Monday, October 4, 2010

Is this a sign of things to come?

A lot of writers are finding moderate success with self publishing, mainly e books through such venues as CreateSpace, LuLu and a couple others.

Recently on Absolutewrite(the best writers forum), low sales have been discussed in regards to e books with smaller e book publishers. And when I mean low, I mean low. One author openenly cited sixty-nine books in a year, which is rather bad in my opinion. This was with a press who while not at the top of the list, is also not at the bottom.

Novellas in particular can be a hard sell. But my question is, why not publish them on your own? Especially if sales are only reaching double digits in a lengthy period of time.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand that it's a heck of a lot of work. As you can imagine you are responsible for everything including the cover art, editing, formatting etc...

What are your thoughts? Opinion? I'm interested to know.


  1. Interesting Rhaina. I've been insanely curious about sales through small e-presses, so I'll have to go take a peek at that thread.

    The answer for me was/is to self-publish. It's actually not much more work than sending something off to a press, especially if you hire out things like the cover and editing. Now that I've had a taste, I plan on self-pubbing many more books over the next few years.

    My sales are starting out slow (a total of 33 books sold in 8 weeks), but from what I've seen, backlist makes all the difference. I wonder if the small press authors with low sales have a backlist built up, or if they're just starting out? I bet it's an issue no matter how you publish...

  2. I always wanted someone else to tell me "This is great - I want it!" I have read some great self published books - I just don't trust myself for editing and such. (although I could throw together a cover. ;)

  3. For me, the scariest would be the formatting. I tried it once with LULU, just to bind a manuscript and when the copy finally came, it was the shitz. I would def need help with the formatting.
    I know of a great cover artist who is reasonable with her costs. And she is experienced which is a bonus.
    And the editing can be had, all you need to do is look around for someone you trust with experience.
    But all in all, it's def a lot of work.

  4. Jamie- That's more sales then some of the small e pubs do.

  5. While I have sold way more than the poster you mentioned (and am no where near the year mark yet), it's still lower than I hoped.

    I have considered going the self-pub route for some minor works (novellas etc), but I'm loathed to do it until I have my agent and can get their opinion. I don't want it to hamper my future in publishing (there is still a stigma attached(.


  6. I've decided indie ebooks are the right choice for me. I'm not expecting to turn any profit at first, and any I do turn will go into making the following releases more polished and professional than the previous. Fortunately, I married someone with the chops to make awesome covers, so I'm luckier than most in that respect. Still, it will take a long time to get where I want to be. As Jamie D. said, backlist seems to be key in turning a decent profit. I have quite a while to go before I can establish one of those.

    Like any endeavor, for it to be successful takes time, work, investment. But, I'd rather be investing in myself than in the goodwill of a large company. I know for certain that I have my own best interests at heart.

  7. June - my readers say I get my validation directly from them. :-)

    R - I bet you'd pick up formatting fairly quickly - there are a lot of templates and help files out there. The first one is rather daunting...after that, it's cut and paste, more or less. :-)

    I haven't done much marketing for Tempest - I've got some plans coming up over the next few months that I expect to boost sales just before I release my next book in January. I couldn't find that discussion, but I wonder too if those authors are doing any marketing at all? Nowadays, marketing is largely on the authors' marketing, no sales.

    The stigma is getting to be less and less by the day - which is very encouraging to me.

  8. I think it's a matter of finding what's right for you as the individual writer.

  9. I know a few people who self-publish, and although they haven't been able to quit their day-jobs yet, they're still doing pretty good.

    As Jamie says, marketing today is left largely up to the authors. Why share your profits with a publisher just so you can have their name on your book?