Friday, February 3, 2017

Load-Sharing

As it turns out, my post last time around flows rather nicely into this post.

Last time, I was talking about all the reading I'd been doing on the marketing and promotions side of the publishing industry. My conclusion about my own abilities has not changed in any of that time. I still suck at it.

And that brings me around to this fortnight's subject, regarding self-publishing, trad publishing and hybridization.

Almost all of my publishing experience has been on the self-publishing side of things. My few dalliances with actual publishers were not really a traditional kind of deal. The first book I ever published came about because I entered a contest, where the winner scored a publishing deal. Entering a blind contest with however many other people just doesn't seem quite so personally gut-wrenching, to me, as the prospect of simply sending out a manuscript unsolicited (and including a picture of myself wielding puppy-dog eyes).

After that contest win, they were eager for me to follow up with more books, so I already had an "in" with them. It wasn't like a submission - acceptance/rejection setup at that point.

Later on, in 2008 from memory, I discovered Excessica (as have a few others in our ranks here). Now, while Excessica is a publisher, they're far from the trad model. It's much closer to self-publishing, which works out very nicely at royalty time.

Even in my non-erotic writings, I've gone with self-publishing and self-funded printing. Quite simply, in the genre I co-write, things move like molasses, and none of us involved wanted to wait two years to get our books out.

Having said all that, I did once have a more intensive experience with a (now-defunct) publisher. And it was fine, and would definitely work for me. Why? Because I'm far more a second-in-command than I am a leader. Even with my own business, be it the cover art side or the writing side. With a publisher, there's a lovely sense that you're sharing the workload. And more importantly, the decision-making.

Of course, I already do share the workload with my self-published titles. I don't just spew words and throw images at a cover and hit publish. I have beta-readers, beta-viewers, editors (including our lovely Lisabet), and a network of wonderful folk who share my stuff around. But when self-publishing, even though the work is shared, it's still up to me to create that initial spark.

When you're with a publisher, some of the initiating is done by other folks. That's rather nice. I generally don't have a problem with posting promo and marketing stuff... when it's come about as a directive from someone else. It's the whole "this is my thing, and I'm the one asking you to read it" which gives me pause.

So I suppose in the end, we all need to work out which end of the spectrum we fall in... or indeed which part of the curve between them is our "home".

2 comments:

  1. From my experience, most publishers are even worse at promo than I am.

    For instance, for one of my recent romance releases, the publisher wanted to do a blog tour. Great, I'm in. I've put together many blog tours on my own. Then I discovered the publishers weren't planning on offering any prize. Readers will simply not bother with a tour that does not offer them any possibility of something in return.

    I know what you're saying, though, Willsin. It's just so EMBARRASSING to go out there and toot your own horn, even when you *know* your stuff is good.

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  2. I agree. As far as I can see (thinking of the 3-volume erotic romance bestseller That Shouldn't Be Named), the way to promote is to have a huge following even before the book is written. Another way, though, might be to form a small group with similar authors (I'm thinking of the Brit Babes as an example), so that you don't have to brag about yourself alone.

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