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  1. #286
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEM View Post
    Kat G, quite seriously, I wonder why you are trying so hard to flog life back into a quite dead, and very smelly horse?

    All revolutions occurred (partly) as a response to the repression of an underclass which perceived its rights to have been violated. The evil overlords of the print paradigm have kept the talented writers of the world unpublished due to their microeconomic manipulation of expenditure and risk and the connivance through pricing structures of allied industries (like bookshops, distributors and printers).

    That manipulation made it uneconomic for the industry to invest in new voices and now, via new technologies, they are paying the price.

    Get with the program Kat G...or are you a printer in disguise?
    LOL, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse. All that happened was I expressed a view based on the facts as I know them -- facts which so far no one has actually disputed. Apparently, it was the viewpoint that I am not supposed to express and that is outrageous and problematic to some people, which is why I've found myself in another of these strange conversations where people act like I've insulted their religion.

    The facts -- again which no one has actually disputed as facts -- are that a market of combined electronic and paper will be larger and more available to more young people than electronic alone and also that the electric market needs to get many more vendors (I believe this will happen,) to continue its long term growth past the emerging market stage. Therefore it was my view that I hoped -- not that I insisted happen, but that I hoped -- in the near future we did not switch to an electronic only market which would shrink the market.

    Again, you would not think that saying I hope we don't lose paper completely in the near future so that we have more people and kids read and buy books, not less, would be a controversial statement. I did not say that small presses were evil. (I think they're great.) I did not say that I wanted e-books to go away. In fact, I said I love e-books and they add sales. I did not say that every publisher should do a mix of paper and electronic. (I love e-publishers.) So the controversy seems to be that I brought up that there would be an undisputed, factual downside to an electronics only market, especially due to current economic strife, and you would prefer nobody mention that. Or you seem to think that a paper market still existing would somehow be a threat to the electronics market, which is a reasoning I don't get, so maybe you can explain that to me if that's the case.

    I don't really see, also, how you can frame this as a revolution of the underclass if one of the principle goals of your revolution is to "destroy" paper and remove access to books from the underclass and say essentially "Let them eat cake." I don't get how it's launching new voices if you insist that it be electronic only and so the new voices get heard by a smaller group of people and authors have a harder time making sales. Doesn't it make more sense for the electronic market to expand as much as it can among those who can afford e-books and the paper market serves all the rest who can't? Again, factually, this is the maximum number of readers and buyers.

    It may happen that we will eventually be an electronic market only, if we solve the fuel issue, etc. This would be a perfectly good thing if economically populations would then still have access to books. But if not, there is a downside, and as publishers make decisions about what would be best for their particular operations, large, small, e-pub, mix, POD, audio, etc., these are among the factors they look at. Pointing that fact out takes no skin off of electronic publishing's nose.

  2. #287
    bingley bingley beep kissmequick's Avatar
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    Going to have to agree with Kate - with both paper and ebooks, the market is larger (and many people get a choice as to format too!)

    Just a small comment here:

    The evil overlords of the print paradigm have kept the talented writers of the world unpublished

    Which explains all those debut authors every year...oh wait, no it doesn't It makes no financial sense for pubs to turn down wonderful authors, unless said wonderful authors are writing books that not many people want to read.

    [note: All 'you's in this post are generic and not aimed at any poster]

    There are many, many valid reasons for wanting to epub yourself. Because you're sticking it to the man, or because no one understands your genius aren't often among them.

    Publishers are not trying to hold anyone back - they are in the business of making money though. They take on books they think enough people will love that it's worth them doing a print run. A book might be perfect, but if only a hundred people are interested in reading it, it makes no financial sense for them to publish it.

    Self pubbing isn't a revolution. It's been around for decades. It has gotten easier with the advent of ebooks. That just means there's more books hanging about that are only ever bought by the author's family. Yes, some do exceptionally well. Note the 'exceptionally'. Most do not.

    If people want to self pub, then that's fine and dandy if they know what they are getting into. But it's not going to take over the publishing world any time soon.
    Last edited by kissmequick; March 20th, 2012 at 01:30 PM. Reason: clarity.

  3. #288
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissmequick View Post
    Which explains all those debut authors every year...oh wait, no it doesn't It makes no financial sense for pubs to turn down wonderful authors, unless said wonderful authors are writing books that not many people want to read.
    Here's something to chew on before painting with that broad brush. Less than one percent of anything sent to a traditional publisher gets looked at. Or, to quote an old article from Piers Anthony - Only one in one hundred submissions will ever see an editor's desk (and this was years ago). Agented submissions.

    Other than that, I would agree that it makes no sense to not accept new authors. Unfortunately, things are not as simple as that. Imagine yourself part of big bucket of great authors. Imagine these houses collectively as a thimble. Pour.

    I wouldn't hesitate to suggest a traditional publisher to anyone - provided they understand the odds. The issue now for many is whether or not any publisher, e-book, or traditional, is necessary. I still think they are, but there are folks out there who made their fame without either. In any case, thinking that "only those whom readers want to read" get published by the big houses gets all wet when that big bucket comes pouring down.

    Kerry

  4. #289
    bingley bingley beep kissmequick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmtolan View Post
    Here's something to chew on before painting with that broad brush. Less than one percent of anything sent to a traditional publisher gets looked at. Or, to quote an old article from Piers Anthony - Only one in one hundred submissions will ever see an editor's desk (and this was years ago). Agented submissions.
    Hmm not so sure about that. Perhaps. (Though years ago, you could sub straight to editors, so it was anyone who could hold a pen sending stuff in, so yeah, one percent might be all that was literate...). Even now, most editors (or the interns that read the subs) know what they are looking for. A large percentage might be not what they want (ie wrong genre etc) or what they think their readers want (their readers have been buying lots of FP UF, for ex, and the sub is TP epic or hard sf)

    Have you seen this? Scroll down to number three. This is what agents (and used to be editors in the time you're talking about) have to wade through.

    Thing is, it is not a lottery. It is not that each MS has a less than one percent chance. A good ms has a much higher chance of getting looked at, if not picked up. A poor one has much lower odds than one percent.

    If you can write a half decent plot, competent prose and use grammar correctly, you've just beaten 90% of the slush.

    In the end, perhaps only 1% are actually good. (And having seen a slush pile or two, that seems about right....)

    ETA: Sure, I bet some excellent work gets missed. No system is perfect after all. But it might well get missed in the plethora of self pubbed ebooks on the web too, because standing out from a crowd that big is hard. Again, I've got nothing against self pubbing - but (generic) you have to know what you are getting into, and what the pitfalls are. Same as you do for any form of publishing.
    Last edited by kissmequick; March 20th, 2012 at 04:33 PM.

  5. #290
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    It strikes me there's a bit of subtle position shifting going on Kat G - you've slightly moderated your position on epublishing and you're using my own original argument against me. I started this part of the discussion by predicting that the standard (commercial) publishing model for the foreseeable future would be a blend of ebooks and POD paperback. I also said that I would hate to see print disappear, but also the outgoing paradigm had been its own worst enemy (for economic reasons I couldn't be bothered going back over, and I hear you all sighing in relief...)

    One point I will take up though, kissmequick said it makes no sense for publishers to turn down wonderful authors - and she's dead right, it makes no sense at all, but they do! Or at least they did, there's a new scramble for talent going on in case you hadn't noticed as publishers perceive that new voices won't cost what it used to cost to develop.

    As a person who was finally published in print in 2010, I have spent the last ten years on the brink of being published. Time and again I went close, only for someone at the relevant publisher to pull the plug at the last minute, and some of the reasons I was given were fascinating.

    "If you already had a following, we'd publish this for sure."

    "If only you were already famous..."

    "We love what you're doing and definitely think the market will want to go there eventually...but we'd rather go into that area with an established writer."

    (That last one really pissed me off.) In my many conversations with commiserating publishers (ie, those that had championed my work but had been knocked back) the pattern was consistent. In their constant chasing of 'growth' publishers were less inclined to take on risk - ie new voices. Every title is a cost centre and must maximise its revenue. For a long time the new voices had been subsidised by the established, but eventually it got to the point that new cost centres were only rarely and grudgingly let through in order to maximise investment already committed. One (disgusted) publisher told me they had been told to approach celebrities and suggest they write a book because those were new voices that could be relied on to generate some sales. I joked that maybe I could ghost write a novel for a celebrity, and you know what?

    She took me quite seriously.

    But all of this artificial manipulation of the market was caused by the following: the cost of paper/printing; the outrageous margins required by bookshops and the cost of distribution. Get rid of those costs and its no wonder the established publishers are falling over themselves to establish e-imprints and new online publishers are crawling out of the woodwork.

    Publishers will still be important - they add, quality control, editing, production values and marketing clout that a self-pub can't compete with - the new risk for publishers will be to reputation; ie, by allowing too many mediocre writers onto their island of quality during the scramble for talent.

    As I've said before, I think it's a really exciting time to be a writer - there has never been so much opportunity to be commercially published as ther is now.

  6. #291
    Things Fall Apart AZimmer23's Avatar
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    I've been enjoying and cringing at this debate but keeping my "mouth" shut because the publishing world and its paradigms are still fairly arcane to me. But I read something last night when my eyes were crossing with want of sleep and I wanted to share it (of course, I didn't bookmark it and couldn't find it today, sorry).

    It was a blog post by a former publishing insider and the gist went mainly like this: One of the quickest methods to getting a book printed (e or otherwise) by an established publisher is to self-pub and make a dent. Get a positive review on a well-respected site or a similar magazine or get a positive review from a well-established author. This will stimulate more sales and if a publishing house knows that you are already marketable, they will be far less hesitant to take you on because you've already laid a lot of the groundwork for them.

    This is an over-simplification and, like I said, I was a little bleary-eyed when I read it, but it makes sense. The only problem is, how does one get a review on such a site or by such an author? I have no idea. Spammers should be shot on site and the one successful writer I know personally takes it as a personal affront when people ask him to read their stuff (he can be kind of a jerk).

    Luckily, SFFWorld has that new promotion thread, and there are outlets like Critters who are very supportive, so it doesn't seem like quite the unreachable goal that I have in my head. Then again, I think I've submitted two short stories in my entire life (both of which were rejected and i understand why), so I don't have a lot of personal experience. And I should probably get over my fear of rejection because if I don't, I'll never get anywhere and the only people who will ever read my stuff will be me.

    Sorry if that was rambling and tangential. Like I said, I stayed up too late and I've been staring a my computer working on a story for the last five hours, so I'm a little loopy.

  7. #292
    bingley bingley beep kissmequick's Avatar
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    One of the quickest methods to getting a book printed (e or otherwise) by an established publisher is to self-pub and make a dent.
    That's actually a good point - I know of three or four self pubbers who have gone on to get book deals on the back of those self pubbed books.

    But the odds are actually less than one percent that it'll happen for you (If you consider how many authors are e-self-pubbing now, and how many are getting book deals from that).


    As I've said before, I think it's a really exciting time to be a writer - there has never been so much opportunity to be commercially published as ther is now.
    It IS a great time to be a writer - the range of options is phenomenal. My only thing is that people should go into every option thoroughly, to see what all the pros and cons are, and also to make sure what they have to put out is ready to go out.

  8. #293
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissmequick View Post
    If you can write a half decent plot, competent prose and use grammar correctly, you've just beaten 90% of the slush.
    Yes, this is the thought model touted by much of the industry's old guard - the suggestion that it's all the writer's fault if they can't make it with a big publisher. The truth is not so one-sided. Yes, you have to know how to write, and write well. No argument there. On the other hand, can you really suggest that the publishing process today is all sparkly and even-handed? How does being told by a major publisher that they won't be taking any new authors this year factor into your equation? Or the collapse of the mid-list and purging of editors and authors alike? I've heard lots of stories like this - and even experienced a few myself.

    It's not that the Big Six are evil - I'm not into conspiracies on this subject any more than others on the board. What folks lose sight of is that we're talking about business, and business isn't about being fair - or perfect. They will do what ever it takes to remain financially sound and competitive, and sometimes not to your advantage. Please don't dump it all on the writer.

    While I am not a fan of self publishing, I would remind you that there are success stories out there. There's also loads of crap from wanna-be writers. It doesn't mean you brand the entire enterprise that way. I suspect that in the end, a combination of promoting, brand awareness, and (of course) a great read will win the day in the electronic arena - more so perhaps than with the traditional industry.

    All just my opinion, of course.

    Kerry

  9. #294
    bingley bingley beep kissmequick's Avatar
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    I didn't say it was always the writer's fault.

    But then, it isn't always the pub's fault either. They can;t take on any new writers this year? Well, that's hardly them putting down new talent - they are just doing what they have to do as a business.

    It isn't personal. And the Big Six always have debut authors out, every year (AFAIA). Do they have limited space? Yeah, because printing a book takes money and quite a lot. Do they have to prioritise? Yep, that too. But the fact remains that a heck of a lot of stuff subbed just isn't worth publishing ('yet' perhaps). That's the main cause of people being rejected. Not that the publishing industry is broken (though in individual cases, yes, perhaps it seems that way) but that for the vast majority of MSs, they just aren't ready.

    OFC no one wants to think that of their novel! So (no one here that I've seen, but it's all over if you look) that becomes 'Publishing is dead' 'EVil pubs just want to put down talent!' etc etc. They don't. They really, really don't. They (editors etc) are in publishing because they love good books, so why would they oppress the books they love? Not because they think it's fun! Sometimes they have to turn a good book down. Sometimes we all have to do stuff we wish we didn't.

    It doesn't mean you brand the entire enterprise that way.
    I didn't think I had...(maybe I wasn't clear?)

    There are pros and cons all round. The trick is to know what they are,and I've seen too many people ignore the cons because of listening to rhetoric (not saying that of anyone here, just saying).
    Last edited by kissmequick; March 20th, 2012 at 05:33 PM.

  10. #295
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissmequick View Post
    I didn't say it was always the writer's fault.

    But then, it isn't always the pub's fault either. They can;t take on any new writers this year? Well, that's hardly them putting down new talent - they are just doing what they have to do as a business.
    Thanks, that was exactly my point. No-one would ever suggest there were editors sitting in dark towers and cackling maniacally as they trashed the dreams of inspired, brilliant new writers, but if the effect of business is to achieve the same outcome, it doesn't make the writer feel any better about it.

    Wouldn't you love to see a rejection slip that said: Dear THEM, you are a brilliant writer and must therefore be kept out of the citadel. We only allow the truly mediocre into the fold as we can control them and suck their juices dry. You clearly have far too much original talent for that and would threaten the evil hegemony we have put in place with other publishers.

    Far better than: Dear [name]. We read your submission with interest but believe your work would not be suitable for our list at this time. We wish you luck in placing your work with another publisher as, like us, they won't read it.

  11. #296
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEM
    It strikes me there's a bit of subtle position shifting going on Kat G - you've slightly moderated your position on epublishing
    No, I've been pretty consistent. I think the problem is that you misunderstood my position on e-publishing and assumed that I was in opposition to it. I wrote long posts and you clearly didn't read parts of them. (Nor are you obligated to -- I'm just pointing out that assessing my position does involve looking at what I say, even if I'm annoyingly wordy.)

    and you're using my own original argument against me. I started this part of the discussion by predicting that the standard (commercial) publishing model for the foreseeable future would be a blend of ebooks and POD paperback. I also said that I would hate to see print disappear, but also the outgoing paradigm had been its own worst enemy (for economic reasons I couldn't be bothered going back over, and I hear you all sighing in relief...)
    Well, maybe we have multiple misinterpretations going on then. The original start of the discussion was not from your post but from Mike Sullivan's. He said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sullivan
    There is no beating the immediate availability and instant gratification that is eboks and why they will be the predominate reading format in the future and print books will be like vinyl records - loved by a few...more expensive...but a subsidiary format.
    And I said in response:

    That would be very problematic if it occurs, because it would severely reduce and limit the audience for books, especially fiction, versus having a paper and electronic formats model, and that audience would be far less reliable, and the youth audience, which has grown enormously over the last ten years, would then shrink substantially, as would the cash-starved school market. While e-books do help mid-list authors a lot, the loss of paperback would cause a long decline in sales. The problem is that more and more people are being priced out of access to the Internet and technology and reading e-books is exceedingly difficult for them, and those remaining who can do so have substantially less interest in buying books on average. So unless we have substantial changes in society in regards to technology and employment, an all electronic market means a much smaller one. The global expansion may help on that end, but the global expansion is much helped by access to paper books. Returns have long been an issue and obviously will be a bigger one now, but unless the e-book market opens up more widely with more vendors than it has now, there are going to be problems. And Amazon owns the North American POD market through ruthless blackmail and is cutting into returns for publishers and authors by immediately reselling new print books as used. They're still trying to hold on to and increase their monopolies, and while I don't think they'll be able to for e-books, the roadblocks that have been put up to slow the e-book market down are becoming more problematic.
    Which as you may note in no way denigrates e-books, and in fact, complains that players are deliberately trying to slow things down in the e-book market. And then you said in response:

    Quote Originally Posted by THEM
    Do you really think publishers will ignore the preferences of the paying public? They will always give them what (they think) they want, and that's what will determine the format.

    I think there is pretty much no doubt that the reading public is already voting, on the basis of price and availability, for ebooks. The more they do, the less viable print becomes and thus the transformation accelerates.

    There will be more readers, not less.
    So actually, you were disputing the fact that the e-book market alone was smaller than the e-book and paper markets combined, at first. And don't you think it was a fair understanding of mine that you were saying that you agreed with Sullivan, that it would be an e-book only market, not a blend of e-books and POD? Because it doesn't sound like you're talking about a blend there. So we went from there, with me again pointing out that an only e-books market meant a lot of people would not have access to the market, and then Kerry came into the discussion, etc. So maybe we're simply talking past one another. It has happened before.

    Quote Originally Posted by kmtolan View Post
    Here's something to chew on before painting with that broad brush. Less than one percent of anything sent to a traditional publisher gets looked at. Or, to quote an old article from Piers Anthony - Only one in one hundred submissions will ever see an editor's desk (and this was years ago). Agented submissions.
    While I agree with your thimble metaphor, Kerry, all submissions that a publisher agrees to accept as submissions do get looked at by editorial staff, and the same for agencies. You might not get on the desk of a senior editor, it's true, but you will if other staff like the work. If a publisher doesn't want to have submissions read by editorial staff, they simply don't accept submissions. If a publisher wants to pare down submissions, they simply limit submissions to agented submissions. If an agent has a full client list or wants to go through only referrals, they simply don't accept submissions. You don't pay for hours and hours of labor just to process mail or electronic mail that no one then reads. If you don't want the mail, you close submissions. There are many publishers who operate with only agented submissions. There are some who operate without any submissions. So you may go through the thimble, but if they say you can send it through the thimble, every drop going through does get looked at.

    But as you note, logistically, it's not possible for the small number of publishers to do that many books apiece. A start-up publisher might take 5% of what is sent and evaluated. An established publisher, large or small, takes 1-2% of what is sent and evaluated. So self-publishing does provide many opportunities to get into the market; it just provides them without a licensing partner. The market was and is a free market and can easily accommodate as many authors as want and are able to sell their wares through any venue in any format. So you get an ocean of books in electronic self-publishing selling only to the electronic audience, (but there's also POD which does well too,) and that ocean takes on the same pyramid shape of sales that publishers' sales do: small top, bigger middle, really big bottom.

    Publishers, large and small, do promote new voices because it’s the life’s blood of their growth sales. Debuting authors are easier to get booksellers to take than mid-listers and get a temporary reprieve on sales records in the computer (this is why many authors switch names for new series.) They are harder to promote but there is often more buzz for a new author if word of mouth develops. But because they are only working with a small percentage of authors, and because it's only physically possible for them to work with a small percentage of authors, that means many other new voices don't find a licensor willing to invest in them. And when economic times are bad, most publishers will do fewer new authors. So the self-publishing market does provide another, and now easier, market channel to float the books and maybe find an audience among those who can afford e-books. And this promotes all reading and all books, and especially as we’ve seen in e-books, fiction books. It's not the publishers' job to love or catch all the really good books. It's not possible for them to do that. It's a matter of them deciding what they need when and whether a work works for them and has enough in-house enthusiasm and, if so, if they can afford what the author is trying to get for the license. And most of the stuff they're going to decide is not worth it for them, even if another publisher is likely to take it.

  12. #297
    bingley bingley beep kissmequick's Avatar
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    Dear THEM, you are a brilliant writer and must therefore be kept out of the citadel.
    Stupid internet ate my stupid post
    meh, I may try later.

    But there have been some fandabibosy rejections. Few that say 'you're sop damn good. we don't want to show up our authors' though.

    But ofc, editors eschew great writers.... They live to crush dreams
    - or they make the damn room if they love a book (yes, yes they do)

    If you aren't getting anywhere, in general check: your query - does it say what you want it to say? It it enticing? Are you showing your writing skillzors? Is it letting you down?

    If your query is getting requests. are your partial pages letting you down. Have you had an unbiased (not your mum's!) eye over it? Have you actually listened? ( sooo many times, writers ask for advice and them decide they were better anyway)

    Are you (again) generic - presenting your best all time ever work?

  13. #298
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Anyone else having fun on this thread?

    Kerry

  14. #299
    bingley bingley beep kissmequick's Avatar
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    Actually, yes

    But ebooks will take over the world....no. The world that has access to them, they'll get a good share of the market I expect. But that isn't all the world. And those that don't, need print. It won't die anytime soon, if only for that reason (and I can think of others).

  15. #300
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissmequick View Post
    But that isn't all the world. And those that don't, need print. It won't die anytime soon, if only for that reason (and I can think of others).
    I'm blown away that only 7.5% of India has access to the Internet. And we (U.S.) lags behind New Zealand. Very interesting stats. Thanks for the link.

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