amberley sent me this really interesting link about what being published is like.

Seth Godlin, someone who is published... and it's titled "Secrets of book publishing I wish I had known." It's... very interesting for me, especially since money isn't a prime motivator for me and my writing.

What's also interesting is that Mark Hurts, a publisher, is the one that published the above on his blog, and he has a rebuttal of sorts as well.

I love blogs. *laughs* It's the commentary that really intrigues me.
Oh, dear
[correct name swap]

Have you seen slushkiller? The problem with Godlin's analysis is that no-one knows for certain that a book will sell (except for textbooks, porn, and a few other things), so a lot of his reasoning is awry. From my outsider perspective, I would say that authors have a much better understanding of selling their own books to publishers than publishing as a business. Hurst has the right idea about risks; Godlin's kind of book is a much more predictable seller than a new novel, even a very derivative novel. Most authors of fiction don't make money with their first book until their second or third is published, which can create an audience for the first; publishers know this and allow for it. In fiction, publishers know that author doesn't become successful overnight; the people who try to do it overnight generally don't succeed in the business. And self-publishing is a pain, even if for competent businessperson who can oversee all aspects of design, editing, production, publicity, and distribution. It will take time away from writing. (Exception: sometimes POD self-publishers hit it big without publicity, distribution, and, most production work. Don't count on it, though.)


Edited at 2008-08-19 09:51 am (UTC)
Re: Oh, dear
I'm not entirely sure that that's a problem... *laughs*

It's mostly a different way of thinking about how to sell a book. There are other authors that have commented on both entries that give some interesting views as well.

(read as sad smile)

Yeah, I have several friends that have published multiple books and I can attest from their comments that that blogger is %100 absolutely correct. Sad but true.

There are a few more ways into being published than the blogger mentioned though, especially for things like 'genre fiction'. Who you know really really helps (read as kissing massive amounts of ass - this is considered par for the course and everyone does it).

I haven't read the rebuttal yet but if he's claiming the other blogger isn't truthful please administer many grains of salt.

Yeah. That makes a ton of sense to me, all in all.

It's interesting to work through and think about, especially since I have some of the networking already happening through the fan base of the kind of stuff I want to work on, for the hard SF stuff I really want to get published, I've been in the fandom for so long folks recognize me.

But now I'm really wondering if it's worth it. *laughs* Or if I should just leverage what I've gotten here and on the other sites I'm posting fanfics on and just go for posting my first novel that way. *laughs* Though the printing rights always get confused on things that are posted, given that more and more authors are just posting free stuff that's "professional level", it might be fun to just do it since I certainly don't need the money some other poor writer kid should get by going through a publisher.

Just something for me to think through.
The connectivity the internet allows is changing the face of many industries. In a lot of ways this is a good thing but it's a two edged sword. I have a number of friend who are widely published in non-fiction who cannot find a publisher in fiction because of the very nature of their success. Their publishers don't think their fiction will sell because their non-fiction is popular. Narrow minded and lacking in imagination a little? lol!

A couple of these individuals are considering self-publishing. Some are going the smooze-workshop route under a pseudonym (which works pretty well for sf/f put out by small presses). The problem with that is that if their agent catches them at it they might drop them.

The biggest issue with simply publishing on the web is venue and plagiarism. I'm not trying to be agist but venues with a large teen-aged or twenty-something consumer tend to suffer from flagrant plagiarism. After all, check out FF.N

Online magazines are great source for authors and small publishers these days and your copyright is well protected that way as well. If you have a fan base, all the better!

In any case, however and wherever you decide to decide to publish, let me know so I can go and read. ^______^

eta - grammar! :p
Totally. *grins*

Interesting about the judgment about their non-fiction getting in the way of their fiction. It's... odd. Hm.
Well, I tend to think it's the agents making excuses. Agents have certain fields they specialize in but you have to sign a contract with them stipulating they they get to rep all of your work. If they don't have a contact with the genre you want to publish in then you're SOL.

One of the flist posted a funny but true article about how tones of people are breaking into publishing with porn these days. Porn ALWAYS sells. 8D

As... uhm... some fanfic authors well know. Yeesh.

But that makes more sense about the contract and lack of contacts for a particular genre. Hm.
Sigh...this is why I hate articles like these. If your stuff's good--and I'll bet it is--chances are it will find a market. I hope you submit it.

But there seems to be a lot of evidence to the contrary. *grins*

And, in a way, I guess, it's supposed to be hard to get the "good stuff" or the stuff that has more perseverance to it or something. And, there are a lot of crap books being published all the time. So...

*shrugs* It's just a different rats maze to a kind of cheese.

And some part of me thinks that if I don't submit stuff it'll be like the fox with the sour grapes. *grins*

Edited at 2008-08-19 09:07 pm (UTC)
*grins* Not really... the worst thing would be to have someone accept it and sit on it for a long time. *laughs*
Never having been published myself, I have to say that my response to reading most of his points is: "Well, duh."

"Publishers are in it for the money"? Who would have guessed? "Publishers are only interested in books that will sell"? Again, I'm shocked.

Also, when he's talking about the publisher's contribution to the process -- putting their name on the cover and cashing checks -- he overlooks a couple of minor details. Like, you know, publishing the book. Where does he think all those printed copies of his deathless prose came from? Leprechauns?
I think that's what struck me so much about it.

I mean, those things are obvious, and *should* be for any author, but I don't think most people think of it that way when they're writing their "deathless prose". *laughs*

Yeah about the last bit, the physical costs of publishing are pretty solid.

Still... it's just interesting for me to think about what is obvious.
From the authors' point of view, yes, everything Seth listed seems true. And it's not UNtrue. The more $$ a publisher offers in an Advance against royalties (which is the money you hear about so-and-so getting, those 6-figure deals), the more the publisher has to do in order to recoup the costs and still make a profit. The profits are tied to the operation costs, just like any business (you have to spend to make). So yes, the Haris Pilton Tell All will make a ton of money right away for the publisher... or it will tank the biggest tank ever.

I worked for a publisher who paid huge sacks of cash for a celebrity book. It was just after another celebrity book came out from a competitor. Both celebrities were comic actors. The one wrote a humor book. The other wrote a sort-of life's story with nothing funny about it. Guess which one tanked?

Does the publisher get back the big sacks of cash? No. Why did the publisher offer such a huge advance anyway? Expectations, promotions cost, advertising costs, and so on. For the publisher to make absolutely certain that all avenues of marketing have been travelled in order to make sure as many eyeballs and ears know about this book, they will have to spend a lot of money. So they expect to sell a lot of books, which is why they can offer such huge Advances.

Now if a book gets a more reasonable and modest Advance and happens to sell like hotcakes, then it's a win-win for everyone, especially the author. The author then gets more leverage to ask for a bigger Advance because now there's proof that the books/author can sell. The Publisher says, "Yes, there's proof" and they do more promotions, more advertising, spend more marketing money. And lo and behold, you can come away with someone like J.K. Rowling or Terri MacMillan.

Publishers take a risk every time they contract with a writer who has no record of sales. The writer gets professionals able to put their books into as many places as possible. Both are taking risks, sure, and the writer could do it solo, but they won't get distribution, marketing, advertising, editorial, production, design all in one package. The writer who self-publishes will have to do it all or hire outside firms, which can get pricey. And most self-published writers do only the minimum, and only some actually have the type of book that will thrive in that medium.

And the self-published writer will be competing against everyone else.

The web is an easier sort of place to self-publish, but the profitability won't be the same. Sure, you won't have very many overhead costs--no printing, no cover, no distribution (other than your internet connection). You can ask for donations, you can even offer some content free and then charge for the rest. But will people pay you enough to do it like that? I know an award-winning, best selling author who couldn't get fans to pay for new content. And he had sold over 100 million copies of his books. So it's not a guarantee.

But then, any time you set out to sell anything, there's no guarantee.

The publishers aren't the bad guys; the writers aren't the bad guys. It's a business and like any business, there are some who win big and some who don't. The writers who whinge and cry foul make me scratch my head. If they don't like it, go self-publish, go find another publisher, go do something else. It is what it is, and a writer doesn't find the contract acceptable, don't sign. Look elsewhere. There are other options besides Random House or self-publishing. Think outside the box. The book is content, some is even IP; what can you do with it? The sky's the limit.
*hugs you happily*

I loved this. Thanks for writing it. Yeah... I don't think it's about good or bad guys. Just... more insight on the reality of what's really there.

Thanks!!! *dances*