Jump to content

Welcome to Christian Writers!

We are a friendly community built around Christian writing, publishing, reading and fellowship. Register or sign in today to join in the fun!
Lucian Hodoboc

Alan Moore's advice for new writers who want to publish their first book

Recommended Posts

https://io9.gizmodo.com/alan-moore-advises-new-writers-to-self-publish-because-1743575906

 

Quote

“Publishing today is a complete mess. I know brilliant authors who can’t get their books published,” Moore says, explaining that many publishing houses are afraid of taking risks on fiction. Moore’s solution? “Publish yourself. Don’t rely upon other people.”

 

Do you agree with Mr. Alan Moore on the matter?

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to think self-publishing was not for me; but lately the idea has been appealing more and more to me; this post seems to confirm that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Lucian Hodoboc said:

Do you agree with Mr. Alan Moore on the matter?

 

Yes, but with a very big caveat.

 

It's far too easy to self-publish these days, and that's the problem. There's so much to learn if you want to increase your chances of success. Do your homework. Learn everything you can about self-publishing before you jump in.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can self publish an ebook, or on paper. Your choice. Mr. Moore has no argument. The current problem is the market is flooded with self published books.

 

What he is not addressing is a simple fact: no one has been given more time to read.

 

And what does "success" mean? A million dollars? 3,000 copies sold?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Lucian Hodoboc said:

Do you agree with Mr. Alan Moore on the matter?

I think it depends on who you are as a writer, how good you are, and if you truly know if you are good. The knowing part was the reason I tried for trad pub. Of course I think I'm good, but am I good enough? And, am I right about thinking I am good?

 

For me, I had to find out if I was good enough. Had I self-published immediately, I would never know. I would only live on assumed. I'm on the other side of querying agents for MG. After refusing to ask half the list of agents, (I will not publish through an agency that encourages writers into propagandizing the modern agenda into children), I got my answer. Not a single agent offered to represent my novel, however three told me it was close, and one almost took it on. "Good enough."

 

I needed to know. Now I know.

 

Also, I chose trad. pub. because they offered me something I can't get on my own -- a listing in library and school catalogs for books. I understand that's not a big thing to most writers, but since MG is aimed for grade school children, the children don't know about the book until the gatekeepers, (parents and teachers), know about it.

 

And there is one stigma against self-publishing that remains because it is so easy to self-publish. I see a lot of people patting themselves on the back because they just self-published their first book, and, even though the back-patting happens on social media and in writing groups, the writer forgets to do something. Plug the book! I can't help but think if they don't remember to tell other people why they want to read that book, did they forget to write it well enough to make it worth reading?

 

I've read some truly spectacular self-published books, but the field is so wide open it feels like I'm looking for a diamond in a diamond mine. It's a diamond mine, so, of course there are diamonds in it, but there is more mud and dirt than diamonds. 

 

I still can go with small presses, but as it stands now, if I do self-publish, I want to make sure I'm publishing a diamond, and I'll have to learn how to make the diamond stand apart from the mud and dirt. I think self-publishing is for those who already know how well they write, and they already know how they'll market. I wish it was a diamond market, instead of a diamond mine.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, robg213 said:

The current problem is the market is flooded with self published books.

 

It's worse than robg213 says, I'm sorry to say.  The world is flooded with just too many traditionally published books and self-published books to keep up with.  I don't think that there is much of an advantage any more to traditionally published books vs. self-published books.  The real clout is advertising, plain and simple.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before the internet, you could go through a publisher - a vanity press - who would package and publish your book for a fee. That is still there. You can go through a print on demand company. You can hire a printer. Or you can just publish an ebook. No paper books to store or pay for.

 

Before the internet, you would have to get a distributor to carry your book and you still can, but here's the problem. Say you print 3,000 copies. Those books are returnable, usually 90 to 120 days later. A truck will show up at your door and drop them off. Those returns are usually in non-resellable condition.  The average number of books returned is 50%.

 

Or you can get a literary agent. If the book is sold to a publisher then they have to pay to get it out there. The problem for authors is the contract. Is the contract fair to the author? Without a good attorney to look it over, it may not be. I'm not trying to confuse anybody but you'll see unfamiliar terms and phrases like "North American rights, "foreign language rights" and others. You can try to find out what all of those terms mean or hire a copyright attorney who will explain them.

 

Finally, where to promote the book? My reading of the trade press shows the problem is "discoverability." How will people discover your book? As you post on facebook and other social media, hundreds if not thousands of other authors are doing the same.

 

Finally, with all due respect to all authors, the internet has created a false freedom. No more publishers or attorneys or anyone else to deal with. This results in bad books in most cases. I was reviewing manuscripts before the internet and now. Most manuscripts are not good enough. The same is true in Hollywood. A script editor friend of mine was rejecting the same number of manuscripts, on average, as I was.

 

I have found that most college-level creative writing classes do not teach the basics. Some do. I know writers and artists that are mostly self-taught but there is no book or guide I'm aware of that states the time needed to learn the craft of writing with certainty. The same is true for artists. Or, How long does it take to get good enough? It depends on each individual.

Edited by robg213

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, robg213 said:

Finally, with all due respect to all authors, the internet has created a false freedom. No more publishers or attorneys or anyone else to deal with. This results in bad books in most cases. I was reviewing manuscripts before the internet and now. Most manuscripts are not good enough. The same is true in Hollywood. A script editor friend of mine was rejecting the same number of manuscripts, on average, as I was.

 

 

Not to disagree with you, but there were always bad books submitted, both before the Internet and after the Internet.  They're just more talked about now.

Edited by suspensewriter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's true. I'll take that a little further and state that there are self-published authors out there who think they are pros after one self-published book. Just because their first book, an ebook, is on amazon must mean they are pros, even though their book did not go through the usual editorial process. So they pat themselves on the back. Until that ebook gets reviewed, can they honestly say they've learned the craft? And what will they do if they get bad reviews? Who will guide them further? Sure, they can try to fix the problems some reviewers have pointed out, but do they have the skill to do so? Hopefully, they get positive reviews. Everyone wants their book to succeed.

 

About 3 years back, I was reading a book trade article that stated about 49% of ebook authors make $500 or less a year from their ebook. I came across one forum where ebook authors were comparing sales numbers. The numbers were low, generally.

 

On one print on demand book site, you are allowed to read a small part of a new book. I picked a fantasy novel and saw all of the usual mistakes made by a beginning writer. There was also a forum. The author posted: "Why isn't my book selling?" And that POD site offered books for sale. But I found little to interest me so I rarely go there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ran a publishing company, by the way, and I've seen the same as your editors have seen, a lot of books submitted that, sad to say, we don't even make it past the third page before rejecting them.  And they end up as self-published.   But I've seen self-published authors that are stellar that I wish I had signed.  At one time when we were publishing magazines, we got upwards of 5,000 manuscript submissions per month and so many of them were bad that I wouldn't want to tell you.  Fortunately, I had savvy editors that just rejected them.

Edited by suspensewriter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, I had a stroke about a year and a half ago, and had to close my publishing business.

 

But, now that I've recovered, I've started publishing again.  Old habits die hard.

Edited by suspensewriter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's interesting. But how many books can any publishing company put out in one year? The company I work for can only produce so many books in one year. In bookstores, both chains and independents, there is only so much shelf space. Some would say the internet has solved that problem, but I do not have more time to read today than I had before the internet.

 

So a ton more gets published today. Let's say a good portion is stellar. When could I read them? There are still 24 hours in a day. Let's say they are all stellar. Same problem.

 

The person who runs our company decided long ago to keep it a certain size. Adding more managers and increasing the size of the company beyond a certain point were also factors. Anyway, there is also the income that can be gained by licensing Intellectual Properties, but that's a different discussion/topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

By the way, I had a stroke about a year and a half ago, and had to close my publishing business.

 

But, now that I've recovered, I've started publishing again.  Old habits die hard.

 

I would have done the same thing. I really like doing creative things. Good luck and God bless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, robg213 said:

The person who runs our company decided long ago to keep it a certain size. Adding more managers and increasing the size of the company beyond a certain point were also factors. Anyway, there is also the income that can be gained by licensing Intellectual Properties, but that's a different discussion/topic.

 

Yes, I would have done the same.  And the income that can be gained by licensing Intellectual Properties is a different but a worthwhile discussion to have.  

 

And thanks for you best wishes on my new venture!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, robg213 said:

On one print on demand book site, you are allowed to read a small part of a new book. I picked a fantasy novel and saw all of the usual mistakes made by a beginning writer.

 

I think this is sadly true of all retail sites (POD & eBook) that sell self-published books. I understand the overall strategy is to make their channels accessible, resulting in the greatest number of choices for their customers. Amazon in particular seems to have firmly embraced this philosophy.

 

But because self-publishing quality is all over the map (mostly poor), I think the day is coming when retailers are going to need to step in and set stricter acceptance guidelines. What this will look like is anyone's guess, but bad customer experience with SP books has to catch up with them sooner or later.         

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sites that host ebooks may have to step in. Keeping poor sellers online costs them. Retailers have no experience to judge whether a book is well-written or not. It may be that self-published authors will have to offer their books on sites they run. I've seen it.

 

More choices and access are good only to a point. As I wrote earlier, even if all of the books were great, I and everyone else, have not been given more than 24 hours in a day. Once the market is flooded, people will have to find a way to stand out.

 

Amazon has no philosophy beyond making more money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest N R
21 hours ago, robg213 said:

how many books can any publishing company put out in one year?

I think the major point you're arguing recently was brought up by an agent who was here for a little while - although his words weren't well received, I listened because he was trying to teach us.

 

The traditional publishing route presents credibility, because someone's vetting. Self publishing has none. I can self publish without any regard to structure, TYppos, speling, unresolved plot threads, etc,

 

Traditional publishing means an agent has read your query letter, and possibly a 30 page leave-behind. you've escaped the usual amateur mistakes, and moved on to acceptance. Then the agent sends it to the publisher, who does a more thorough vetting process.

 

It's even more strict nowadays, because the publishers don't have editors sitting around waiting to coach writers through the process. You've got to be pretty much publish ready right at the beginning of the process.

 

The internet is awash in bad writing advice, but if you know what to look for the information is out there to learn. 

 

While almost every writer wants traditional publishing, our fragile egos shatter when we're told our mistake ridden manuscripts aren't publish ready. We all have tantrums. The people you want to work with listen to the instructions and fix them. The others don't.

 

This is the reason the self publish world is in trouble - no vetting. Nobody to say, "Did you learn anything about structure? About rising tension, about subplot and subtext?" No proofreaders, no typesetters, often amateurish cover art, and little or no promotion and advertising.

 

Traditional publishing has been saying for ten years writers need a platform, and need to help promote their novels. It's time we listened and added that to skill sets. It's SO tempting to self publish, because I could have seven novels on the market by December - but I refuse to let go of a novel before its done.

 

Although I think I could pitch a book on self editing for writers pretty successfully!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

 

Although I think I could pitch a book on self editing for writers pretty successfully!

 

I keep telling you, Nicholas and anyone else who will listen, that THE market to sell to is self-help for writers.  Really, it is.  They keep churning out those books by the absolute thousands.  And, really, how many books do you need to tell you how to write?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I  don't understand the following. What kind of 'platform' are you referring to?

 

"Traditional publishing has been saying for ten years writers need a platform, and need to help promote their novels. It's time we listened and added that to skill sets."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, suspensewriter said:

 

I keep telling you, Nicholas and anyone else who will listen, that THE market to sell to is self-help for writers.  Really, it is.  They keep churning out those books by the absolute thousands.  And, really, how many books do you need to tell you how to write?

 

 

One poster here has over 70. The reason? He (or she) picks up bits and pieces of useful advice from each.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

I think the major point you're arguing recently was brought up by an agent who was here for a little while - although his words weren't well received, I listened because he was trying to teach us.

 

The traditional publishing route presents credibility, because someone's vetting. Self publishing has none. I can self publish without any regard to structure, TYppos, speling, unresolved plot threads, etc,

 

Traditional publishing means an agent has read your query letter, and possibly a 30 page leave-behind. you've escaped the usual amateur mistakes, and moved on to acceptance. Then the agent sends it to the publisher, who does a more thorough vetting process.

 

It's even more strict nowadays, because the publishers don't have editors sitting around waiting to coach writers through the process. You've got to be pretty much publish ready right at the beginning of the process.

 

The internet is awash in bad writing advice, but if you know what to look for the information is out there to learn. 

 

While almost every writer wants traditional publishing, our fragile egos shatter when we're told our mistake ridden manuscripts aren't publish ready. We all have tantrums. The people you want to work with listen to the instructions and fix them. The others don't.

 

This is the reason the self publish world is in trouble - no vetting. Nobody to say, "Did you learn anything about structure? About rising tension, about subplot and subtext?" No proofreaders, no typesetters, often amateurish cover art, and little or no promotion and advertising.

 

Traditional publishing has been saying for ten years writers need a platform, and need to help promote their novels. It's time we listened and added that to skill sets. It's SO tempting to self publish, because I could have seven novels on the market by December - but I refuse to let go of a novel before its done.

 

Although I think I could pitch a book on self editing for writers pretty successfully!

 

 

Yes, self-publishing is in trouble. A good book consists of three parts:

 

1) A good overall cover, with a good title and good art. If you don't have the skill to put together a cover, you'll have to hire someone who does.

2) The story inside. And there's a little to say about choices of typeface and layout.

3) They won't buy it if they don't know it's out there. So, a list of places to promote the book.

 

Avoiding using skilled editors hurts on a practical level. I suspect some people can't afford them or feel they need some kind of 'creative freedom.' In any case, if it's poorly written it won't sell. And Literary Agents do require a certain number of pages of the manuscript.

 

Again, too many people accessing different ebook, POD and other ways to get published are crowding out everyone. People just don't have the time to read that much material.

 

On a side note, look at TV. Over 200 channels and how much is really worth watching? Throw in streaming and according to a person in the business: "People got too much to watch." Not true, by the way. People will pick and choose among the various choices. So a shake-up will happen with streaming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/17/2019 at 4:07 PM, robg213 said:

So a ton more gets published today. Let's say a good portion is stellar. When could I read them? There are still 24 hours in a day. Let's say they are all stellar. Same problem.

Amen! And there are many more entertainment opportunities these days to keep people away from books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Priorities.

 

I invariably read fiction for at least a half-hour before going to sleep. I listen to audiobooks on my commute to work. 

 

Theodore Sturgeon put it like this:

 

He was asked why 90% of science fiction is excremental. He replied, "Ninety percent of everything is $@%."

 

 A smaller percentage of readers may pay for intellectual property, but enough will pay a small fee, and a few more will prefer holding an actual book in their hands. The book has to stand out from a flood of entertainment choices.

 

And yes, traditional publishing does have a vetting process. "Is it worthwhile to sign this writer for a book we may not make money on?"

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The vetting process does not work that way. Professionals look over the manuscript first, then a decision to publish or not publish is made. If the publishing company does not produce enough money-making books, it goes out of business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.