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Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003







Fallen Rib

As an update, I reached out to the audiobook publisher about Amazon making this difficult ("you can't disable it except by resubmitting as non-reflowable") and they were willing to remove the clause from the contract rather than try to fight Amazon about it, even though they were involved in the lawsuits. So it worked out, but yeah.

The tts argument for accessibility makes sense to me, but I can also understand how that infringes on my audio rights and my ability to sell those rights. I ultimately want people to be able to listen to my book, but there's a valid copyright argument to be made.

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Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Part of the issue for publishers is the contracts that spell out exactly what they are and are not allowed to do with the author's work. We cannot publish non-english versions of our author's books because we do not have those rights spelled out in our contracts. We chose to leave those rights to the author since we're not doing translations and have no intention of doing so in any reasonably near future. Same with several other rights we could have asked for (and none of our authors are big names or would even hesitate to give us those rights but we try to do right by the authors). I would be much more preferable for amazon to make these feature available to publishers to turn on and off rather than trying to just do stuff because they think it's a good idea. Those good ideas may unknowingly violate contracts and force publishers to pull works from amazon which screws the publishers and the authors.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

okay so i've written/published 16 novels, i think? and with my newest series i'm finally getting proper audiobooks out. i'm very excited. I talked to my narrator for like an hour via zoom yesterday and hammered it all out. he really loves the book. i have a good feeling about this one, but we'll see. i think it's my best work (i always think my latest book is my best work).

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



Howdy, folks. This is my first time stepping into this subforum and I thought I'd introduce myself.

I'm a guy who became physically disabled a few years ago, taking away my ability to work any of the jobs I'm qualified to do. I've always pursued creative things and started writing about 1000 words daily, no matter what. I've written short things before, including stand up that I did decades ago along with other comedic stuff. But my reading passion has and always will be horror, as my father was an extremely small time published horror author in the 80's. I grew up with it and almost always have a horror novel on my nightstand.

I focused my daily writing practice and I recently wrote my first novel - a horror story set in the American south about a disabled guy and his parrot moving onto land in the country plagued with an ancient monster. I don't think it's particularly good and it I'm currently polishing it from a bloated as gently caress 220k word rough draft into a more manageable, official first draft.

I know my next step is taking a scalpel to this overweight manuscript, so I'm doing that. But past there, I'm getting a little overwhelmed. I've read the OP a couple of times, trying to become familiarized with the next steps. I'm not averse to throwing some money at the project, if it produces a better end result. I'm trying to focus on doing this right, rather than cheap or quick. In a perfect world, I could rejoin the workforce through writing. As I mentioned, when I'm not editing something, I write a minimum 1k words a day.

I'm mostly wanting to introduce myself before I start asking inane questions, but any thoughts are welcome. Thanks for listening.

(I'm not yet at the point where I'm sending out excerpts, but if I should get some together I can do that.)

White Chocolate
Jan 23, 2007
Sweat Baby, sweat baby

I think you should post something for critique or join a writers group if you intend to publish. You need to get more eyes on it so it can get massaged into a better product and so you can get better at it. Also you know listen and read a lot about writing and read books in your genre.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Captain Log posted:

I know my next step is taking a scalpel to this overweight manuscript, so I'm doing that. But past there, I'm getting a little overwhelmed. I've read the OP a couple of times, trying to become familiarized with the next steps. I'm not averse to throwing some money at the project, if it produces a better end result. I'm trying to focus on doing this right, rather than cheap or quick. In a perfect world, I could rejoin the workforce through writing. As I mentioned, when I'm not editing something, I write a minimum 1k words a day.

I'm mostly wanting to introduce myself before I start asking inane questions, but any thoughts are welcome. Thanks for listening.

(I'm not yet at the point where I'm sending out excerpts, but if I should get some together I can do that.)

Welcome and congrats on finishing your first draft! That's absolutely huge and worthy of celebration.

Doing a self pass through edit is a perfect idea...BUT make sure you give yourself a bit of a break between finishing the novel and going back to edit, so you can see things with fresh eyes, otherwise you're just going to be too close to your work to get value out of the process. When you've put some distance between you and your novel, read through and look for big picture things first (what is the story about? do my characters have a clear and compelling arc? does every scene advance plot or character or both? do I have plotholes/continuity issues?), before working on scene level stuff (how do I make a boring but necessary scene more interesting?) then getting into the weeds (e.g. line level stuff, spelling, grammar, repetition in word choice).

When you're ready to post excerpts for critique and look for beta readers, you should post in the fiction crit thread.

In terms of familiarizing yourself with next steps, YouTube can be useful, though the quality of the "what next" videos are a bit mixed. There's a lot of videos focused on the craft of writing, there's a select few talking about the marketing side of things, and imo, most of the tutorial/"how to" videos suck because they kind of focus on step by step stuff without explaining the why behind what they're doing. I found the advice in this thread more specific and helpful, because of how many successful self-published authors there are giving advice in this thread so definitely take your time to slowly read through the thread in full.

Based on your post, I assume you're in this to make money. If so, you need to understand what you're getting yourself into. If you want a general primer on how the publishing industry works, I did a YouTube video here (I spent 10+ years in audit and a lot of my clients were traditional publishers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrgRWJvhLjw

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



Leng posted:

Welcome and congrats on finishing your first draft! That's absolutely huge and worthy of celebration.

Doing a self pass through edit is a perfect idea...BUT make sure you give yourself a bit of a break between finishing the novel and going back to edit, so you can see things with fresh eyes, otherwise you're just going to be too close to your work to get value out of the process. When you've put some distance between you and your novel, read through and look for big picture things first (what is the story about? do my characters have a clear and compelling arc? does every scene advance plot or character or both? do I have plotholes/continuity issues?), before working on scene level stuff (how do I make a boring but necessary scene more interesting?) then getting into the weeds (e.g. line level stuff, spelling, grammar, repetition in word choice).

When you're ready to post excerpts for critique and look for beta readers, you should post in the fiction crit thread.

In terms of familiarizing yourself with next steps, YouTube can be useful, though the quality of the "what next" videos are a bit mixed. There's a lot of videos focused on the craft of writing, there's a select few talking about the marketing side of things, and imo, most of the tutorial/"how to" videos suck because they kind of focus on step by step stuff without explaining the why behind what they're doing. I found the advice in this thread more specific and helpful, because of how many successful self-published authors there are giving advice in this thread so definitely take your time to slowly read through the thread in full.

Based on your post, I assume you're in this to make money. If so, you need to understand what you're getting yourself into. If you want a general primer on how the publishing industry works, I did a YouTube video here (I spent 10+ years in audit and a lot of my clients were traditional publishers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrgRWJvhLjw

Thank you very, very much for this thoughtful response. I'm going to digest it a bit before I become Mr. Questions.

If I can make money - That would be grand. But I've also done enough of the arts throughout my life that I'm aware not everyone, "Makes It." I do have one valuable thing on my hands, which is time.

I spent my whole life wanting to write, especially growing up around my published father. But after college all my time got soaked up by working various difficult, time consuming jobs. I was in an industry that had me constantly working doubles, or doing five travel overnights a week, and I became a (thankfully many years sober) alcoholic. Now that I have the time, I figure I'd be a hypocrite to not at least give it a try. I just turned thirty-seven, so I drat well need to make something of my life between now and death. :derptiel:

I do have a major question that I'd love any opinions on -

What is an executable work count for a first timer?

I've read way too much Stephen King and Clive Barker my whole life to write concisely, so I'm aware I'm producing bloat. But I've read a lot of articles saying 40k-100k absolute max.

I know my 217k needs to get majorly chopped down. But I'm not sure how much to chop.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Captain Log posted:

I do have a major question that I'd love any opinions on -

What is an executable work count for a first timer?

I've read way too much Stephen King and Clive Barker my whole life to write concisely, so I'm aware I'm producing bloat. But I've read a lot of articles saying 40k-100k absolute max.

I know my 217k needs to get majorly chopped down. But I'm not sure how much to chop.

In my view, the answer comes straight from the title of the fiction writing thread - read more, write more. Read the successful books in your genre that are selling and look at how long they are, because that's what readers are expecting and looking for. Too short, and they'll feel cheated that they didn't get enough story; too long, and they might find it off putting.

In terms of chopping, it's not necessarily about cutting things out either. Your 217k could be because you are not a concise writer or it could be because you've got plot and/or character sprawl or it could be because every sentence you write only does one thing, instead of multiple things, so it takes you 217k words to accomplish the same amount of plot/character/world development that a more experienced author could do in 110k words.

Or, it could be that you've just told a massively big story all in one book, and you could do better splitting it up into a duology or a trilogy. It's hard to say without having seen any of your writing samples!

TL;DR - it depends on what you've actually written, but if in doubt, stick to the typical word count for comparable titles in your genre.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

i'm releasing a book tomorrow that has been through one editor, a dozen or so ARC readers, two proof-readers, and my narrator and I are still finding freaking typos!!!!!! ahhhhghghhghashdfhasd

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


Just the annual reminder: This thread's OP is 7 years old and probably could not be any more out of date if it tried. I retired from writing a few years ago now, but if any regulars want to PM me a new OP, I'll edit it in.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

i am now firmly in the "compulsively check sales and second guess every piece of marketing" phase of my launch day

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Captain Log posted:

I do have a major question that I'd love any opinions on -

What is an executable work count for a first timer?

I've read way too much Stephen King and Clive Barker my whole life to write concisely, so I'm aware I'm producing bloat. But I've read a lot of articles saying 40k-100k absolute max.

I know my 217k needs to get majorly chopped down. But I'm not sure how much to chop.

Word count for a novel depends heavily on genre in my experience. Research your genre for specifics. We're publishing things from about 60k-120k across various SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror categories. Another thing to take into account especially self publishing is that the longer the book, the more just about everything will cost which makes it more difficult to see ROI out of a title. This especially applies to Audio books which is the largest growing segment of the publishing market at the moment.

Finally, realize that it can take quite some time/effort to build momentum and start turning a profit. General consensus from the majority of published authors I've had the opportunity to speak with directly and second hand through my wife (who does the actual writing and editing) is that you don't start making money on a series until the 3rd book in the series. Conversely, readers tend to peter out after book 6.

Those things being said. Write, write, write, and read a whole lot!

OH last item for real this time... Please don't publish or submit something to agents/publishers that hasn't been read critically by somebody who doesn't love you.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

i am now firmly in the "compulsively check sales and second guess every piece of marketing" phase of my launch day

That was me as well.

Does it ever get better with successive releases?

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


Leng posted:

That was me as well.

Does it ever get better with successive releases?

I think I stopped looking at my sales every single day after only about 12 months

still a small uplift every time Smashwords emails me about another sale though

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



Zaepho posted:

Word count for a novel depends heavily on genre in my experience. Research your genre for specifics. We're publishing things from about 60k-120k across various SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror categories. Another thing to take into account especially self publishing is that the longer the book, the more just about everything will cost which makes it more difficult to see ROI out of a title. This especially applies to Audio books which is the largest growing segment of the publishing market at the moment.

Finally, realize that it can take quite some time/effort to build momentum and start turning a profit. General consensus from the majority of published authors I've had the opportunity to speak with directly and second hand through my wife (who does the actual writing and editing) is that you don't start making money on a series until the 3rd book in the series. Conversely, readers tend to peter out after book 6.

Those things being said. Write, write, write, and read a whole lot!

OH last item for real this time... Please don't publish or submit something to agents/publishers that hasn't been read critically by somebody who doesn't love you.

Thanks for the input!

I certainly don't think I'm going to write Carrie on my first try. I'm so critical of what I write that it keeps me up at night. When I try to read for pleasure, I keep letting my mind wander off into how much better the book in my hands is than the arduous, bloated mess I created. I'm thirty-seven and done enough creative stuff to not be high on my own supply, knowing a first novel is probably much more a mess than good.

The hard thing to really grasp is the "Choose your Adventure" publishing game. My father, last publishing in 1989, very much thinks -

- You write
- You submit to everywhere, expecting a poo poo ton of rejection letters
- You get published or offered a contract

I'd kill for such a streamlined process.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Captain Log posted:

I certainly don't think I'm going to write Carrie on my first try.

Neither did King! Despite being his first published, that was his fourth novel.

Yes, your earliest writings are bound to be bad and it's likely to remain bad for a while. Everyone's are, starting out. That's the learning process. But everything you write, especially everything you finish, especially every big thing, will be better. In some way or another. Assuming you have anything resembling a mammal brain, that's guaranteed.

One thing you might want to do to give yourself distance from your new finished manuscript is... write. Make something totally different, with no relation to the last one. (It doesn't have to be another novel; it probably shouldn't, even, unless you're a really fast writer.) Distract and occupy that part of your brain with a new and different creative task, and see it to completion. Or several, if they're short. Then, after you've set your manuscript aside for a month or two, you can come back to it with fresh eyes, now that you've completely forgotten some details, and others have gone hazy, and you don't have every page of it memorized.

Then you can decide whether you need to cut and trim it down like you said, or if it would be more efficient to just rewrite the whole thing from scratch, now that you already know the whole plot and what it's all about and what the purpose of each chapter and scene is and where it's headed in the end. Right now, you're too close to it to even make that determination.

Fuschia tude fucked around with this message at 23:05 on Jul 3, 2021

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


Captain Log posted:

The hard thing to really grasp is the "Choose your Adventure" publishing game. My father, last publishing in 1989, very much thinks -

- You write
- You submit to everywhere, expecting a poo poo ton of rejection letters
- You get published or offered a contract

I'd kill for such a streamlined process.

Not doing this as a living, that's how I got my works published in 'zines. I am going to assume you are doing it differently and pursuing getting an agent, and making this a career?

Just wondering how it is different nowadays? Is it more networking/representation?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Captain Log posted:

If I can make money - That would be grand. But I've also done enough of the arts throughout my life that I'm aware not everyone, "Makes It." I do have one valuable thing on my hands, which is time.

Just a note on "making it" - everybody focuses on the Hugh-Howey-esque life-changing success stories, but don't underestimate the benefit of even a low-key side gig. I've been doing this just over four years now and my writing income has wildly fluctuated in that time, generally smoothing out at maybe $500-$1000 a month, post-overheads but pre-tax.

That's way less than some of the people who (used to?) post in this thread, and 10k a year obviously does not mean I'm about to quit my day job. But it's a pretty significant amount of mostly-passive income that changes my spending habits, my savings, and my ability to plan long-term about buying an apartment or whatever. And if I check the Amazon ranking of my bestselling book at the moment, it's something like 70,000, so I'm a nobody. But you don't need to "make it" for self-pubbing to be a really good decision. The only thing I regret about it is not starting sooner.

Spokes
Jan 9, 2010

Thanks for a MONSTER of an avatar, Awful Survivor Mods!

Captain Log posted:

Thanks for the input!

I certainly don't think I'm going to write Carrie on my first try. I'm so critical of what I write that it keeps me up at night. When I try to read for pleasure, I keep letting my mind wander off into how much better the book in my hands is than the arduous, bloated mess I created. I'm thirty-seven and done enough creative stuff to not be high on my own supply, knowing a first novel is probably much more a mess than good.

The hard thing to really grasp is the "Choose your Adventure" publishing game. My father, last publishing in 1989, very much thinks -

- You write
- You submit to everywhere, expecting a poo poo ton of rejection letters
- You get published or offered a contract

I'd kill for such a streamlined process.

This is a little off-topic (and simultaneously very *on* topic) but if you're ever literally interested in the Choose Your Own Adventure publishing game, Choice of Games is very open to publishing submissions if you write them in the (very easy) programming language their CYOA knockoffs run on--it's only 25% royalties but they're on iOS, Android, web, Steam, etc. I submitted a game last year (40k words or so) and made a few hundred bucks from it. Not going to get rich quick or anything, but it's nice to know they basically guarantee publication if you don't have any huge typos (and sometimes if you do, lol!)

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Spokes posted:

This is a little off-topic (and simultaneously very *on* topic) but if you're ever literally interested in the Choose Your Own Adventure publishing game, Choice of Games is very open to publishing submissions if you write them in the (very easy) programming language their CYOA knockoffs run on--it's only 25% royalties but they're on iOS, Android, web, Steam, etc. I submitted a game last year (40k words or so) and made a few hundred bucks from it. Not going to get rich quick or anything, but it's nice to know they basically guarantee publication if you don't have any huge typos (and sometimes if you do, lol!)

Also, if you go through their official CoG label rather than the Hosted Games label Spokes is talking about, you get guaranteed $7-10k in cash advances over the course of several milestones as you write, plus they handle a lot more of the various multidisciplinary work that you ordinarily have to handle yourself when self-pubbing, like copyediting and running a beta test and providing cover art. So, a lot more like a traditional publisher. But in exchange, they mostly only accept established authors (in either traditional or interactive fiction), and they have much more exacting style and structure requirements. But as they say, publishing a Hosted Game first is a good way to qualify.

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS



freebooter posted:

Just a note on "making it" - everybody focuses on the Hugh-Howey-esque life-changing success stories, but don't underestimate the benefit of even a low-key side gig. I've been doing this just over four years now and my writing income has wildly fluctuated in that time, generally smoothing out at maybe $500-$1000 a month, post-overheads but pre-tax.

That's way less than some of the people who (used to?) post in this thread, and 10k a year obviously does not mean I'm about to quit my day job. But it's a pretty significant amount of mostly-passive income that changes my spending habits, my savings, and my ability to plan long-term about buying an apartment or whatever. And if I check the Amazon ranking of my bestselling book at the moment, it's something like 70,000, so I'm a nobody. But you don't need to "make it" for self-pubbing to be a really good decision. The only thing I regret about it is not starting sooner.

100 times this. I wrote a bunch short stores back during the borrows phase mostly as a joke, and them bundled them when it changed to page reads. I have not written/published a drat thing since 2017. I don't think I have checked my sales/KENP in months.

But Amazon keeps putting a few hundred bucks in my account on the 29th.

That passive income made every single payment on the loan for my car. It was like getting a brand new Ford Fusion for free, and to be honest my books are terrible.

Spokes
Jan 9, 2010

Thanks for a MONSTER of an avatar, Awful Survivor Mods!

Fuschia tude posted:

Also, if you go through their official CoG label rather than the Hosted Games label Spokes is talking about, you get guaranteed $7-10k in cash advances over the course of several milestones as you write, plus they handle a lot more of the various multidisciplinary work that you ordinarily have to handle yourself when self-pubbing, like copyediting and running a beta test and providing cover art. So, a lot more like a traditional publisher. But in exchange, they mostly only accept established authors (in either traditional or interactive fiction), and they have much more exacting style and structure requirements. But as they say, publishing a Hosted Game first is a good way to qualify.

Yeah, I applied to the COG label after my first HG was published and they asked for a writing sample and i freaked out and just wrote and submitted another HG instead lol. Now i'm working on a third, and i keep telling myself that after this one I'm going to try writing for the main label

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


freebooter posted:

Just a note on "making it" - everybody focuses on the Hugh-Howey-esque life-changing success stories, but don't underestimate the benefit of even a low-key side gig. I've been doing this just over four years now and my writing income has wildly fluctuated in that time, generally smoothing out at maybe $500-$1000 a month, post-overheads but pre-tax.

That's way less than some of the people who (used to?) post in this thread, and 10k a year obviously does not mean I'm about to quit my day job. But it's a pretty significant amount of mostly-passive income that changes my spending habits, my savings, and my ability to plan long-term about buying an apartment or whatever. And if I check the Amazon ranking of my bestselling book at the moment, it's something like 70,000, so I'm a nobody. But you don't need to "make it" for self-pubbing to be a really good decision. The only thing I regret about it is not starting sooner.

tl;dr this - it's that little bit of extra.

For me it's also advertising for me doing freelancing and consulting, which is additional. I just got $3000 to write 3000 words on a requested topic.

(the usual is less. Foreign Policy, for comparison, is very prestigious and influential and pays $300 for 1200 words. Which is definitely skimpy, OTOH good lord the influence.)

Also, as a small business, you can basically deduct abslutely everything down to making GBS threads. * It's amazing.


* check with an accountant maybe

divabot fucked around with this message at 11:01 on Jul 4, 2021

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



Fuschia tude posted:

Neither did King! Despite being his first published, that was his fourth novel.

Yes, your earliest writings are bound to be bad and it's likely to remain bad for a while. Everyone's are, starting out. That's the learning process. But everything you write, especially everything you finish, especially every big thing, will be better. In some way or another. Assuming you have anything resembling a mammal brain, that's guaranteed.

One thing you might want to do to give yourself distance from your new finished manuscript is... write. Make something totally different, with no relation to the last one. (It doesn't have to be another novel; it probably shouldn't, even, unless you're a really fast writer.) Distract and occupy that part of your brain with a new and different creative task, and see it to completion. Or several, if they're short. Then, after you've set your manuscript aside for a month or two, you can come back to it with fresh eyes, now that you've completely forgotten some details, and others have gone hazy, and you don't have every page of it memorized.

Then you can decide whether you need to cut and trim it down like you said, or if it would be more efficient to just rewrite the whole thing from scratch, now that you already know the whole plot and what it's all about and what the purpose of each chapter and scene is and where it's headed in the end. Right now, you're too close to it to even make that determination.

I'm starting to really think more and more about walking away for now and starting something else. I think this is really good advice.

The one thing I went into this novel with was a pretty solid outline. I had a clear idea of the progression of everything, chapter after chapter. But I allowed myself to simply write freely in terms of amount, which turned this manuscript into a porker.

I'm a little peeved at myself for not having a stronger arc for the main character. Sometimes in horror it's easy to get wrapped up in the character arc of, "Not Dying."


freebooter posted:

Just a note on "making it" - everybody focuses on the Hugh-Howey-esque life-changing success stories, but don't underestimate the benefit of even a low-key side gig. I've been doing this just over four years now and my writing income has wildly fluctuated in that time, generally smoothing out at maybe $500-$1000 a month, post-overheads but pre-tax.

That's way less than some of the people who (used to?) post in this thread, and 10k a year obviously does not mean I'm about to quit my day job. But it's a pretty significant amount of mostly-passive income that changes my spending habits, my savings, and my ability to plan long-term about buying an apartment or whatever. And if I check the Amazon ranking of my bestselling book at the moment, it's something like 70,000, so I'm a nobody. But you don't need to "make it" for self-pubbing to be a really good decision. The only thing I regret about it is not starting sooner.

I'm not going too deep into this, but it will explain my motivations for going a traditional route to publication. I've typed this out and deleted it a few times because I don't want the conversation to become about my specific set of circumstances. But this will explain my motivations, if making money becomes a factor.

I became disabled in my mid-thirties, getting diagnosed with motor neuron disease and loosing significant function in my lower legs. Getting the government to recognize this took twenty-eight months and a law firm. The reason for all this effort is to cover my very, very expensive healthcare.

tldr - American healthcare is bad.

Making small amounts of money will gently caress this all up, which is why I can afford taking a circuitous route to being published if it could potentially mean earning more. If I started making a legit salary, I can afford some Obamacare coverage. But if I start making 10k a year, I'll lose my government coverage and not be able to afford Obamacare.

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


The Fuzzy Hulk posted:

100 times this. I wrote a bunch short stores back during the borrows phase mostly as a joke, and them bundled them when it changed to page reads. I have not written/published a drat thing since 2017. I don't think I have checked my sales/KENP in months.

But Amazon keeps putting a few hundred bucks in my account on the 29th.

That passive income made every single payment on the loan for my car. It was like getting a brand new Ford Fusion for free, and to be honest my books are terrible.

Oh, I'd be interested in hearing more! Are you doing KDP publishing?

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



I’m asking this after hearing the OP is pretty old.

What are all the relevant terms being used? KDP? KENP?

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Captain Log posted:

tldr - American healthcare is bad.

Making small amounts of money will gently caress this all up, which is why I can afford taking a circuitous route to being published if it could potentially mean earning more. If I started making a legit salary, I can afford some Obamacare coverage. But if I start making 10k a year, I'll lose my government coverage and not be able to afford Obamacare.

The American healthcare system indeed sucks majorly.

My YouTube video that I posted explains in more detail, with diagrams, but this is the essence: I have some bad news for you. Unless you're planning on ghostwriting, you are not going to make a salary from this endeavour. Authors make royalties (which is a form of profit sharing) and publishers pay the bills with profits.

All publishing–including traditional publishing–is akin to gambling.

If you go traditional publishing and are lucky enough to get signed, you will receive an advance on future royalties (maybe, I hear that the amount of advances being given are no longer as generous as they used to be, and some places may not offer advances at all). This is not free money; it's a payday loan on the royalties you earn on the future sales of your book post publication. You do not get more money once your book is published unless the publisher "recoups" your advance, from which point on they will start paying you your cut of royalties (rates vary according to contract, region, format, etc but say, 10-15% of RRP or cover price). Royalties are paid ONLY when you have sales of your books and you won't see the money until at least 6-9 months after the sale.

If you self-publish, you are the author AS WELL AS the publisher, so you get to keep the publisher's cut of the profits in addition to your author royalties. It is entirely a numbers + marketing game (okay, some luck as well). If you write to market, deliver a quality product, release frequently and consistently, and crunch your title P&L numbers the right way, you will make money.

In either case, publishing a book is making a bet that enough people will buy your book to at least break even on the costs of publishing it, with the hope of making a profit.

In traditional publishing, the publisher takes on the risk of the bet not paying off, hence why your author royalty rates are low.

In self-publishing, you are the one taking on the risk, so you get all of the upsides (if you hit the jackpot) as well as all of the downsides (i.e. lose what you bet if you don't sell enough copies).

Finally, as the kicker: most authors who are traditionally published do not earn out their advances. Traditional publishers rely on a few megabucks authors to pay for the advances for everybody else. So chances are, unless you are the next Stephen King, you are probably not going to get any money from a traditional publisher beyond your advance.

Captain Log posted:

I’m asking this after hearing the OP is pretty old.

What are all the relevant terms being used? KDP? KENP?

KDP = Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform

KENP = Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (basically how many page reads you got if you put your book in the Kindle Unlimited program)

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Leng posted:

That was me as well.

Does it ever get better with successive releases?

this is my 16th release, so no probably not haha

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



Leng posted:

The American healthcare system indeed sucks majorly.

My YouTube video that I posted explains in more detail, with diagrams, but this is the essence: I have some bad news for you. Unless you're planning on ghostwriting, you are not going to make a salary from this endeavour. Authors make royalties (which is a form of profit sharing) and publishers pay the bills with profits.

All publishing–including traditional publishing–is akin to gambling.

If you go traditional publishing and are lucky enough to get signed, you will receive an advance on future royalties (maybe, I hear that the amount of advances being given are no longer as generous as they used to be, and some places may not offer advances at all). This is not free money; it's a payday loan on the royalties you earn on the future sales of your book post publication. You do not get more money once your book is published unless the publisher "recoups" your advance, from which point on they will start paying you your cut of royalties (rates vary according to contract, region, format, etc but say, 10-15% of RRP or cover price). Royalties are paid ONLY when you have sales of your books and you won't see the money until at least 6-9 months after the sale.

If you self-publish, you are the author AS WELL AS the publisher, so you get to keep the publisher's cut of the profits in addition to your author royalties. It is entirely a numbers + marketing game (okay, some luck as well). If you write to market, deliver a quality product, release frequently and consistently, and crunch your title P&L numbers the right way, you will make money.

In either case, publishing a book is making a bet that enough people will buy your book to at least break even on the costs of publishing it, with the hope of making a profit.

In traditional publishing, the publisher takes on the risk of the bet not paying off, hence why your author royalty rates are low.

In self-publishing, you are the one taking on the risk, so you get all of the upsides (if you hit the jackpot) as well as all of the downsides (i.e. lose what you bet if you don't sell enough copies).

Finally, as the kicker: most authors who are traditionally published do not earn out their advances. Traditional publishers rely on a few megabucks authors to pay for the advances for everybody else. So chances are, unless you are the next Stephen King, you are probably not going to get any money from a traditional publisher beyond your advance.

KDP = Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform

KENP = Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (basically how many page reads you got if you put your book in the Kindle Unlimited program)

You absolutely rock, thank you for effort posting on the topic. This is worth hours of searching around the internet, trying to pick through endless Mommy Blogs about, "WRITE A BOOK IN A MONTH!"

Camo Guitar
Jul 15, 2009


Leng posted:

That was me as well.

Does it ever get better with successive releases?

I still check daily for the occasional suprise, hoping for things like 'someone bought all three books in one hit and the short!' (rare) to 'Someone is reading it via that process (I forget which one) which Amazon counts as a one page read. Yay, a cent...' (common)

Check emails, check bookreport, not a millionaire yet, back to the grind then..

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Captain Log posted:

I became disabled in my mid-thirties, getting diagnosed with motor neuron disease and loosing significant function in my lower legs. Getting the government to recognize this took twenty-eight months and a law firm. The reason for all this effort is to cover my very, very expensive healthcare.

tldr - American healthcare is bad.

Making small amounts of money will gently caress this all up, which is why I can afford taking a circuitous route to being published if it could potentially mean earning more. If I started making a legit salary, I can afford some Obamacare coverage. But if I start making 10k a year, I'll lose my government coverage and not be able to afford Obamacare.

OK, yeah - in your situation where a certain threshhold of income could gently caress up your disability benefit, then having the extra pocket money would indeed not be worth it. I love having my extra 10ish grand a year, but if I were suddenly told I had to rely on it that would make me panic.

On the other hand, as Leng points out, trad publishing can be equally unreliable and unpredictable.

I guess one thing I would say is that self publishing gives you a hell of a lot more control over your sales and marketing. If I were in a situation where I didn't want to hit 10K (not sure if you used this figure because it was my example or because that also happens to be your disability threshold), and I realised there were two months left in the financial year and I'd made 8k or 9k, I could make all my books free overnight. Income vanishes, but at least people are still reading and reviewing and recommending, which will be good when you turn the tap back on next financial year. Scheduled promotions and stuff are the only thing that might give you a major sudden spike in sales, but again, you have control over those and they aren't going to be major spikes when you're just starting out.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


Leng posted:

That was me as well.

Does it ever get better with successive releases?

It gets better the moment you stop caring about your books and stop thinking at each release that "this is the one." :v:

Narrator: It never got better.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



freebooter posted:

OK, yeah - in your situation where a certain threshhold of income could gently caress up your disability benefit, then having the extra pocket money would indeed not be worth it. I love having my extra 10ish grand a year, but if I were suddenly told I had to rely on it that would make me panic.

On the other hand, as Leng points out, trad publishing can be equally unreliable and unpredictable.

I guess one thing I would say is that self publishing gives you a hell of a lot more control over your sales and marketing. If I were in a situation where I didn't want to hit 10K (not sure if you used this figure because it was my example or because that also happens to be your disability threshold), and I realised there were two months left in the financial year and I'd made 8k or 9k, I could make all my books free overnight. Income vanishes, but at least people are still reading and reviewing and recommending, which will be good when you turn the tap back on next financial year. Scheduled promotions and stuff are the only thing that might give you a major sudden spike in sales, but again, you have control over those and they aren't going to be major spikes when you're just starting out.

Thanks for the input, yours and Leng's has been really illuminating and helps show me how I need to think about moving forward in this venture. I'm sure I'm going to have some more silly questions pop up, but it's great to have a goon resource to keep me from trying to poke through a hodgepodge of "SO YOU WANT TO WRITE THE NEXT BEST SELLER IN THIRTY DAYS?!?!" blogs and advertisements.

I think I'm going to go with some recommendations here and step away from turning my rough draft into a first draft for a little bit and stretch my legs on other story ideas. I'm lucky, in that I have the entire arc of stories in my head beforehand. If I can keep myself from blabbering, I think I've got some stuff that could be a more feasible first foray into having a book with my name on it.

(On my peculiar circumstances - Without derailing the thread, I'll just say it's at the point where I need to get a healthcare lawyer again. I receive very expensive, monthly treatments covered by my Medicare that keep me from dying. Literally. My condition is terminal, but the treatment managed to stop its progression. While I feel like there are part time jobs, or part time professions, I could certainly perform, it could literally lose my coverage that pays for the ungodly expensive monthly infusions. I feel like my life is held hostage by American healthcare.)

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Captain Log posted:

You absolutely rock, thank you for effort posting on the topic. This is worth hours of searching around the internet, trying to pick through endless Mommy Blogs about, "WRITE A BOOK IN A MONTH!"

Captain Log posted:

Thanks for the input, yours and Leng's has been really illuminating and helps show me how I need to think about moving forward in this venture. I'm sure I'm going to have some more silly questions pop up, but it's great to have a goon resource to keep me from trying to poke through a hodgepodge of "SO YOU WANT TO WRITE THE NEXT BEST SELLER IN THIRTY DAYS?!?!" blogs and advertisements.

No worries; the plethora of those blogs/vlogs you refer to is exactly why I started my YouTube channel–it was unbelievable how all of them were overselling and oversimplifying publishing. It's so easy to see how people would watch one of those videos and not understand what they're really getting themselves into, and most of them only give you half the picture on what to do without explaining the context and the reasons they made that decision.

Captain Log posted:

I think I'm going to go with some recommendations here and step away from turning my rough draft into a first draft for a little bit and stretch my legs on other story ideas. I'm lucky, in that I have the entire arc of stories in my head beforehand. If I can keep myself from blabbering, I think I've got some stuff that could be a more feasible first foray into having a book with my name on it.

(On my peculiar circumstances - Without derailing the thread, I'll just say it's at the point where I need to get a healthcare lawyer again. I receive very expensive, monthly treatments covered by my Medicare that keep me from dying. Literally. My condition is terminal, but the treatment managed to stop its progression. While I feel like there are part time jobs, or part time professions, I could certainly perform, it could literally lose my coverage that pays for the ungodly expensive monthly infusions. I feel like my life is held hostage by American healthcare.)

Your situation sounds unimaginably awful :( so kudos to you for maintaining such a positive outlook. Keep at your writing and shout out whenever you have questions!

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

hoooo boy, lemme tell ya: if you're selling paperbacks, do NOT choose a 6 x 9 trim. Doing so will lower your page count on Amazon, and, as much as writing in an art form, there is still a value proposition that readers care about, and if they think your book is too short for the price, they ain't buyin'.

I switched from 6 x 9 trim, and a 192 page count, to 5 x 8 trim, and a more genre-appropriate 280 page count. it's been kind of a hassle with phone calls to KDP support, but I think the higher page count will make a big difference for me.

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

hoooo boy, lemme tell ya: if you're selling paperbacks, do NOT choose a 6 x 9 trim. Doing so will lower your page count on Amazon, and, as much as writing in an art form, there is still a value proposition that readers care about, and if they think your book is too short for the price, they ain't buyin'.

I switched from 6 x 9 trim, and a 192 page count, to 5 x 8 trim, and a more genre-appropriate 280 page count. it's been kind of a hassle with phone calls to KDP support, but I think the higher page count will make a big difference for me.

Also, by going 5 x 8 , you don't have to stretch out your ebook cover.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Captain Log posted:

Thanks for the input, yours and Leng's has been really illuminating and helps show me how I need to think about moving forward in this venture. I'm sure I'm going to have some more silly questions pop up, but it's great to have a goon resource to keep me from trying to poke through a hodgepodge of "SO YOU WANT TO WRITE THE NEXT BEST SELLER IN THIRTY DAYS?!?!" blogs and advertisements.

I think I'm going to go with some recommendations here and step away from turning my rough draft into a first draft for a little bit and stretch my legs on other story ideas. I'm lucky, in that I have the entire arc of stories in my head beforehand. If I can keep myself from blabbering, I think I've got some stuff that could be a more feasible first foray into having a book with my name on it.

(On my peculiar circumstances - Without derailing the thread, I'll just say it's at the point where I need to get a healthcare lawyer again. I receive very expensive, monthly treatments covered by my Medicare that keep me from dying. Literally. My condition is terminal, but the treatment managed to stop its progression. While I feel like there are part time jobs, or part time professions, I could certainly perform, it could literally lose my coverage that pays for the ungodly expensive monthly infusions. I feel like my life is held hostage by American healthcare.)

You could also start writing stories and trying to grow a following on Royal Road, and not get involved in any of the monetary aspects of publishing. I published through Amazon but to be honest the money I make is almost not worth having to deal with the tax forms at the end of the year, since I have to prepare taxes in 2 countries and having foreign source income increases the chance of audits which is a headache I don't like to think about.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"
:toot::birddrugs::toot:



Ccs posted:

You could also start writing stories and trying to grow a following on Royal Road, and not get involved in any of the monetary aspects of publishing. I published through Amazon but to be honest the money I make is almost not worth having to deal with the tax forms at the end of the year, since I have to prepare taxes in 2 countries and having foreign source income increases the chance of audits which is a headache I don't like to think about.

One thing I've decided is worth focusing on in the medium term (the next year or two) is filling up my catalogue with either a couple novels of a mess of short stories before publishing anything. If the monetary proposition of publishing looking like something I could manage, probably using loving lawyers to make sure I don't inadvertently kill myself, it would be a lot less intimidating knowing I had a couple torpedoes in the tube, ready to launch.

If this question is best asked in another thread, please point me there -

What are the best short story avenues for publishing/contests, for the purpose of building a writing CV/resume?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


It's been a long time since I published short fiction, but if you want to go down the road of the short fiction version of trad pub (magazines and journals), then Duotrope is (or at least was, circa 2015) an absolutely invaluable resource:

https://duotrope.com/

Helps you keep track of what you've submitted and where, how long you've been waiting to hear back, whether journals permit simultaneous submissions etc. Also IIRC it had a really good filterable search engine so you could be like, OK, show me a fit for my [HORROR] story of [LESS THAN 5,000 WORDS] which [PAYS] and [ACCEPTS SIM-SUBS] from [OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES] etc.

Going down this road is purely for credentials/CV/experience though, you'll barely ever make a dime off it. I think the only piece of fiction I ever published that was financially worth the time was a story I had in Daily Science Fiction, because they were paying like 5c a word and I thought up a gimmick for a piece of flash fiction, wrote it and submitted it in the space of a couple hours. That's generally why I started putting all my energy into publishing longer fiction on Amazon, though I certainly don't regret it and I imagine having a small portfolio of published work would serve me in good stead if I ever try to trad pub long fiction.

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divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


freebooter posted:

Going down this road is purely for credentials/CV/experience though, you'll barely ever make a dime off it. I think the only piece of fiction I ever published that was financially worth the time was a story I had in Daily Science Fiction, because they were paying like 5c a word and I thought up a gimmick for a piece of flash fiction, wrote it and submitted it in the space of a couple hours. That's generally why I started putting all my energy into publishing longer fiction on Amazon, though I certainly don't regret it and I imagine having a small portfolio of published work would serve me in good stead if I ever try to trad pub long fiction.

yep - and accumulating a fan base who will then buy your longer works. Thinking of the authors who've started in fanfic and grown a base there who already like their stuff.

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