Traditional

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Daeus Daeus 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
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  • #25065
    Profile photo of Charis
    Charis
    Participant

    How hard would it be to get a publisher? I know it depends on the company and the book. I’m curious if anyone has published a book through traditional methods and what their experiences were.

    #25073
    Profile photo of Sarah Hoven
    Sarah Hoven
    Participant

    I’m not sure. Here, I’ll tag some people who might know: @hope @daeus @aratrea
    @kate-flournoy @theliterarycrusader

    #25076
    Profile photo of Mark Kamibaya
    Mark Kamibaya
    Participant
    #25079
    Profile photo of Hope Ann
    Hope Ann
    Participant

    I have not traditionally published yet, though I want to at some point. So I really don’t have experience with how hard it is, though I don’t think it is particularly easy. I do know one thing they look at now is an author’s platform. Even traditionally published authors are expected to market most of their own work, so the better platform you have, the more likely you are to be noticed.

    #25083
    Profile photo of Daeus
    Daeus
    Moderator

    I don’t think anyone on here has traditionally published, so I may as well go ahead and say something. First off, you don’t need a literary agent, but from what I understand it is normally very helpful to have one. Also, it is generally accepted that you won’t be able to get with any sort of large publisher until you have already done well with at least one book. If you’ve accumulated a large platform prior to publishing though, I assume this would be different. If you do plan to traditionally publish, one thing you really need to be careful about is your rights. When you write a book, you own all the rights to it, but when you sign a book contract, publishers often take away many of your rights. These can include things like the right to publish overseas, create an audiobook, or even the right to have the final decision in your book’s editing. You never want to be kept from having the final decision on your book’s editing.

    All this said, the one thing anyone planning to traditional publish has to consider is, if you already have to have a platform anyway, why go ahead and share 2/3+ of your profit with a publisher? After all, you can just as easily sell your platform a self-published book and keep the profits to yourself.

    #25086
    Profile photo of Dragon Snapper
    Dragon Snapper
    Participant

    @daeus Wow…you single-handedly made me want to self-publish and never let a traditional publisher get a hold of my books. 😛

    #25087
    Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
    Josiah DeGraaf
    Keymaster

    To get a good publisher, generally you need to first get a good literary agent, which means learning how to write a great query letter, along with a great book. Generally-speaking, if you’re a skilled writer, publishers and literary agents will want to publish/represent you, but there is an element of luck to it. If you’re looking for good blogs to research, Steve Laube, Rachelle Gardener, and Nathan Bransford (archives for him since he’s no longer a literary agent) are all good resources. QueryShark is also really good, but also has a fair bit of language, so be warned. Trad publishers do give you a much less percentage of the cut, but then you also have the advantage of external validation, being saved from finding your own cover artists/editors, getting an advance, and putting your books into book stores.

    I also did a three-part video series several years back for an old website I helped to run on this topic, so you may find helpful info there as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnaqCOrrzXs

    #25088
    Profile photo of Daeus
    Daeus
    Moderator

    @dragon-snapper Yeah, I really don’t think traditional publishing is the option for most people, though, like Josiah said, there are some benefits. These benefits aren’t really worth it though in most cases. I mean, you can get your own book in bookstores, advances aren’t normally very big anyways, and not many people care whether a book is traditional or self-published anymore, so long as it has good reviews. To me, the deal seems way to lopsided in the publisher’s favor.

    #25090
    Profile photo of Northerner
    Northerner
    Participant

    This topic came up the other night at supper, and I was able to talk about it fairly intelligently, which shows I’ve learned something from being here :). But my parents are of the generation before self-publishing became a viable option — to them, “self-publishing” equals “vanity press”. Which is a pity, because I’m considering self-publishing some of my fantasy stories eventually. Any of you passionate folk have ideas about how to explain how things have changed?

    #25091
    Profile photo of Dragon Snapper
    Dragon Snapper
    Participant

    @northerner Part of the change might come in profits. An author receives all of the money from the book if they self-publish. Also, they may want freedom to do what they want (I know I do.) I know that our culture in the US is very much supportive of independent folks, so that may be part of the self-publishing. Also, it seems as if much more people want to publish books than before (though I could be wrong…but look at all us KeePers 😛 ) and yet publishers don’t accept half the novels that are submitted to them. It’s a game of rejection for them, and that can be intimidating. Again, I am not an authority on this subject, though I am curious as to what others think on this.

    #25101
    Profile photo of Daeus
    Daeus
    Moderator

    @northerner Ah, yes. Well, here’s some ideas.
    1. You can point out some highly successful self-published book. I’m thinking of The Martian, but there are others. Just do a google search.
    2. Point out how traditional publishing has changed. They now expect you to essentially sell most of your books for them.
    3. Point out how self-publishing has changed. 1. Self-published print books are just as quality as traditionally published print books. 2. Few people care anymore whether a book is traditionally published or self-published and often they’ll never even have to know. Ebooks are now a huge part of the market, an area in which traditional publishers aren’t normally very involved but in which self-publishers can easily generate sales if they know what they are doing.
    4. With self-publishing you have control of your book. Nobody can put an awful cover on your story and ignore your protests. Nobody can change your text even if you don’t want them to. Note: there are traditional publishers that let you keep your rights, but most don’t from what I understand.
    5. A self-published author can do anything a traditional publisher can do. They can get into bookstores. They can sell internationally. They can create audiobook versions of their story. The only real advantage of a traditional publisher is that they can probably get you into more physical book stores and with less hassle on your part.
    6. Royalties for a self-published book are about 7x that of a traditionally published book.
    7. Traditional publishing is complicated. You probably need to get an agent and work through a legal contract and then wait several months (or more) before your book is accepted anywhere.

    #25109

    @charisetter @dragon-snapper @northerner @daeus Since I’m late to this discussion and everyone else has answered the question quite adequately, I’ll just mention one factor that’s important to consider about self-publishing.

    If you decide to go that route, you’ll have full control over how your book is presented to the public, but that also means you bear the responsibility for the quality. You’ll need to recruit beta readers and hire a freelance editor to examine your book to make sure you don’t receive reviews where people point out all of the typos and weaknesses in the story, which could be detrimental to your reputation.

    I think this is one of the primary reasons that self-publishing carried a stigma for a long time (and still does to an extent). It’s difficult for writers (however exceptional) to be good proofreaders/editors of their own work because they’re too close to it. Most publishing houses send a book through several editors to ensure that all flaws are filtered out, and even then some errors can get missed (I can vouch for this because I’m an associate editor at a small Christian publisher). The absence of this refining process often shows in self-published books. To set your book apart, have someone with expertise look it over and serve as your personal in-house editor.

    #25279
    Profile photo of Northerner
    Northerner
    Participant

    @theliterarycrusader good betas and editors are essential. I’ve started too many self-published stories that could be good if only they weren’t produced prematurely.

    @daeus, what about the concern that self-published authours can’t make any money?

    #25280

    @northerner Precisely. I’m glad you feel that way. 🙂 I admit my perspective is a tad biased though, because I’m a professional freelance editor, so I cringe doubly hard when I read a poorly edited book (whether self-published or traditional). 😛

    Actually, some indie authors have managed to reap a fair amount of income from self-publishing their own books. Rachel Starr Thomson for instance. She used to be a freelance editor on the side, but she was recently able to switch to being a full-time author due to the massive following she’s accrued.

    #25281
    Profile photo of Daeus
    Daeus
    Moderator

    @northerner Well, to start with, I haven’t made money doing it any way because I haven’t published, but there are a few clear facts. First of all, a lot of traditionally published authors don’t make money either. Second, with so much more of the profits you actually keep, it’s easier to make money self-publishing. Third, there are a lot of successful self-publishers. Fourth, most self-publishers fail because they really don’t know what they’re doing. The ease of self-publishing means they can neglect their research. Fifth, I suspect another big reason authors fail is just giving up. Think about it. We procrastinate on marketing, why won’t we procrastinate on marketing? It can be tempting to give up on a book at times, and I imagine it’s just the same publishing. And the thing is nobody can stop you from giving up. You just can’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t.

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