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 Understanding Traditional Book Publishing

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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:20 pm

If you're considering self-publishing, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of traditional book publishing:

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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:49 pm

Shelagh wrote:
If you're considering self-publishing, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of traditional book publishing:

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Also if you're considering traditional publishing. That article is on the money.


Last edited by Al Stevens on Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:05 pm

<< As an author, your earnings on a traditionally published book are low. >>

Not like the earnings on the typical self-published book, right? If you have a name and a platform, and you want to spend your days pushing it, great. Me, I'll take the traditional route anyday. Assuming it's with a traditional publisher that actually markets my work and gets my books on lots of shelves. Not a traditional publisher where I have to buy water bottles and collector cards.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:25 pm

Shelves are not enough. The books need bookstore "placement" and posters and more. A book can die on a shelf.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:26 pm

I had a friend who published a computer book. He would visit bookstores and move copies of his book to more prominent locations in the store. "Whatever it takes," he said.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:45 pm

lol, we had a thread about this once on Writers.net, about facing out our books. Seemed like everyone did it when they saw their book in a store. Smile
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:43 am

And the clerk follows along behind with her list of those books paying for facing placement, etc. and fixes the momentary changes by hungry authors...:-)
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:53 am

Well, I am the queen of chutzpah -I once dropped my nonfic book on that little round table at the entrance, where publishers pay tens of thousands of dollars for placement. I'm sure it wasn't there long, but I'm also sure the time there was sweet. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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mike bryon
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:15 am

From my experience a (traditional) publisher does a great deal for the author. Some of my books have facing placement, I have had bookshop window displays, posters and newspaper advertisement/articles/interviews have been organised. My books are promoted at book fairs in the US, Europe, Asia and China. As well as all the production stuff and marketing, they distribute, defend the copyright, sell overseas rights. They have just sold another book into France which is a worthwhile market in momentary terms. They are happy to hear from authors without agents. They pay advances and many of my titles earn 15%, the rate starts at 10% (on the first 5,000 sales).

I can’t imagine why any author would not prefer to be published by a good/traditional publisher.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:34 am

I can't imagine why, either, Mike. However, not all publishers are as good at marketing as your publisher. This is an example of a self-published book that sold 1,000 copies before signing with a publisher. The authors who invested in the first printing made a profit from the self-published book but earned very few royalties from the published book:

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Initially, the anthology sold well and, without a great deal of marketing, sales had probably peaked. That doesn't mean that the twelve contributors were not disappointed!

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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:07 am

Well, nothing's guaranteed. What some of us have posted is that chances of success are better on some routes than others.

A lot of that article's comments had the typical, defiant, "We'll show those gatekeepers!" mentality. They should post their results in a year.

So much digital ink spillage over what's a vanity pub and what's a self pub. IMO, they're one and the same. Self pubbing is vanity pubbing. Who owns the ISBN and if the monies made are called "royalties" or "sales" is just a lot of distractionary fluff. When someone else has invested substantial monies in production, made a large offset run, and got it on shelves throughout the country -faced or spine- then it's traditionally published.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:37 am

I think the "we'll show 'em" mentality is dwindling. Most (99.99%) fiction writers would prefer to be traditionally published (not that PublishAmerica fits that model, even if PA coined the term "traditional" -- everyone with a modicum of intelligence knows the PA business model).

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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:39 am

Quote :
When someone else has invested substantial monies in production, made a large offset run, and got it on shelves throughout the country -faced or spine- then it's traditionally published.
And when someone hitches a horse to a buggy and travels a dirt road to grandma's house, they are traditionally traveling.

Tradition is often a function of nostalgia. To deny progress and change is to be, well, in denial. In this case, change will happen because technology now available and affordable to the youthful masses empowers them. It's coming. It's closer than you think. Traditional newspapers are relics. Blogs have replaces them. Traditional TV news is no more. Cronkite is dead; long live Couric. Traditional entertainment is a thing of the past. Watch Avatar on your iPhone. Traditional books have one foot on the proverbial banana peel. All of today's numbers to the contrary notwithstanding.

These traditional things are clung to by those who cherish tradition, resist change, and do not understand it. They will be left in the dust looking for a telephone booth.

Over the next few years, we'll have to wade through a lot of junk before the potential of electronic publishing is realized. Which will happen when those publishers who still have some money wake up and hijack the bandwagon. And it will happen. It's already started.


Last edited by Al Stevens on Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Corrected a Freudian misspelling.)
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mike bryon
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:14 am

“Mid-level authors ….have to spend their own time and money to create a website and publicize their books”

Not true from my experience

Al, traditional publishers are not the same as traditional books. What is traditional about them is that they are still editing, marketing, publicizing and so on. The book/horse and cart may vanish but the traditional publisher/transport company will not.

Paper copies will become more expensive as print runs fall. Distributers will go. Authors earning will be further squeezed. But, the publisher who edits, markets and publicizes will remain. For example they are investing in the e-formatting of their extensive backlists. They are going to make a fortune by publicizing backlists that stay ‘in print’ indefinitely.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:36 am

Shelagh wrote:
I think the "we'll show 'em" mentality is dwindling. Most (99.99%) fiction writers would prefer to be traditionally published (not that PublishAmerica fits that model, even if PA coined the term "traditional" -- everyone with a modicum of intelligence knows the PA business model).

Oh, I don't think it's dwindling at all. With all the self-publishing outlets now, I see it as getting stronger. The hundreds of opinion bloggers and other self-appointees passing themselves off as news and definitive authorities are helping the Luluans, CreateSpacers, Smashwordians, etc., become even more convinced of their books' legitimacy.

And I'm not sure why you injected PA into this. IMO, PA is becoming dwarfed by the legions of self-defined published authors coming out of the abovementioned places.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:36 am

Shelagh wrote:
I think the "we'll show 'em" mentality is dwindling. Most (99.99%) fiction writers would prefer to be traditionally published (not that PublishAmerica fits that model, even if PA coined the term "traditional" -- everyone with a modicum of intelligence knows the PA business model).

Oh, I don't think it's dwindling at all. With all the self-publishing outlets now, I see it as getting stronger. The hundreds of opinion bloggers and other self-appointed authorities are helping the Luluans, CreateSpacers, Smashwordians, etc., become even more convinced of their books' legitimacy.

And I'm not sure why you injected PA into this. IMO, PA is becoming dwarfed by the legions of self-defined published authors coming out of the abovementioned places.


Last edited by LC on Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:47 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:43 am

Al Stevens wrote:
Traditional newspapers are relics. Blogs have replaces them. Traditional TV news is no more. Cronkite is dead; long live Couric. Traditional entertainment is a thing of the past. Watch Avatar on your iPhone. Traditional books have one foot on the proverbial banana peel.

Opinion bloggers have replaced news outlets? I don't think so. News outlets employ bloggers, and yes, maybe one day their material will be completely electronic, but so what? They'll still be gatekeepers for the most authoritative and objective sources of news, or at least as authoritative and objective as such places can be. And they'll still have the most eyeballs, due to their deep pockets and marketing. The millions of Wordpressers and Blogspotters and CreateSpacers will still be howling in the wind.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:45 am

mike bryon wrote:
“Mid-level authors ….have to spend their own time and money to create a website and publicize their books”

Not true from my experience

Not true from mine, either. I'm as midlist as midlist gets. I receive nice checks each year and neither blog nor give away water bottles to get them.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:18 am

mike bryon wrote:
Al, traditional publishers are not the same as traditional books. What is traditional about them is that they are still editing, marketing, publicizing and so on. The book/horse and cart may vanish but the traditional publisher/transport company will not.

We don't disagree. That is what I alluded to when I said they will "hijack the bandwagon."
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:33 am

LC wrote:

Opinion bloggers have replaced news outlets? I don't think so.
Of course you don't. It doesn't support that myopic, stagnated view of progress in publishing. First, blogs represent more that just private opinions. Many formerly traditional news outlets use blogs. Many established reporters and newscasters have blogs. Second, pick up any Sunday paper. Compare its width to that of one from, say, five years ago. Fewer ads, which means less editorial content. Shrinking by the month. Third, many formerly traditional magazines have gone to on-line editions only, for the same reason.

Wake up and smell the screensaver.

Argue against this all you want. Deny it 'til you're blue in the spine, er, face. Your defense of how it used to be won't change how it will be.

(There's a reason why the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future look so different from one another. Dickens knew what he was doing.)

There are not enough of us traditionalists left, and we are dying out anyway. Change is coming. You get a choice. Sign up for change, or sign up for Social Security and Medicare.

It's coming. But I doubt that anyone will remember that the prophets with vision told you so. Maybe if this became a sticky.
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:06 pm

LC wrote:
Many established reporters and newscasters have blogs.

I understand that and discussed that in the rest of the post, which you left out. Those reporters and newscasters were vetted and hired by the newspapers, which give them their authority and market. So they'll STILL be the "gatekeepers."
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:39 pm

None of which counters my position or reinforces yours. So I you have to wait and see, and I have to be smug when you see.
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:32 pm

My position is that the new outlets for "publishing" aren't going to democratize it (as if that were even desirable). Your position seems to be that it will.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:41 pm

This isn't about turning the publishing industry into a democracy. Of course, that won't happen. Nothing in business is a democracy. Are you changing the subject somehow? Why?
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Understanding Traditional Book Publishing   Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:26 pm

I swore I'd never get a Kindle...I just skipped that step altogether and downloaded the ap Kindle on my droid HTC Aria phone - and I'm reading books on a 3" screen - never say never.

The mere "child" that helped me set up my phone said he and his friends never buy print books; they read everything on their droid phones. There are more and more aps every day. Apparently, every ebook can be downloaded. Many publishers are now releasing ebooks at $1.99 for a few days to intro a new release. Borders cycles reduced ebook prices. B & N does something similar.

With this largess of reading from which to choose, I seem to rely on reviewers to send me in the right direction.
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