Some Links Comparing Traditional to Self Publishing

Mostly, this article provides an okay summary of the advantages of each.  I do have a complaint, though.  What the crap is this about:

With self-publishing, you often pay thousands of dollars, depending on the company you choose.

Huh?  I think that most self pubbers go the DIY route.  Not disputing that you have to spend money to make money, but I’m not paying a “company” for anything.

We need more of this kind of article.  I recently got into a minor flame war on a forum with a lady who refuses to accept the legitimacy of self publishing.  I don’t think that self publishing is the way to go for everyone, but it is a valid option.

This article talks about how self publishers are perceived by the industry.  The label, to an extent, is justified because some delusional people publish before they’re ready.  Out of four self published books that I’ve read, two were pretty darn good; one read pretty bad but, I think, just needed the touch of a good editor to make right; and the fourth was down right awful.

This article from Forbes.com gives a great overview of the history with predictions for the future.  If you’re trying to decide which method is for you, it’s a must read.

What do you think?  Why did you choose, or are leaning, one way or the other?

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A Couple of Links

If you want to be successful selling anything, one of the first rules is: know your audience.  Check out this article from Yahoo.

Speaking of marketing, check this out.  Did I get that right?  This lady has yet to release her first book, and she already has not only a big 6 publishing deal but a movie deal as well.  How do I go about obtaining “an enthusiastic response from the online community?”  Sign me up!

Links about Marketing Books

Today, I have some links from around the web that give some insight on marketing books.

  • This one discusses gaming Amazon’s system.  Be sure to follow the links for Best Practices and Maximizing Sales.  Good stuff.
  • This one discusses SEO optimization.
  • Okay, this guy makes his advice sound a little sketchy with the way he presents it, but there are some kernels of good ideas buried if you’re willing to dig.
  • This one discusses whether fiction authors should try to understand SEO techniques in a traditional sense to try to drive traffic to their platforms.
  • A story from a guy who found a lot of success.

Let me know if any of them help you.

Interesting Blog Post Analyzing ebook Pricing

Bonus Friday night post for you:

I was doing a little bit of web surfing about marketing ebooks on Amazon and came across a useful blog.  After reading a few articles, I realized that I recognized the name from Mythic Scribes.  Pretty cool.

Check out this article.  Kevin does a statistical analysis of the top 200 best selling SciFi books on Amazon, looking at whether they’re indie or traditional and at the prices.  It’s good info!

Even better, he examines fantasy here.

In this article, he advocates that you do basically no marketing until you have enough books out to make the effort worth it.  In a way, I can kind of see his point.  From a time versus benefit standpoint, marketing a single book seems like a waste of time compared to doing the same thing for multiple books.  Combine that with the fact that there are few “one book breakouts,” and he makes a compelling argument.

On the other hand, I do have some counterpoints:

1. The trend seems to be that books experience a burst of sales upon release.  It seems like the expected curve for the self published author goes: Big spike at release -> Drop off to almost nothing -> Rising to some relatively steady level over time -> Growth with the release of new books

It seems like trying to capitalize on that initial burst is a good thing.  If you can expend a bit of effort and take that book into the Amazon Top Ten for its category, you’ll get a bunch of sales that you otherwise never would have had a chance to get.

2. Every customer you get today is a strong potential sale for a future book.  Thus it seems to make sense to try to reach as many customers as possible now.

3. It seems like it would be a soul crushing experience to have your book, that you worked so hard on and put so many hours into, giving you almost no tangible benefits.

If You Want to Sell Your Book, Don’t Do a Blog Like Mine

That’s the message of this blog post.  The author’s main point: writers shouldn’t blog about writing.

Seeing as how I do blog about writing, you’d probably think that I disagree with the premise.  I do but not for the reason that you expect.

The author seems to feel that blogging is a great way to sell books, just not blogs about writing.  I take the contrary view.  Blogs, unless you’re already established, are horrible for selling books.  First, it takes a long, long, long time and a lot of effort to develop a following.  Second, once you do get droves of people reading your blog, converting them to buyers is notoriously difficult.  If this blog results in the sell of ten of my books that I wouldn’t have sold otherwise, I’ll be shocked.

Why, then, am I doing this?  I’m glad you asked.

1. It’s fun.

2. It’s great experience.  If I ever do make it big, blogging is essential.  This is a learning process.

3. I’m making connections that I wouldn’t have otherwise made.

4. I think that this blog, eventually, can be of use to people who are in my position of wanting to self publish and market their book.  I started it as a blog about writing.  I can see that the purpose is probably going to shift to more about publishing and marketing.  I have a long road ahead of me in the next six to eight months as I get ready to do both those things.  I’ll document the lessons that I learn here to provide a road map to the people who come after me.

 

A Few Posts from Other Blogs

Over at Mythic Scribes, JC Farnham requested prompts to get his creative juices flowing.  I provided him with:

Emerging from the wormhole, the flying saucer dodged the like-sized clay pigeon.  A blast sounded from a shotgun.

I also told him he’d get bonus points if he used a genre other than scifi.  Check out what he did with it at his blog.

Over at Forbes, Suw Charman-Anderson advises you “Don’t Publish that Book.”  She makes a lot of good points about those interested in self publishing rushing to publish before their work is ready.

In the comments section of that post, I found a link to a discussion about “The Gate-keepers in Publishing Today.”  The author, who apparently has published through traditional means, seems a tad dismissive toward self publishings, but it’s a good read.

Is this guy a shill for the traditional publishing industry?

I found this blog post, and it annoyed the crap out of me.  I don’t know if this guy is a shill for the publishing industry, an elitist, or just hopelessly behind the times.  Here’s what he says:

  1. That self publishing used to be referred to as “vanity” publishing.
  2. It’s important to remember that you can’t get mainstream outlets to review self published work.
  3. You have to package and ship all the books yourself.  That is, if you have more than 35 friends and family that ever buy them in the first place.
  4. You may be able to make it work if you can find a sponsor to help with the costs.

When I read his comments, I had assumed that I had stumbled on something posted years ago.  The actual date at the top: September 6, 2012.  No way!  Then the guy goes on to say that you can’t reuse any of the article without his express permission. 

On one hand, I can see his point.  If I had written something so idiotic, I’d not want anyone to repost it either.  On the other hand, maybe this guy has never heard of “fair use.”  This is what the Electronic Frontier Foundations says: 

Short quotations will usually be fair use, not copyright infringement. The Copyright Act says that “fair use…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

So, on to the rebuttal:

  1. Vanity publishing and the new self publishing are nowhere near the same thing.  In the old days, if you wanted your book out there but no publisher would pick you up, these predatory companies would try to get you to pony up money to print your book.  With no real way to get your book to market, you had virtually no chance of ever recouping your costs.  Today, you can stand toe to toe with the big boys by publishing your work as ebooks and Print On Demand (POD).  You do have to fight to get your book noticed, but there’s no huge barrier to distribution like what used to exist.
  2. His point is true enough.  It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get noticed by the mainstream media.  His implication, it seems, is that you’ll never by successful without this notice.  It is this implication that I contest strongly.  It takes work, but you can get your book out there.  There are too many who have done it to say that it can’t be done.  Produce a quality product, get it reviewed on as many blogs as you can, and you can find buyers.
  3. Huh?  Package and shipping books?  What?  Has he ever heard of the Kindle?  The Nook?  Smartphones?  IPads?  That’s not even mentioning POD.
  4. Again, this guy seems to think that there’s no way to sell books without having them in bookstores and having them reviewed by the mainstream media.  He’s out of touch with the new realities.  Don’t get me wrong, producing your book is an investment, one that can be quite steep.  You have to take the time to write a quality product, pay an artist, pay a graphic designer, and pay an editor.  I’m doing mine as cheaply as I possibly can to still produce Power of the Mages in a professional manner, and I anticipate spending $1000 on these costs.

 Bottom line: there are positives and negatives to self publishing, but this guy seems to be living in the past.  If you’re going to criticize the practice, at least get your facts straight.