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How have those who have published stories or books, published them?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Avadyyrm, Dec 30, 2019.

  1. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    We're not going to do this at this time. We don't have the capital to work with, and I don't want to be the one who f***s up the pet project of an author I've been reading since college. We are, however, going to continue to hire out as business development consultants to authors who are serious about launching top-tier boutique small presses.
     
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  2. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    As Malik said, there’s luck, but luck comes in two forms:

    1: Dumb
    2: Earned

    And whenever or whatever type of luck comes down the pipe you have to be ready to jump. I’m guilty of getting caught off guard once, didn’t take full advantage.

    Major Reviews are the huge one. One of my pet peeves is that I’ve seen dozens and dozens of indies pissing and moaning about Kirkus or Booklife/Publishers Weekly reviews being worthless, and that’s just BS, that’s people who don’t get good reviews from them far as I can tell. Indie publishing is buried in books these days and you must break from the fog, and I’m not sure if there is a better way than these major reviewers... unless, of course, you get Martin, Sanderson, Rowling, or some other big name to give you a blurb! So, the book must be good, and it must be lucky to reach a reviewer who enjoys the book, and THEN you must earn success again by promoting it. A review by itself is just words. In a few days, I have an Editor’s Pick review coming out in Publishers Weekly, we’ll see what that does, but just being on the website has gotten attention from agents (small-timers so far) and contests and book bloggers.

    You have to court Bookbub and dress up all nice, but if you don’t try you’ll never get a dance. Plus, you want to be able to follow through with promoting after the Featured Deal. However, there’ve been writers working for years longer than Malik and I who haven’t gotten a Featured Deal. Breaking through with Bookbub isn’t an accident, and I can guarantee that the reviewers above will help the first book from a first time published author land said deal. There’s a couple thousand readers just waiting.

    Book contests! I hemmed and hawed about these... in part because my books are too damned long to get entered with Booklife! Bastards, but that’s another story. Anyhow, if you’ve got a worthy book throw it into the ring. Eve of Snows just won the first contest I entered it in. Does it help move books? You bet. But Again, LUCK. The wrong readers, you lose. But if you win, be ready. And again, book bloggers have picked up on the win.

    No one thing is probably going to seal the deal, in fact, all of them probably won’t unless you’re ready to take the snowball and roll it down the mountain.
     
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  3. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    The uploading is fairly easy. All you have to do is upload in the proper formats to Amazon, Draft2Digital or other distributors. That's the simplest part of the gig. There's so much more that's tedious before you even get to that point. It is assumed, by the industry and readers in general, that you already have a professional understanding/handling of the writing craft BEFORE you publish. So you need to be good and have in place an editor, cover designer, and an idea of how to proceed with marketing your work.

    Indie vs Traditional: two totally separate beasts. Decided which one is right for you, research the hell out of it, then go forth on that path.

    I've been writing for ages but publishing since 2017. You wear many hats as an author. It's not easy by any stretch.
     
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  4. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    KDP - Amazon. Don't upload a PDF - use a word doc or Mobi. Draft to Digital - choose everywhere but Amazon. Word or E-pub. Calibre is free and will convert your books.
    Preferably find an editor - there are some which aren't horrendously expensive or will take monthly payments. Learn to format.

    You do have to do pretty much everything, or pay someone else. But you have the deadlines you set yourself, better royalties, more control.
    There are pros and cons to both trad and indie publishing.
     
  5. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    Hey Malik, I still don't get it.

    Was there one thing you can identify as a turning point?
     
  6. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    At what point does the snowball rolling downhill become big? Is there one particular moment?
     
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  7. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    Like I said, if there was a secret formula to publishing success, everyone would do it. It's alchemy. The right things happen and the right time with the right amount of money to back it up (and magical unicorns are often involved) and one day you find you're doing okay. We have fans, some pretty rabid fans, but we're still not in magical unicorn territory. But, urban fantasy can be a slow grind as the world builds and the characters develop and word of mouth spreads. Things that I wish we had: more money for Amazon ads and to go to more conventions. We sell more books at cons than we do on our other platforms combined, and that's how word of mouth spreads. Word of mouth sells books.

    To paraphrase one of my favorite movies, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Pain fades. Chicks dig scars. Glory is forever.

    Persist.
     
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  8. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Thinking of what kicks a book over the edge got me to thinking about what triggers my purchase of a book, and it brings me back to The Name of the Wind.

    First, I saw the cover, it was facing out and it was at least better than the others around. And the name is good... fine, not great, but good. Then I start reading reviews and blurbs... And mind you, I am a total skeptic when it comes to blurbs and reviews, BUT I was really hungry for an epic fantasy to dig into. I put it down, came back to it, read the first page or so (not bad, not great) put it down, came back... GRRM had a blurb, and I'm like... arrrrg... but I wasn't sold yet, my final thought was, "the title is a bit like The Name of the Rose, and Eco's book is one of my all time favorites..."

    Cha-ching! Sale. Go figure.

    Of course, it turns out I stil haven't gotten past 200 pages in that damned book without cursing its seductive title and GRRM's blurb.
     
  9. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    I won that one in a drawing and still haven't cracked the cover. >.<
     
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  10. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    Anyone can prepare for success and then be disappointed when the snowball gets caught in a hollow, and can't be wedged loose.

    It sounds to me like the most important aspect was a much better product than you'd produced before, supported by a well co-ordinated marketing effort.

    Even then there's no real Aha! moment. Maybe there never is, unless it comes from an external champion.
     
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  11. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    I wasn't asking for a secret formula, there aint no such thing.

    I was asking Malik if he could identify any particular thing which made a difference or signified a turning point.

    I guess even if there was it would work differently in other peoples' cases.
     
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  12. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    I'm gonna be a dick for a minute and say that the most important aspect was having a better product that almost anyone had produced before. I was nearly laughed off another writing board when I announced that I wanted to go head to head with household names. Hardly anyone was trying to do it back then. It was widely considered impossible, at least among "serious" indie authors. (The irony was that "serious" indies back then were turning out books as cheaply as possible and selling them for 99c or even giving them away. That always struck me as odd.)

    I do remember the exact moment when I realized that it might actually work. It was at a signing at a local Barnes & Noble, and the store manager was turning my hardcover over in her hands and asking who Oxblood Books, my company, was an imprint of; i.e., she thought we were a subsidiary of one of the Big 5 houses. That look of absolute awe when I told her I run the company out of my garage was my angels-singing-from-above moment. Right then, I knew I'd hit my marks, and from there, I knew it was possible.

    I still haven't gotten to the point I want to get to. I'm not even close. All I did was force the door open long enough to wave to the other side. I intend on kicking that sucker down and striding through with a marching band behind me.
     
  13. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    When the milk is always being churned, it takes Time and Will (and preferably some money) for the cream to rise to the top... and, of course, the product needs to be cream. There’s a helluva lot of milk in the publishing world, and it’s not all Indie.
     
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  14. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    We had a moment like this a couple cons ago. A couple of agents stopped at our table to admire our two books and pet the covers, which are very nice to pet with their matte covers, and look through the formatting, and one asks who Phoenix Quill Books is an imprint of. My wife gives a pleasant smile and says, "Phoenix Quill is us." Their eyes widened and one blurted out, "You did this yourselves!?"

    My wife makes beautiful books.
     
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  15. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    Unless I'm misunderstanding you, going head to head against household names is what we're doing all the time, especially those of us who've had books on shelves in every store.

    I've twice had books in the airport stores in Oz, which is a really big deal. Not even the really big publishers get all their titles in the airports. On top of that I was getting brilliant reviews, but neither book quite gathered enough momentum to really break through.

    It sounds to me that that's what Malik has done so he must have had the product, plus the marketing co-ordination, plus that indefinable magic spark that starts the reaction. That's what I've never quite had despite being regarded as a bit of a "cult" writer - so I'm told.

    So, as I said, I'm very interested in Malik's success because I have two new books ready to go and maybe I'm gonna try indie. I know my work is quality so it's all about giving them the best possible chance. For a start I have to get my pathetic website redone.
     
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  16. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Are you going to conventions, taking part in panels and getting your face seen and your name heard? I feel like that kind of stuff is probably really important as it gets you in touch with people who are active in the fandom in different ways. The kind of people who do blogs/podcasts/youtube and suchlike.
     
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  17. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    I've not done anywhere near enough of that, I'm sure. I have done launches, library talks, even book clubs but The few panels I've applied for are always way oversubscribed. I also work FT still, so that limits my opportunities.

    I do have confidence in the quality though, so...it'll happen.
     
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  18. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    I actually think the main important difference between you and Malik is that he published indie while you went traditional. With traditional publishing you have a few months tops to build that momentum and then your publisher has moved on. With indie publishing you can take as long as you need to build that momentum
     
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  19. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    The momentum I was talking about is simply sales and buzz. I don't see how indie gives an advantage re sales and buzz, but you're certainly right about the time limits for books staying on the shelves. It's about six weeks in Australia, but if you don't have sales reps hassling the book stores - they can sell out of stock and not even realise. I don't know how many times I've walked into a store and found none of my books on the shelves, so I'd ask about it and they'd say: "oh...we seem to have sold out." So I'd ask if they were ordering more and they'd just shrug.

    No wonder book stores are closing in droves over here.
     
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  20. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    The advantage is that you get more than a couple of months to build momentum. With traditional publishing, your book has a limited shelf life. The publisher only really looks at how much you sell in the first weeks or month. For them the 30 day cliff is real. So if you don't make a big impact getting out of the gate, there's little chance you'll make a big impact at all. Not so with indie publishing. An indie book can plod along selling a bit more each month, slowly building momentum. It took Malik between one and two years to build significant momentum for his book (30 Day Cliff, My Ass: Reflections on 10,000 Sales | Joseph Malik). A traditional publisher would have long given up on the book by then.

    Next to that, as an indie publisher, you have a bit more control about how your books stays available.

    The downside is of course that publishing traditionally gives you potentially more distribution reach. You rightly mention that getting into an airport bookstand is difficult, even for a traditionally published book. I can imagine that it's even harder to manage this with an indie book.
     
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