e-publishing / publication / writers

The Money in the Book

I read Nathan Bransford’s blog. He’s a literary agent, and what he writes about the publishing industry is useful and enlightening. Today, I read his post about Amanda Hocking, whose story I posted about a few days ago. His post taught me a few things about the reality of publishing and money, and it has put the choices out there into perspective.

And your take on the e versus the paper?

12 thoughts on “The Money in the Book

  1. I think I’ve learned a bit about the publishing industry in the past few years.

    I hate the “gatekeeper” system and how it holds writers hostage; and often treats them like unwanted step-children demanding an allowance they haven’t earned.

    I like the entrepreneurial spirit of e-publishing. I like how it lets readers decide what they want to read, and not be told what they’re allowed to read. I like how it lets the writer be in control of their writing and editing and publishing. And it shows me that people still really like to read – they just want to read what they like. πŸ™‚

    • The option of self-publishing is necessary and grand. I love writers who have the spirit to pursue such a path.

      I’ve also read a lot of agent blogs and things, I don’t really feel they want to keep writers out. They seem hostage to the business end of things and the bottom line. And they are flooded with submissions.

      I like having both options. The more wild west, frontier option for the right kind of settler, and the more traditional, old town established for those who feel more that suits them.

      Success is never promised whatever we do, we just have to keep on!

  2. Thanks for sharing this great article. I’ve been toying with the idea of putting my dead novel on Smashwords. On one hand I think, “Why should anybody want to pay to read this thing if no editor wanted it?” On the other hand, that sort of makes it easier to self-pub it. I wouldn’t put the latest novel on there, not until it’s been completely rejected by the system.

    And then I see how successful some authors have been, and honestly it’s more frightening than enticing.

  3. My take on it is that every writer will have to decide for herself, which avenue to pursue first. This feels like such a transitional time. I also find that the media conversation about the publishing industry can be a very tempting distraction/worry from the actual writing itself, so I’m trying to stay focused on my novel and not worry about it until I have something I feel truly ready to send out. At that point, I imagine I’ll follow the path of trying the traditional way first, and then see what other options are available if that doesn’t work out.

    • I love people who venture down those risky paths, but I am in many ways in spite of myself a traditional girl. I want to keep writing though, no matter what.

  4. I think you know where I stand on this. πŸ™‚

    And btw, Nathan’s not a literary agent anymore. He works for C-NET now doing social media strategy. Just a side note.

    Or did Nathan come BACK to lit agenting?

  5. Yes! And it is a good place to stand.

    I confess to not knowing what C-Net is. I just read his blog once in a while and even if he isn’t back in agenting, he seems to know a lot about the business. More than I know certainly. And I like his enthusiasm for the business.

    In this particular post of his I liked seeing the break down of where the money goes an an insiders look at things.

    The industry is changing so much! It is hard to know what to do sometimes, but for the traditional path is where I want to be right now.

  6. [playing catch-up on a lot of posts :)]

    I’m glad e-pub is an option. I’m glad it’s not the only one.

    The publisher of one of my tech books has a pretty good — substantive –Twitter feed. Yesterday he posted a link to this page, where a guy recounts his experiences in building his own *drumroll* scanning electron microscope, or SEM.

    Yeah.

    Now, if I were a handyman sort of guy, I might like undertaking a project like that. I can see the appeal — hunting down the right parts, altering them in various ways to fit together and perform up to spec, and so on. Of course (!), I’m NOT a handyman sort of guy, but I’m glad others are and can follow that path. If I had a friend or neighbor who built his or her own SEM, I’d think it was one of the coolest things ever.

    But if I were a physicist and needed a scanning electron microscope, even if I’d built one myself I’d still prefer to get one from a full-blown SEM manufacturer.

    Makers and users can all agree that SEMs are a good thing. Hand-made ones, no doubt, offer creative opportunities — more and/or cleverer features, say — which the standard “professional” models don’t. And certain DIY SEMs may beat certain professional ones on every measure. But I’ll never believe that, taken as a whole, they’re actually better than the manufactured versions.

    It’s interesting, this tension between what I MIGHT want as an author and what I DO want as a reader. As a reader, I don’t at all object to the existence of “gatekeepers.” Maybe they’re slow to change (I am, too) but I think by and large they do a good job of picking out gems for me to read. So I want to be represented and pubbed by those gatekeepers because that’s how I myself find good books. I trust them — although there are undoubtedly sloppy ones and ripoff artists among them — in the same way that I’d trust companies who mass-produce scanning electron microscopes.

  7. [Hmm. Comment didn’t post… trying again…]

    I’m glad e-pub is an option. I’m glad it’s not the only one.

    The publisher of one of my tech books has a pretty good — substantive –Twitter feed. Yesterday he posted a link to this page, where a guy recounts his experiences in building his own *drumroll* scanning electron microscope, or SEM.

    Yeah.

    Now, if I were a handyman sort of guy, I might like undertaking a project like that. I can see the appeal — hunting down the right parts, altering them in various ways to fit together and perform up to spec, and so on. Of course (!), I’m NOT a handyman sort of guy, but I’m glad others are and can follow that path. If I had a friend or neighbor who built his or her own SEM, I’d think it was one of the coolest things ever.

    But if I were a physicist and needed a scanning electron microscope, even if I’d built one myself I’d still prefer to get one from a full-blown SEM manufacturer.

    Makers and users can all agree that SEMs are a good thing. Hand-made ones, no doubt, offer creative opportunities — more and/or cleverer features, say — which the standard “professional” models don’t. And certain DIY SEMs may beat certain professional ones on every measure. But I’ll never believe that, taken as a whole, they’re actually better than the manufactured versions.

    It’s interesting, this tension between what I MIGHT want as an author and what I DO want as a reader. As a reader, I don’t at all object to the existence of “gatekeepers.” Maybe they’re slow to change (I am, too) but I think by and large they do a good job of picking out gems for me to read. So I want to be represented and pubbed by those gatekeepers because that’s how I myself find good books. I trust them — although there are undoubtedly sloppy ones and ripoff artists among them — in the same way that I’d trust companies who mass-produce scanning electron microscopes.

    • Yes, as a reader I want someone to sort through it all before I spend my money. The .99 stories are good for at least letting people sample your work–and then perhaps they’d be willing to spend real money for a real book?

      But if you pay .99, what is your mindset to the story? My husband is in the wine business and people judge plenty of wine by its price. Which is stupid because some of my favorite wines are under $10, and I’ve gotten to have wine over $100. a bottle and didn’t like it.

      But plenty of research has shown that when most people shop and there are several different brands of the same type of item (SEM or kitchen gadget) they tend to think the cheapest one is of low quality and the most expensive one is overpriced. Most people go for mid-range.

      Or trade paperback if you will.

      And I’m often curious how many self-published books self-published writers read. I mean, there are surely those who only read self-published work to make a statement (like some folks buy only locally grown vegetables and nothing shipped in from more than 50 miles away). And their are people who would never buy a self-published book.

      And it shouldn’t sound as if self-published people are suffering sour grapes, making up all kinds of paranoid reasons why they weren’t let in through the gates. Agents must get manuscripts all the time that are awful, but that the writer believes is the best novel ever, and said agent rejects that novel and said writer goes on to badmouth them.

      And why is it people feel art should be free? Why do we object to artists, writers, musicians making money? We don’t expect producers of anything else to go without money. I work hard to improve my writing. Well, you know the arguments.

      I need to stop blathering now.

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