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Don't Publish That Book!

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Steerpike, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I think the point to take away from that comment, JCFarnham, is that whatever you produce on social media is also a product under your brand and needs to be just as good. Having something already published can give your posting extra credibility in that regard.
     
  2. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    Exactly.

    I know in a couple of years I'll find my current writing to be awful. That being a given, I'm going to keep on putting out what I can now. Sitting in the dark, keeping everything in reserve until I'm great, is just not what I'm after. Nor I suppose am I looking for instant gratification. I just want to do something more than keep my art to myself. Whether that's selling it, or giving it away for free, or only ever being a blogger with some challenge writing under his belt, I'm cool with that. I've given myself permission to be that person.

    I think everyone needs to be able to do that.

    And I mean... I have a blog I can flaunt and hopefully demonstated knowledge. That's something that makes me unique (okay not really, too many people have crappy blogs). But what I'm try to say is in the world of work I believe blogging and writing as a past time is getting some eyes on my applications.

    Nothing bad about that. I could do a lot worse.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    A famous writer once said (paraphrasing) the difference between a published author and an unpublished one is a tolerance for imperfection.
     
  4. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    I can't agree. The difference between a published author and an unpublished author is the published author wrote a book that the publisher thought they could make money on.
     
    Benjamin Clayborne likes this.
  5. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    Articles like this are just one in a long line of "self-publishing sucks never do it" which are getting quite tiresome. It's really quite simple.

    Only a small % of any book will be successful.

    • If going the traditional route it will not make it through the query-go-round.
    • If going self, people will see it's terrible, won't recommend it (or by other books by the author) and it will fade into obscurity.

    If you don't want to self-publish, or don't want to read self-published books...so be it. But why do you care that others go that route and expend energy to try and get them to stop? It makes no sense.

    I've made hundreds of thousands of dollars in self-publishing. I've done the same in traditional. I see advantages and disadvantages in both. Let each author choose what is right for themselves and stop arguing about "which way is right" because you know what...there is no "right" just advantages and disadvantages of each and the author just needs choose the route that aligns the best with their goals.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I think he was referring to the idea that you have to get your work out in front of people in order to be published, and some writers may be unwilling to do that because they view their work as flawed.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    There are definitely times when perfectionism can hold you back. Although I may be a prime example of that, I still think the opposite is a much more common problem. But the seriousness of it depends, I suppose, on whether that perfectionism is actually making the story better. In business, it might be called business-card syndrome; caring too much about what your business cards look like and not enough about reaching customers.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The article doesn't advise against self publishing. It advises against rushing to self publish as soon as you've typed the last letter of your first draft. The other quote advises against never putting anything out there because it is imperfect. For most writers there is probably a happy medium between the two.
     
  9. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Michael,

    While there are a lot of the type of articles that you refer to out there, I'm not sure your statement about this one is accurate. The way I read it is that they encourage you to self publish; they just want you to make your product as professional as possible first. I thought their message was pretty much in line with yours.
     
  10. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I know, and I'm pretty confused about why people are having such a negative reaction to it. As for the perfectionism, working with a good editor can help an author to focus on the important elements and resolve that problem.
     
  11. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    But working with an editor and following rules can ruin the "artistic merit" of the book. It's the same argument we've been battling about for what seems like a hundred million threads.
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    You're just trolling the thread now. Besides, he said "good" editor.
     
  13. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Sorry if it seems that way. I felt I was making a legitimate point.

    There's an obvious divide between a lot of people on this forum and, I guess, me about this subject. Devor stated that he couldn't figure out the reaction. I feel his pain. It took me a long time to understand it as well. To me, the arguments presented against this article are similar in nature to the same old argument.

    Trolling, to me, indicates a post desirous of stirring up trouble.

    That was not my intent. I felt I truly was answering his question.
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I was just kidding you. I should have added a smiley...I can see my intent wasn't clear. I'm typing on my blasted phone :)

    I do think there is plenty of room for the various viewpoints. You can look on the shelves and find plenty of books written in the way you prefer, and plenty, including by first time authors, that break just about every rule in favor of art or style. And they've all gone through a professional editor.
     
  15. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    It's cool. Thanks!
     
  16. 1) Some ideas need repetition to sink in. A lot of people read an article like this and think, "Yes, but I'm a brilliant writer, so this doesn't apply to me."

    2) For any given person, there was a first time they encountered an article like this. It's entirely possible that some readers here have never seen an article like this before. Might be a small set of readers, but you can't assume they don't exist.
     
  17. I still hear a dogwhistle. That's all I hear.
     
  18. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    So do I, but why does it bother you so much?

    In the end, writing (both the practice and your career) is a solitary pursuit. What's more, in order to be successful there is an inevitable darwinian struggle in which you have to claw your way over the top of other writers. The dog whistle, I suspect, is just a tactic to win some gouging room in that struggle.

    These forums, in fact, are a funny sort of postponement of the struggle in a way. We can be all supportive and collegiate here but there is always the reality hanging over us that we are in competition for slots with publishers...or self-pubbed amazon breathing space...or the even more vicious darwinian struggle of the bookshop.

    Let them whistle and stay focussed on the ultimate prize.
     
  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I'm not sure I agree with you.

    By JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer writing books that got kids and young adults interested in reading, it actually helped all of us. Those kids are now much more likely to become purchasers of books in the future.

    As a consumer of fantasy books, if you produce a really good book, I'm going to buy it, regardless of whether everyone esle on the forum also produces a good book.
     
  20. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Maester

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    I saw no "encouragement to self publish" in this article nor even any indication about editing first. This is what I saw: If you write a book, then self-publish it, doing so will be a mistake that you'll be tied to the rest of your life. Conclusion: Best to leave it in a drawer. The title of this post wasn't "Don't Publish until you are ready" it was "Don't Publish that Book" What it failed to do is give a road map from getting from "first manuscript" to "one that is worth publishing."

    If we explore the premises that were put fourth it seemed to be:
    • Your first work won't be any good
    • If you subscribe to Gladwell then after 10,000 hours you will be
    But how does writing book after book and filing them in a drawer help a writer to get good? What is needed is feedback, and there is no better feedback then putting something out there and seeing what people think. If you are concerned the work is crap, put it out under a pen name. Use feedback from reviews to indicate what you need to work on. Is your dialog flat? Characters poorly defined? Pacing uneven? This is what you need to find out.

    Here's my take...if the book you put out is crap, you'll learn why. If it is good you'll make money. If it sits in a drawer you get neither.

    Anyway that's why I responded the way I did.
     
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