On The Industry: Two Must-Read Articles

has written 587 posts on Storyfix.com.

You can follow Larry on Twitter, or Google+.

Email the author

by Larry Brooks on December 13, 2013

Regardless of where you stand on the self-publishing vs. traditional publishing issue, there’s no question the landscape is shifting beneath our feet.  There has yet to be a definitive source of wisdom on this, leaving us to sift and hash through the opinions of those engaged in a deep-dive into the swirling morass of op-ed, research and first person accounts.

Want to get rich publishing your writing yourself?  This are must reads.

Sticking with the traditional publishing route as your highest goal?  These are must reads.

Both are credible voices (view their bios with shock and awe)  in this sea of noise:

Jane Friedman at http://janefriedman.com/2013/12/12/writing-on-the-ether-120/#2.

Hugh Howey at http://www.hughhowey.com/

Have a great writing weekend.  Larry

Want to get storyfix posts delivered by e-mail? Sign up here:

Prefer to use an RSS reader? Subscribe here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Waskiewicz December 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm

These were both very interesting and useful reads. I haven’t really come to a conclusion yet, but now I have a lot more to think about. (That was a generic beginning.)

To be more specific, I’m working on the second draft of a novel that is Christian science fiction. This is an ugly genre because the Christian market doesn’t like science fiction and the science fiction market tends not to be Christian. Even worse, I have a bit of violence and some situations in the novel that might not fly with the traditional Christian market. I really have done my research, even though the novel is not ready for publication.

So I wonder: what traditional publisher would buy it? The religion is a major part of the book: underlying the whole thing is a religious conflict. The science fiction would be really difficult to rip out since the novel is about shipbreaking of spaceships and the hero carries 50% proprietary DNA (which forces him into the story).

But, I also don’t like the self-publishing market. I feel that I need an editor. Read any of my comments on this blog to see why! Also, a traditional publisher can help me find a market, help me with cover, and so on. If I self-publish, editing is up to me, I don’t know what I’ll do for a cover, and I don’t live in a location that makes it very easy for me to market my book in person. Nevertheless, with my weird genre, self-publishing may be my option. Maybe I need to create my market?

So, I don’t know. Honestly, the articles raised more questions than they answered. Luckily I have a few more drafts to go, and I work with some really talented English teachers: one of whom is a grammar genius and the other who is a writing genius. We’ll see!

Kerry Boytzun December 14, 2013 at 8:49 am

@Jason

Find an editor via the Internet instead of a traditional publisher. There are resources for anything everywhere on the Internet now. We’re in a new phase of “collaboration” on the Internet, where previously it was pretty much the “view only” phase.

I predicts sites like Facebook will lose tons of people to collaboration sites where you actually have someone who “has your back” and will do a favor for you, instead of a Facebook “friend” who is someone you really don’t know, and won’t lift a finger to help you.

I’ve been reading this book, Making Ideas Happen, and highly recommend it to everyone, whether published or a rookie.

http://99u.com/book/making-ideas-happen-2

Nann Dunne December 14, 2013 at 10:38 am

Jason,

I’d like to suggest that you forget the Christian market and aim your book at the Scifi market. Most Scifi readers are open-minded about what setting is used for the story, while Christian readers are limited in their choices. If you decide to go for traditional publishing, they won’t aim at a double target, imo. Online and print bookstores and libraries lump the books into genres, and if your book reached them, they would stick it in a genre themselves.

If you decide to self-publish, Kerry is right. There are many freelancers available for almost any facet of publishing. The most expensive is probably editing, but that’s also the most important. I’ve heard people say they’ve gotten terrific covers from Fiverr.com and there are other venues you can find through Google. Regardless of what type of publishing you choose, unless your book is a blockbuster, you’ll have to be responsible for most of the promotion yourself. And that’s the toughest part of all. There are, however, sites that will promote your book for a price.

I found Brenna’s article most imformative: http://brennaaubrey.net/2013/12/08/in-which-i-explain-why-i-turned-down-a-three-book-new-york-print-deal-to-self-publish/

Maybe she had the right idea: submit to a traditional publisher, find out how in demand your book is, and walk away to publish it yourself.

Laura K. Cowan December 15, 2013 at 7:22 am

@Jason I write something similar, upmarket fantasy or magical realism that has a lot of spirituality (it’s Christian, but the current Christian market wouldn’t like it), and this has made it tricky to find an agent and publisher because of the reasons you listed. After I self-published my first speculative supernatural Christian suspense novel under “Christian suspense” and “occult/supernatural” I found that there were readers out there for it, but I had to find them by categorizing the novel the right way and doing online promotion and becoming involved with groups that were interested in the same topics, and this was all over the place. Now I have written 6 books in the last year and a half, all shortly to be release self-published I expect, because a dozen top agents jumped on reading a full manuscript of my second novel, and then backed off because it wasn’t a mainstream execution of the narrative. BUT I’m very glad I didn’t jump on the Christian publishing option now, because that really is a dead-end right now for writers in cross-genre works that don’t fit the sweet romance, Right Wing self-help and other popular genres of the moment. I would agree that you should aim your book into sci-fi in general, and just cross-promote with Christian sci-fi groups (they’re out there on Goodreads/FB). Good luck!

MikeR December 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Of the publishing world today, two things can be said:

(1) “Electronic publishing” and “print-on-demand” are both, without a doubt, here to stay. We’ve had no choice until now to be extremely wasteful of trees. We DO have a choice now … even if you like to hold paper in your hands. (I have personally watched a POD digital press at work, churning out a stream of complete paperback books … one after another after another, all different. It is quite the sight to behold.)

(2) Regardless of format, a book is nothing without marketing … if you simply put a book out (say…) on Kindle Direct Publishing, and then do nothing, you won’t make back the price of the ISBN code in a year. True, it basically costs you nothing to try (unlike conventional “vanity publishing”), but it basically IS “vanity publishing” unless you find ways to aggressively promote your work. This is, I think, very much a developing thing … a problem that is still in search of a solution.

(2a) “Goody, goody for Amanda Hocking,” to the extent that her story is actually true as it is commonly told, but in the real world the need for marketing (for anything at all …) is as old as a fortune-cookie that I once actually ate:

‘ He who has a thing to sell / And talks about it in a well / Is much less apt to get the dollars / Than he who stands on hill, and hollers. ‘

MikeR December 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm

@All –

I, for one, am quite intrigued by the notion of “a Christian sci-fi novel.” I’ve got absolutely no idea what such a thing might be … but, if I knew that the book existed, I just might click on “Buy Now!” just to find out. “Science-Fiction” is one of my favorite genres of all, because “in it, anything is possible.” Writers seem to be able to stretch-out in this genre, and to come up with thoroughly entertaining stories that engage me on many levels. I’ve never considered what a “Christian” sci-fi novel might be.

And this is part of what I meant in my last post, when I said that “this is, very much, a ‘developing thing.’”

Right now, we’ve thoroughly-solved the book-PRODUCTION problem … anyone can do it, no trees.

… but, when it comes to “establishing awareness of the product in the mind of the person who might like to buy it” … we’re very much still just stumbling-around with (nothing more than) ideas warmed-over from Conventional Publishing. Stay tuned.

Robert Jones December 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm

@Jason–Laura has a good point about finding your market in various online groups. To add to that, seek out such groups ahead of time, join in their discussions so they can become familiar with you–and your views. Make friends first. If you jump on board after the fact, some will doubtless think you’re there just to promote your book. And you’ll have your work cut out for you proving that you fit in with the group and not looking to just take their money.

If they already know you, and then you mention that you happen to be writing a book on the subject, some will be curios. Might also be a good idea to pick your favorite group and use it to give away free copies to those members who are interested. Word of mouth sells a lot of books. And if you ask them to give you a review in exchange as a courtesy, that can help too. And this would be a much better method than signing up for some free giveaway promo on Amazon, or any other site. Because you are picking your audience rather than just allowing several hundred copies to go out to random people who don’t know you from Adam and are just taking advantage of the promotion.

Leave a Comment

(Spamcheck Enabled)

Previous post:

Next post: