Self-Publishing... please share your experience! - Page 2

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Thread: Self-Publishing... please share your experience!

  1. #11
    I always held the assumption that the publishers took on the marketing because.. you know, that's their job. I know I'll be expected to travel around doing book signings and other promotional things, but for the most part, they're responsible for getting the book onto shelves, advertising, organising schedules and appointments, etc.

    How can they expect your average writer to know about these things?

    It leaves me wondering what service they provide aside from printing the book, and how they justify taking the lion's share of the profits.

    I'll still go through a publisher/agent, but your comments ring a little differently to what I hear elsewhere. I'm hoping I've taken the wrong meaning in your message.. please let me know if you can clarify it.
    I know kung fu, karate, and 47 other dangerous words.

  2. #12
    That's wishful thinking, Kris. Even with a major publishing house, you do much of the promotion work yourself. Yes, they will put the book on the shelves, but you spread the word about it through book signings, radio shows, television interviews, etcetera. Remember that you don't pay a publishing house a single dime of your money. They take a chance on your novel, hope that the sales will cover the costs of publishing, and take at least 50% of every sale you make. It's in their best interest to promote your work, but that doesn't mean that you sit back, do nothing, and watch the money roll in.

    How do they justify taking the lion's share? It's simple. If you've ever self-published you'll know how much it costs to run off a couple of hundred books -- especially with a company like Lulu. It's extremely difficult, as I mentioned above, to break even using this avenue. Now, consider that a major publishing house prints thousands of your novel, no charge to you. That's how they justify their cut.

    One thing that you need to remember about major publishing houses -- money flows to the author. Never the other way around. Agents and publishing houses don't ask for money. They take a cut from your sales. They take a chance on your novel. That's why there are so many rejections, because publishing houses don't work on talent -- they work on marketability. At the end of the day, they back what they think will sell. That's why there's a lot of tripe on the go. It got there because it has a market and it will sell.
    Last edited by Sam; January 8th, 2011 at 12:41 PM.
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  3. #13
    I'm confused by the differences in your comments when compared to websites such as the ones below. They offer a much more positive view on publishing; some were written last year as well.

    I understand that the publishing industry is falling apart a bit, but surely they still provide a usable service... I mean, they're not classified as investors.

    My main focus is with editing, marketing, and promotional work. I have seen publishing businesses explain that they expect authors to assist, but this wouldn't mean 'do most of it'. I get that there's the possibility of book signings and radio interviews and whatever else, which the author has to be a part of, but I'm assuming it would be the publisher that has the resources and contacts to set this up; not the author who is expected to fumble his/her way through it. The publisher has made an investment after all, and they'd want to make sure it pays off. It's part of why authors agree to forgo a percentage of their profits.

    Again, the author shouldn't get a publisher, only to have to contact bookstores around the world in an effort to have them stock it. It just doesn't make any sense (to me).

    Sorry if I seem a bit incredulous.. I just cannot get my head around it. Which leaves me wondering if there's been a simple misunderstanding here.

    Publishing Process | Kogan Page
    Writer’s Digest - Publishing 101: What You Need to Know
    The Publishing Process from Editor to Bookshelf: The Process of Getting a Book for Children Published.
    The Publishing Process
    What is the Process of Publishing a Book? |
    The publishing process | Nias Press
    The Book Publishing Process
    I know kung fu, karate, and 47 other dangerous words.

  4. #14
    First and foremost, I hope we haven't hijacked Schin's thread here. So far, I think the discussion remains relevant so I'll keep going.

    Sam W has (again) nailed it. Everything he's said: Dead on.

    Go back a re-read your link, Kris, "Publishing 101: What you need to know." Pay special attention to the Marketing, Sales and Distribution sections. When you are reading those areas, read with an eye for the human being who is actually being paid to do those jobs. Remember that their job is just that: A job. They have good days and bad. Sometimes they're really into it, most times, not so much. One thing the Sales section doesn't specify (but should) is that your salesperson is not even required to read your book. Very likely they're encouraged to but likely not required. Key in on the sentence that talks about your salesperson representing, not only your book, but an entire season's line-up. They have a lot of stuff to sell. Who's easier to sell to the bookstores: JK Rowling or Kris Munro? So these human salespeople with their human wants and needs and motivations are out there doing what humans do (and don't do). Who is it that fills in the blanks?

    Have you ever seen an author being interviewed by Letterman or Leno? When they're out on the stage, they're not wearing a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers like when they're writing. They're selling. And the product they're selling is themselves. Check out the top sellers kiosk at the bookstore. The author's name is in GIGANTIC letters. The title is less important. So the author becomes the commodity, not the book. Becoming that commodity is your responsibility, not the publishing house. Again, citing the Publishing 101 article, the big houses don't necessarily want GOOD books, just SELLABLE books.

    Finally, the house is taking a risk by signing you. They're gambling that your book is going to sell. At the same time, as an unknown author, they're not going to make that risk a very big one. Their money, effort and focus will all be spent on the big fish. Your job is to become a big fish.

    The point to all of this is that not one single person in the entire process has the incentive to sell you more than you. Yep, it's crappy. Nope, it doesn't seem fair. After all, it is you that has already sweated blood in just getting the story on paper. It is you that has edited until you couldn't see straight. But it remains you who are responsible to see to your own success, whether being represented by a publishing house or by creating one of your own. If you'd like to go into more depth, I cover much of this in the early pages of my blog.

    I sure hope this helps. I realize it ain't what you want to hear, but probably what you need to hear.... Have a happy day!

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by KarlR View Post
    Go back a re-read your link, Kris, "Publishing 101: What you need to know." Pay special attention to the Marketing, Sales and Distribution sections....
    I don't disagree on any one of your points. I know that as an author I'm also responsible for marketing my own book, but my concern here was that publishers would not take an active part in this.

    I'm not sure where there has been a communication breakdown, as I'm not suggesting that I expect to 'sit on my bum' while someone else sells my book. It just seems like publishers do have sales, marketing and promotions departments which are used for the purpose of making them a profit (which happens to go hand in hand with making authors a profit).

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlR View Post
    If you'd like to go into more depth, I cover much of this in the early pages of my blog.
    This is where things in your post become a bit more clear. Not because I read your blog, but because you have one. It seems you got something to say about publishing and are repeating some of this rather than focusing on my concerns.


    I get the feeling that it's been assumed that I want to do nothing other than write, which I'm hoping I've explained isn't the case. The message that I'm hearing in this thread, is that publishers don't really do much other than print and distribute books.

    KarlR, your comments here support my thoughts on publishers performing marketing, promotion, and sales work. Yet you seem to be arguing against my thoughts. That it's an employee doing the work is a moot point (your comments give the impression that publishing houses hire uneducated slackers for the position - which wouldn't serve their overall goal in making money). Publishing houses have people fulfilling these roles, which would be used in some capacity to help sell books.

    The more I write in explanation of my concerns, the more it becomes clear to me that publishers cannot leave marketing and promotion to the author. They must help as well. I'm sure I'll get a reply saying 'they do', but the comments before this lead me to believe that publishers are more inclined to leave it up to the author. So my question becomes, what is left up to the author, and what do publishers do to help?

    I'm hoping because there have been strong voices in this thread, that there will be some detail known about the inner workings of publishers.
    I know kung fu, karate, and 47 other dangerous words.

  6. #16
    Not sure how accurate this is but it is my understanding that because publishers only make money off what they sell they put most of their efforts on what they know will sell. Which is why the big names get radio and television adds and standees, posters, and fliers. So while a house may publish your work you would still need to do a lot or leg work yourself to get it noticed.

    that being said I would like to take a step in the other direction. Part of the reason I decided to self publish is because I want to sell my book myself. I am looking forward to buying a table at area conventions and pitching my book to any and everyone who will take the time to listen. It is scary exciting!
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  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by fleamailman View Post
    ... how about you then, I mean don't you want to people to seek out your posts from what you write in them..."
    I think this falls into the fame side of 'fortune and fame'. Sure, I'd love people to find merit in my comments, but not because it's me giving them. I don't much care that people recognise my posts or remember that it was me that said something specific. Oddly, I'm not sure I like the idea of people searching for my name hoping to uncover more gems of wisdom and wit.

    I don't really care about fortune either. I've always loved a comment a friend made once, 'money is just money'. Which I've always taken to mean it's worthless when compared to the important things in your life. Leave me with my wife and take all my money, I'll still be happy (after trying to punch you in the face ).

    I write to entertain and inform, only. Which is purely self serving of me (because that's what I take pleasure in).
    I know kung fu, karate, and 47 other dangerous words.

  8. #18
    All this talk of forumland and feeding. Brings the hunger artist to mind, but I'm not sure we'd find many wanting people here. The conversation and ease of publishing is too good to pass up.

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    I know kung fu, karate, and 47 other dangerous words.

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