Posts Tagged ‘will I make money selling books?’

Self-Publishing is judged like Freddy Krueger–Scary and Disgusting

Yep, there’s a war going on and some people see Self-Publishing like they look at Freddy Krueger–Scary and Disgusting.

I’ve been trying to find a group of people who are doing what I’m doing–self-publishing. I’ve wanted to learn more and more to make improvements. But, I’ve gone to several forums and every time I think I found a good area that I might learn something new…a fight breaks out. Yeah. Really. As soon as the word “self-publish” enters into the conversation, a complete blow-out happens and the knowledge of information that could have been acquired and passed on to each other gets lost.

At first, I just thought it was a subject that gets debated…a lot. That forums loved to discuss and rehash the topic on Self-Publishing versus Trade Publishing whenever someone mentioned self-publishing their book–because that was the way it was for something so new (by the way, Trader Published authors “hate” it when you call them “Traditional” Published authors or refer to Trade Publishing as “Legacy”).

I remember when iUniverse came about and I heard of sooooo many bad books being produced from there, and so I thought I should never go that route. I should never self-publish because it was bad–B.A.D. But since 2000, I kept my eye out on self-publishing to see how things were going; but it was still bad…so I kept improving on my writing and looking at it again …. occasionally.

It wasn’t until 2008 that I decided to make the plunge and do it anyway and started my massive research into this new world. I couldn’t find much step-by-step information until I found this one blog of a self-published author. I actually bought and read his book, someone who did it on his own: Michael R. Hicks–In Her Name: Kreelan Warrior. And saw that…it was great! It was a wonderful book! I couldn’t stop reading it until I got to the end.

This book made me realize that there were some people who could produce very good self-publsihed books. It inspired me even more after I had made the decision to try it (to at least try it). I have been going at it ever since…and Loving it!

Then I searched for forums for any more information I might need to improve upon this new business (and yes, you must see it as a business, though I’ve been seeing it as something fun to do and self-improvement while dwelling in the internet world). But the majority of the forums had this scary campaign against self-publishing. They would give big WARNING signs that you would ruin your chances of EVER getting picked up by a major publishing house. That you’ve just given away your FIRST PUBLISH RIGHTS, and no one will want you (One. Two Freddy’s Coming for you!). That your novel isn’t good enough (Your Freddy Krueger Burnt Up Face Novel is just…Disgusting!!) unless you go through the waiting period and solicit agents and get picked up by the Trade route. Then and only then, and then only, would you really know that your novel is good enough. Plus the many people working at the publishing house would then make your book.. BETTER! Oh. And by the way. Since you’ve never been picked up by a publishing house, then it’s an absolute that your book isn’t good. What? What you say? You’re selling on Kindle? (Freddy’s claws the blackboard making that screeching sound that hurt your ears). Well, that doesn’t mean a thing. What? Selling a thousand a month? Oh no. It’s still not good enough. And besides, that NEVER happens and YOU’RE LYING ABOUT YOUR FIGURES! And even if that’s so, you can NEVER call yourself a Best Selling author…that is, if you can call yourself an “author” at all (Three. Four. Better shut the door.).

(NOTE: I’m not selling a thousand a month, but there are some self-published people who are selling that many, and other forum members are saying that they’re lying, when all they have to do is go to Amazon and look at the book’s ranking and numerous book reviews).

It took me some time to find the right place where I could be comfortable and be at home: Kindle Boards (for some reason I kept thinking the Amazon Discussions were the KindleBoards and the Amazon Discussion Boards were too hard to navigate and I had no idea how any one found any information on it). I’m so glad that I’ve finally found “the somewhere” where I can get more information from people like me! The Freddy Kruegers on the Block!

On the flip side, those in Trade Publishing are also feeling attacked by Self-Publishers who put down the steps they had taken to get published. The “constant waiting” and the endless “rejections” and the 18-24 months before the book gets into print and the amount of money they DON’T make…all of these negative aspects are attacks towards them (Five. Six. Grab a crucifix). Self-publishers put down Trade Publishing and give all sorts of negatives information about it, and that, in itself, causes those who choose to continue to go this route to counter-attack. To be honest, Self-Publishers can’t really attack something they’ve never been through, accept to state that they’ve never got picked up (Every town has an Elm Street! Heh. Heh. Heh.).

Those who are in the publishing side say that Indie Authors are just like the Mom-and-Pop stores on the corner. These types of stores don’t damage or cause any sells to drop from, let say, the Wal-Mart stores. Indie authors are just a pee in an ocean. There’s NOTHING to compare. The Indie world is not taking over and bringing down THE MAN. They’re not causing the monoliths to fall. They are nothing, and shouldn’t be compared with, publishing houses. And, darn it, there are other publishing houses out there besides the BIG SIX. Indie’s are just a bunch of mice squeaking about how GRAND they are.

And to this, I say, I’ve always loved the fable of The Mouse and The Lion. Yes, we’re different and we don’t cause any “damage” to the publishing houses, and we’re not in competition with the publishing houses and agents. And, no, we don’t rule the internet book market.

However…

There are those who have done both sides of publishing, and NO ONE can argue with them. The main person who once put his nose up against self-publishing has now become the Voice of Self-Publishing: J.A. Konrath.

On the Absolute Writers forum he stated these things:

You say that starting in legacy “seems a good strategy.” It’s not. It’s a poor strategy, for a multitude of reasons.
Rather than hijack this thread and list them all, here’s a 15,000 word dialog that explains many of them, and a 13,000 word dialog that explains many others.
The times are changing at an amazing rate, and signing a legacy deal is harmful, pretty much in all cases. Unless the Big 6 are going to offer you life-changing money in one immediate, lump sum (and what are the odds of that?) you’re better off going it alone.

Kindle, the customers know what they want to buy. If your book fits and it’s withing their budget, they’ll buy it. If it’s good. They’ll want more and they’ll tell their friends. If it’s bad, they won’t buy the book and they’ll still tell their friends.

Either way, the good writer goes on. The bad writer goes on or gives up

There is a fast track to publication. It’s called Kindle, and unlike AuthorHouse, it costs no money at all.
What new writers need to learn is that there is no fast track to success. And they’ll either learn that on their own, or they won’t.

But it’s a lot better to upload a lousy book to Amazon for free, and get bad reviews and sell poorly, than it is to spend big money going the POD route.

I also recommend no one self publish without learning all about it.
The book has to be great, no doubt. If it isn’t great, it won’t sell.

But it also needs a great cover and a low price, and the author also needs to release multiple titles so browsers can find them easier.

My favorite statement that he made on the forum was this: Someone stated that J.A. Konrath was making a foolish statement on *guaranteeing* authors that they would make more money than traditionally published authors. And he answered:

A limited shelf life for a traditional print deal vs. forever as an ebook.
Forever wins. Always. Guaranteed.

Another one that Indie’s should be concerned about, and be knowledgeable and research about self-publishing…

There is a cottage industry built around bilking newbie writers out of their money. Publish American on POD houses, agents that charge reading fees, contests that have fees, conferences that teach newbies how to pitch and write query letters, and so on.

But uploading an ebook on Kindle and Smashwords costs nothing. No writers are getting ripped off. This is a much preferable alternative to blowing lots of dough nurturing false hope.

One person stated that authors will get the impression that they will get high returns with self-publishing and will not be able to recognize that when this doesn’t happen, that the problem might lie with their own abilities. The answer to that….

So it’s better for them to start querying agents and spend years getting rejected?
If an author sucks, and tries to find an agent, they won’t land one. Hopefully, they’ll try to improve their craft.
If an author sucks, and self-publishes, they’ll get poor sales and bad reviews. Hopefully, they’ll try to improve their craft.
In the first scenario, there’s a lot of waiting, depression, and helplessness.
In the second scenario, there is some money, instant gratification, and the potential to learn from mistakes much faster.
All authors dream about landing a million dollar contract. The disappointment will come no matter what route they take.
But I believe self-publishing is empowering, and writers can learn from it.

I know that’s a lot of quotes, and trader published authors are sick and tired of self-published author quoting J.A. Konrath. “J.A. Konrath, said..” … “But, J.A. Konrath says…” … “And J.A. Konrath said….” And J.A. Konrath said that he gets misquoted a lot, but he continues to put down what he actually means. He never said that everyone would make as much money as him, but he does say they can make money…if you put the effort out there…somebody is going to buy it. And you will make money. Will it be enough to pay your rent? Only time will tell. Will your book be overlooked because of the hundreds of thousands of books being put online…?

So, yes, there is a flood of bad books being put out on the market by those who don’t take the time and money to get their books polished. However, self-publishers state that the houses put out bad books as well. There’s a fear that the GOOD books will be swallowed up and no one will see them because of the slew, and a large Noah-type flood, of books would overload the online book stores (Seven. Eight. Better stay up late). There’s an answer for that….

I can’t wait to see how in five (5) or more years, what authors would say about books. Because today, I know that the average reader doesn’t know the difference between trade or self published books (like they would have known when iUniverse was the big thing). Readers only know if they like the book or they don’t. And when they pick it up (or view) the cover (Ooooo. That looks interesting!), that’s the first hook. That’s what you use to do when you roamed the dozens of rows of books in the library or book store. Right? If the book is any GOOD, people will tell their friends and the “Word of Mouth” would spread like hotcakes. Look at YouTube. If a video is funny or deemed worthwhile to tell your friends, then it will get noticed…sometimes over night. Look at the internet? How many web pages are put up a day? Blog sites? There’s a flood of websites out there, yet people still find a way to get the information that they want. The BAD books? Well, just like bad websites, they will be reviewed only briefly, (i.e. book reviews stating how horrible and bad the novel is) or flagged as “Spam” (Amazon and the likes will take it down if reported), or it would never get bought because people viewed the inside of the book and saw how horrible it was (Nine. Ten. Never Sleep Again).

The Good Books will still prevail! (Take THAT Freddy Krueger!)

Tomorrow, authors will have a different view, I’m sure, because tomorrow always brings more knowledge than today.

Until Next time 🙂

Tweeter button Facebook button Youtube button