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Self-publishing is a dead end

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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2012 10:32:04 PM PDT
JNagarya says:
Some are wise enough to respect the role of editor -- the filter that eliminates most of the junk so the smaller amount of quality isn't buried.

The corporations did not "grab" "power": they invested their money into a gamble and succeeded more often than not.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2012 10:34:14 PM PDT
not true

they fought as hard as they could to badmouth all self pub books and to keep people from buying them
and to act as gatekeepers to see who/what could be published

now they lost
self pub is here to stay

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2012 10:52:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 31, 2012 8:08:04 AM PDT
JNagarya says:
They didn't badmouth vanity -- self-published -- books. Critics did because they deserved being criticized. Self-publishing has always been deserving of being maligned because the vast majority of self-published work has always been junk.

But you go right ahead believing your conspirabunk. It'll keep you feeling superior, and hating "krap".

And there is nothing more annoying than illiterates who know nothing about the publishing industry, or its history, and refuse to learn because they prefer cute cliches such as "self pub".

Self-publishing has always existed; therefore, it means nothing to assert that it's "here to stay".

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2012 4:53:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 14, 2012 4:55:28 PM PDT
>>self pub is here to stay <<<

Where did it ever go? People have been self-publishing since there has been publishing, the factor that the internet has brought into the mix is the ability to put your work before literally the entire world without having to spend a lot of cash. That is the great thing about the internet and this is the bane of the internet. Before, a writer had to really ask himself did he truly believe in that what he had to say enough to give it more than lip service. If he didn't he exhausted all the avenues available in order to get his manuscript into the best possible shape. Now because it costs nothing you have a bunch of people who think that writing requires no work no craft and no imagination and they are flooding the market with the most inane crap you've ever seen, and because of this, traditional publishing is not going anywhere anytime soon. They have far from lost anything.

Posted on Aug 16, 2012 3:04:46 PM PDT
I think two things contribute to the high potential of self-publishers to go nowhere, even if they're relatively accomplished writers.

First, there are no gatekeepers in the self-publishing world. Because anyone can do it, everyone does do it, and the result is a volume of material impossible for readers to sift through.

Second, the immense volume of self-published material means that the only hope for a self-publisher (other than blind luck) is to expend considerable effort and financial resources on self-marketing. Any kind of publishing, self- or otherwise, is likely to fail without effective marketing, and this tendency is exacerbated when the competition that you face is not a bookshelf full of paperbacks but an ocean of millions of e-books.

If someone could find a way to turn the democratic power of the Web into a reliable distributed gatekeeper system, I think that self-publishing would quickly destroy traditional publishing, because readers would be able to connect directly to the kinds of work they most enjoy, and authors wouldn't have to hand off most of the proceeds of their work to middlemen (although many would still need to spend money on copy-editors, cover artists, and graphic designers).

However, I'm not sure there's much likelihood of that happening, since readers are currently pretty well served by traditional publishing, and wouldn't have much cause to seek out that distributed gatekeeping system even if someone attempted to make it work.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2012 3:37:29 PM PDT
Knightmare94 says:
I agree with your thoughts, Herb. The only way for a gatekeeping system would work would be if a few top names in self pub started their own publishing company -an independent small press that readers could rely on for quality work. Of course, eventually the small press would grow into a major publisher eventually... bringing things full circle.

There doesn't seem to be an easy way to deal with the pains of finding good self pub work other than the tried and true word of mouth process. That's the only thing that a serious author has to rely on in the end. If he or she can produce work that people get excited about, then they'll have at least a chance to rise to the top of the endless sub par writers that surround them.

Posted on Aug 31, 2012 8:06:03 AM PDT
JNagarya says:
I think a combination has potential. Established authors who've gone the traiditional route opt to self-publish, and to inform their readers (how?) that they have new work out.

Otherwise, it's either traditional publishing, or "lost in the flood".

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2012 8:16:14 AM PDT
JNagarya says:
Publishing doubtless began as self-publishing (look, as example, at the number of writings published during the 17th century, by the authors of them, sometimes self-funded, sometimes "sponsored," sometimes -- this survived into the 19th century -- by subscription.

Then small printers came into the picture, mostly "job". Then copyright law was established, and thus punishing of those who published works already published by another small printer.

Then steady printing work came with exclusively-contracted authors, often the first by becoming "official" printer of gov't documents, primarily codifications of law, and court reporters.

And thus were established publishing companies. They kept customers by publishing materials worth the cusstomers' money and time. Or they fell by the wayside.

Then self-publishing became its own industry.

Thankfully, nonetheless, the prejudice against publishing-selling-buying illiterate junk survives.

Posted on Sep 3, 2012 6:31:30 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 4, 2012 5:12:06 PM PDT]

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 6:56:48 AM PDT
Traditional publishing, regrettably, is absolutely no guarantee against poorly written, worthless drivel. I need only mention "Fifty Shades of Gray" to lay that delusion to rest.

Lots of respected authors have self-published, and there was a time when that was the normal and expected way of doing things.

Besides which, people are not nearly as good at weeding out self-published work as they think they are. If they come across something good, they tend to never realize it was self-published at all.

Let alone the fact that there is such a thing as the independent small press. There are hundreds of mom-and-pop publishers scattered all over the country, whom no one has heard of and who sometimes don't even maintain websites, who publish only a few titles a year. Authors who are published by them (such as myself) don't really fit into the self published category, but then again we're not exactly traditional, either. I've struggled to find a proper way to describe myself when people ask.

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 2:18:57 PM PDT
Major published authors are starting to self publish as well. They are tired of getting pennies on the dollar from the publishing companies. Michael Stackpole has been doing so for quite a while. Terry Goodkind just started in with his latest Sword of Truth book. Pournelle and Niven are planning to start self publishing as soon as they fulfill the book deal they have with their current publisher. I think they have two more books to go on that deal right now.

Posted on Sep 4, 2012 5:00:44 PM PDT
Knightmare94 says:
I agree that the bottom line is that if a book is good then no one cares how it was published. The challenge in being self published is the major chore of marketing and promotion. I should say the 'proper' way, because a lot of self pubs believe that spamming is promotion and they couldn't be further from the truth. Marketing takes a lot of hard work, planning, patience and educating oneself on how to do it properly. A lot of self pubs just don't want to do that.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 6:22:28 PM PST
You really can't blame people for self publishing these days. The income is far better if you have a decent book and the author has more control so I think they're here to stay. There are just as many good books put out by self publishers as there are traditional publishing houses. And just as many bad ones. After all, what makes a best seller in either category. It's a good story. It's just finding them that's the problem.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:18:19 PM PST
Honestly, I jumped into self-publishing on here just to "test the waters" while seeking out agents. I have absolutely no intention of trying to get out there and do it myself. I'm not that arrogant to presume my pithy degrees in law and computer science give me access to the realm of marketing insights (and most who assume they do are living in that magical realm of self-deceiving pride I've never known).

Speaking of self-deceiving pride, how about that vanity publishing right? We can whine over the terrible works that succeed and the good works that are neglected (by both consumers and publishers) but what we're dealing with is the subjective brink of aesthetic judgment. What could be seen as self-indulgent prose by some editors and publicists (Wool, Hunger Games, etc) may be an inventive and surprising story that pleases millions. We can gripe and moan online about how nothing is new or original anymore while we go to another Zombie-themed anything dressed as vampires. I'm not going to get into the troubling realm of aesthetics, because that involves both the burden on the creator to craft excellent work and the audience's responsibility to have refined/knowledgeable "eyes to see and ears to hear." That'll happen as soon as personal reflection is a profitable endeavor. (Never)

What matters is this: Most readers don't shop on Amazon day and night to find good indie works. Most people just casually stumble through book stores and pick up a few neat sounding ideas. The rest is word of mouth or "Hey that movie was cool I'll go read the book now. Because you know I hate reading, you guys." The dedicated readers typically have a set of authors or veins of literature (sigh, now I can't say 'genre'...) that they read and that is it.

For now, it appears that traditional publishing is the only way to go for unknowns. Unless you want to churn out a bunch of short little 0.99 books. Or give away all your writing and time spent for free because this is not a respected profession (sorry guys, most people hate us writer types and everybody wants free art thanks to my colleagues in Generation Y-try?.). Then maybe sheer quantity can work in your favor.

Until then, I'll be polishing my work and prostrating myself before "big, bad publishing."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 3:22:15 PM PST
Howzabout this?
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  39
Total posts:  90
Initial post:  Jul 7, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 30, 2012

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