Posts Tagged ‘indie publishing’

Smashwords’ Predictions for 2017

Hey Squiders, we’ll jump back into the nonfiction stuff on Thursday to answer the question “How many rejections is too many?” but for today, I’d like to share Smashwords’ 2017 predictions for the book industry with you. It’s kind of a sobering read, but I’d love to hear what you guys think and any trends you’ve noticed the past few years. As I mentioned when going over City of Hope and Ruin‘s marketing results last year, some of my go-to launch activities, such as advertising on Goodreads, no longer work as well as they used to, and I wonder if some of it comes from the number of books coming out/available these days.

Mark Coker (who runs Smashwords) also mentions that KDP Select has been a terrible thing for authors, and Kindle Unlimited is only making things worse. I don’t have much of an opinion on that as of yet–I’ve always gone wide with the exception of The Short of It, and since it’s been a week, I don’t have many stats to look at. People who have used KDP Select, do you like it? Have the changes that Amazon occasionally makes hurt you?

Anyway, here’s the article. It’s long, but it is an interesting read. Love to hear your thoughts!

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Types of Publishing

Let’s move into our nonfiction topic, shall we, Squiders? Before we can get into the nitty gritty of publishing and submitting, it will help to know about the general types of publishing so you can consider what’s best for you and your goals.

Publishing basically comes down to three types:

  • Traditional publishing
  • Self publishing
  • Hybrid publishing

Traditional publishing

Traditional publishing can essentially be boiled down to “someone pays you for your writing.” Someone who is traditionally published has submitted their manuscript to a publisher, has had it go through an acceptance process, and gives the rights of the story to the publisher in exchange for something, which typically is some sort of monetary reward. It is called “traditional” because this is the way the publishing industry has generally operated over the past hundred years or so, with the publishers acting as the gatekeepers for what was acceptable or of good quality.

Self publishing

Self publishing, as an antithesis to traditional publishing, is when you publish without any oversight. Someone who is self published has made their manuscript available when they wanted to without having to go through any sort of gatekeeper. Self published people often have to wear many hats, as they must do everything themselves or hire their own help, such as editors, proofreaders, cover designers, etc. It is “self” publishing because the author remains in full control.

Hybrid publishing

Hybrid publishing is, as it sounds, a combination of traditional and self publishing. This can take many different forms and often varies from author to author. Someone might, for example, traditionally publish novels, but self publish novellas or short stories in between so their readers can have new content. Someone may self publish their novels but send their short stories off to magazines. Some people may traditionally publish one genre and self publish a different one.

What about indie publishing?

Indie publishing is hard to define. Indie, or independent, publishing, in some cases, can be used interchangeably with self publishing. In general, indie published people do not go through any sort of formal submission or publishing model. Indie published authors usually retain full control of their manuscripts and their rights. For some people, the difference between being self published versus indie published lies in the end goal: is writing a hobby? Is this release a one-time thing? Or do you intend to make a career out of this, regularly releasing new content? The distinction is that someone who is self published is a hobbyist, whereas someone who is indie published is someone who is trying to make a career/business out of their publishing.

What about vanity publishing?

It used to be that self and vanity publishing were used interchangeably, but with the event of print-on-demand and e-readers were authors can interact directly with readers, the two forms of publishing have separated. Vanity publishing is when you pay someone else to publish you, making it the direct opposite of traditional publishing. Vanity publishers are often consider to be scams, since they will publish you, no matter the quality of your manuscript, as long as you pay them money. Vanity publishers may offer a variety of services, such as editorial work or cover design, but the quality may vary wildly.

Types of publishing I’ve left out? Questions on the basic definitions?

Are Writing Conferences Worth It?

It seems like a lot of people have been living somewhat vicariously through my writing conference experience. I am one of only a few of my writing friends who have ever been to one.

That part’s not rocket science. Writing conferences are expensive. It’s hard to justify spending so much money all at once. Well, maybe not if you’re a millionaire. And if you are, we should be friends. Yeeees.

(For those of you who are wondering how much writing conferences cost, well, it’s in the multiple hundreds of dollars, not including hotel or airfare if it’s not in your home town.)

So, are they worth your time and money? The answer is: maybe.

1. Beginners
If you’re a beginner writer, I would tell you to save your money for later. The conference may have panels aimed at beginners, with explanations of how plot or characterization work, but I’ve found that until you’ve got at least a completed first draft under your belt, a lot of it goes over your head. Writing is the best teacher at this point, figuring out how your personal writing style works and where your problem spots are. Wait.

2. Intermediate
These are people who have a few books under their belts, perhaps have sold a short story or two. If this is you, you will probably find a conference helpful. You know where your weak spots are, so you can attend workshops aimed at helping those areas. Plus, if you’re getting ready to start submitting, you can learn how to write or have your queries and synopses critiqued.

3. Those Who Are Submitting
The single most-useful thing about a conference is it allows you to interact with agents, editors, and published authors, all of whom are willing to give you a hand. And, in the cases of editors and agents, listen to your pitches. It gives you the opportunity to either bypass the query process or, when you do query, maybe have made an impression before hand so the agent/editor kind of remembers who you are.

4. Published Authors
I am not traditionally published, so I cannot tell you if attending a writers’ conference (as an attendee, not a workshop-leader) is useful or not. I’m going to lean towards no – you already have an agent and/or editor, and they probably tell you where your weak spots are.

5. Indie Authors
I’m going to go on “depends” for this section. Self-publishing and indie publishing is generally becoming more accepted, so whether or not you run into militant traditional people varies. It is a good way to network, but it might be easier (and cheaper) to find a critique or writing group in your area. But if you’re looking to improve your writing craft, it’s probably worth it.

Your mileage may, of course, vary.