Author Topic: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?  (Read 20348 times)

Offline Gail_McHugh

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2015, 10:55:26 AM »
Gail,

The 18 month delay came after I'd submitted my completed manuscript and signed the contract. So it's the trad publishers dragging their feet (two separate publishing houses in my admittedly limited experience) rather than the writer.

But you raise a lot of interesting points.

H3K

Hi Hillwalker,

If I'm understanding you correctly, your publisher didn't release your work until 18 months after you signed a contract with them?

If so, that's nuts!

I'm sorry you had to go through that. A standard publisher normally doesn't take any longer than 6 months (from the date in which the MS is completed) to publish an author. That's including edits, copy-edits, production, etc.

When you said 18 months I assumed you meant that was the time the publisher spreads between the author releasing a book with them, and the author being able to either release on their own as an indie, or release again with the actual house.

I was like, "Wow! He has a terribly lengthy non-compete clause. No wonder he likes being independently published!"

 :D
Just keep writing... ;)

www.GailMcHugh.net

hillwalker3000

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2015, 12:46:49 PM »
Yes. 18 months between contract and publication on both occasions. The first publisher didn't even see any need for editing so it was purely down to their in-house timetable. The second maintained virtual radio silence for almost a year before sending a couple of suggestions of how they'd like it to be tweaked.
And as for promotion and marketing - forget it.

So self-publishing makes more sense for me (until I sell my first million). But you have to be scrupulous in your proof reading if you want the final edition to be the best it can possibly be.

H3k

Offline kittykatr

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2015, 09:31:53 PM »
I certainly appreciate reading the experiences of authors who have gone both routes.  I have self-published two ebooks, and am currently going over one of them with a view to doing a print version.  I have used BookBaby, who do distribution to all the 'houses'.  They have recently come out with a POD book publishing offer, which I haven't yet looked at (waiting till I really edited the ebook version).  It sounds good, but I'll reserve a round of applause until after I've checked it out.

Again, thanks for sharing your adventures with both arenas of book publishing.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2015, 01:41:52 PM »
It's 7:43 in the morning, so please forgive me if my thoughts seem disjointed. Nearing the twenty-four hour mark, I've yet to sleep since waking yesterday around nine a.m.. :-\

In my opinion (having started out self-published, then eventually signing with a publisher) there are pros and cons to both. The below examples are based on my personal journey, so take them with a grain of salt, if you will.

My list of pros to self-publishing include a few things. Amongst calling the shots on what your covers look like, not having to write the standard wash-rinse-repeat, cookie-cutter storyline, and just being able to...be, you're the one setting your due date. Though I disagree with Hillwalker regarding the turnaround time whilst under a publisher (my non-compete clause is set at three months), there's definitely increased anxiety when having to meet a publisher-induced deadline.

Increased anxiety which can--no doubt--mess with your writing mojo.  :-[

I'm signed with Atria, a division of Simon and Schuster, and if I miss my due date not only does it make me feel like an incompetent fool, but it winds up turning into a domino effect for those who are also writing in my genre. My publishing date getting pushed back causes a slew of other authors release dates to get moved around. The last thing my pub wants is competition between their authors during release week/month.

Cut and dry: when you're on your own there's less anxiety when it comes down to churning out your story.  ;D

Another pro to being independently published is setting your own price. In January of 2013 (the glorious year I originally self-published) the market wasn't nearly as saturated as it currently is. This allowed me to price my debut novel at $3.99, pocketing a cool $2.70 profit per book. With massive marketing efforts including a well-established Facebook "likes" page  (before I went live), giveaways constantly being held on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook, and ongoing communication with the internet blogging community, the several months proceeding my release grew my sales from a few thousand sold the week my novel went live, to over a million copies sold the month before I'd signed on with Atria.  :D

What began as something I could only pray would make me back enough money to catch up on the several mortgage payments I'd skipped--spending the dough instead on a cover, an editor, and major marketing efforts--wound up ranking #4 on the N.Y.T.'s, #2 on the U.S.A. Today, and #12 on the W.S.J.'s bestseller lists.

As word of mouth spread it held strong, remaining on those lists for multiple weeks.

The sequel (which came out five months later, but before I signed a contract with my pub) did even better. Within a few hours of hitting the "publish" button, it was sitting at #1 on Amazon, once again ending up on all three lists.  

It's safe to say I caught up with my mortgage.  ;)

Still, here's where the cons of being an indie (today) start to creep in. Sadly, for those who aren't signed, the days of quick cash are gone. With the influx of writers stepping into the industry, I'm seeing more and more new authors pricing their debut novels at .99. Even if you were to sell a couple of thousand copies per month, after taxes, you're barely able to keep yourself afloat.  :-[

Up until recently I was hell-bent on going back to indie. Between the aforementioned cruel mental deadline repercussions and (in general) trying to adjust to the way a publishing house works, I wanted my independence back, that sense of freedom we all enjoy whilst playing the role of our own boss.  :D

However, once the tide started to sway with an overbearing amount of competition flooding the industry, I realized the undeniable security I have under a publisher. Simon and Schuster is one of the larger "Big Six," so, fortunately, their advances and overall deals tend to also be on the larger side. This affords me the luxury of writing, without worrying whether or not my next novel is going to tank, its aftermath the culprit of my financial ruin.  :-\

As Interrobang stated, the obvious help a publisher loans is getting your books out into the public arena. Since sites such as CS exist this may seem like no big deal, but, I assure you, it is a very big deal. Before signing with Atria, and after experiencing unexpected success on my own, my Facebook "likes" page had reached approx. 15,000 followers. After signing with Atria, seemingly overnight, my likes jumped to 30,000. As it stands now, they're nearing the 50,000 mark. Both my following and sales have doubled. I've been picked up in the U.K., Croatia, Brazil, Poland, Germany, Italy, Czech, Slovak, and France. Every few months a new country hops aboard, further expanding my readership.

Not that I see it happening any time soon (despite what "Big Six" projects is inevitable in such a cramped market), when and if the inpatient authors of the world decide to bow out due to lack of sales, resuming what it was they were doing before they tried their hand at writing, because of the aforementioned pros of being signed with a publisher, if I want to go back to indie I can do so with a grander following than that of which I started with.  

Being a hybrid author will never be bad thing.  :D

Either way, my advice? If you start out self-publishing and are lucky enough to have an agent seek you out, followed by a publisher throwing a nice-sized figure on the table, I think it's worth giving it a go to see what both sides of the industry look like.

But no matter what, keep one thing in mind. It's the most important detail before you go live...

Do your homework. Study up on how to market. There's 3.5 million writers on Amazon, and if you don't think of every possible way of getting your name out there to the masses, they'll never know you, your characters, or their tale exists.

Happy writing!  :)

Very interesting, Gail. Thanks for sharing this. Sounds exciting.  :D
Work hard. Believe. Take a chance.

Offline scottyeb

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2015, 10:29:23 PM »
Self pub doesn't have to be expensive. I use CreateSpace and it doesn't cost me a cent. Two of my four self-published books are award-winners, and the one I just published has received a 5-Star review.

The expensive part comes when trying to market them...but a lot (read most) of major publishers expect you to have a platform anyway, and that's what you need to sell indie, too. Web site, media page, blog, Book of Face presence and followers on The Twitter (and other Social Media thingies).

 :D

I know this is a stupid question, but what should I actually do with each of the websites and social media accounts that we're talking about?  Should I be adding a link to buy the book, a quote from the book, or something else?  I feel somewhat lost.

Offline kittykatr

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2015, 08:25:31 AM »
I can't answer your question completely, but what I miss, others will fill in.  Facebook allows you to create a special page that you can use to promote your book(s).  You would need to keep it active with interesting posts and get people to 'like' the page.  Also a link to your website would be a good idea, as would some information on what the book is about, and links to where your book can be purchased.

Blogging can be done free on many different sites.  For a website, you would provide links to where your book is available for purchase, some information about yourself, perhaps an inkling of future projects, and some quotes from the book(s) currently available.  Some websites are free, but you may find it difficult to put in the information that you want. 

Offline scottyeb

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2015, 11:07:33 AM »
I can't answer your question completely, but what I miss, others will fill in.  Facebook allows you to create a special page that you can use to promote your book(s).  You would need to keep it active with interesting posts and get people to 'like' the page.  Also a link to your website would be a good idea, as would some information on what the book is about, and links to where your book can be purchased.

Blogging can be done free on many different sites.  For a website, you would provide links to where your book is available for purchase, some information about yourself, perhaps an inkling of future projects, and some quotes from the book(s) currently available.  Some websites are free, but you may find it difficult to put in the information that you want. 

Okay, thank you for your assistance.   ;D

Offline Dogncatlover

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2015, 09:55:31 PM »
The major difference between self-pub and traditional?

Unfortunately, it is often the lack of editing. In other words, writing ability. Far too many writers release self-pub'd books that make half-decent writers cringe, shudder, and skip to another screen.

Traditional publishers employ professional editors. If you self-pub, you have to hire and pay an editor or be part of a group where good writers gather and willingly give you honest feedback. If it is an on-line group, you run the risk of having your story published before you can get things together.

Blessed is he (or her) who has honest critiquers.

Offline WordBird

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2015, 03:05:04 PM »
I don't have much to offer here except one thing that has probably changed since the original post. I believe that Bookbaby and (possibly) Smashwords are targeting libraries now. So self-publishers do have access to that additional exposure now depending on the route taken.

Jo Bannister

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2015, 04:00:28 AM »
A slightly belated comment on the time it takes for publishers to produce a book. 

I've had 34 published by different publishers, both in London and New York, and I've never yet had one come out in six months.  Twelve months seems to be about par for the course - a bit sooner or later if that means publishing at an optimum time.  Hilly's 18 months does seem a bit long, but not remarkably so.

Offline Gail_McHugh

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2015, 01:38:01 PM »
I know this is a stupid question, but what should I actually do with each of the websites and social media accounts that we're talking about?  Should I be adding a link to buy the book, a quote from the book, or something else?  I feel somewhat lost.

Not sure if you can see it, bet here's my author FB likes page, Scottyeb.

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGailMcHugh?ref=hl

Before Atria contacted my agent about purchasing Collide and Pulse, when I'd decided to take the SP route, I started it, usually tossing up a small teaser or two per week. From there, online bloggers caught it. Heaven sent.  :D A page that began with approx. 50 friends and family has since grown to almost 45,000 followers. It may seem small for the amount of books I've sold, but if you take a look at say Sylvia Day's FB page, she has approx. a half a million followers, yet sells 750,000 copies per week when she releases a new novel.  :o

When Collide originally published on January of 2013, my FB page had just over 2,000 followers. I remember this, as I'd told my followers that I'd hit the "publish" button early on Collide if they (my current follows) could get me to 2,000 likes. They did, and so I did as promised.  :)

A FB likes page (in my opinion) is the first media platform an SP author should concentrate on.

I can't answer your question completely, but what I miss, others will fill in.  Facebook allows you to create a special page that you can use to promote your book(s).  You would need to keep it active with interesting posts and get people to 'like' the page.  Also a link to your website would be a good idea, as would some information on what the book is about, and links to where your book can be purchased.

Blogging can be done free on many different sites.  For a website, you would provide links to where your book is available for purchase, some information about yourself, perhaps an inkling of future projects, and some quotes from the book(s) currently available.  Some websites are free, but you may find it difficult to put in the information that you want.  

The second would be a website. Actually, now that I'm thinking of it, maybe it should be first on the list. Idiots (like they do when watching up and coming stars and athletes) will buy your name as their domain name. When Collide hit,  my agent (Jane Dystel from Dystel and Godderich Literary agency), told me to create one ASAP. I did as told, and found that some dude bought GailMcHugh.com. I'd asked Go-Daddy if they could contact him to let him know that I was interested in buying it from him. He did, indeed, contact me to sell it to me for a whopping $10,000. I laughed and hung up. I also asked Go-Daddy to please contact me when his time was up on the contract, in hopes of yanking up the dot com. I have the dot net and a few other things, but REALLY want my dot. com.  :-\

The major difference between self-pub and traditional?

Unfortunately, it is often the lack of editing. In other words, writing ability. Far too many writers release self-pub'd books that make half-decent writers cringe, shudder, and skip to another screen.

Traditional publishers employ professional editors. If you self-pub, you have to hire and pay an editor or be part of a group where good writers gather and willingly give you honest feedback. If it is an on-line group, you run the risk of having your story published before you can get things together.

Blessed is he (or her) who has honest critiquers.

Actually, Dogandcatlover, I've found the process (as far as expertise is concerned) to be far more easier whilst self publishing. When I'd signed with Atria I had no doubt the editing process would be nice and smooth. It was quite the opposite.  :-[ On average (in a publishing house the size of Atria), the main editors have anywhere from twenty to thirty authors which whom they're editing for. With that comes very tired, overworked editors. It's not uncommon for them to be in the midst of editing three to five books at once. The copyeditor picks up a ton more grammar errors than the editor, and by the time it gets to the proof reader, even more errors are (thankfully) caught. Please keep in mind that my latest MS errors were (50% of the time) caught by me. This was a total shock to me yet made sense. My indie editor had less clients, therefore was really able to concentrate on my work.  Traditional publishers also outsource a ton of their work to freelance editors. That was also something that came as a shock to me. ???

I use both an online critique group and a tough set of five beta readers. Like an online critique group, these gals aren't worried about hurting my feelings, or throwing a few slimy tomatoes at my pros.  :D They're always women I do not personally know, and are helpful in the way of catching any inconsistencies concerning the plot, character development, etc.  ;D



A slightly belated comment on the time it takes for publishers to produce a book.  

I've had 34 published by different publishers, both in London and New York, and I've never yet had one come out in six months.  Twelve months seems to be about par for the course - a bit sooner or later if that means publishing at an optimum time.  Hilly's 18 months does seem a bit long, but not remarkably so.

Jo Bannister, have any of them been through Simon and Schuster? If not, maybe that's why...? Not sure, but from the moment we hand in our MS, it's a six month turnover rate. Authors such as Stephen King, Jody Piccult,  and Colleen Hoover are with them. Colleen's publishing two with them in 2015. Not sure how many King or Piccult has coming out, though, but that's what's in my contract. It's in most of our contracts, well... at least those of us who started off indie before signing with them. Sadly, it took me over a year to write my next novel (also going out through Atria on June 9th  :o ), so (thankfully) they worked with me, pushing my release date back quite a few times. Amber to Ashes was originally slated to publish in April of 2014. I'd only just signed with them in September of 2013.





« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 02:30:22 PM by Gail_McHugh »
Just keep writing... ;)

www.GailMcHugh.net

Offline kittykatr

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Re: Major differences between self-pub and traditional?
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2015, 04:02:20 PM »
Thanks for the interesting information, Gail.