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Tony Williams
February 5th, 2007, 03:46 PM
I've posted an article on my website on my perspective on publishing fiction, especially how self-publishing compares with the traditional route.

See: http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/OnPublishingFiction.htm

Rocket Sheep
February 6th, 2007, 06:21 AM
Nice article (altho TP is obviously the shopping list abbrev for toilet paper or the abbrev for Terry Pratchett... both of which aren't helpful for midnight reading!).

Also there is the small publisher, who tend to have small marketing budgets and an expectation of greater imput from authors... making them a kind of SP/TP combo.

Target, Kmart, Borders, Scholastic Book Clubs etc, tend to buy in bulk at discount and if an author is being paid a royalty on the net price, they get to help the lovely conglomerates out with their profit margins. I suppose it is the same with Tescos.

Personally I don't think authors need to be quite so responsible for boosting profit margins altho getting more books to more people is a bonus likely to help out on book two/three/four/... as long as they can get a contract on gross.

Do you have Public Lending Right payments in the UK? Do you get ISBNs on your SPs?

Tony Williams
February 6th, 2007, 06:30 AM
Nice article (altho TP is obviously the shopping list abbrev for toilet paper or the abbrev for Terry Pratchett... both of which aren't helpful for midnight reading!).
Well, I did explain SP and TP at the end of the second paragraph...


Also there is the small publisher, who tend to have small marketing budgets and an expectation of greater imput from authors... making them a kind of SP/TP combo.
I don't know anything about those - do you have any examples?


Target, Kmart, Borders, Scholastic Book Clubs etc, tend to buy in bulk at discount and if an author is being paid a royalty on the net price, they get to help the lovely conglomerates out with their profit margins. I suppose it is the same with Tescos.
Sounds like it.


Personally I don't think authors need to be quite so responsible for boosting profit margins altho getting more books to more people is a bonus likely to help out on book two/three/four/... as long as they can get a contract on gross.
Can you get such contracts? I've never seen one offered in the UK.


Do you have Public Lending Right payments in the UK? Do you get ISBNs on your SPs?
Yes to both (not that I've ever received anything).

Erebus
February 6th, 2007, 07:38 AM
Very interesting read, Tony. I own a small POD business here in Oz, similar in some ways to AonL (though on a much smaller scale I would imagine), which was set up originally for the purpose of assisting deserving authors into print where more traditional methods may have escaped them. Our prime objective has always been to get the book into print with the smallest possible author investment. We tend to specialise in spec-fic and we've managed some great success during the 5 years we've been growing the business from its very humble beginnings. We have even published a few UK authors as well. We were somewhat unique back in 2002, since then however outfits like Booksurge and Lulu have made themselves available to authors here as well.

You may be interested in having a look (http://www.equilibriumbooks.com) at what we do. I 'd certainly love to hear your feedback if you do.

BrianC
February 6th, 2007, 08:36 AM
This sentence made me laugh:

Another rather depressing aspect of the TP market, particularly where the bigger companies are concerned, is that they seem to be primarily interested in two types of author: those who regularly produce best-sellers, and new writers who look as if they might produce best-sellers.Err, obviously, a big publisher would be more than happy to talk to you if your middle initials happened to be R.R. Still, I think it's worth trying the traditional publishing route. Lightning does strike somewhere all of the time, someone does have to win the lottery, and unless you're in something of a hurry merely to see your name in print, well why not see if that lightning will strike you? Patience and persistence, after all, cost nothing. It's that second category that you speak of, Tony, the writer that 'looks' like they'll be writing the bestsellers of the future, that's where the trick is in publishing. You cited Rowling as an example, but what would have happened if she quit after rejection number twenty-nine and went the self-publishing route? Would that boy wizard have made such a sensation? Lord Foul's Bane, I understand, was rejected forty-seven times; where would the fantasy genre be if the only blockbuster of 1977 had been that Shanara trainwreck? Thank a deity that Donaldson did not give up.

I understand your point, of course, that the decision to go to self-publishing may make perfect sense for some writers. And it may, depending on what you really want to do with your writing, but it also may make very little sense.

Tony Williams
February 7th, 2007, 12:38 AM
Still, I think it's worth trying the traditional publishing route. Lightning does strike somewhere all of the time, someone does have to win the lottery, and unless you're in something of a hurry merely to see your name in print, well why not see if that lightning will strike you? Patience and persistence, after all, cost nothing. It's that second category that you speak of, Tony, the writer that 'looks' like they'll be writing the bestsellers of the future, that's where the trick is in publishing. You cited Rowling as an example, but what would have happened if she quit after rejection number twenty-nine and went the self-publishing route? Would that boy wizard have made such a sensation? Lord Foul's Bane, I understand, was rejected forty-seven times; where would the fantasy genre be if the only blockbuster of 1977 had been that Shanara trainwreck? Thank a deity that Donaldson did not give up.

I understand your point, of course, that the decision to go to self-publishing may make perfect sense for some writers. And it may, depending on what you really want to do with your writing, but it also may make very little sense.

I don't disagree with what you say, but I think that it really does depend on personal circumstances and motivations.

If I were poor and in a dead-end job, like J.K.Rowling, then I too would keep plugging away at the traditional publishing route, because it would be my only possible escape from my circumstances. Every time I received a rejection slip I would immediately send the mss to another publisher, because as long as it was out there, I would have the hope of possible success to comfort me.

It is indeed very much like a lottery, and it is significant that by far the biggest purchasers of the UK national lottery tickets are the poor (who can least afford it) for the same reason - it gives them hope.

For other writers, the search for a publisher might be a part of the fun - like hunting or fishing. You spend a heck of a lot of time getting something to eat which you could obtain for a fraction of the time and trouble by going to your local shop.

None of this applies to me. I'm not poor, and I don't gamble, hunt or fish - I've never seen the appeal. I have retired from my career, and spend my time as I choose. I have several interests as well as writing fiction, all of which I enjoy doing, so novel-writing is a form of recreation for me. Trying to get my work published is definitely a negative aspect of writing. If the only option I had was the prospect of spending years receiving rejection slips then I probably wouldn't bother, because it would kill the pleasure I get from writing.

Rocket Sheep
February 7th, 2007, 02:48 AM
Well, I did explain SP and TP at the end of the second paragraph...


And I did say midnight reading. You can read it at midnight but you can't change your brain's response to it.




I don't know anything about those - do you have any examples?


Well, I do actually. In the non-fiction genre only and only be reason of the inability of the publisher to market forcing me into a voluntary form of marketing. The main problem being that they don't know the genre of the non-fiction and where the market lies. I think there may be some Windstorm authors here who have a more structured author support type agreement.



Can you get such contracts? I've never seen one offered in the UK.
There is the contract offered and the contract signed. First time authors get offered one kind of contract, multiple published authors get sent another. If you pick six things to change in any contract you're sure to get three of them. Problem is, "gross" is one point that takes a lot of sell-power to change.


Yes to both (not that I've ever received anything)

My biggest cheques each year come from ELR and PLR. I don't know how authors survive without it.

With an ISBN and enough sales the door opens to ELR and PLR and grants that require prior recognition. 4 years ago when JKR had just the 3 books, she could not have got a grant as an 'emerging' writer in Australia. Tough, huh?

Tony Williams
February 8th, 2007, 03:26 AM
My biggest cheques each year come from ELR and PLR. I don't know how authors survive without it.
What's ELR?

Jacquin
February 8th, 2007, 03:48 AM
What's ELR?

Educational Lending Right

Tony Williams
February 8th, 2007, 04:37 AM
Educational Lending Right

I don't know that we have that in the UK - I've never heard of it, anyway.

IIRC the PLR doesn't kick in until your books are borrowed quite a lot. I haven't heard of many people getting much out of it. But then, libraries these days seem to be used increasingly for internet access, CDs and research rather than borrowing books (especially fiction).