Self-Publishing

A friend sent me a link for his newly self-published book on iUniverse. Does anyone have any feedback about the self-publishing concept?

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Re:Self-Publishing

I have read a lot about it. There seem to be more down sides than up.

The biggest upside is, hooray! you are published. For me, that means nothing since I paid for it to happen. It's not like anyone validated my writing and said yeah, people will buy this. The second biggest upside is you can start selling your book. Note: [i]you[/i] can start selling your book. It's all up to you now.

The self publishing companies tout all the successful ones. I have read about some authors who have sold well and gone on to secure lucrative advances from big name publishers, based on sales of their self published book.

But there doesn't seem to be many of these. So for every one that succeeds, there must be a dozen or a hundred who fail. Maybe they make back their investment, maybe not. I have my doubts.

Maybe some make enough with self publishing that they don't bother with agents or big name publishers. I have no idea how many people are like this. I haven't heard of any, but there must be some.

I know someone who self published just for the fun of it. She got all her friends to buy her book. The production was pretty good, although I found typos and grammatical errors in there. I think she did her own editing. I doubt she made money on the book but she didn't expect to.

Maybe I'm being too cynical, but here's the kicker:

Everything I read agrees -- if you self publish, you must also self promote. You do it all. The publisher didn't invest in your work. You did.

Thus no agent or publisher is working hard for you trying to recoup their investment. Some people even do or arrange their own covers. Do you have what it takes to produce and market your own book?

I don't. I have a day job. I would rather just write and let other people do the rest. I value my time enough that I would rather pay someone to handle all that other stuff.

Of course, you may like the challenge....

I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.

Re:Self-Publishing

No actually you just validated my feelings on the subject. I've never been comfortable with self-promotion. I was curious about it though.

Re:Self-Publishing

I have to say that in my personal experience (as a typesetter, no with other SFWW members), the self-published books were self published for a reason. I have a hard time thinking that any publisher would take a chance with them.

On the other hand, (again through my office) we do the fulfillment for an author who self-publishes his work...He has had and still could still have his work go through main stream publishers, but chooses not to do so because he gets a better profit margin by publishing and selling himself.

So, I guess that I am saying that there is a place for self publishing, but before considering it, be very careful about your motivation for choosing this option.

-anneliese

Re:Self-Publishing

I have to agree with Acmfox. Most of the stuff I've seen out on iUniverse wouldn't have made it past a regular publisher...some of it is actually pretty good, but there's so much bad writing out there that you really, really have to work to make your novel stand out amid the dreck. Plus there is a certain prejudice against self-publishing in the editorial world.

Some of my writing friends have gone through small presses like Yellow Dog and Zumaya, and they seem to be pleased with the results. Once again, since they're small presses, you will have to do a lot of legwork to promote your book, but the editorial quality can be quite good, and you will get more personal treatment, and consideration, than you might with one of the big publishers.

Pohl's Law: A sufficiently advanced form of technology is indistinguishable from magic. Programmer's Corollary: A sufficiently rigged demo is indistinguishable from magic.

camidon's picture

Self-Publishing Story

I was at a SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Ilustrators) meeting last night (Wed, Nov 17) and I heard an interesting tale of a successfully self-published book.

A writer self-published his book. To sell his book, he went into a bookstore and met with management and begged them to put 10 of his books on the shelf and in stock. Then, during the next week, he had 10 friends at different times enter the store and buy the book. The next week, the book store called the author back and asked for more books. His book was a best seller (to become a best seller you only have to sell a few books in a week). Because of that, the store put the book up front with all its hot selling material, and the book took off from there.

This book is "The Joy of Stress" and the story goes, at the time, it dislodged Lee Iacoco's <sp> book from the number one spot on the best selling nonfiction list. I forget the author but I did look it up on Amazon.

Now, granted, I don't know all the facts around this story and this is a nonfiction, self-help book, and those are much easier to sell, but I thought the idea was interesting enough to share with SFWW and see what folks had to say from the scifi-fantasy perspective.

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Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

Re:Self-Publishing

I know two people who went the self publishing route. One barely broke even (last I heard) by begging all her friends to buy the book (including me). I noticed a few grammatical errors in it too - I don't think she had a professional editor. I met another guy at a bookstore who was self publishing. He was driving around flogging the local bookstores and setting up a table to sell his book. I don't know how well he did but I never heard of his book again.

I have heard of a couple of success stories like the one you mentioned, but I imagine they are the few exceptions. Plus they were all non-fiction.

Me, I don't have the time or desire to do the line editing and self-promotion. Even if I did, the thing that holds me from self publishing is the idea that if an agent and editor say my book is worth publishing, then I "made it". I can tell people I'm a writer without them snickering. Or if they do, I can snicker back. If I self publish, it would feel like I haven't "proven" anything.

But this is just my insecurity talking. Ignore it.

I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.

Re:Self-Publishing

As I cannot now afford rent and live from other people's hands to my mouth, self-publishing is off the table. Even if I could afford it, I think it is off the table for me.
Bob

camidon's picture

Self-Publishing

I've never considered self-publishing either. Though, I would like to see my work in print one day, I write not for that goal, but to write what's in my head, whatever it may be.

I think self-publishing is like any other avenue of choice: It's just another option. There's a small chance of success if you work your butt off, but there's no gurantees even if you do. It's really about luck: right place, right time, right material.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

Re:Self-Publishing

I have considered self-publishing, but only as a means of compiling all my short stories into one handy volume to give to friends and relatives. I would never self-publish for money.

I have had two novels published, but that was in the erotica field several years ago. I am trying to get back on track.

To err is human. I am not human.