief that your book is "too good" or "too smart" for the average agent or reader."

    Yeah, it's only publishers who get to think they are smarter than readers. That's why publishers protect delicate reader sensibilities from abominable garbage. Come on, if a reader starts a book, and its crap, he won't finish it.

    And to be honest, I'd rather walk away from a $1.99 indie thinking it was a waste of time than from a $12.99 NY published book. And there have been oh so many NY published books I've picked up and thought "why did this get published?"

    "I recommend Lulu..."

    Probably the only one you've heard of. Every indie author I know would not recommend Lulu or any author services company. You've not taken the time to look into this. You've not given your answer any thought.

    "Opening your own press to publish your work (and no one else's), on the other hand, will not only be perceived as the height of hubris and ignorance of how this business actually works,"

    Advances have went down. Less people are being published. Published authors are losing contracts. Imprints are closing. Publishers are going into administration. People are being laid off. Bookshops are going into administration. And you think your business works? You might not about publishingf, but do you really understand business? I mean, really?

    I couldn't think why your post had me so angry at first, but then I understood. There is such a thing as authorial responsibility. Akashina was trusting you to give her a well thought out, balanced answer.

    You fed her bullshit instead.

    Shame on you.

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  24. I can't help but think of the bestselling book, The Shack. Many agents turned this book down as they thought there wasn't a market for it. And what they failed to see is that there is a LARGE audience out there that is ready to take traditional religion out of the box.

    I'm in the query process, and I am running into the same problem. I am building a (targeted) platform of agnostics and atheist through fb who are excited about my book after reading about it on my site. I'm getting tons of emails asking about where they can buy it and each time I have to explain it's in the query process. For me Self publishing looks better and better every day.

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  25. @on Chris "I thought the DaVinci Code and Twilight were both the most abominable garbage, but never mind."

    I think you made a mistake using those two books as examples. While there are certainly people who don't enjoy Dan Brown or Stephenie Meyer, there are a larger number of people who do. Those books sell like cupcakes, so I'd say traditional publishing succeeded amazingly with The DaVinci Code and Twilight.

    They made oodles of money. Why else would they publish these books to begin with? The Shack (as Malanie mentions) is actually a far better example because it's one of those rare books where agents did misjudge the market-value. But those are few and far between.

    Of course personal opinion comes into play at the agent, editor and reader levels, but from my own experience, the drek of traditionally published novels is still light years better than most self-published work. And it's not even a matter of grammar and formatting errors.

    Those pop-up, but they're mostly forgivable and easy to ignore. What turned me off from reading self-published books were the authors' voices. I found them unrefined and not particularly engaging. Maybe they could have benefited from some 3rd party editing and perhaps a bit more time spent writing, being rejected and writing some more.

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  26. My point in mentioning those very popular books was to highlight agent personalities. If I was an agent I wouldn't have taken them on. Commercially, a bad idea.

    On the other hand, I would have snapped up Harry Potter, which I love. Lots of agents passed on that.

    My point was that a ms may be good and still not get published. It's not always a case of "Your novel is crap, write another one." It could well be "I don't like your novel, millions of other people might."

    And yes, there are currently lots of self-published crappy novels out there. And there are some real gems. I recently read a novella that was better than most published novels. More and more authors are going indie, and succeeding at it.

    I know it's not for everyone. Some people are perfectly happy to write, submit, write, submit.

    I'm not one of them. If I write a novel, I write it the way it's to be written. If I choose a certain title, it's for a reason. I choose the best title for my story. I don't want to have to change it.

    I have a WIP and as soon as I had the idea for it, I knew exactly what the cover would look like. Just knowing that got me so excited about this one story.

    I want full control over every aspect of my book. I want to be involved at every stage. Does that mean I can't write? No. Does that mean I intend to self-publish the first thing I ever wrote? No. I've spent nearly 20 years writing every single day (even Christmas ;p ) honing my craft, getting to the point where I feel I am ready to be published; by NY, by myself, by anyone.

    I have beta readers. Some are published writers. They rave about my work. I have editors. What I don't have yet is someone to do a cover for my first novel, but I'll get that sorted soon.

    At the end of the day, I believe indie publishing is a viable alternative. But not for everyone. If sorting book covers and all that just isn't for you, then go the tradpub route. But if you want to know if it's for you, ask some indie authors.

    I've set up a new forum for indie authors to network. It's really new, there's only 4 of us so far. You can find it here: http://www.runboard.com/btheguildofindependentauthors

    Don't ask someone in the publishing business if you should D-I-Y it. It's like asking a Taxi driver if you should get a bus. Eric's dinner being on the table depends on there being a publishing industry; he won't advise people to D-I-Y it, because if enough people did, there wouldn't be a publishing industry anymore.

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  27. HUBRIS? In publishing? What? How did ole Hubris get in publishing? Bet he's hangin' with Pretentiousness? Wait, I gotta read that part again...



    Yep, he said it, Hubris in publishing. Oh be still my heart! Say it ain't so... ain't so! Why, that's like Holly not being in Hollywood! (certainly glad there's no Hubris there)! Damnable, Hubris... good God, there must be humans involved in publishing!

    My turtle's laughin.'

    Haste yee back ;-)

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  28. on Chris,

    Your comment was poorly written and with grammatical errors.
    I'm not even a professional/aspiring writer but would automatically discredit any thing you had to say based on that premise.

    ie: I have went home with women I shouldn't have went home with?
    Advances have went down? The correct word is "gone". Less people are being published? "Fewer people". Come on, this is elementary grammar.

    As for the "crap" that gets published... as long as it makes money for the publishers because that's what business is about. So you clearly have no idea about how business works.

    If you want to self publish in hopes of achieving fame or fortune, you are deluding yourself. If you genuine have something important to say and you need to share this with the world, you might actually have a chance at success.

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  29. @spinnercity@ "If you genuine have something to say" shouldn't that be genuinely, lol. Amazing how these mistakes just slip past your guard, isn't it?

    Fair points though, to which I can only respond, you're right. My grammar was rotten. In fairness, though, I was really angry when I wrote that. And I don't edit my posts (I should) because I like to keep it light, conversational. I write online exactly as I talk.

    Of course, as I pointed out earlier, freelance editors. My ms won't be as unedited as my posts.

    Oh, and you're assuming I write for fame or fortune or cos I have a message. Wrong on all counts, btw. I write because I love writing. If I can make money, cool. If that's £50, fine. If it's £50,000, cool. But I'm happy whatever happens.

    If someone wants fame and fortune, buy a lottery ticket. There are more lottery winners than bestselling authors making that amount of money, self-published or NY.

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  30. all very interesting comments but, I think I'll poke out my own eyes with a rusty spoon before I do the whole self-pub thing... It still smells a little like desperation. Maybe in a few years, when I'm a little more desperate, maybe I'll self-pub too. The reality for me is... I'm far too lazy to flog myself. I'm a writer, not a salesman. Selling is someone else's job. I do the... whiskey and red eyed writer thing, someone else does the selling... we all win... supposedly...

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  31. @on Chris - Thank you for explaining your stance in more detail. I still remain wary of the "more and more authors are going indie, and succeeding at it" line as when I've seen it used it in the past, it's often been based on anecdotal evidence. And when you do see a story about an indie author's success, it's often related to the book being picked up by a mainstream publishing house.

    All that said, the indie/self-pub/POD methods do have merit and historical precedent. I always think of Virgina Woolf, who self-published the vast majority of her work - through a press she started, Eric ;).

    I'm always glad to learn about these alternative means of publishing, but write now they're not in line with my publishing goals. That said I'll have to check out your forum to get a further information on the indie scene.

    Please note that I didn't mean to imply that all self-published authors are lazy and half-illiterate. Although it has been my misfortune to run into that variety, there are certainly many writers out there who care about developing their craft through dedicated writing and editing.

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