Fireflies & Laserbeams

Throwback Thursday: The Future of Publishing Revisited

Thursday July 25, 2019 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments

These are from a series of posts I did back in the week of December 10, 2010. This was the week I discovered Dean Smith and Kristine Rusch. Other than updating a few of the links below,  and the price model that is referred to at the bottom is probably out of date. Otherwise, nothing much has changed in nearly ten years. booksThat amazes me. Back then a lot of people were saying it was going to be the end of traditional publishing. But Kris was right on the money, although the Big Five haven’t completely figured it out, even now. They are not going anywhere. If anything, it has only made it harder for unknown writers to break in to traditional publishing. This makes me scratch my head. We will see what the next ten years bring.

Part 1 I don’t know where everyone gets the idea that the costs of publishing eBooks are zero. I see that comment all the time. If you want someone to edit the book or prepare it for the zillion formats that eReaders use it comes with a price tag. That stuff doesn’t happen all by itself. If you expect the author to do that stuff you are going to see a lot fewer books coming out or coming out in limited formats. The biggest complaint most people have about eBooks is the poor quality of editing, so if you think you are going to self-publish without the proper number of rounds of the editing process you are setting yourself up for failure. Self-publishing is growing dramatically and so is the eBook market. It's leading to a problem of differentiating the good from the bad. Some new filtering mechanism is likely going to develop to separate the chaff from the wheat, but I haven't seen it yet. There is still a lot of crap making it out into the online market. There are a lot of well-known authors making an effort to take control of their publishing but it does take a toll. I think marketing is a huge issue, maybe the biggest. If you can't reach your audience you aren't going to sell any books. Having an actual marketing plan and following through on it will likely be the difference of success or failure of your book, and that holds true for eBooks and traditional paper books. Large publishing houses can market your book in a way that you will likely never be able to manage unless your name starts with J.K. Publishers have their place in the scheme and I don’t think most authors want to do those things that publishers can bring to the table. It takes away time from writing and a lot of it requires a skill set they may not have. It's all a matter of finding the right pricing structure that will make the publisher a viable entity and still provide the author with the appropriate level of compensation for their efforts. Some of the publishers are figuring it out and moving in the right direction now. Time will tell if the big publishing houses will figure it out. Part 2 Just after I finished my last post
Jane Fancher posted that she had run into Patty Briggs this weekend and mentioned that she was releasing a new book and posted a link to it. In that post Mike Briggs, Patty’s husband who runs her website, linked to another post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch about the very subject I had posted on earlier. Her blog is usually focused on the business end. She knows the publishing industry from the inside and from the writer’s perspective and she is in the middle of a series of articles trying to define where the industry is heading and what it means to writers. I am linking all the posts below that she has already published as of today. They are lengthy and very well researched and very informative. Here is just one snippet from her outstanding blog:
"Enter electronic publishing—which is, as the bloggers say, a game-changer. But it’s not a game-changer the way that the bloggers believe it is. Electronic publishing will enable Big Publishing to change its business model. In other words, electronic publishing won’t cause the demise of Big Publishing. Electronic publishing will save it."
Part 3 The publishing landscape has changed dramatically in the last two years and continues to change. Distribution was always tough for a small publishing house and forget it if you were trying to self-publish. But that's all changed now. Dean Wesley Smith has a section on his website devoted to debunking the myths of writing and publishing a book. Here is one gem I found in the comments section below his post about self-publishing:  
Put your novel up on Kindle. Cost: Free Put your novel up on Smashwords, which gets you to Sony, Nook, iBook, and other places. Cost: Free Put your novel through CreateSpace in trade paperback form in POD. That gets it to Amazon. Cost: Free (or $39.00 if you want better distribution into all stores.) Put your novel through LighteningSource in trade paperback form in POD. That gets it to Ingram. Cost: around $100.00 No reason for a self-published author these days to pretend to be a traditional publisher and go into the produce model. And besides, why do it until you’ve tried to sell it to a traditional fiction publisher first?   --Dean Wesley Smith
  Here is a link to his “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing” website. It’s chock full of great information and advice for someone trying to break in to the writing business: Dean Wesley Smith I highly recommend it! All this reading I've been doing has convinced me all the more that I just need to spend more time writing and worry about the other stuff after I finish the manuscripts. I'm back at it....

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Arguing with the Reviewer (Bad Idea)

Saturday September 10, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments

     A friend of mine stopped me the other day to tell me that he had posted his very first book review and to their surprise the author wrote them back almost immediately.  His review was a 2 star review and although he was polite he pointed out some things he didn't like about the book.  It was in a genre he is very well read in and felt like the book didn't live up to expectations.  He did write a few nice things too.        The author made persuasive arguments as to why he did certain things, persuasive enough that my friend changed his review to make it 3 stars and took out a few negative comments.  But the fact that the writer went through this trouble kinda shocked me.  Not to the core or anything but I was surprised.  My friend was surprised too, but also intrigued and I think he liked the interaction actually.      Right after I made up my mind to write about this Joe Konrath beat me to the punch of course with this post about ignoring the praise and criticism of people you don't know.  Obviously this author ignored that advise.      He received a lot of negative feedback because of the title he gave the post.  Not Caring.  I think a lot of his readers missed the entire point but that doesn't surprise me really, but that is a post for another day perhaps.      I know Ann Rice just got a lot of negative publicity for arguing with her detractors on Amazon, but they say any publicity sells books.  Book Slut covers that story here.  It's hard to believe that was 7 years ago.      Abraham Lincoln once said, "He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help."  Contrarywise, if you don't really want to help, you should shut the hell up.      As I get closer to finishing the novel revisions I am thinking more about what happens next.  Getting constructive criticism from someone you ask is a lot different than any kind of criticism from someone you don't know who may or may not "get" what you were trying to do.  But going out there and arguing with reviewers doesn't appeal to me.      Max Barry just posted this bit about Schlepping the Book and how it feels to get good and bad reviews.  I love Max Barry!  He is funny, articulate and has a great imagination.  Three things I would love to be able to claim.       Putting my book out there on its own will be a surreal experience for me.  That is the point of publishing, you know, getting it out there.  I'm not sure how I will take the criticism, both good and bad.  Hopefully I can take it in stride and not let it effect me.  The point that Konrath's detractors were trying to make was that you should care what people say, in order to fix what's wrong.  But wrong by whose standard?  That's a fickle master I wouldn't want to have to answer to.  You will never please everyone.  Is it arrogance to say the book is exactly the way you meant it to be?  We can all keep revising our books endlessly, and with eBooks we actually can keep revising them after they are published even.  That's another can of worms.        I think I like what Heinlein said in his business rules, that Dean Wesley Smith recently posted, "Refrain from rewriting except to editorial order."  Meaning his editor's comments.  The rest of his rules are just as good. Finish what you start and get it out there!      Time will definitely tell.  I have the goal of not letting it effect me.  That's not saying I don't care. Clear Ether!

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