Pondering publishing

I’ve been bouncing back and forth for a while about how to publish Spacetime. Self-publish? Indie-publish? Traditional-publish?

I’m not helped out by articles that argue very persuasively for each side.

Like the Indie Author’s checklist, and its second part. Major success stories like this one.

Then you hear about the downside, like “There will be no more professional writers in the future“. And the downside of, well, actually reading a self-published book.

Then there’s articles like these, that talk about getting signed with a publisher, and how much work their editors made them do on a book they thought was okay. But you know what? Their book was readable afterward. Like, by human beings. Like, by human beings who would pay money to read it.

So as I bounce around, reading all of these conflicting elements, I’m beginning to distill a few things out of it all.

First: The people making money self-publishing are people who have been traditionally published, and are trained by their editors to self-edit. Most greenhorns just starting to write don’t have that kind of training.

Second: If your first book doesn’t get edited, it won’t make any money if you self-publish. Rejections are a sign that the book needs editing.

Third: I don’t want to be that shmuck who goes through an indie publisher who gives my book a once-over and declares it good, only to have nobody read it because, heavens, look at all those grammar errors on the first page!

Fourth: I need the training an editor can give me.

Fifth: But I have to finish the book first. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it?

So those are my thoughts, as I’ve been bouncing between the two camps. And it is a war between traditional publishers and self-publishers. But you know, even the guy who wrote Wool (that post-apoc book) didn’t publish his first draft, I guarantee it.

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9 thoughts on “Pondering publishing

  1. As someone who’s tried both, I would suggest getting a traditional publisher first (or better yet, an agent). Their editors made my book shine. It’s no fun going it alone unless you know what you are doing, and if you get an agent, he can help you decide which road (traditional or self-publishing) is better for your future books.

    Take a look at the past posts from Rachelle Gardner, literatry agent: http://www.rachellegardner.com/ She is one who doesn’t fear the self-publishing route and understands that sometimes there is a place for it.

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    1. M.R.: I agree on the editors making your work shine! That’s what I mean about training. At this point, I’m still learning and I desperately need teachers. AKA editors.

      Kat: Yes, that’s one of the main things I’m finding. Indie or trad, if the book is poor quality, it’ll get bashed. But indie or trad, if it gets a fan following, there’s not stopping the juggernaut. The only solution is to write a ton of quality work. Then tell people about it!

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  2. You said: “First: The people making money self-publishing are people who have been traditionally published, and are trained by their editors to self-edit. Most greenhorns just starting to write don’t have that kind of training.”

    I agree–but let me add this. Those authors have been traditionally published, and therefore HAVE A FAN BASE. The BIGGEST obstacle in self- and indie-publishing is marketing! If you are established through traditional publishing, it is YOUR NAME that sells the books. The editing is nice, yes, but even look at a lot of established writers who are only publishing through big houses–a lot of them get lazy and the editors are not fixing it. The editing is not what makes the difference when it comes to established authors, it’s the name.

    That said, I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY that sooooooo many self-pubbed books are poorly edited. And a lot of indie-pubbed books as well. That is why it is soooooo important to research the indie presses you are considering submitting to.

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  3. Oh please get published. Tis one of my dreams to read a book written by an author I followed in fandom. 😉 Heh, the dream originated with my desire to read fanfic on the bus…ironically, I can now do that due to the magic of e-readers…but I still have the dream. 😉

    I know very little about all this, but I know that sometimes you can pitch the story even if it’s not finished yet, hopefully to get some interest and a deadline….

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  4. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, or maybe I just like tradition too much, or maybe it’s because I’m an English teacher and I dream of a real published book, but I know I want to start with traditional publishing. Everywhere I’ve look has suggested that an agent is the best way to start. Agents look for publishers for you. They find editors for you. They fight the publishers and editors for you if there’s a problems. Yeah, they take a percentage of your sales, but for me, sales aren’t as important as just getting it out there. If I have just ONE FAN somewhere, that’s all that matters as far as publishing goes.

    And of course, as far as my stories go, writing is just a really fun and relaxing activity.

    We’ll see though. If I get frustrated with agents and publishers, I may go Indie. I just don’t see myself self-publishing. I can’t advertise that way. >>

    But above all, remember patience! And remember WHY you write. As long as you don’t lose that, you’re a winner. =)

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  5. Kelty: Working on it! Gauging interest at the moment. I had one editor tell me that if I could show her I had a large number of people reading my blog and interested in my book, she’d buy my book sight unseen.

    Rachel: Read Kat’s remark up there. Kat is published, and indie or traditional, the hardest thing is marketing. Nowadays most publishers make you market yourself.

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  6. With “Amari’s Love” I went the self-publishing route simply cause it’s a short story and difficult to get published traditionally. That said, it’s certainly not been neglected editing-wise. I’ve had many readers reading it for me over the years, and have read re-read, edited, re-edited, re-vised countless times. I once submitted the story to Mindflights a few years ago, and although they denied it, one of the biggest comments was that the prose was smooth, and that was long before I made even MORE changes. So, for that one, I’m good. Also, I plan to market “Amari’s Love” as much as possible, so that I can, hopefully, use it to build myself a fan base so that when I get a full length book published, people will already know who I am.

    That said, I’m writing a book now that I’ve already hired an editor for, and she’s invaluable when it comes to bouncing ideas off of, and I can’t wait till I can send her the first draft of the complete book so we can start going through the editing process. When this one is complete (and edited), I would like to try publishing it traditionally.

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  7. And not only that, even established authors who’ve been trained in editing still need to have other readers reading their manuscript. An author is too close to the story and can easily miss simple mistakes, especially after they’ve gone through 4 or 5 editing stages already. Having someone with fresh eyes reading the story can be a big help, as they’ll tend to find things that you or even your editor might’ve missed.

    I’ve done this for author Bryan Davis before – usually by the time it’s gotten to me, he’s been through 8-9 editing stages already, it’s gotten through him, his wife’s editing, his publisher’s editing, and I’ll still find some missed quotation mark or a misspelled word, or something. And then he’ll give it to someone else and they’ll find something that I missed. So, yeah, even the best trained authors need all the help they can get.

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