Self-Publishing

Discussion in 'The Workshop' started by garamet, Dec 22, 2005.

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  1. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Interesting article:

    Yes, I realize this was written over three years ago, but that suggests to me that the transition has progressed even further since that time.

    Once upon a time, the only venues for full-length fiction were the Big New York Publishing Houses or the - gasp! - vanity publishers. Now there's a third option which, it seems to me, means more opportunities for writers, and in time a wider variety of choices for readers. IMO, a Very Good Thing.
  2. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Some years ago, I read up on self publishing for my comics, and the first advice the guy who started his own company said was "don't do it".

    So, I didn't. :shrug:
    I don't think that guy is around anymore.
    I wonder if he's still alive.
    ...I'm not a hopeful person..

    BUUUT, it looks like it's getting better on the writing side of it.
  3. Marso

    Marso High speed, low drag.

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    Interesting.

    Lately I've been feeling the urge to revisit some of my manuscripts, but it's tough when I'm on the road one week out of every two. I used to drag a laptop with me, but after a 14 hour duty day and a ten hour turnaround it's often hard to find the mental capacity to crank out good work in a hotel room. So that leads to a week of doing nothing, and then you have to 'get ito the groove' every time you start a week at home. (Along with the honey-do list...) :rolleyes:

    Excuses, excuses, I know. When I want to do it bad enough it shall be done.
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  4. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Tracks with my prediction that the web is hastening the demise of conventional media companies. Especially the music and publishing industries. Both are basically dinosaurs which are stupiding themselves to death.
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  5. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Y'know, I hate guys like that. Dog-in-the-manger types. He's got his, and he's damned if he's gonna share.

    Unless he's gone stone broke since he gave you that "advice," I'd say he was just worried about the competition.
  6. Reno Floyd

    Reno Floyd shameless bounder

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    I know of two authors who are now bestseller writers who self published first. It was the only way to get any interest.

    Self publishing with print on demand services from places online now make it really very easy.

    There are some great print on demand comicbook places too, and I know at least two people who work for Marvel who do some of their own stuff through that so the stigma now is nowhere near what it used to be.

    Just don't expect to get rich off it, it is however a great calling card for future endeavours.
  7. East

    East Guest

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    Read the contract...

    Make sure you understand the rights you are signing away...

    Vanity publishing can kill a book in some cases...

    Think it through...
  8. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    ^Print-on-demand is not necessarily vanity press.

    Though reading a contract - or, better yet, having an attorney or your agent go over it *very* carefully - is never a bad thing.
  9. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    *Scribbles down*

    Step one, get agent and attorney.

    Hmm.....

    Step one and a half, accountant wouldn't hurt.

    ....*scratches chin*....

    Step zero. Become thousandaire in the first place to hire all these guys.
  10. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    ^You can probably throw a coupla hundred bucks at a contract lawyer for a one-shot. After you've published, it'll be easier to find an agent. It's backwards, but that's how it works these days.
  11. East

    East Guest

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    So true garamet...

    Here's a link for the "Never-Ending PublishAmerica Thread" (at the AbsoluteWrite forum) that a lot of authors get caught up in, and is considered one of the top "vanity" presses...

    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22

    I agree that if the author pays for publication at a reasonable price and accepts the responsiblity of marketing their own work, then self-publishing is a viable option. PublishAmerica makes promises they don't deliver on, however, and a lot of people become disenchanted because they did not read the contract...

    As garamet said; read the contract guys...
  12. MiniBorg

    MiniBorg Bah Humbug

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    Can someone define self-publishing and vanity press for me?
  13. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    A vanity press is a company which you, the writer, pays to publish your work. They do all the printing and stuff, but generally the distribution and sales is up to you. Basically they print your book for a fee. Unlike a major name publisher (Random House, for example) they front no money of their own. You pay for everything.

    Self-publishing is pretty much the same thing. You act as your own agent and distributor, or at least you do all the legwork of arranging things with printers, distributors, sales, all that good stuff. And, as with a vanity press, you pay for everything out of your own pocket.
  14. East

    East Guest

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    self-publishing is you pay a set price to a printer. They give you the copies then you market them yourself...

    Vanity press is harder. The poetry contests you see for example. You enter and are accepted no matter how terrible. Then they say you can have it published but you have to buy a book. At 30 bucks a book and a hundred 'accepted" contributors they make their money. Bigger rackets, like PublishAmerica say if you sell a certain number, like 30 books, they will promote your work. So people pay $ 900 a pop to get their work "off the gound". If it's terrible, that's as far as it goes and PA made a cool $ 900.
  15. Reno Floyd

    Reno Floyd shameless bounder

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    If you're writing screenplays a whole bunch of lawyers in LA will work on commision only with zero outlay (about 5% of sale price is the going rate) Of course you have to add your agent in on top of that, but if you're broke it's at least an option.

    And yeah, Vanity press is different. That's a scam everyone should avoid.
  16. East

    East Guest

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    A good way to explore vanity press tactics is to set up a throw away yahoo mail account. Write a terrible poem. Send it off to a few poetry contests and read the responses for a good laugh...

    They'll sell you like you're Shakespeare...lol
  17. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    ^Interesting trick. Might be fun to try it sometime. :diablo:
  18. East

    East Guest

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    True story. A friend of mine wanted me to use my contacts to get a poem published. It was horrible, plus I have no "contacts" for poetry anyway. He kept bugging me and finally I sent it off to a poetry contest with his e-mail as the reply. Imagine my shock and surprise when he was accepted. Was I nuts? He was determined to buy the book, "Best Poets of the Month," and did so. In the meantime his wife beat a confession out of me. After numerous book offers for another bound volume "Best Poets of the Year" filled his inbox, he caught on. I still feel kind of bad about it, but the book is still on his living room table, so he can't be that upset. And yes, I gave his wife the $30 and we made peace, but we never told her husband...lol
  19. Starchaser

    Starchaser Fallen Angel

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    Do it. It doesnt cost a small fortune to have a small print run. Start small and who knows. If you have the talent, and persistance, you might build up an audience for your work.
    But do it for the love of it not for money. (Although it would be nice to make a living off it)
  20. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Just anecdotally, I've worked with iUniverse, though I got a deal on the start-up fee through the Authors Guild, and the fee may have gone up considerably by now. What's good about them is that part of the package is getting you the hookup with Amazon, which saves you the hassle. However, at least for novels, they have a tendency to produce rather pricey ($24ish) trade paperbacks, which are not always a good option, particularly for s/f. No idea if they handle comics/graphic novels, but might be worth looking into.

    I'm told Booklocker is reputable, but I've had no direct experience with them.

    There are also print-on-demand companies like LuLu, where there's no start-up fee. They simply hold onto your ms. until someone orders a copy, then they print and ship it and you earn the difference between the printing cost (buyer pays the shipping) and whatever cover price you've set. They have a chart on the site so you can figure out what the cost will be per book, and you set a cover price slightly higher.

    That only works, though, if you're able/willing to do your own marketing. Hard to sell books if no one knows they exist.

    Which, of course, is the Big Problem with mainstream publishing these days as well. Time was, all the writer had to do was, y'know, actually write. Now we're expected to do everything else as well, while our editor goes off to his kid's soccer game, the marketing people run around with their heads up some Name Writer's ass, and the bean-counters laugh at all of us.
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  21. mburtonk

    mburtonk mburtonkulous

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    Sell your book on CD.
    Let people print it out for themselves.
    No trouble for you.

    (I herebby claim the above post as my own idea and no one had better steal it).
  22. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    And it is, in fact, one way to go with it. eBooks, books on CD, etc. are all excellent media. If your work is very visual/interactive, you can include music and graphics on the CD (though be careful of copyright issues).

    The problem is not the medium with which to get the book to the readership. The problem is letting the readership know you've got a book to sell. Given the hundreds of thousands of titles nominally produced every year, and the bizarre marketing structure of the big houses, it's hard to get anyone's attention by conventional means anymore.

    But there are numerous offbeat alternatives. Are you a regional writer? Does your work take place in a specific part of the country? Then contact every local newspaper in every two-horse town in your county and ask them to interview you. They'll be grateful for an easy story, and you'll get free marketing.

    That's just one example. These days you have to be as creative in pitching your stuff as you are in writing it.

    Which may not be a bad thing.
  23. Cervantes

    Cervantes Fighting windmills

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    I'm looking to self-publish a comic book ASAP. Found a distributor, colorist, and letterist. Now just need an artist...a flighty bunch if I ever did see any. I'm almost to the point of just putting up flyers at the Herron art school in downtown Indianapolis and the AI of Indy at the Pyramids on the NE side.

    Someone's gotta bite. Even if I have to pay them, at this point, sure, why not?
  24. East

    East Guest

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    *ahem*

    I know somebody....
  25. Cervantes

    Cervantes Fighting windmills

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    Oh yeah?...
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  26. Mrs. Crosis

    Mrs. Crosis Fresh Meat

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    You know somebody? HE knows somebody!!! Hey, guess what? I'm an artisit! His best friend is an artist (also slightly flighty). The only reason you don't have this done already is because you passed both of us over to try and get some guy in one of your classes to do the drawings. Well, surprise, surprise, he didn't do them. You waited all semester for him to do those drawings and you got nowhere. I've sold artwork. I've been offered money to do whatever I wanted as long as I gave it to the person. I've told that I should send my artwork into an artist magazine and have it published there (but the guy that runs the magazine). But my art is good enough for his comic book that he's trying to do ASAP while passing over the closest artist he knows. Yes, yes, ASAP....:jayzus:
  27. Cervantes

    Cervantes Fighting windmills

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    You're the COLORIST :P
    Do a few sketches, and we'll see if you have the right style, though.
  28. Mrs. Crosis

    Mrs. Crosis Fresh Meat

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    Actually, no, I wasn't the colorist! So HA!

    But honestly, you want one done ASAP, you've got two good artists who would be willing to help you (though whether they'd come through or not is uncertain).

    First though, you might want to finish the damned writing portion of it.

    Do a few sketches? After he passed me over twice...do a few sketches is what he says. :P Pfft...you may things far too difficult on yourself. You could have had something done months ago.
  29. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Wait, Crosis, let me see if I'm hearing this right...

    You're living the geek dream, of having a girlfriend who wants to make comics with you,...and you're pushing it away???

    Mrs. Crosis, beat him in the legs with a fireplace log, and tell him it's from me.
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  30. mburtonk

    mburtonk mburtonkulous

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    Dickynoo, your new AV scares me. It's like the Kool-Aid man on crack.
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