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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:13 pm 
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Location: North Kansas City, Missouri, United States
I must admit that I'm not interested in going down this route myself but I have a couple of friends who have gone down this road with iUniverse and a couple of other American companies.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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S. F. Murphy
Trapped in Snowy Missouri

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:01 pm 
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It has worked for some UK authors like G P Taylor. I think you have to be a very good self publicist and very confident about your novel or collection to make it a success.

Are there any similar successful SP authors in the USA?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:18 am 
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I think the important thing is to be damn sure you're up to scratch, as far as your fiction is concerned. Basically, if you self-publish, people are going to be itching for an excuse to shred your work, on the basis that you've decided "you don't need to go through the normal channels".

As I say to bands considering the musical equivalent, I wish you the sincerest best of luck - and I'd love to see you break through. But in this youthful stage of the self-publishing era, be prepared for a heavier barrage of criticism than the best big names of the genre ever receive - for better or for worse, for right or for wrong, you've stepped out and claimed you should be considered on the same footing as them. And believe you me, the critics won't cut you any slack for it.

But if you hold up to it, and you can take it on the chin, best of luck - I truly believe there's fresh talent waiting to break through this way. But judging by the general standard of self-publishing works, the bar is actually higher in some respects. Polish, edit, proof-read, and polish again. Then let someone else read it. Then repeat the cycle. Then (and only then) think about publishing it yourself.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 3:29 am 
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It depends whether you are self publishing, or vanity publishing.

99.99% of people doing this are vanity publishing, just people who have bought a package from AuthorHouse or the like and have unrealistic expectations of what might happen. I've met a lot of vanity published writers. Most are just normal people seeking some recognition and I tend to feel a bit of sympathy for them. A minority are arrogant idiots who think the world owes them something. I did a whole professonal development session with a writer I won't name here who self pubished his own fantasy novel, only to then claim he never read fantasy because it was all trash! That kind of stupidity is just priceless.

Self publishing sucessfully doesn't just mean getting some books printed. It means being an editor to get the novel in shape, a precise copy checker to polish the text, a determined salesman to secure distribution and an expert in marketing, publicity and PR to persuade punters to buy your book over the million others available to them. Not to mention being a well above average writer in the first place. If someone really believes they can do all that, they're deluding themself. But if you can do some of it well, and get very, very lucky then it might go somewhere.

That said, I'm all in favor of writers being entrepreneurial. But there are better ways to do that than self publishing. The best advice I ever got on this was to think of the writing world as a community, and that you need to put something into the community before you can take out. Volunteering for magazines, reviewing other writers work or helping to organise your local con will do most aspiring writers much better than throwing yet another repetitious tome into the world.

Damien G Walter
http://damiengwalter.wordpress.com

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:27 am 
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damiengwalter wrote:
It depends whether you are self publishing, or vanity publishing.


It also depends on what one's ambitions are and how one measures success.
For example, all my previously print-publishd stories (approx 1500) and all my new stories are published by me on a series of blogs called the Weirdmonger Wheel.
I get lots of readers. I feel successful in what I try to do.
des

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:52 pm 
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des2 wrote:
It also depends on what one's ambitions are and how one measures success ...
I get lots of readers. I feel successful in what I try to do.


That's it in a nutshell, des - if you define success for yourself and manage to hit your targets, there's no greater achievement.

However, on the subject of self-promotion, I (and just about every other editor, blogger and reviewer in the genre community, according to the 'To' field) received an email a few days ago that probably demonstrates the adage that you'll be judged on the promotional material as much as the product itself. Take a look:
Quote:
If you want real science fiction we recommend this
story to you.

We are excited to offer you this great narrative
detailing real material for the next era in human
progress.

From new, fantastic yet satisfyingly available
technology to accurate alien biologies, provided in
our new cosmic work is what your hungry sci-fi

Visit www.starcityhistory.com to see for yourself.

Feel free to contact us at the information at the
bottom of the webpage and we can discuss how to get you
your book.

We hope to hear from you soon!


QED. Go take a look if you fancy a chuckle.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:02 pm 
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The internet has definitely revolutionised self publishing, and given space for the small press to thrive. I'm one of your occaisional Weirdmonger readers Des, as well as magazines like Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons and Fantasy magazine. I have a story online this month at Serendipity ( http://www.magicalrealism.co.uk/view.php?story=30 ) so I really appreciate the possibilities of online publishing. To me those are all good ways of getting involved with the spec.fic community, much more productive than paying AuthorHouse a big wad of money to publish a novel that will sink without a trace.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:07 pm 
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Holly crap...well there is a stonking example of how not to build a career in SF!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:33 am 
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I'm currently in the process of self-publishing via my Valentine Chronicles website at the same time as trying to shift material through more coventional means.

Whilst it's a real buzz when you make "a sale" to magazines etc, it's also very nice to create and nurture a site the way I have with the Valentine site.

I'm not sure I've added much to this discussion, but I just wanted to share my perspective with you! :oops:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:26 am 
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Roy, I don't know of any, frankly. At least not in the science fiction field.

I can see maybe using this method to self publish one's own story collection after you've made twenty or thirty short story sales. But I can't see using this for a novel. The cost across the board is prohibitive.

I think if I were looking for an alternate way to get my material before an audience, I'd probably go with podcasting or perhaps an illustrated YouTube style narrative.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:21 pm 
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I can think of a few who self published and got enough attention to get a book deal on the back of it- Mark Robson, Matthew Reilly, Christopher Paolini, GP Taylor. Oddly they are all YA writers, and three of them writing very generic YA fantasy. I cant name any writers who are actualy making a living from self publising, at best its a stepping stone to other things.

Its also testament that success is not always linked to quality, by any measure Eragon is a naff book, and yet its one of the most succesful fantasy novels of recent years. If anyone can explain why I'd love to hear it.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:21 pm 
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Location: Cheshire, UK
My interest here is that some of these authors might advertise in Interzone or on the website.

One US author and one UK author have advertised in IZ so far.

See Prison by Paul Western but I cannot find a link to Dave Putnam's "The Gamekeeper's Nightdog" trilogy now.

Authors usually put a chapter on the web so you can have a taster. Try Prison by clicking on 'Sample' and another SP novel here.

Let us know what you think.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:40 am 
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Paul Raven wrote:
QED. Go take a look if you fancy a chuckle.


"Meet Meerkat Man" is my first top phrase of 2008!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:00 pm 
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Location: Cheshire, UK
Quote:
Salem author self-publishes herself into a novel $2m payday
from the Boston Globe website
Note how much it cost the author.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:15 pm 
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Ah yes, the self-published author who lands a major deal with a trade publisher... but what most people neglect to mention is the huge sums the author had paid to promote their self-published book. For example, Christopher Paolini's parents ran a publishing company, and used it to promote Eragon to all their distributors.

If you self-publish a novel and get it listed on Amazon, but do nothing to promote it... you'll be lucky if you sell a dozen copies. And the odds of you being picked up by a trade publisher are astronomical --

No, wait. They're astronomical anyway.

:-)

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