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  1. #1

    Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing

    I though this could be a pretty interesting discussion to have here- what are you thoughts on traditional publishing vs. self publishing?

    I love the idea of self publishing and profiting directly from my work. Eventually I'd like to do it but self publishing involves so much more work to just get your work out there. I don't know how to format for ebooks (though I could learn) and I don't have time to intensively market and promote my writing. Self published books also suffer from a bit of a stigma still about being lesser quality than traditionally published books. Thankfully that's starting to turn around thanks to the overwhelming amounts of excellent self published stories that are out now.

    For traditional publishing, there is a certain amount of credibility that it lends you, because it at least implies that your work has been through an editing process [though how rigorous it is varies, I've already found a few errors in mine that were overlooked by both myself, my beta readers, and the editor >.<]. However, the lack of control you have over how your book his priced and promoted can be frustrating, especially since you're only getting a portion of the profits. In an ideal world, the rest of what is made off the book goes to paying the people who did the cover design, the promotion and marketing of the book, the editing process, etc.

    So I see pros and cons to both. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Hey Rien, to give you some context I've done both. I started out with a small press, then went self, and then sold that series to a big-six publisher. I've also signed a contract for a second set of books coming out in the summer/fall. And a novel I wrote that was recently rejected, I'll be self-publishing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rien View Post
    I don't know how to format for ebooks (though I could learn)
    Formatting for an ebook is remarkably easy. It ca be learned and translated from word in an afternoon. Once you know how it takes only a few hours a book - even less if you don't do indexed table of contents.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rien View Post
    and I don't have time to intensively market and promote my writing.
    The authors responsibilities regarding marketing and promotion is EXACTLY the same regardless of whether you go self or traditional. Traditional publishers focus on selling books to the distribution network...not to readers. If books get on the shelves but you don't get your name out there to get people to give them a try the they are just shipped out and then returned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rien View Post
    Self published books also suffer from a bit of a stigma still about being lesser quality than traditionally published books. Thankfully that's starting to turn around thanks to the overwhelming amounts of excellent self published stories that are out now.
    I agree. The stigma is no where near what it once was, especially with people taking their blacklist titles that were previously published out on their own, and hybrid authors who can be signed, but are doing at least some of their projects as self because of higher income.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rien View Post
    For traditional publishing, there is a certain amount of credibility that it lends you, because it at least implies that your work has been through an editing process [though how rigorous it is varies, I've already found a few errors in mine that were overlooked by both myself, my beta readers, and the editor >.<].
    Right now this is the #1 thing traditional has going for them. Other than sales and very high ratings from reviews, it is hard to prove the quality of a book that's not be independently vetted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rien View Post
    However, the lack of control you have over how your book his priced and promoted can be frustrating, especially since you're only getting a portion of the profits.
    The lack of control is an issue, but it's not the most worrisome. Publishing contracts are very much weighted toward the publisher, and the author has to "suck up" a number of clauses that can be utterly ridiculous. Of course the good news is if they are too outrageous you can always walk and go the self-published route, but few do.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rien View Post
    What do you think?
    There is no universal right or wrong answer - just one that is a better fit for each INDIVIDUAL author based on their goals ad capabilities.

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    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    I know I've been hearing more and more lately that a decent choice is to try self-publishing first, get yourself some decent sales, and then see if you can't get picked up by one of the bigger publishing houses. I guess the concept is that if you can prove your book has marketability, you'll be a lot more likely to spark interest with the big publishers than if you simply send them a query with maybe the help of an agent, and what better way to prove said marketability than to actually sell your book to people?
    Seems kind of a tough choice in general. I know if you get stuck with the wrong publisher, you could end up in that financial black hole that a lot of bands and musicians go through, where the amount of money you make does nothing at all to offset the fees incurred by the publisher, so that even if your book sells tens of thousands of copies, you don't see a dime of it, or worse yet, end up in debt. Of course, if you write a book and publish it yourself, there's always the possibility that you'll sink a boatload of your own money into something nobody ends up reading. I wonder what the best route is?

  4. #4
    Well I suppose the question is: are there authors who self-publish 100% of their work that write full time as a career? I'm assuming most authors believe that if you want the big bucks, or at least a sense of financial security, you have to take your chance with the 'big guys.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercougar View Post
    Well I suppose the question is: are there authors who self-publish 100% of their work that write full time as a career? I'm assuming most authors believe that if you want the big bucks, or at least a sense of financial security, you have to take your chance with the 'big guys.'
    People were saying that about independent musicians too

    The plan I've seen is people release their work while working part time somewhere. As they put out more and more, they build a following, and eventually get to the point where their combined sales is enough to sustain them. Then they quit their job to focus on what they're creating

    It'd take quite a few years, but if Renard did it then why can't I \:3/

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    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybby View Post
    It'd take quite a few years, but if Renard did it then why can't I \:3/
    Huh? No, I'm at the opposite stage, where I'm working so hard at my regular job I barely have time for writing. I've made exactly $30 from my writing up until now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank LeRenard View Post
    Huh? No, I'm at the opposite stage, where I'm working so hard at my regular job I barely have time for writing. I've made exactly $30 from my writing up until now.
    (not talking about you)

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    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybby View Post
    (not talking about you)
    Oh damn it, you mean the musician. Duh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank LeRenard View Post
    Huh? No, I'm at the opposite stage, where I'm working so hard at my regular job I barely have time for writing. I've made exactly $30 from my writing up until now.
    What? No way, I thought you were better known than that! I admit I only have a few books out there and I have never done any ads or tried any forms of sales things, but still I have made thousands off of them, and we all know that they aren't that good.
    I only write for fun and if others enjoy them, well that makes me happy! Except for some poetry that was published in a college text book which I never received a dime for, all the rest are self published only. I do have issues with that xxxxxxxxxxxxx format issue, but they are still pretty readable! The stories are good and the characters are not too bad (could use a little work). I guess that I somehow got the idea that you were some great author. Now I find out that your just like me?

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    OK so I am adding this to confirm to every one that there is a major down side to self publishing.
    a few days ago I discovered that some blogger idiot has taken a copy of my book and converted it to a PDF and put it up on their blog as a free download!
    They have given away WITHOUT PERMISSION ten thousand copies at a rate of 900 copies a week. Since I do have a real copywrite on the book, they were in violation of my copywrite! As it turns out without the power of the publishing companies there is almost no way to get damages from them and even though it is theft of intellectual property it is not a crime that any, not even the FBI, law enforcement agency will do anything about. So I had to contact the web site and prove that I had a copy write on the book before they would shut it down. At least the bright side, it was at 900 copies a week and it had a rating of 9.2 out of 10. So there you have it that is the downside to self publishing!

 

 

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