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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » E-publishing?

   
Author Topic: E-publishing?
C@R3Y
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I've been hearing more and more talk on e-publishing, more so than before... Is that the same as self-publishing or what? I heard that self-publishing is not the way you want to go, though... I also heard that if you self-publish, and you send another manuscript to an agent or a publisher, they usually don't like it if you have been self-published before, even if it was with a different book. Is that the same with e-publishing? I am unclear on the matter.

I don't want to do that at the moment, though... it's just something I want to keep in mind.

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mrmeadors
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Epub, self pub, indie pub, all can be used interchangeably. However, epub COULD also mean that it was traditionally published and now the publisher is doing a digital edition. So I would tend away from calling a self pubbed book simply, "epublished."

As for the editors and agents: What they don't know won't hurt them. Or in this case, you. Look at it this way: if your self pubbed book is doing really well, then it looks GOOD for you, especially if you have several finished works out there, they know that you can write more than one book, that you can finish work, etc. If you are not doing well, then no one's heard of you and it doesn't matter. A couple years ago, publishers and editors had opinions that they didn't like an author who self pubbed. Now, at least from what I heard at the last writers conference i was at, they've sort of changed their attitude. THey have given in a little bit, anyway, and they just kind of shrug. I don't think think it's realistic for them to expect writers to submit wonderful stories, get rejected, and just, what, throw that perfectly good story away? I used to be really cautious about self publishing, and thought it was a bad idea. But now, even just ONE YEAR later, things have changed so much.

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C@R3Y
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Any idea how much e-publishing is? Generally? Isn't it cheaper than self-publishing?
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redux
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Like mrmeadors said, self-publishing and e-pub are typically interchangeable. Traditionally, self publishing meant print books, print-on-demand and vanity press. With the advent of e-readers and e-books writers can now e-publish, meaning their book exists in e-format and not in print. [So many words prefixed with 'e' in that sentence - did I break a record? [Smile] ]

Regarding costs, this thread is proving to be quite the repository of good information:
http://www.hatrack.com/cgi-bin/ubbwriters/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=007130;p=0&r=nfx

Edited to add:
I think that in the past there was a stigma to self-publishing (along the lines of vanity press) because it meant that the writer didn't jump through all the hoops and pass the rite by fire of multiple submissions and rejections before finally being accepted by an agent and later picked up by a brick and mortar publishing house.

Regarding e-publishing hurting your chances of being published by a traditional publishing house - I would assume that it would only affect the existing book, they might not want to "re-print" it, but I don't see how it would affect your chances with a new unpublished book .

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LDWriter2
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Redux seems to have pretty much beat me to what I wanted to say.
As I understand it self-publishing meant either Vanity or hiring a printing company to print your novel. Either way you paid for it. Redux mention one reason that was considered bad but another reason was that it was hard to find markets for your novels and the printing run was usually maybe a couple thousand books. I think some rich writers were able to pay for 10s of thousands like a normal run would be but most writers couldn't.

For that reason I still don't like the term even when applied to E-publishing and POD. But E-books have become so popular that E-publishing is no longer bad. Going by way of Vanity press would still be but not this way.

As to having an E-published book being picked up by a Traditional publisher. I don't know what the chances are but it has happened, quite a few times evidently. Some editors now routinely check E-published lists.

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TaleSpinner
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Here's my take, FWIW.

Publish - invest time and money in (a) making a story available to the mass market, and (b) in marketing and sales

Regular publishing - print, paper, books, mags

Indie publishing - small press, not an imprint of one of the big houses

e-publishing - media is electronic, not paper. Either a website like FFO. author's personal website or blog, or for Kindle, Sony e-reader etc

Self-publishing - investing one's own time and money in proof reading, editing, marketing, selling, as well as either printing, e-publishing or both

Self-publishing electronically ("self e-publishing"?) can cost nothing. A website or blog can be free or cheap, but the story will be hard to find and hard to earn money from. Amazon and Smashwords have made it easy for writers to e-publish themselves and earn money.

If you're computer literate and can make an arty cover you can do it for nothing. Some pay for cover art, some use royalty-free stuff, some make their own. Amazon and Smashwords do not charge an up-front fee, but take a royalty on sales. (That's the difference: in print you have to pay for a print run, usually by going to a "vanity press".) The story is easier to find because it's in an online bookshop.

If you self-publish, whether on paper or 'e', you have to get the errors out yourself with good proof reading, and you have to do the sales and marketing. Getting your book onto Amazon is easy; the challenge is to make it stand out from the other million priced at $1.99, most of them bad and too painful to wade through looking for the odd gem.

This for me is the big benefit of selling to an established publisher, whether indie or somewhere like Tor: while they might or might not market the story, they pull readers simply with the imprint and its past record of consistently publishing good stuff (I love SF and will always look for Tor or Gollancz first).

What does self-publishing mean for one's chances of traditional publishers taking an interest? I doubt they respect self-publishing, because so little of it is any good. For every million-seller there are a million flunks.

But I think they might pay attention to a letter that says, "My e-pub, 'Witches in the Wardrobe' sold a million copies this year. You wanna take a punt on the print version?" If they think the electronic sales haven't diluted the print prospects too much, or if they believe they can sell the lavishly-illustrated coffee-table version, maybe they'll bite.

Just my 2c,
Pat

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Owasm
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I've seen more self-pubbed books that are re-published under a publisher than ever. If you write really well, it shouldn't matter how you're getting your material out to readers.

I self-pub because I'm an old guy and don't want to subject myself to the three year traditional publishing cycle. Once my manuscript is done and has been edited (I do my own covers while the book is being edited), I can get it e-pubbed in a couple of hours. And that's to Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords (which distributes it to iBooks, Sony and others.)

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Pyre Dynasty
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The world has changed. I really don't think the stigma that applies to old self-publishing translated over to e-publishing. And that stigma is washing off traditional as well. I don't know if anyone has yet made the leap from self-e-publishing to a full deal with a big publishing house. (Although I have this niggling in the back of my head about Brandon Sanderson that I'll have to research to remember fully.)

I think we owe a lot to YouTube. There is a lot of crap on YouTube, and some of the fun of it is wading through it to find a gem, and when we do we share it with everyone we know. The same thing is happening with books. Publishers should look at it this way, we've monetized the slush pile. People will pay vending machine prices in hopes that the story they buy will be good, and if it isn't, oh well, it didn't cost that much.

Right now I'm trying to convince my collaborator to get an old book we wrote on the major channels, and the more I think about it the one I'm working on now might be a good fit for e-pub. I also have a story that has been rejected all over that I think I'll use to learn how to do it.

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mrmeadors
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PD--Amanda Hocking signed a deal with St. Martins for over $1 million for her series that she self-pubbed (it was number one on kindle for some time). If you google her I'm sure you'll see all kinds of stuff about it. Now, she made a TON of money all by herself self publishing her books. At one point, you looked at the kindle best selling list and at least three of her books were in the top 25. Now that she signed the deal and her first paperback is out, her sales have tanked. I'm wondering what impact this will have on publishers taking on self pubbed books.
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TaleSpinner
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Yes, but it's her sales they respect. Here's an interesting piece on her success.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/12/amanda-hocking-self-publishing

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Lloyd Tackitt
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This writer's blog spot has a lot of information on epublishing. He says he made $100K in three months.

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

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axeminister
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I see your Konrath reference, and counter with this guy:

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2011/11/08/self-publishing-doesnt-mean-you-have-to-be-a-raging-****-wad/

Edited: The board replaced the F bomb with ****
So, now if you want to read this blog, you must type in the word yourself. (Sorry) Click the link and replace the stars.

Axe

[ January 13, 2012, 12:43 PM: Message edited by: axeminister ]

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GreatNovus
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Different people use the terminology differently. If you ever hear me talking about E-publishing it will be me talking about trying to publish a different author's work through electronic means for them. If I was to be publishing work of my own I would call it self-publishing whether it was in print or electronic.

You might see more "E-publishers" now-a-days. These will be individuals or new independent small publishing houses that will publish your book for you through the same avenues most self-pubbers use. Most of them will cover all the formatting and cover art and this that and the others for you for free, but some of them don't cover it all or will charge you like a vanity publisher would.

I've yet to find any E-publishers that provide advances. I plan to do so with the authors I work with, but I'm pushing back my business plans for a bit. The past couple months have been hectic for me. Speaking of which, it's been a while since I have been able to get on here. How is everyone doing?

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redux
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I was going to start a new thread but I figured this one would do nicely.

Apple just released a new app - iBooks Author.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibooks-author/id490152466?mt=12

I don't own an Apple, but I thought this was pretty nifty. Yet another tool for self-publishers.

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LDWriter2
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Thanks, I checked it over and saved it to check more throughly at a later date.
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