Posts Tagged ‘print publishing’
Here’s the deal. I would love a traditional publishing contract, despite the fact that I would make less money on each book sold. The lure of traditional publishing is wide distribution, a pat on the ego and if you are good enough, worldwide recognition. Every writer worth his salt wants to be the next J K Rowling or Christopher Paolini.
Not many achieve that status, but that’s beside the point. Only traditional publishing can get you the kind of stardom all writers hope for – at least initially in their careers. This is why, Amanda Hocking chose to print publish her books. She was already earning a lot of money on e-books but print publishing had the potential to make her a household name. Who doesn’t want that?
There are a few writers such as George R.R. Martin who slog for years writing good books that receive critical acclaim and slowly building an audience until they finally hit the jackpot with a book that makes them famous. Others, such as, Suzanne Collins, shoot to fame with their first book.
There’s nothing wrong with having that dream of writing and publishing a bestseller. After all, dreams do come true sometime. However, in today’s changing world and with the advance of technology, writers have many other options available for publishing. Self-Publishing and digital publishing (with a digital only publisher) are just some of them, and for many writers these options have worked out well.
Before taking your decision to publish a book, think about your dreams. What is that you want in the future? What are your goals regarding your writing?
When deciding on your goals, keep in mind the genre of your writing, the length of your books (you are not going to get a print contract with a novella or a short story) and your style of writing. You may want to keep on writing, accumulating rejections and working on new stories while waiting for the print contract or you may decide to self-publish your stories and see where that gets you.
You, as a writer, are in control of your career goals. Self-publishing has given us all the freedom to choose a path. Earlier a writer had no choices, but just because now we have choices doesn’t mean that the old ways don’t work anymore. Traditional publishing is, and will always remain a great force in a writer’s life. It might not work for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it will not work for anyone.
What are your writing goals? Leave a comment as I love to hear from fellow writers.
Here is presenting a great guest post by a fellow writer, Andy kaiser. His own blog on Writing, Publishing and Technology is a fabulous resource for writers.
My name is Andy. I’m a writer. That is, I think I’m competent enough on a keyboard and I have a body of work large enough to justify the title. I’m also an author, where I’ve self-published multiple titles in multiple formats, and I have a traditional publisher kicking off a new series soon. Yet, I’m still figuring out the industry, the methods and overall madness surrounding this weird but fascinating career.
The below tips are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about writing and publishing. If you have time, frustration and sanity to spare, then you can probably stop reading. Otherwise, I hope my experience can help.
Don’t work on newer, “better” projects. Any creative person will have new projects and ideas flying everywhere. Dedicate your focus to one project at a time. Commit to a project when you start it, make sure it’s what you want to do, then finish it before starting something else. When you’re slogging through one project, anything new seems instantly more interesting, and possibly more important. It’s not. Certainly log new ideas so you can pursue them later, but if they’re not directly part of your project, then they’re not as important as finishing what you’re currently working on. Finish what you start.
Your method should be an invisible part of the process. Some writers write with Microsoft Word. Others use OpenOffice. Some dictate. Some write longhand and electronically transcribe it later. Some create with writing-specific software like Scrivener. Pick the process that works for you, and keep at it. Get to the point where you’re so good at whatever writing method you choose, it becomes second nature. You should be such an expert with your tools that you never notice you’re using them.
Don’t read so much. While the “read anything and everything” is great for learning about the method and structure of writing, don’t forget to live life. Observing what’s around you will unearth ideas and story fodder. Overhearing conversations, visiting a particular place, trying a new activity… The world is wonderful for not only generating story concepts and characters, but it gives you authentic examples to effectively communicate ideas and emotion. Direct experience is powerful.
Have a thin skin. You need to be empathic in order to write well. Without an emotional core, you’re a technical writer, communicating ideas with no emotion behind them. It’s good to get emotionally involved with your story and characters. You can wear the thick skin later. If you’ve done your job as a writer, your reader will feel what you feel. When you write, get emotional.
You are not just a writer. You are also an editor. You are a marketer. You are your own agent and advocate. Don’t depend on others to do this for you, even if it’s specified in a contract. At worst, you’ll need to be ready to step in for the failure of others. At the very least, you’ll still improve your final product. No one cares about your career as much as you do.
Inspiration is not a show-stopper. Don’t wait for a good idea to strike you. Don’t wait until you’re “in the mood” to write. …Or rather, you can do these things if you’re a hobbyist writer. But if you want to write for a living, or have to crank out material on a deadline, or are working with others, then you can’t wait for inspiration. That method is too spurious and undependable. Write your words. They could be brilliant, or they could be junk. It doesn’t matter, because if you write words, (1) you’ll be that much closer to finishing your work, and (2) even if the writing is horrible, at least you’ll have something to fix. Write regardless. Don’t wait for inspiration.
Expose yourself to all advice, then be willing to drop it. Yes, there are best practices and recommendations to follow, like the basic structural and procedural rules about writing effectively. You need to know grammar, the difference between active and passive voice, why to use and not use adverbs, the “show, don’t tell” philosophy, and other rules that give you the ability to communicate well. But, when you’re crafting your art and developing your process (How do you write? How much? How often? When? What brand of caffeine do you require?), writing is so incredibly personalized. What works for most may not work for you. Get advice on various methods and recommendations, because it may be helpful. Or it may fall away as useless. Whatever sticks is what your brain wants to do. Experiment to find writing methods that work. No one else can figure this out for you.
Andy Kaiser is the author of Superliminal (Dev Manny, Information Technology Private Investigator series), Waking the Dreamer (Transhuman series) and the upcoming Ghost in the Water (The League of Scientists series).
I recently read a post at Writer’s Beware Blog that highlighted and analyzed the results of separate surveys done on traditionally published versus self-published authors, and while the survey samples were small, I have no doubt the results would be accurate even if thousands of authors were interviewed.
10% of the self-published authors earned 75% of the money. It’s pretty much the same statistic for traditionally published authors.
The business of publishing remains the same, regardless of the format of the platform. Authors who work hard, produce more books, consistently improve their craft and have the luck to write in a genre/style that resonates with a big audience earn more money. In every genre, there are authors who make millions and authors who barely break even.
Self-publishing allows you greater control over the final product and the marketing campaign as well gives you, the writer, the freedom to decide if you wish to produce ten or two books in a year. Traditional publishing provides you with immense editorial support. It also has access to distribution channels, especially in terms of physical bookstores. No one has yet been able to prove that one form of publishing is better for ALL authors as compared to another. Authors who have taken an initiative have made money from self-publishing and there are others who are doing well being traditionally published.
As a writer, you have to decide on your writing and career goals, and then decide the best course that will help you achieve those goals. It’s important to choose your own path, and to have the courage to follow the path you feel is right for you. Don’t be afraid to make some hard decisions. You might want to hold on to a manuscript for a year or two, if you are confidant of selling it to a publisher. Yet, at the same time, you may decide to self-publish an entire series, making them available at a low price or even free.
Those who have made it big are the ones who had the guts to choose a path less traveled.
A few weeks ago, I read a post at The Creative Penn blog that questioned whether self-published authors are happier than traditionally published authors. While thinking about it, I chalked up a list of things that make me happy being published with a traditional or digital publisher:
1) Not having to worry about editing as I know they will make sure the book is as good as it should be. Having the opinion of an experienced and competent editor who has worked on similar books at every stage of editing, marketing and publishing would relieve me of a lot of unnecessary tension.
2) Not worrying about designing a good cover,
3) Not worry about getting an ISBN,
4) Not worry about book formatting and uploading on various sites.
5) Having the stamp of approval from others in the same business.
In comparison, here is a list of things that would make me happy should I choose to self-publish my books:
1) Having complete control over pricing, royalty rates and publishing dates as well as having the ability to use price changes as a marketing tool available to me,
2) Designing a cover to my liking,
3) Not having to see another rejection letter in my inbox. No matter how much we tell ourselves, each rejection letter, sent for whatever reason, is a kick on our ego. Honestly, if I never saw another ‘this manuscript doesn’t match our publishing criteria’, I would be a happy writer.
4) Not having to do research on agents and publishers, preparing partials and full manuscripts and submitting to them,
5) Not being dependent on others for my career choices.
At the end of the day, every writer needs to make this very personal decision as to what would make them happy. As you can see, each option has the ability to make your content, but at the same time, it is possible only if your expectations match the results. Self-publishing for the right reasons would make you happy, and traditional publishing for the right reasons would also make your happy. Before making this decision, go through this list, and mark each item that is important to you. Whichever choice matches the expectations your have from your writing that is the best option for you.
Also, remember sometimes it is ok to make mistakes. The process of publishing is also a journey, and the only thing that matters is not to repeat the same mistakes.
A. L. Waddington is a print published author of the Eve series, a four book series, of which the first book Essence is available for sale as an e-book at Tate Publishing website. It is also available as a paperback at Amazon. In my last post, I promised you a fabulous interview with her with the purpose of getting a few glimpses of her journey towards becoming a published author.
Here is the interview:
Q: How was your journey as a writer to a published author? How long did it take you to get published?
A: I began writing shortly before my teens, short stories, poems and such. I started writing my first novel around twenty one. It’s still sitting on my hard drive and needs a lot of TLC. I finally went back to school when my youngest daughter started first grade and that consumed almost all my time and energy and ninety nine percent of the writing I did during those years were for my courses. During that time I had my first poem published, Alone, in The Sounds of Poetry and I managed to finish my second novel and even got an offer to publish it. After great consideration, I decided against it because it was too personal. I may someday reconsider. I started The EVE Series/Essence the summer after graduation. A couple of my professors were kind enough to read the initial manuscript and give me their feedback on everything from characters (those they liked and those who could be cut out because they did not add anything to the story) to plotline. I got an offer on it six months later. So all in all it took more years than I care to admit, but I can say that it is very much worth it and absolutely a dream come true!
Q: What is your writing routine?
A: Despite having an office in my home, I typically write on my laptop in my living room with the television blaring and teenagers running in and out. I guess I write better with all the commotion around me. I find the noise comforting. I do my best to write/edit a little everyday but occasionally life happens and it is not possible.
Q. Tell us a bit about the series? How did you come up with the concept and how many books will the entire series consist of?
A: The EVE series is ultimately a love story between Jocelyn and Jackson. It is freshly unique in that it bridges genres with its cross over between science fiction/time travel/romance/young adult as a work of commercial fiction. The main characters are relatable to a large audience in that their age group is late teens to early twenties. The narration of the story is told from eighteen year old Jocelyn Timmons viewpoint and the distinctively different lives that she leads on parallel planes when her soul travels nightly.
On a much grander scale of enlightenment, it offers an alternative explanation for déjà vu, the consequences of declining family dynamics, the rational of auditory and visual hallucinations as the classic symptoms of schizophrenia and hypothesizes the truth behind noted prophecies. The foundation is created in Essence, elaborated further in Enlightened and blossoms in Perception followed by a unique twist in Illumination and a mind boggling conclusion in Incandescent. The series theories that an individual who has the inherited gift of EVE, possess the ability to live parallel lives on separate planes of existence. Throughout childhood and early adolescence, a barrier in their mind remains intact on the conscious level to prevent awareness of the other life from crossing each other. However, during late adolescence to early adulthood, the barrier between the two worlds begins to disintegrate causing the auditory and visual hallucinations of their other life to break into conscious awareness. These symptoms, once recognized by a family member(s) who also has the gift, were throughout history, guided by that family member(s) to adjusting to the disintegration of the barrier and full conscious awareness of living dual existences. Unfortunately with the decline in extended familial structure, family member(s) with the inherited gift are more often than not, no longer present when the symptoms appear and therefore the individual are diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The EVE series chronicles Jocelyn’s journey of awareness, realization and understanding of the consequences of living parallel lives on vastly different planes, the pains of youth and young love and her struggles of making her way in this new and complicated way of life she is thrust into.
The concept for the EVE series honestly came from a very weird dream that I had. When I awoke I jotted down the premise and tried to imagine what it would be like to live on two separate planes of existence. Right now I am imagining five books in the initial series. I am currently writing the fourth installment and doing research on the fifth. I am contemplating doing a spin-off series that will be related to the EVE series using one of the more minor characters from the initial series, but I have not decided one hundred percent as of yet.
Q: Are your books available on Amazon or other digital retailers as e-books?
A: Currently no, Essence is only available in paperback form at Amazon, B&N, etc. and is only available as an ebook on my publisher’s website. But I believe it should be released to the aforementioned in ebook format by the end of summer.Q: What is your marketing strategy for your books?
Q: What is your marketing strategy for your books?
A: I work in conjunction with a Marketing Representative provided by my publisher who sets up my book signings and handles the promotion of each event for me. Together we try and utilize Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn to aid us in promotion and notifying readers of upcoming events. Plus I have a personal blog that I try to post in daily that is on my author website. I also give speeches at High Schools, Colleges, and Universities promoting reading and writing and how it shapes the future success of the student.
Q. What is your opinion on self-publishing? Would you prefer to self-publish your books as opposed to publishing with online publishers?
A: I do apologize but I do not know enough about the world of self-publishing or online publishers to have an opinion. I know there has been a lot of debate about it pointing out the high and low points of each, but unfortunately I am not really familiar with either.
Q. What is your advice to a new writer who is trying to get a publishing contract or thinking of self-publishing?
A: As I said before, I wish I could be more helpful in the area of self-publishing but I am afraid I do not know enough about it to truly offer an opinion or advice in that area. However, I do know how difficult and frustrating it is to find a Literary Agent/Publisher who believes in your work as dearly as you do. What I can say is to utilize the Writer’s Market guide to its fullest. A new one is published annually that offers young authors a comprehensive list of Literary Agents/Publishers and what they specialize in. It also contains helpful hints and suggestions on just about everything regarding submitting your work. It is an invaluable resource. I strongly advise young authors to do your research on which agents/publishers specialize in their genre, check out their websites, and follow their submission instructions to the letter. Write a solid query with no mistakes in punctuation and grammar and do not rely on spell check. Proofread everything before you send it out to anyone.
You can read more about A. L. Waddington and her Eve series at her blog, on follow her on twitter, facebook and linkedin.
Writing is a labor of love. All writers would attest to that. No one does it because they hope to become a millionaire – but sometimes the journey to publication and beyond is so tough that it’s hard to remain optimistic. Why waste your time pounding away at the laptop when you can spend that time with your children, your spouse, other family or doing some work that will have better monetary rewards?
What would you do today if someone guaranteed your success?
If your answer is the same as mine, that is to write – you, my friend, are in the right profession, or hobby or however you define your writing.
Sometimes, it is difficult to be brave, to take risks – if you are comfortable writing in one genre, it may be hard for you to even think of writing another type of story. If someone told you, you will do a fabulous job writing a romance (and you have been writing mysteries) and if they guaranteed you will make money writing romance, would you do that? If yes, perhaps it’s time to take a look at why you haven’t written romances as yet?
If you have been writing for the past four, five years, and still have not submitted a story, ask yourself if what is holding you back is a fear of rejection? If someone guaranteed acceptance, would you send your book out today?
If you have been trying to get published in a traditional way for the past many years, ask yourself if you would consider self-publishing or digital publishing if someone guaranteed you will make money that way?
Sometimes, we just need to free ourselves from the fear of failure and just go ahead and do what we really want to do simply because it makes us happy. Writing fulfills me. I love it. When I am immersed in the plotting, writing or editing of a story, I am the happiest person on the planet. It’s my passion – and without passion, life is quite meaningless.
Maybe your passion will not make you a millionaire, but if it makes you happy, you should take out the time to do it. All great writers did what they did because they loved their work. Success was a byproduct – and although we live in a society that judges our merit by our monetary success, in our heart, we always truly know what will make us feel like a success.
So go ahead, I guarantee your happiness, if not monetary success…believe me, the second is tied to the first. Do what your heart tells you to do, and you will, in time (after patience and persistence) get the rewards associated with your passion.
Building a writing career through traditional publishing
Building a writing career through self-publishing
Self-publishing may have given thousands of writers’ new hope – but it has also made it more difficult for a writer to shine. Sure, I have many options I can use to publish my books, for example, self-publish myself as an e-book, or self-publish as an e-book as well as in print format, or query digital publishers who are lenient on word counts and genres.
However, the hard truth is that although it may be easier to get published but it’s harder to become good enough to have a huge commercial market vying for your books. Thousands of authors are publishing now, and it’s getting harder for the readers to choose amidst the new books that pour into the cyberspace every day. How do they determine what not to read?
Simple: no one buys a new author’s book until it is widely reviewed, or admired.
How do authors get reviews?
Simple: By giving out free copies.
Result: You may give out a lot of books, but it will take ages to make money and that too on the third or fourth book.
Conclusion: For a serious novelist, nothing has changed. You have to spend years perfecting your craft, getting better, collecting rejections from agents or publishers or racking up low royalties on self-published books until finally you become good enough for a buzz to generate. Everything is the same, and yet so much has changed.
This just goes to prove that although the dynamics of publishing may be in the process of change, the readers are still the same. The most important commitment a reader makes when purchasing your book is not the money he/she spends on it, but rather the time spent reading the story. And it better be worth his/her time.
That’s why it sucks to be a novelist, because on one hand, we are showered with the hope of a changing industry but the reality is still the same. As a writer the only thing you can do is to write for the love of writing, not for the love of getting published or for the money because at the end of the day, only the very persistent and dedicated writers will become one of those few who get to have millions of copies of their book out and earn huge royalties as well as the love of their readers.
It would take a daring author to write a story about an adult Harry Potter – but that’s exactly what Lev Grossman seems to have done. I read the blurb of the book, and felt that tingle in my bones that told me this was going to be something different .Why, however? By all accounts the story of a young man who gets admitted in a secret magical school should be boring…no one should read it. But the blurb promises something more – and delivers something extraordinary.
I can imagine the reaction of the editor when she must have read the blurb or the synopsis. That tingle would have been there. Any addicted reader knows the ‘tingle’ is the best way to determine if you want to read the story or not. What a book! It is fantasy and literature rolled into one. The story makes you think. Fantasy is a perfect means for escapism…and who knows it better than the writers who write fantasy story. Writing fantasy is our own means of travel to a magical, wonderful and exciting world.
However, The Magicians makes you realize that escapism doesn’t provide a key to happiness. It makes you wish you had the ability to be happy with the ordinary – because something the extraordinary is also boring. Magic doesn’t mean instant success or guarantee a life full of adventure.
Lev Grossman has delivered a fantastic book. Not only that, by riding on a cliché beginning, and making it into something unique, he has given all writers hope. Dare to write what you believe in – because only then you will write something extraordinary. Don’t be afraid to experiment and write with your heart. If you write that good book, the tingle will be there – and every reader will feel it.
You can check out Lev Grossman’s website here and buy the book on Amazon. For all you fantasy lovers, believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
A writer has more control over his writing career when he chooses a route of self-publishing, whether digital or print. Traditional publishing is slower, gives fewer choices to the writer and also doesn’t guarantee success. But then nothing in life ever guarantees success. If you decide to pursue traditional publishing, here are a few tips that might help you cope with the pressures of it.
1) The traditional publishing model has undergone many changes. For example, I chose to publish my fantasy novella The Black Orb via a digital publisher Uncial Press – and I get the same benefits that a traditional print publisher offers. The publisher does the editing, designs a cover, sets a publishing date, gets an ISBN and does some marketing. So you can choose to print your smaller, mixed genre or difficult to place manuscripts with digital publisher who offer the same contracts as traditional print publisher. The only difference is that there is no advance, but a royalty. The percentage of royalty is however better than what most print publishers offer.
2) If you are holding out for a print publishing contract, consider selling your shorter stories and novellas to digital publishers or to magazines. As a writer you have more choices today than writers did twenty years back. Your career will not be built in a day, but by slowly accumulating publishing credits, you will find it easier to catch the eye of an agent or publisher.
3) Follow blogs of agents. Research those who accept your genre and see if they write blogs or have twitter presence. Believe me, agents spend a lot of time and effort on their blogs and you can get a whole lot of useful information through them.
4) Don’t just wait for that first big fat lucrative contract. It’s a pipe dream. No author worth his salt got a great advance. Instead, write a good book but if it doesn’t sell, try to publish it through digital publishers or magazines.
5) Join a critique group and use it. Make a twitter account, facebook, website or blog. Have a web presence. Your publisher will demand it, and it’s better to start early. Join a readers’ community such as goodreads or shelfari. Become a reviewer for other writers. Make connections and establish relationships before your first book is ever printed. Trust me, you will need those connections.
At the end of the day remember that no career, whether writing or otherwise, is made in a day. It takes years of hard work, dedication and a commitment to excellence to become successful at your chosen field.
Building a writing career through self-publishing
E-book promotion – what doesn’t work?
Those of us who have been bitten by the writing bug know full well the lure of a six-figure writing contract, a good first run of hardcover and a successful and bestselling paperback edition.
Self-publishing has, however, killed that dream for many of us. An increasing number of writers are not waiting for years or decades for that elusive print contract. Instead, they are taking their career in their own hands and publishing their manuscripts on their own. Those of us who still trust publishers are either going with small print publishers or digital publishers.
No problem with that! The path of publishing fame is a varied and twisted one, and those of us who are persistent will get there—eventually.
The writing is on the wall. Print publishing is in the last throes of a slow and agonizingly painful death. Hence, print publishers are taking fewer chances on new writers. Instead they are milking their established authors by earning big bucks from their print and e-book sales. Writers are also not holding their breaths for print contracts. Most are happy self-publishing or allying themselves with digital publishers.
Earlier, a writer was content with publishing smaller stories in a magazine, developing a good reputation and finally landing a print contract for a small advance. Now, the path has changed for many of us. A writer who proves himself either as a successful self-published author of many books, or does well with a digital publisher can eventually hope to earn the interest of an agent/publisher.
Fewer print books will be published but the big publishers will always be around. They may get more of their sales form e-books but they will deliver to their authors the resources for marketing and distribution that are not available to smaller presses or self-published authors.
So yes, many of us have adjusted our dreams. But after all, change is the only constant – and those who keep up with the changing times generally tend to do well.
Author’s note: This post was inspired by Rachelle Gardner’s post on Should I go with an Indie Publisher?
Choosing a Digital Publisher? – Part 1
Choosing a Digital Publisher? – Part 2
E-books and a cup of coffee