Post by Craig Herbertson on Apr 3, 2010 8:41:50 GMT
100 -200. I don't think that would be as easy as you think. One of the things that came up at the whc was that the last edition of Pan Horror - a very popular anthology had a print run of 6000. This was a household name sold from newsagents and train station kiosks and indeed everywhere. Asimov once said any friend who asked him for a free book knew nothing about the publishing business. My three favourite authors had all their books remaindered. I think one sold about 60 in the 1920's when everyone bought books. It's a tough old game
I imagine that regardless of a much higher number of people being able to read and write today , compared with the 1920's , because there was no television and very limited movie capacities at the time that a lot more people published books at the time then they would nowadays , so it would be easier getting lost in the flow .
Post by Craig Herbertson on Apr 3, 2010 13:08:07 GMT
Yes, its swings and balances. There are large questions too like - what are you doing it for? If you wanted to get rich its probably not the right business. On the other hand if you want to be appreciated for your work you might find there's a very small number of people who will like it but at the least you might like them too.
self publishing is somethingi have toyed with in my head since i first started writing stories but i've always managed to talk myself out of it... had another bout of wanting to do it recently but again have now moved on. would it put me off a writer? initially yes. i'm trying to put a collection together to try and get one of the small presses to pick it up but until the i'll just keep subbing stuff out and hoping for the best - albeit with occassional periods of why the f--- am i bothering...
I've been thinking about this issue quite a lot recently, partly because although I have had a deal to have a collection of my earlier short stories published by Midnight House I have been waiting for several years now for this project to become actuality.
I have also approached several small presses with the idea of a second collection but things have either not worked out or I am left waiting for a decision for months, which doesn't bode well.
The stories I am looking at using in both collections have all been published previously, apart, perhaps from a couple of longer pieces which, because of their size, are hard to place anyway. Most magazines and anthologists prefer much shorter stories generally.
If I do eventually choose to sell publish it will only be when I can buy (or have donated) some really good cover artwork and have exhausted other alternatives.
Though, on the plus side, at least self publishing gives the writer the ability to make sure the project is done exactly as they want it, providing, of course, the writer has the ability to make the book look good. And can make sure the proof reading is excellent. I would add, as a rider to this, though, that I have seen enough small press publications where the writer was let down by shoddy proof reading and poor covers, etc. One small press collection I bought within the last twelve months had an appalling cover, with fonts that were barely legible (too fancy, with awful shadow effects, etc) and a spine on which the author's name and the book's title couldn't be read!
I would add that Amazon.com provide a means for writers to self publish and get sold through their site. I have only glanced at this so far, but it does look interesting and, though I have my own reservations about Amazon as a market, it is a cut better than Lulu in my opinion.
Post by Craig Herbertson on Jun 9, 2010 18:30:12 GMT
I think as an established writer, David, there is no objection to you making a self publication decision. All the points you make are valid. The single danger is proof reading I think, and as you point out, that can be awful in small press anyway.
I'm interested re Lulu as Storm Constantine suggested it to me and seemed to favour it. That was a while ago though.
My general theory is that the old authorities have gone; there was time when only record companies put out records, book publishers published books and their authority was not particularly questioned. Now the market is open. If you have a number of fans they'll all be delighted to buy your book direct from you. To some extent you are like the old style artist with the small shop and exhibitions. The market might be small but all the cash is yours and of course if cash were the reason for doing it it wouldn't be worthwhile. If you keep your writing standards high and organise proof reading, why not.
Post by benedictjjones on Jun 9, 2010 19:19:40 GMT
^i'd agree, if the fan base is there then SP is a great way to get your stuff out there - i just worry not enough people would buy mine. and re:proof reading - a couple of the bigger small presses seem to have problems with this...
Post by David A. Riley on Jun 9, 2010 22:51:43 GMT
"i just worry not enough people would buy mine."
With print on demand that's not really a major issue. At least you don't have to put a considerable amount of money up front to have something like a hundred or more copies run off. And it doesn't matter how long you have the book available. Perhaps in the first 12 months you only sell a few. Over the years this could grow, especially if it's a good enough book and, spending a bit on sending out review copies to the right people, could increase sales if it gains some good reviews and word of it spreads. For a writer this new technology is virtually a win win situation, providing the writer is good enough.
I did get some copies sent to me by a writer who had obviously invested quite a bit in getting mass market style paperbacks of his horror novels printed. They looked excellent, properly professional - until I started to read them. Unfortunately, the writing didn't live up to everything else.
Post by David A. Riley on Jun 9, 2010 22:55:54 GMT
Craig Herbertson said: "I'm interested re Lulu as Storm Constantine suggested it to me and seemed to favour it. That was a while ago though."
If she said that I would take it as a green light to have a go. She knows what she's talking about.
As I mentioned earlier, two big issues need resolving when going in for self publishing: a decent cover - in fact as fantastically good a cover as cash or good contacts can get! - and proof reading. There's nothing worse than coming across silly typos too frequently in a book. It bothered me a lot with a PS Publishing collection I read recently, which was something I didn't expect from them.
Post by Craig Herbertson on Jun 10, 2010 6:01:03 GMT
There is one proviso about self publication. Your work lacks the approval of an authority.
When people find out I'm an author (it usually comes when they ask me what my job is after I've been playing music for them all night - I say 'This is my job'. They say. 'What's your other job. I say 'Author but it pays less.') they will then ask what you've published and its quite comforting to say you've been published by a publishing house. This doesn't apply to you David A. Riley because clearly you have track record and authorities have recognised you. I think for you the question is more about practicality and time
A budding author with no recognition? I think they have to have a more careful thought about it.
Post by David A. Riley on Jun 10, 2010 7:39:17 GMT
I don't know whether that proviso doesn't apply to me. Although I have had a number of stories published professionally here and there, I've yet to have a collection published, much less a novel, other than as ebooks, and, old-fashioned though that may be, I hardly ever count Goblin Mire as a fully fledged professional even though Renaissance ebooks is a professional market.
On the other hand, it's obvious that having at least a substantial number of stories in a collection that have previously seen professional publication in anthologies or magazines is a definite asset and would help build up the credibility of a collection. Yet, how many small press collections from various writers have never before seen professional publication anywhere? Quite a lot, I think. And, even where stories have been previously published, a lot have only ever appeared in semi-professional outlets at the very best. Does a small press, based on POD, add that much more to a collection than an author publishing their own? That's a tricky point, especially when so many small press publishers are friends of the writers they publish. How far removed are some of these from self publishing? Hell, some small press publishers then go onto have their own collections published by other small presses whose owners they have also published. Nepotism, cronyism, incest are words that sometimes, whether unjustly or not, spring to mind.
But the world of publishing has changed radically, as you say, Craig. And the old norms no longer really apply.
As I have said before, what matters at the end is the quality of what's published. I have read collections from small presses that are downright awful. I've come across collections from mainstream publishers that are awful too. If what's published is good, then word of mouth and good reviews would - or at least should - give any book, self published ot otherwise, a chance of decent sales.
The only extra ability a self publishing writer needs is that of marketing, because no one else is going to do that for you. That's a tougher thing to deal with than a lot of us imagine. If you overdo or or make mistakes, you can look pretty bad (remember the fuss that erupted on Vault a year or so back when one writer, due to her publisher's illness at the time, took on publicising her book for him - and gave a bad impression of herself to a large number of people.
Post by Craig Herbertson on Jun 10, 2010 9:17:18 GMT
so many small press publishers are friends of the writers they publish. How far removed are some of these from self publishing? Hell, some small press publishers then go onto have their own collections published by other small presses whose owners they have also published. Nepotism, cronyism, incest are words that sometimes, whether unjustly or not, spring to mind
It's a fair point. I've considered it myself. Why not just team up with a like minded author, form a small press publishing thing with a fancy name and publish each others books. The problem might well rest on that balance between the critic and the friend. I can imagine two authors - one writes a great book, the other passes back a dreadful pile of crap. Sudden horror and embarrassment.