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FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Why hullo thur, goon writers.

JOIN http://www.goonreads.com if you want to be one of the cool kids.

Click Register, and be sure to fill out all the registration fields, including your SA name and ID (the ID is found in your profile; find a recent post you made, click the "Profile" link below your post, and the ID is the last five digits in the URL). Right now the site is on private mode and open only to goons.

Pimp your wares! Share some stories! Complain about book covers! Ask for advice! Give advice that most of us will probably ignore!

My goal for this thread is to connect with other writers experimenting with new digital platforms for their work. I'd love to hear about folks' experiences -- what worked and what didn't, tips and tricks, complaints -- all of it.



Every book & short story in this post is goon-written and available for your Kindle or Nook or whathaveyou by way of Amazon, Smashwords, or Barnes & Noble.

Even if you're a cheap bastard, and don't have a Kindle, you can still use Kindle For PC, which is free.

***

Goon-approved cover artists

Authentic You -- contact: alice@alicexavier.com
Pricing: $50 for basic, but discuss the project privately for an exact quote.

David Graham -- contact: wonkadreams@aol.com
Pricing: $50 for basic, but discuss the project privately for an exact quote.

Deisgn For Writers -- contact: designforwriters.com / hello@designforwriters.com.
Specializes in "soft" fiction and non-fiction, but will accept all genres and will work on websites and other design needs too. Discuss the project privately for an exact quote.

Holly Rothrock -- http://www.hrothrock.com ; Contact: hrothroc@gmail.com
Specialty: Custom art/illustration, cover design
Price Range: $250 for design-based covers (includes 1-2 revisions), consult for custom illustration work.


***

OP will be updated as authors release new works.

***

Here is a current list of all self-pub releases in the thread. Support goon writers!

The Corridors of the Dead by Jonathan D Allen

Fishslapped: Wrath of the Walrus Queen by Michael Awadalla

Ieop by John Belcher

In the Days in Between by Adam Bertocci

Talking to Xyr by Adam Bertocci

Kaylee and Breck and the Very Worst Songs of the '90s by Adam Bertocci

Roman Candle by Bunny Blake

ZNA: Origins by Matthew Boyd

ZNA: Journey by Matthew Boyd

ZNA: Evolution by Matthew Boyd

Flyday by Laura E. Bradford

Artifact by Josh Busch

A French Book by John Christy

gently caress and Destroy by John Christy

And They Called Her Spider by Michael Coorlim

Maiden Voyage of the Rio Grande by Michael Coorlim

On the Trail of the Scissorman by Michael Coorlim

A Matter of Spirit by Michael Coorlim

The Collected Bartleby and James Adventures by Michael Coorlim

Oh Human Child by Michael Coorlim

Sky Pirates Over London by Michael Coorlim

Fine Young Turks by Michael Coorlim

Jackboots for Jesus by Casey Criswell

Deep Lies the Murky Floor by Casey Criswell

Dark Christmas Tales by James Dwyer

Rogue's Bane by Rick Ferraro

Unearthed Destiny by Rick Ferraro

Ham And Gold by Eddy Galuszka

Harvey Buckfast And The Case Of The Bottled Water Baron by M. Goldbody

Oscar and Apples by M. Goldbody

Tall Tales of Felony and Failure by Warren Haustrumerda

A Day in the Life of Lester Reason by Aaron Haycraft

Flames of Truth by Richard Hein

The Innsmouth Syndrome by Philip Hemplow

Sarcophagus by Philip Hemplow

Hiding From The Alien by Steven T. G. Hill

Becoming The Cyborg by Steven T. G. Hill

The Psychic Prison Break by Steven T. G. Hill

Cyborg On The Run by Steven T. G. Hill

Andy The Barbarian by Mark Clemens

The Hermit by Ray Holland

Goliath by Ray Holland

Open Stage by Ray Holland

The Hookie-Pookie Man by Ray Holland

Soft White Underbelly by Ray Holland

Into Thin Eyr by Michael Horton

In His Shadow by Michael Horton

James Eldritch and the Day Something Happened by Michael Horton

Heretic by Michael Horton

Back to the Garden by Clara Hume

Tales of Newerth by Leo Ikin

No Rest for the Wicked by Rebecca Knight

Write or Die by Rebecca Knight

Carnivore (A Fairytale Assassin Short Story) by Rebecca Knight

[Citation Needed]: The Best of Wikipedia's Worst Writing by Conor Lastowka & Josh Fruhlinger

Anchored To The Flesh by Lee Laughead

Cold Iron by Josh Loomis

A Hit With Fangs by Rihana Martinson

The Hunter by James Martin

The Red Man by Alex Meleg

Galt by Gerald P. Morgain

A Clear and Feathered Danger by Noah Murphy

What Lies Within by Noah Murphy

Zombies of the World by Ross Payton

Once Upon a Time Ferret by Stephen D Palmer

Wires and Dreams (The Invisible) by Mort Rose

Dead Angels (Wolves of Calderwood) by Madelyn Serrato

Shadow of a Dead Star (Wonderland Cycle) by Michael Shean

Double Creature by Stefanie Snider

Processional by Frank Sunder

Nightlights: Disintegration by Chrysoula Tzavelas

Tales of the Axe (Book #1) by Tim Willard

Blood Mother (The Analyst) by Brian G. Wood

Dead Roots by Brian G. Wood

***

A quick note on reviewing each other's work: It is a thing you should do as a show of support. But try to be honest and don't request reviews in the thread.

This thread has never, ever been a story critique thread (with the exception of covers, because covers are in and of themselves advertising, and advertising is part of the busness). If you want to critique, do it somewhere else or in PM.

FingerbangMisfire fucked around with this message at Nov 2, 2013 around 19:22

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FranticDisposition
Mar 9, 2010


There's been some mention of this in Romper Billson's literary agencies thread and the subject of self-publishing a novel and promoting it was discussed, but I'm interested in how the same applies to short stories.

Finger, how did you (or anyone else who's done this) go about marketing your short stories? Do you have a blog/website/etc? How did you come up with the cover? Did you create it yourself or pay someone?

I'm just curious as to how much time/money investment is appropriate for the promotion/marketing of, say, a 6000 word story. I imagine the mechanics are very different than for a novel, so I want to get some input from you or anyone else who's delved into it firsthand.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

I actually haven't put any money into promotion. Not yet, anyway.

The big thing is to haunt the community boards on Amazon and make connections there. There are actually a lot of folks hawking short stories. And most of the conversations I've had with other authors seems to solidify the idea that there is a market for shorts on the Kindle (the Nook seems to be a waste of time for me in that regard).

As for my covers, thankfully, I'm friends with an artist (David Graham) who likes the weirdness of the stories enough to do the covers for free.

The other thing that I've started is approaching sites that review stories for eReaders, since they can drive a lot of potential buyers your way. Places like http://www.theunreadreader.com/

Part of it also depends on how much you think you could get for your story by selling it to a magazine or other outlet versus self-publishing on Amazon.

Edit: On that note, I use http://www.duotrope.com/ to find and sell to magazines. It's free and awesome.

FingerbangMisfire fucked around with this message at Mar 27, 2011 around 18:30

Call Me Charlie
Dec 3, 2005

by Smythe


FingerbangMisfire posted:

The big thing is to haunt the community boards on Amazon and make connections there.

It's also good to be an active member at third party communities like KindleBoards and MobileRead. If you aren't there to only pimp your goods, they will take a chance on you and if it is good, they will spread the word.

Boyd Morrison is a good example (some would say an anomaly since he already had an agent before he was signed) http://www.mediabistro.com/galleyca...ook-deal_b11943

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Sporadic posted:

KindleBoards and MobileRead

Ah, brilliant, thanks.

Baffled Vegetable
Feb 20, 2010


I'm totally keeping an eye on this thread.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Baffled Vegetable posted:

I'm totally keeping an eye on this thread.

Well, I certainly hope something comes of it -- though the thing seems to be dying out rather rapidly.

Sedgr
Sep 16, 2007

Neat!


Weird thing about self publishing is that you only really hear about the statistical outliers who are doing it. On the one hand you've got several people on Amazon selling to the Kindle that have made loving boatloads of cash, and then the other end of the spectrum (where most people sit I suspect) people who have put their stuff up and sold nothing at all.

Self publishing isnt really even the issue. Yes you can self publish. Its not difficult to actually do it in the slightest. But being successful via self publishing looks pretty damned hard. It seems to me to be more of an exercise in self promotion than anything else really.

So it boils down more to a question of "How do I promote my work?" and "How do I get noticed in the crowd?"

One of the major issues I see with self publication right now, particularly in Ebooks, is that the quality is all over the place. You've got everything from the fifteen year old kids terrible fan fiction type stuff, to writers who are actually decent, to the real pro's who are just sidestepping the regular publishing process.

Unfortunately there's no way to tell who is who. So you really have to develop a name and get recognized by your audience or your work just never gets on the radar. That seems to be the biggest key currently.

The normal publishing process has some of this built in. Get an agent, get your work picked up by a publisher, and they'll have the routes in place to get your work seen by the people that might buy it. Book tours, reviews in various publications, signings, interviews, retail store space, all that stuff. They know how to get your work seen.

Going the self publishing route, you have to somehow match that. Really get the word out on yourself and your work, and hopefully you can build an audience from there.

What I'd be most interested to hear about is the guy that put his work up, and is selling say 50-100 copies a month. The guy selling one 99c copy a month wouldnt seem to be doing it all that successfully, and the guy selling 50,000 copies a month is successfull enough that he's probably going by name/brand recognition/word of mouth alone at that point. The guys in the middle are the ones that are really working on finding ways to build their audience so they would probably have the most practical advice.

Then again, those people might want to keep their secrets and tips to themselves lest they suddenly start drowning in a sea of copycat self advertisers.

Call Me Charlie
Dec 3, 2005

by Smythe


Sedgr posted:

Weird thing about self publishing is that you only really hear about the statistical outliers who are doing it. On the one hand you've got several people on Amazon selling to the Kindle that have made loving boatloads of cash, and then the other end of the spectrum (where most people sit I suspect) people who have put their stuff up and sold nothing at all.

Self publishing isnt really even the issue. Yes you can self publish. Its not difficult to actually do it in the slightest. But being successful via self publishing looks pretty damned hard. It seems to me to be more of an exercise in self promotion than anything else really.

So it boils down more to a question of "How do I promote my work?" and "How do I get noticed in the crowd?"

One of the major issues I see with self publication right now, particularly in Ebooks, is that the quality is all over the place. You've got everything from the fifteen year old kids terrible fan fiction type stuff, to writers who are actually decent, to the real pro's who are just sidestepping the regular publishing process.

Unfortunately there's no way to tell who is who. So you really have to develop a name and get recognized by your audience or your work just never gets on the radar. That seems to be the biggest key currently.

The normal publishing process has some of this built in. Get an agent, get your work picked up by a publisher, and they'll have the routes in place to get your work seen by the people that might buy it. Book tours, reviews in various publications, signings, interviews, retail store space, all that stuff. They know how to get your work seen.

Going the self publishing route, you have to somehow match that. Really get the word out on yourself and your work, and hopefully you can build an audience from there.

What I'd be most interested to hear about is the guy that put his work up, and is selling say 50-100 copies a month. The guy selling one 99c copy a month wouldnt seem to be doing it all that successfully, and the guy selling 50,000 copies a month is successfull enough that he's probably going by name/brand recognition/word of mouth alone at that point. The guys in the middle are the ones that are really working on finding ways to build their audience so they would probably have the most practical advice.

Then again, those people might want to keep their secrets and tips to themselves lest they suddenly start drowning in a sea of copycat self advertisers.

I have never done it but I have seen alot of people come up through self-publishing. There is no surefire way to success.

The most important thing is to have good work. After that, the key seems to be getting on to the Kindle bestsellers list and setting your price low. Being on the list will give you exposure, the low price will get people to take a chance on you. Once you are on it, it takes on a life of its own.

Some authors use a cat and mouse type pricing.

1) Set the price low
2) After promoting, it is hopefully on the bestsellers list
3) After getting on the bestsellers list, the sales continue to rise
4) When the book is high enough on the bestsellers list, they raise the price so they get a bigger cut of the higher price
5) It starts to fall off of the bestsellers list
6) Go back to step 1...rinse, wash, repeat.

Some authors price one story low or free and put up their other stories at normal price. Same idea with trilogies or a set of connected books.
Some authors latch on to a genre and shovel out a ton of stories (Amanda Hocking with Paranormal Romance is the biggest example of this http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/...ooks09_ST_N.htm)

Community support, like I posted about earlier, is a good way to get on the bestsellers list. Those people are always looking for new stuff to read.
Twitter, blogs and the sort are another good way to open yourself up and connect with fans (who will hopefully spread the word)

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

Can't hurt to pimp my stuff, I guess.

Long story: I wrote a book years ago. Essentially it was a precursor to the graphic novel Kick-rear end, way before Kick-rear end was a comic/movie. About a kid, end of his rope, decides to "be a superhero" to get reward money from old ladies. Ends up getting noticed and gets a publicist, becomes a sensation. Interest starts to die down, so he needs a new gimmick, and he pretends to be someone else, a villain, to give himself a nemesis. Not everyone knows the supervillain is fake, however...

I went around to agents trying to sell the book years back, and got pretty close. I got a surprisingly large number of handwritten (or non-form) letters back. Most agents just didn't know what to do with it. It's not sci-fi or fantasy, as it's all grounded in reality. Had a great conversation via email with one agent who really seemed to like the idea, but not as a novel. This agent, who is pretty well known, told me I should pitch it as a high-concept commercial novel. Changing my wording actually got me a lot of immediate notice, and several partial manuscript requests. One smalltown publishing place actually requested the full manuscript and I got to the last round of voting.

Unfortunately, I needed the three owners to unanimously vote for my book, and I got two votes. I eventually gave up on traditional publishing and went for the Kindle route a few years ago. Sold like three copies. Lowered the price to $1.99, but I am not a marketer, so I don't really know how to sell the drat thing.

Anyway, if anyone is curious, it's here. (Yeah, I know, it doesn't have a cover because when I wrote it I was poor and didn't know any artists who would do me favors).

Whew that was a lot more than I intended to write.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Sporadic, if you don't mind my asking, have you self-published anything? You are certainly a (much appreciated) wealth of information.

Myrddin, pimp away. I like the premise, and I've had similar experiences with my too-many-genres SciFi/Future/Horror/Humor book. Once I get some spare cash, I'll be a happy buyer. But, I would definitely whip up a cover, if I was you. Even if it's just a photoshop job with the title and your name.

Seems to me that the cover is really the first advertisement for a self-publisher. Need to catch potential readers' eyes.

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

FingerbangMisfire posted:

Myrddin, pimp away. I like the premise, and I've had similar experiences with my too-many-genres SciFi/Future/Horror/Humor book. Once I get some spare cash, I'll be a happy buyer. But, I would definitely whip up a cover, if I was you. Even if it's just a photoshop job with the title and your name.

Seems to me that the cover is really the first advertisement for a self-publisher. Need to catch potential readers' eyes.

I definitely think you're right there. I might try to whip something up but I am so confused about what pre-made images I'm allowed to use, as I'm not really a graphics person at all, just minor knowledge of Photoshop.

Also if anyone does get it, could they please leave a review? Positive or negative I don't care, I just feel like my first Amazon review is my first stamp of legitimacy.

Hef Deezy
Jun 11, 2006

Show no fear. Show no emotion at all.

I've been working as an author within traditional publishing for years, and so I always discounted self-publishing as a way to get a wide readership. But all the buzz lately around Amanda Hocking especially has been making me reconsider my preconceptions. I'm not jumping ship from traditional anytime soon, but I'm curious to see how this develops in the next few years, so I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.

Today, former agent Nathan Bransford put together an interesting post on the potential monetary gains of traditional vs. self-publishing that should be of interest for those of you considering one or the other:

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/201...raditional.html

Myrddin Emrys posted:

I definitely think you're right there. I might try to whip something up but I am so confused about what pre-made images I'm allowed to use, as I'm not really a graphics person at all, just minor knowledge of Photoshop.

Check out some stock photo websites and read up on their terms of use for their images. You can usually find some pretty cheap stock photos you can use for a cover. Definitely don't just grab something off of Google image search.

Hef Deezy fucked around with this message at Mar 28, 2011 around 22:43

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Myrddin Emrys posted:

I am so confused about what pre-made images I'm allowed to use, as I'm not really a graphics person at all, just minor knowledge of Photoshop.

Before I enlisted the help of an artist friend, I used http://www.shutterstock.com because I'm familiar with them for my job. http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ seems to have more variety in terms of pricing, though I'm not familiar with them. The key thing is to find royalty-free images and then manipulate the poo poo out of them until you're happy.

As for image guidelines, those depends on who your publishing with. I've found Amazon to be pretty forgiving.

On the other hand, there might be some folks here in CC who will help you more on the graphics end. The friend who does my covers does so just happy for design credit in my works.


Very interesting.

I also find Joe Konrath's blog to be a good read: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

Hef Deezy posted:

Check out some stock photo websites and read up on their terms of use for their images. You can usually find some pretty cheap stock photos you can use for a cover. Definitely don't just grab something off of Google image search.

Where does Flickr images stand, with the CC license?

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Myrddin Emrys posted:

Where does Flickr images stand, with the CC license?

I wouldn't use anything from Flickr. Like Google image search, you have no idea who really owns anything there.

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

FingerbangMisfire posted:

I wouldn't use anything from Flickr. Like Google image search, you have no idea who really owns anything there.

Ugh, I've been browsing stock photography sites for a while and everytime something catches my eye it's ridiculously expensive, or extremely complicated to license. By extremely expensive I'm talking $900. Or $1200 but only if you use it in 50,000 or less internal newspaper pages, etc.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Myrddin Emrys posted:

Ugh, I've been browsing stock photography sites for a while and everytime something catches my eye it's ridiculously expensive, or extremely complicated to license. By extremely expensive I'm talking $900. Or $1200 but only if you use it in 50,000 or less internal newspaper pages, etc.

Good lord, that's insane. Can you link me to an example?

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

FingerbangMisfire posted:

Good lord, that's insane. Can you link me to an example?

It was something fancy on iStockPhoto. Anyway I found a generic city-at-night and made it slightly stylish as a temporary placeholder. Just to have something up there.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

I actually kind of like that temp cover.

Definitely curious to know whether or not you get a couple more sales because of it.

EDIT: You know, I'm a pretty good hand in terms of graphic design. It's part of my job. If you'd like to send me a PSD or something to work with, PM me and I'd be glad to help.

FingerbangMisfire fucked around with this message at Mar 29, 2011 around 07:38

Romper Billson
Jul 14, 2005

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd

Speaking of Amanda Hocking, she just got a contract with Macmillan to publish her books (not sure if it's her future books or the ones she's already got out) traditionally for a cool $2 million. Not bad, though I wonder why she'd want to give up the revenue of self-publishing (though I can understand why she would want to focus solely on writing rather than marketing, design, and everything else that a traditional publishing house takes care of) -- at one point she was selling something like 200-300,000 Kindle copies a month, at $1 a pop, which is no small amount of change.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/b...tins-press.html

It's interesting that the well-publicized authors like JA Konrath and Barry Eisner who leave traditional pubs for self-publishing get a lot of press, whereas there's much less fanfare about people like Amanda Hocking and Cory Doctorow who start the self-publishing route and then leverage that into a traditional publishing contract. Is this just the self-publishing evangelists not wanting to publicize this sort of thing, or what?

Also, there might be huge repercussions for self-publishing if Apple gets really aggressive about demanding 30% of all profits from sales made through apps on Apple devices. Right now, Apple doesn't get a cut of ebooks sold through, e.g., the Kindle app -- it's something like 70% author/30% Amazon. If Apple starts skimming that 30% off the top, then it will surely come out of the revenue shared with the author -- which makes it a lot less worthwhile to go through the trouble if your profits are almost halved.

A lot to think about, and to me it means that there's still a lot of uncertainty about self-publishing -- which means that there's opportunity out there for some people, of course, and a lot of risk that you might make no impact whatsoever.

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

Romper Billson posted:

Also, there might be huge repercussions for self-publishing if Apple gets really aggressive about demanding 30% of all profits from sales made through apps on Apple devices. Right now, Apple doesn't get a cut of ebooks sold through, e.g., the Kindle app -- it's something like 70% author/30% Amazon. If Apple starts skimming that 30% off the top, then it will surely come out of the revenue shared with the author -- which makes it a lot less worthwhile to go through the trouble if your profits are almost halved.
My understanding is that Apple DOES demand their cut on books sold through apps like the Kindle, but Kindle for iOS doesn't currently have any in-app purchasing of books. I also thought the Sony Reader app was rejected for in-app purchasing reasons?

Arnold of Soissons
Mar 4, 2011

by XyloJW


Romper Billson posted:

Speaking of Amanda Hocking,

Seriously, if my story sells 1% of what her crap sells I will be ecstatic. poo poo, .1% would help, honestly.

Thanks for this thread, I'll be sure to pimp my stuff when it's finished (and it will even be professionally edited!)

Two questions for the group:
1- does self-publishing on Amazon hurt your chances with a traditional publisher? Obviously if you sell shitloads they'll love it, but should you hold off self publishing until you get rejected from Dead Tree Press, or what?

2- steampunk fans, where are they? They're the demographic I'm going after but I have no idea where to talk to them about my stuff or how to spread the word. Also, how soon should I start doing that? Now, or not until the story is done?

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

Arnold of Soissons posted:

1- does self-publishing on Amazon hurt your chances with a traditional publisher? Obviously if you sell shitloads they'll love it, but should you hold off self publishing until you get rejected from Dead Tree Press, or what?

Depends on what you mean. For the book you're self-publishing? Forget about it. A lot of places have "first digital rights" these days as a bargaining chip and that's gone. Plus, there will be a lot of questions about why you self-published, how many you sold, etc.

If you sold a lot of books, then future books are probably going to be easier to sell to an agent, as you've demonstrated you can be profitable. If you sold nothing, like me, then it's not even worth mentioning unless you have to, as it's going to be a huge black mark on your record.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Arnold of Soissons posted:

1- does self-publishing on Amazon hurt your chances with a traditional publisher? Obviously if you sell shitloads they'll love it, but should you hold off self publishing until you get rejected from Dead Tree Press, or what?

Don't self-publish until you're sure that Amazon/Smashwords/BN is where you want your story to live. As Myrddin said, when you sell a story to a publication, that publication gets first rights (which do eventually revert BACK to you).

So, if you want to sell your story to Dead Tree Press, sell it to them first.

I actually found myself in an intensely awkward position a couple weeks ago where I threw a story up on Amazon that I'd been sitting on for a long time and finally (after a loving YEAR -- no joke -- of waiting to hear back) Dark Discoveries sent me an email saying they had just gotten to the story and were interested in publishing it. I unpublished the story in a hurry (it had only been live for moments), but I still have no idea if I'm boned in that regard or not ... because they said it could be another chunk of a year before they make their decision.

So, yeah, patience.

As for Steampunk fans, not sure. You can find threads on Kindle Board & Mobil Reads and even Amazon that mention it. And, of course, if you don't see one, start a thread in those communities yourself. People there are very friendly and helpful.

Of course, as Romper pointed out, this is all pretty high-risk, low-reward. Interesting, but unproven -- except Hocking's wretched scratches.

Call Me Charlie
Dec 3, 2005

by Smythe


FingerbangMisfire posted:

Sporadic, if you don't mind my asking, have you self-published anything? You are certainly a (much appreciated) wealth of information.

No, I thought about it but decided to go in a different direction (trying to put together a screenplay at the moment). I was just heavily into the community back when it was first taking off and tracked cheap/free books so I was able to see how their promotion worked along with finding new authors through the bestsellers list. Boyd Morrison gave me a shout out in his book The Ark when it was published (which was extremely nice of him and cool to see)

Myrddin Emrys posted:

Ugh, I've been browsing stock photography sites for a while and everytime something catches my eye it's ridiculously expensive, or extremely complicated to license. By extremely expensive I'm talking $900. Or $1200 but only if you use it in 50,000 or less internal newspaper pages, etc.

If you don't mind spending a little bit of money, I bet you could get a great cover made for $50-75 from SA-Mart.

Romper Billson posted:

Speaking of Amanda Hocking, she just got a contract with Macmillan to publish her books (not sure if it's her future books or the ones she's already got out) traditionally for a cool $2 million. Not bad, though I wonder why she'd want to give up the revenue of self-publishing (though I can understand why she would want to focus solely on writing rather than marketing, design, and everything else that a traditional publishing house takes care of) -- at one point she was selling something like 200-300,000 Kindle copies a month, at $1 a pop, which is no small amount of change.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/b...tins-press.html

She actually posted a blog entry about it.

quote:

Okay, I've been writing this blog in my head for about a month or so, and I was trying to decide how I would break the news to everyone. But by the time I got to say things, everybody had already heard.

And if you haven't, here it is: I've got a deal with St. Martin's Press to publish a four book young adult paranormal romance series called the Watersong series. I think they're shooting for a fall 2012 release. The Wake book I've mentioned a few times, that's the first book in the series.

Here's the article from the NY Times about the deal: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.c...with-macmillan/

There's also going to be many articles in the future about it. So many, that I'm sure you'll be sick of hearing about me, if you aren't already.

But the big question on everybody's lips isn't what the deal is but why? If I've sold over a million books and made close to $2 million dollars on my own, why oh why would I possibly want to give up rights? How could they possibly offer me more then what I'm getting myself?

Is it because I feel I need validation? (Somebody misunderstood my post of my saying "I want to be a writer" to mean that I didn't feel as I already am one, when in fact I meant, "I only want to be a writer. I do not want be a publisher.") Also, after selling a million books, making the USA Today Bestseller list, and getting the amount of support from my readers that I get, I feel pretty validated as an author.

Is it because I think publishers will take over marketing over me? No. I enjoy marketing. I am hoping that since I'll have their publicist on hand, the process will become more streamlined. I know I will have to continue doing interviews, and I'll always blog and tweet because I enjoy that.

Is it because I'm so hung up on the idea of seeing my books on shelves in bookstores that I'm willing to give up huge portions of my profit for it? No. That's just silly. I'll be honest, it is pretty cool to think about having a book in stores. Having large distribution is part of the reason why I wanted a deal, and part of that is having books in stores. But just the thrill of seeing my book at Barnes & Noble in no way affected my decision. It's just an added bonus.

Here are the two considerations I made in my decision: what's best for my career, and what's best for my reader. (Notice I didn't say what was best for my wallet).

It boils down to these points:

1. Readers inability to find my books when they want them. I am getting an increasing number of emails from people who go into bookstores to buy my books for themselves or friends or family members, and not only does Barnes & Noble not carry my book, they can't even order it for them. People are requesting my books, and they can't get them.

2. Readers complaints about the editing of my books. I have hired editors. Many, many editors. And I know that I can outsource editing, but I'm clearly doing a really lovely job of picking editors. EDIT: The people hired as editors are great people who worked very hard. Which is the most frustrating thing about the continued complaints of errors in my books. I know that my books are better because of the people I hired. And I don't understand how there can still be errors. So my remark at "lovely" is over my frustration at the situation. Not the actual editors or the work they did.

3. The amount of books I've written and the rate of speed that I write books. If it took me five years to write a book, and I only had one book written, I'd be thinking long and hard about this deal. But right now, I have 19 books currently written. By the time the Watersong series goes to print, I'll still have 19-24 titles at least that I can self-publish.

The reason I took this deal wasn't for the money. At least not the upfront money. Also, let's be honest - if I self-published the Watersong series on my own, I could probably make $2 million within a year or two. Five years tops. I am fully aware that I stand a chance of losing money on this deal compared to what I could make self-publishing.

I honestly didn't do this for money. But let's not forget that as much money as I've made, James Patterson made $70 million between June 2010 and July 2010. Legacy houses (is that what we're calling them now?) have made a lot of authors very rich.

So what do I actually want out of this deal? What do I hope to gain?

Career stability. As an author, I'll never really have one. Each book I come out with could bomb and could be the one that turns readers off me forever. Any day, my books could just stop selling. And I know that going with a house isn't going to change that. Any author can stop making money any day.

James Patterson has a book out now that has incredibly low reviews, some of the lowest I've seen for any book, and that book is still selling like crazy, and I can find it Target and Walmart. Even the sequel to the book, which the reviews say is even twice as awful as the original, is selling like crazy. Why? Because James Patterson wrote it. (Or more accurately, because his name is on the cover).

I want that. Not the writing bad books thing. I'll always strive to write a product that people enjoy. But I want to be a household name. I want to be the impulse buy that people make when they're waiting in an airport because they know my name.

That, I think, is as close to career stability as I can get. And that's why I took the deal.

Does this mean I'll stop self-publishing? No, absolutely not. I have a few titles lined up this year yet to put out via the self-publishing. And I'll have more in the future.


Did my agent push me into this? Nope. This exactly how the conversation went: Steve (my agent): "Have you thought at all about going the traditional route?" Me: "Yeah, I have. And I have a series that I'm ready to pitch." Steve: "Great. Send it to me when you're ready."

Did you sign the contract without reading it? I haven't actually signed anything. But on top of my agent, I have a lawyer, an accountant, a financial adviser, and a personal assistant. I like my agent. I trust my agent. But that doesn't mean I'm so excited about this that I'm going to ignore logic and forget to make sure everything is in order the way I think it is. Not only will I look over it, but I'll have other people who understand contracts better than me read it.

Aren't you going back on everything you said? Nope. I've made a number of blog posts in the past, and I haven't changed my opinion on anything. I always said if the deal was right, I would take it. Part of the reason I'm taking it now is because I have made enough of my name for myself that I had the leverage to get the kind of deal I wanted.

What happens if they screw you over in a contract, steal all your money, and keep your erights forever? Then they do. I like the books St. Martin's bought. And I believe in them. But if I lose money on them, I lose money on them. That's the risk I'm taking. And I do know this is a risk. But it's a calculated risk, and if it works out, the payoff could be enormous. But I'm making enough money on my other books - and I will continue to make enough on my self-published books - that I can afford to take this risk.

With all that said, I am very excited about this. The folks I've talked to at St. Martin's have been very kind, and they're pretty jazzed up to have me. They even sent me flowers and chocolates today.

But it is crazy that we live in a time that I have to justify taking a seven-figure a publishing deal with St. Martin's. Ten years ago, nobody would question this. Now everybody is.

Which is really silly, you guys. If there's one thing I've proven in the past year is that I'm pretty business savvy. I'm practical and level-headed. I've thought this through and talked it over with a lot of different people.

And now, I'm watching Scream 2 with Eric. It's his 25th birthday today, and I'm going back to celebrating that with him.

Call Me Charlie fucked around with this message at Mar 29, 2011 around 17:55

Romper Billson
Jul 14, 2005

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd

FingerbangMisfire posted:

Seems to me that the cover is really the first advertisement for a self-publisher. Need to catch potential readers' eyes.

Yeah, definitely. As someone who might be taking a chance on an unknown writer, the things that matter the most to me are an eye-catching title, a synopsis ("product description") that is enough to outline the plot and identify the genre and main character -- for instance, compare your description, M.E., to that of the new James Patterson book (you have to scroll down), and a low price, in that order.

(By the way, that new Patterson book sounds like the original Star Trek's "Space Seed" meets Minority Report/Terminator. What a bizarre-sounding book.)

Romper Billson fucked around with this message at Mar 29, 2011 around 18:51

Sedgr
Sep 16, 2007

Neat!


Hocking's reasoning in that blog post sounds kind of odd to me. She thinks that a regular publishing deal will mean more stability than what she has currently? And then cites Patterson, who has made a pile of money, even with terrible books. So I guess she wants protection for her terrible work and thinks the regular publishing route will do that for her?

Then theres the editing thing. She's gone through a bunch of editors apparently with her self published work, even though a cursory glance would suggest theres been virtually no editing at all, and a real publisher can edit her better. But she could hire a real editor for her current publishing method. Its not like regular publishers have some sort of secret pool of editors. They just have ones they've hired or hire out to.

I think what it really boils down to is the household name thing. Even with a million copies sold or whatever, she doesnt feel like a "real" author because none of her books are in the physical stores. So shes going to go the publishing house way in the hopes that once people see her books on the shelves she'll be as well known as Stephanie Meyer.

Can't really hurt at this point I guess. Its not like she can ever be viewed as a total failure.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

There's just something about holding a real book in your hands, with your byline...

But, no, the move & the reasoning strike me as a little squirrelly. Good for her (I say that with the most envious voice possible), but she'll almost certainly be losing money in the deal. Her fanbase is all online.

I can appreciate her desire to conquer new brick & mortar lands, though.

Hef Deezy
Jun 11, 2006

Show no fear. Show no emotion at all.

Barry Eisler, who turned down a half million offer from St. Martin's Press to self-publish, and Amanda Hocking, who of course accepted a $2 million+ offer from the same publisher, had a discussion about their choices:

http://www.twliterary.com/selfpub.html

It seems like Amanda Hocking wants to get her name out as a brand in bookstores/Wal-Marts/airports not just to attain a wide print readership, but to gain new readers that will then purchase her already existing self-published novels. She insists that the four book deal (which are new books, not republication of her existing books) will not keep her from self-publishing new books in addition to this four book series.

And I'm not going to judge her methods at all, as she's the one who's sold hundreds of thousands of self-published books, landed a movie deal for one of those self-published trilogies, and now has a multi-million dollar contract for four more books. She may not necessarily have written the best books out there, but she did something to click with a wide readership.

As for editing on her books, I think what her mistake may be is that she's hiring JUST an editor and not necessarily a copyeditor and line editor. It's the copy editors and line editors that find the nitpickiest plot holes, redundancies, grammatical errors, etc.

Hef Deezy fucked around with this message at Mar 29, 2011 around 21:41

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

Hey I sold two books today with a cover.

Compare that to 5 total in like 2 years previous.

That said I did a bunch of self-marketing on twitter and stuff today, so it could also be that...

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

It all helps, man. But more importantly: congratulations!

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

FingerbangMisfire posted:

It all helps, man. But more importantly: congratulations!

Ha, thanks, that $1.40 that I'll never see was worth it!

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Yeah, what's the deal with Amazon? You have to make over $10 in royalties before they'll send that to your bank account, right?

Sedgr
Sep 16, 2007

Neat!


Same reason some stores require you to spend $5 or whatever to use a credit/debit card. They are paying transaction fees and dont feel like eating the cost of constant fees for tiny amounts. Or at least thats the reason I would expect. Could be they're just dicks too.

Arnold of Soissons
Mar 4, 2011

by XyloJW


FingerbangMisfire posted:

Yeah, what's the deal with Amazon? You have to make over $10 in royalties before they'll send that to your bank account, right?

I think once your account tops $5 they'll bank transfer it to you and once it tops $10 they'll cut you a paper check. Could be $10/$15 or something, I forget.

What's the deal with ISBNs? Do you guys buy an ISBN or not bother, or what?

Myrddin Emrys
Jul 3, 2003

Ho ho ho, Pac-man!

FingerbangMisfire posted:

Yeah, what's the deal with Amazon? You have to make over $10 in royalties before they'll send that to your bank account, right?

Something like that. I think it's $10 for ETF and $20 for cutting you a check. They don't want to be mailing around checks for $0.35, I guess.

FingerbangMisfire
Feb 16, 2007

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, honesty, and decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

Arnold of Soissons posted:

What's the deal with ISBNs? Do you guys buy an ISBN or not bother, or what?

ISBN's aren't necessary for Barnes & Noble or Amazon or Smashwords. They're also $125 a pop, which is maddeningly high for a small fry like myself. However, they are required for the Apple Store, Sony store, Kobo and (I'm not sure but I think) Diesel.

I expect my shorts, once they pass muster, to be in the Apple & Sony stores by way of Smashwords, which will provide an ISBN for you if you agree to list them as publisher. This wasn't a huge deal for me with the short stories, but I can see why it would turn some self-publishing authors off.

It doesn't mean Smashwords OWNS anything of yours, but some people prefer to be the only name on their manuscripts.

Myrddin Emrys posted:

They don't want to be mailing around checks for $0.35, I guess.

Haha, yeah, I can't imagine that they would. Cost of postage and the check itself would be more.

Sangori
Sep 6, 2010


Arnold of Soissons posted:

2- steampunk fans, where are they? They're the demographic I'm going after but I have no idea where to talk to them about my stuff or how to spread the word. Also, how soon should I start doing that? Now, or not until the story is done?

A good place to start on Steampunk is sending your book to Jake Von Slat at the Steampunk Workshop. He's mostly dedicated to maker stuff, but he's promoted many authors and steampunk novels. His site doesn't get a ton of comments, but he's kind of the father of the modern movement, so getting his endorsement/recommendation can't hurt.

I'm a marketer by profession and a crappy novel writer by hobby. Basic marketing says you should really identify your audience as a first step. Some authors seem take that notion to heart when they even begin to write a book. Regardless of what you think about Amanda Hocking's skill level, she knew her audience early on and relentlessly churned out marketing and more books that catered right to their wants/needs.

I'm not saying you should be sell outs and only write books or stories that you think you can sell, or pander to a lucrative audience, because that would suck. However, spending some serious time and effort to figure out exactly who your book audience is can only help you. Get specific. Create your "ideal reader" demographic. Figure out an age range, their interests and hobbies, reading habits, are they dog or cat people. Seriously. Once you have that in hand you can start digging into where those people are on the web. Target a few communities and put yourself out there to them.

You are asking someone to spend some cash to buy your book and some time to actually read it. You have to convince them that you already know it would be of interest to them.

That was overly wordy! I hope this is helpful.

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Romper Billson
Jul 14, 2005

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd

Sedgr posted:

Its not like regular publishers have some sort of secret pool of editors. They just have ones they've hired or hire out to.

True, but a good editor is more than just someone to relentlessly track down missing commas and dangling participles. At some point the relationship demands a fit for personality and vision as well -- to be able to think like the author, or to be able to push them in a certain way that they don't want to go (for marketability, readability, pacing, or other such issues). And in my experience, in-house editors are just better at maintaining personal relationships and easier to work with than freelancers are.

That's not to say that a freelancer can't add as much value to a work as an in-houser, it's just that the publishing house serves to weed out the people who generally aren't "people people" in the way that the editor-author relationship really demands in order to work well. It's harder to know until it's too late whether you and your freelancer are a bad fit -- and there's no fallback option that doesn't demand breaking contracts, large sums of money, and potential lawsuits.

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