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Publishing probs

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:44 AM

So, I've got this manuscript on my hands, I've edited it as much as I (personally) could and I got some advice and critiques from friends. I've been working on my query, and it feels like it's getting there. I've been asking and talking around and one of my closer friends suggest I attempt to self-publish on Amazon. It's not necessarily the platform I'd like, and I'm still going to polish up my query to give a few more shots. With that said, it's still my first novel, and most likely won't be better than my second (assuming that I'm getting better at this whole thing =P )

What's everyone's input on this topic? Honestly, I'm at a loss for words and thoughts.

#2 mwsinclair


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Posted 27 February 2017 - 09:26 AM

Ultimately, it's a matter of what you're looking to accomplish. There's no reason not to use it to try to get an agent; there's knowledge gained from that experience that will help you in your next novel. There's also knowledge gained from self-publishing that can help in the next novel. But it will be different knowledge for the most part. Only you can answer the question of what you're aiming to attain with this novel. If you choose to go the self-publishing route, it will not preclude you from later trying to gain an agent with a later novel, though it'll probably cut your chances with this novel. If you choose to pursue an agent with this novel, it will take longer. Really, the thing you lose via that route is time, but you'll still be able to write.

#3 Sassalota


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Posted 27 February 2017 - 01:30 PM

I agree with MWSINCLAIR: Neither route is easier than the other because they both have challenges, and they both have benefits. Ask yourself what you want the most?


Traditional will give you a publishing platform right away but you still have to be the one to drive sales (pay for advertising or find free ways to advertise), and in this model you will lose a percentage of the sales to your agent and publisher, but you get help with all your cover, editing and formatting. Most will also help you with website stuff too. You also have no control over the price so that limits how you can drive sales. And you may have to revise your story to someone else's liking.


Self publishing will require you to either design/pay someone to do all your cover designs, formatting, editing. But you get full creative control  and price control so you have a lot of room to be creative to help get sales. And no one takes a chunk of your profits except uncle sam.


The other thing to realize is that your don't have to chose one or the other forever. LOTS of authors are doing the hybrid thing. I don't think the question is what's right for you as an author, but what's right for each individual project you have.


I went self publishing for my first one and I love that I can give away my eBook to build my list or mark it super cheap. Authors have to build readers and I find it easier to do that if I have the ability to give them a book to get them hooked. I really like that part of self publishing.


I think it depends on your story too. My story had some themes that I knew were going to be hard sell and I didn't want to change them so when I realized that, I knew self publishing was better for me for that book.

#4 CM_Fick


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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:58 PM

Coming from someone who's been down the self-publishing path - it's a difficult and time consuming process, but one that can also be rewarding. 


I chose to self-publish my short story collection because I knew that agents and publishers oftentimes won't look at these types of anthologies, and I had built an online following by first releasing them individually for free. I also chose to self-publish the 2nd and 3rd book in a series after my small print publisher went out of business. In hindsight, while this was a fantastic learning experience for me in the realm of self-publishing, it probably wasn't the best for my readers or those novels.  


Here are several things you will need to consider: 

1.    Do you have the time to invest in promoting and marketing your book once it's been self-published?

2.    Where will you look at self-publishing? There are several things for you to consider here.

a.     Will you use a pay-to-publish model? One who formats your finished eBook and looks after distribution to the various eBook sites. These, however, provide little other support, unless you're willing to pay for them and that can add up quickly.

b.    Will you look at the free to publish models that require far more time and effort invested in formatting your ms for the different eBook and print formats. There is one specifically that offers a print on demand option, so you can offer your novel in both formats. Do you have the technical know-how for updating and maintaining your eBooks?

c.     Or will you pay for a publishing package? These vary in pricing from basic editing and cover design to a full suite. I haven't explored this option too in-depth because of the cost, so you would need to do your own research here, if you choose this route.

3.    Your author platform - do you have a website, twitter, facebook, goodreads accounts set up where you can promote your work to your target audience? This will heighten your web presence and make it easier to connect to your readers. This also take time away from writing and is something to consider.

4.    Have you designed a cover? Do you have the technical skill to do this? Or will you pay for someone to create one for you?

5.    Has it been professionally edited? There is usually a cost associated with this, unless you know someone in the field who will edit for free

6.    And then there's the biggest decision of them all - do you want to risk self-publishing this ms on your own, knowing that it will likely never be touched by a traditional publisher in the future. From what I've been reading online researching agents, most publishers will no longer look at a self-published-first novel unless it exceeds sales expectations.


I could go on, but these are at least the first things you should consider.


I am by no means an expert, and I don't claim to know the best options, but I share my experiences to help you understand a few of the challenges and choose the best path forward for yourself. 

#5 Blueberry Tide

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 07:11 PM

As said above, it all depends on what you want out of your book. Are you wanting more of a career? Is it just something you've done in your free time? 


I self-published after spending about a year querying my novel around. Several agents took the time to tell me that they liked my work, but they either didn't have room on their client list or they market was too flooded with urban fantasy to justify adding more. While I'm all in favor of writers that want to self-published, I recommend you at least try the traditional way first. You never know, you might be one of the lucky few who land an agent. 


As a self-published author, there is a lot of work and time and possibly money to self-published. You become not only the writer, but the editor - you're the whole team responsible for everything. Of course, you can publish your book just like it is now, or you have hire a editor. I highly recommend that if you're wanting to make your book the best that it is. Then there's the cover option; you can make it yourself or pay someone to do it. There's plenty of designers on the web. Now - you don't have to hire anyone. You could do all of this yourself, but remember that you want your book to look professional. Unless you don't, which is fine, too. It's your book. 


Don't be afraid of the querying process. I know it seems intimidating and hard, which I'm not saying it's not, but try it anyway. There's a great place on here for writers to test out their query letters before sending them off. 



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Posted 28 February 2017 - 04:12 AM

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I've been really scared of the whole thing, just...all of it. Some days I'm glad to call myself a writer, I'm proud that I've actually finished a novel; a lot of people can't say that. Other days, it just seems pointless and terrifying. I'll keep at it though! I hope this thread, and all of the information in it, helps the writers visiting this forum :)

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