How To Publish a Book From Start to Finish in Six Months

13 December 2014

From author Ashley R. Carlson via Self-Publishing Review:

Six months ago I quit my job to write a book.

Because I was blessed financially, I decided that if I were to get some roommates I could feasibly leave the job I hated and pursue my real dream—to write a novel.

And I did. My debut novel, a steampunk fantasy called “The Charismatics,” released on December 13th on Amazon and my website.

How was I able to produce something in such a timely fashion? Well, I want to share my experiences and timeline with you.

Firstly—the main reason I was able to publish a book in six months is because I wasn’t working a 9-to-5. I wasn’t exhausted all the time, and it allowed me to really unleash my creativity when I was mentally, physically and emotionally strong.

I know that quitting a position isn’t feasible for 99% of you—but what I want to impart here is that in order to complete your book in a timely fashion, you need to be diligent about setting aside TIME, SPACE and QUIET to allow yourself to write.

. . . .

So even though I wasn’t working at a job anymore, I actually had more work to do than ever before—I kissed parties and movies and dating goodbye. Truly, I did. But because I holed up inside my office, living and breathing my book nearly every waking moment, it allowed me to complete it much more quickly than my previous attempts at writing (I have numerous half-finished manuscripts floating around on my computers from years past).

. . . .

Mid-November 2014-late November 2014: Wrote the fifth draft, taking into account editor’s comments. Sent my finalized draft to formatter to be designed in various book formats. Found numerous typos and changes desired so I wrote the sixth draft in late November. Received formatted print book late November and ordered copies from CreateSpace.

. . . .

December 12th, 2014: Goodreads print book giveaway closed, 843 total entries and three winners. Preparation for book launch party on December 13th, 2014 at family home. Schedule updates on Twitter and Facebook through Hootsuite to advertise the release date. Write and schedule newsletter through MailChimp to go out to newsletter subscribers on December 13th at midnight encouraging them to purchase a book on release date and increase Amazon ranking. Also encourage readers to use the hashtag #TheCharismatics to increase awareness and interaction about the book release.

Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Review

Here’s a link to The Charismatics

Hi! Can We Talk About Self-Publishing?

11 December 2014

From author Gene Doucette via the The Huffington Post blog:

Hello, friend!

Do you have a minute to talk about self-publishing?

No, don’t go! I’m not asking because I want you to buy one of my books. Unless… youwant to buy one of my books?

Hahaha kidding! No, I want to talk about self-publishing because it’s awesome, and I don’t think we say that often enough.

I’m being completely serious here. There has been a lot of back-and-forth over the past year vis-à-vis the merits of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, and the agency model vs. whatever Amazon is doing, and so on, and it all sounds very complicated, obscure, and strangely hyperbolic. The people partaking in these arguments are, generally, fairly intelligent, which only makes everything even more complicated, somehow, because intelligent people are very good at looking at a simple thing and making it less simple.

So this is the simple version: you can write something today, and sell it to anybody in the world tomorrow.

. . . .

Here’s how this used to work.

1: write the thing.
2: try and get the agent who can sell the thing.
3: maybe get the agent.
4: wait for the agent to sell the thing.
5: maybe the agent sells the thing.
6: wait for the publisher to publish the thing.
7: publisher publishes the thing.

Variations include: not getting the agent but getting the indie publisher who can maybe publish the thing instead; getting the agent but not getting the publisher, dropping the agent and getting the indie publisher; not getting the agent and not getting the publisher and introducing the thing to a file cabinet in oblivion.

Here’s how it works now:

1: write the thing.
2: publish the thing.

Yes, you can absolutely still go the agent-and-publisher route if you want to do that. I’m not going to try and persuade you otherwise.

I just want to point out how cool this is.

I published eight things in 2014: two novels, and six novellas. The novels were through a publisher, and one is already off the market–I reclaimed the rights–and will be re-released in 2015. The six novellas were self-published. There is no way I would have been able to produce that many titles through a publisher in a single year. Publishers have multiple writers on their calendars and an interest in not promoting too many things at one time. They also have editorial deadlines and cover art deadlines and contractual deadlines and reviewer deadlines. If I finished a 20,000 word novella right now, if I was very, very lucky it would be in the hands of readers in six or eight months. Contrast that with what I actually did in eight months, which was write and publish six stories.

. . . .

And hey, maybe you wrote something awful that nobody buys! Or maybe it’s not awful, but nobody buys it anyway!

Oh well!

It turns out you can continue to self-publish stuff anyway. There is nothing stopping you from putting your stuff out there and seeing if anybody wants to read it. No publisher ready to drop you for underperforming or agent who stops returning your calls.

Now about those concerns you had earlier. Yes, there are different retailers, and all of them have different formats and interfaces and timelines, and if you follow me on Facebook you already know, how fond I am of some of those particular programs, and how many swear words I know. (I’m looking at you, Apple.) Some of it is a big pain. But it’s not as big a pain as spending a year to get an agent and another two years to perhaps land a publisher, and I know this because I tried that approach already. It didn’t work. (It might for you! Go ahead! Don’t let me discourage you!) But if it had worked, I would probably still be looking at self-publishing, because it turns out when you don’t have a publisher, you actually make more money per book sold.

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post and thanks to Gene for the tip.

Here’s a link to Gene Doucette’s books

I Am an Indie Midlister (and That’s Okay)

11 December 2014

From author M.C.A. Hogarth:

Here is my sales graph for November. As many of you have noted before, I never include the labels, which prevents you from knowing just how many units per day those spikes represent.

So I shall tell you that the high point on the graph, over there on the right, is 24.

That’s 24 units sold in one day, and for me that is a spectacular day, and I want to dance for excitement. A good day for me is a day I move 2-4 units a day. A happy day is over 10. Get above 15 and I start wondering if someone has done an article or a review somewhere pointing me out. That 24-unit day, for example, was the day after the PW article went live.

“Well, fine,” some of you may think. “But 2-4 books a day is more books a day than I sell.”

This may be true. But let’s consider this other fact: I have over 50 stories available for sale. If you count all the things I have available as distinct products, it’s probably closer to 100, once you add in the coloring books and children’s books and audiobooks, etc. So do a reset and realize that to move 2-4 units a day, I had to have over 100 different products available for sale. If you have only one or two products for sale and you sell even one a day, you’re already on par with me, if you’re looking at this from an effort standpoint.

. . . .

I do not begrudge my peers their better sales, because they don’t need to fail for me to succeed. This revelation is deeply freeing, because it means I can be thrilled for their successes, and fine with my own more modest accomplishments.

So I am a very solid indie midlister author, who is over the moon when she sells more than five stories a day (of whatever length, in whatever format), and who will probably continue to be thrilled that way for some time to come. I can say that without upset because the profile of the indie midlister is very different from the profile of the trad midlister. For one, I don’t have to worry that I’m not earning enough to justify my next work being made available. If my book makes $10 in a year, no one is going to tell me, ‘sorry, you can’t put your next one up for sale because your last one didn’t do well enough.’ This is a particular relief, because the thresholds for success as a trad author are often painfully high. ‘If this book doesn’t make $40,000 this year, I’m sunk’ is kind of terrifying. I don’t have that fear. I can cheerfully make $10 a month for the rest of my life and the only thing that will happen is that I have $10 a month I wouldn’t have had before.

Plus, every book I sell is populating an algorithm (or ten) that will make it more likely that someone else will see it, and buy it. It’s not like the old death spiral, where every sale is meaningless and will contribute to fewer sales unless you hit a certain threshold. The more I write, and the more I sell, the more likely it is that I will continue to sell.

And here’s the best news of all: I don’t have to be a bestseller to make comfortable money. In the past, if I had wanted to stay home and write books full-time, I had to hope I could sell my books to thousands of people. Now, I can make good money selling to hundreds. And hundreds of people is do-able. It might take some time to get there—I put my first story up on Amazon in 2009, so I’m into year 5 here—but it can be done.

Link to the rest at M.C.A. Hogarth and thanks to Liana and others for the tip.

Here’s a link to M.C.A. Hogarth’s books

The Bookseller’s first Independent Author Preview

10 December 2014

From FutureBook:

I do think that pretty much all the books I’ve included are good enough to be traditionally published, and by that I mean, well enough written.

That should be music to any weary stigma-fighter’s ears. My colleague Caroline Sandersonis filling me in here on her experiences in choosing the very first round of The Bookseller’sIndependent Author Preview, as we take the plunge in our Friday edition of the magazine on the stands (pages 42 and 43).

If you’ll join us in #FutureChat fan, we’ll have a version of the previews story available onThe, and not behind the paywall, so that during our discussion — starting at 4 p.m. London time, 11 a.m. New York — everyone can see the chosen titles.

And what we’re talking about here is the first round of results of that agreement with Nook Press, Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform, announced by The Bookseller in September and widely welcomed by many who would like to see more mainstream media coverage of independent publishing.

Not unlike the new YA Book Prize, the shortlist of which has kept @TheBookseller Twitter handle red hot yesterday and today, the Independent Author Preview is an answer to a need. As Charlotte Eyre, our children’s editor, discusses in her commentary on the new YA prize programme, “Several publishers bemoaned the fact that there was no dedicated YA prize in the UK. Others complained that YA books published over here don’t get the same recognition as their American counterparts.”

. . . .

Mick Rooney at The Independent Publishing Magazine wrote:

I should point out that this is primarily an opportunity for indie-authors to gain exposure in the UK to potential retail channels and general publishing trade folk. Remember, The Bookseller is a well-respected UK trade magazine—its target audience is the publishing industry, not necessarily book readers, though I know avid book readers and authors who do subscribe to it.

Rooney pointed out, without rancor, that while apparently “a positive and concerted drive by Nook Press in the UK,” the arrangement is, for now, limited to that platform’s output.  Bookseller editor Philip Jones was in touch with Rooney to confirm that the idea is, in time, to widen the program to “indie titles from authors as well as small independent publishing presses in the UK.” Quoting Jones’ message to Rooney:

We already preview titles from independent publishers, of course, and we wanted to extend that to indie authors. This is the start of that, and after six months we’ll look to extend to other vendors, or figure out a way of allowing authors to send to us direct. It’s a discoverability process, and hopefully a positive one for all sides.

And so here we are with what Jones noted is “a new spin on what we have been doing for more than a 100 years.” The preview goes about “recognising that some of the best new writing now comes through non-traditional channels.”

Link to the rest at FutureBook

One Year: No Regrets

9 December 2014

From author Brenna Aubrey:

One year ago I made two very risky decisions. First, I decided to turn downmultiple offers on my manuscript from traditional publishers and publish it myself instead. Second, I openly blogged about that decision and thesubsequent short-term results.

To say my life has changed in the past year is an understatement. I’m now considering what I thought would be out of my reach for many years—becoming a full time writer and supporting my family on that income alone. Had I chosen to traditionally publish this trilogy, this would not be true, not this year, at least. Perhaps in the long term.

It seems like a dream—an overnight sensation decades in the making. For years and years I wrote only for my own enjoyment, to explore worlds, characters and stories and share those with my friends. It took me a long time to realize that people outside of my inner circle might enjoy the stories too. And they have. All gratitude to my readers. Without them, none of this would be possible.

. . . .

Some Things I’ve learned About The Biz

  • The 99 cent price point is a powerful tool and can be used judiciously to push your other books. I’m not convinced that it is worthwhile or productive to launch a new book at 99 cents, though I see authors do it all the time.
  • Chasing rank is futile and this seems to be a big motivator for authors to go super cheap on their books. Again, rank is not the end-all be all of visibility. Whether you’re at 200 or 1,000, as long as you are showing up on the Hot New Release lists and even the top 100 in your category, your sales will be good. Spiking high for a brief amount of time is not going to help you maintain visibility in the long run.

. . . .

  •  Learn from other authors: Watch what they do and the results they get and don’t be afraid to ask why they are doing something a certain way. But, avoid the danger of comparing yourself to them.
  • It takes time to get traction at the non-Amazon vendors. Be patient and try to connect with those vendors by setting up marketing plans for your new releases. It took me months to get traction on iBooks but now that I have it, it is so worth it!

. . . .

  •  Something I heard at NINC really got me thinking. An editor from a traditional house made the comment, “I know you authors just really want to be read.” To that, astonished authors in the audience replied, “No, we want to be paid to be read.” Do not swallow the line that you should be in this just to be read. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be paid and wanting to earn a living at doing what you love.

Link to the rest at Brenna Aubrey and thanks to Anthea for the tip.

Here’s a link to Brenna Aubrey’s books

Why zombie ebooks are killing it on Kindle

7 December 2014

From The Daily Dot:

In some ways, Jeremy Laszlo owes much of his career as a novelist to an intern in New York whom he’s never met before. Back in 2012, after speaking to literary agents and conducting research on the publishing industry, Laszlo submitted some of his manuscripts to several large book publishers. And then one day soon after, he received a reply in his email inbox. “It was supposed to be an interoffice email from the publishing house I had submitted to,” Laszlo told me in a phone interview. “And it was a couple of their interns joking back and forth. One of them said, ‘I just batch-rejected 600 authors.’ But they accidentally hit reply all and all the authors were included. They were joking about how they weren’t even reading any of the submissions. At that point, I was like, ‘You know what, I’m not going to bother with that anymore.’”

. . . .

“I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy, and that was my plan all along to write fantasy books,” he said. “And then Amazon started changed things and I realized that I needed to diversify, and to do that I figured I would move into other popular categories, like zombies.”

I was first clued in to the zombie phenomenon on Kindle a few months ago while visiting family in Texas. My aunt mentioned she was addicted to reading zombie ebooks. I asked her which ones. “I just do a search for the word ‘zombie’ and start downloading them,” she said. She mentioned that most of the authors she read didn’t have a publisher. Intrigued, when I returned home I did a search on the Kindle store, and, sure enough, I found an array of zombie ebooks, nearly all by self-published authors, and many with hundreds of customer reviews (an indication that a title has sold well).

Why do zombie novels do so well?

“Zombie fiction is a strange beast,” said Al K Line, author of an ongoing series called  Zombie Botnet. “At first glance you may think it is just about the blood and the guts, but it goes far beyond that. … The undead are the perfect platform for social commentary, to write stories about friendship, love, the human spirit and how people react under extreme duress.”

. . . .

Whatever the reason, horror fiction is thriving on Kindle, and a sizable portion of ebook readers are drawn to the zombie subgenre. What’s more, most of the authors I interviewed for this story stumbled into their success, navigating by trial and error until they suddenly found themselves with thousands of ravenous fans, eager to consume the next books in their series.

Bobby Adair first got the idea to try out writing in the genre from his wife. “I was reading a zombie book that I didn’t like,” he recalled. “The ebook was rated fairly well on Amazon, and I was like, ‘This isn’t very good,’ and I was complaining to her about it when we were driving on the road. I think I might have said, ‘I can write better than this,’ and she said, ‘Why don’t you?’ She kind of put me on the spot. I thought, ‘Well why not?’”

Link to the rest at The Daily Dot and thanks to Scath for the tip.

From Self-Publishing To Querying: The Journey Of A Young Writer

6 December 2014

From author Alexandra Lanc:

 Some time ago (in October, which seems like centuries past now) I wrote my annual publishing anniversary post, talking about some things I’ve learned about publishing, writing, and myself over the last year, and the years before, but today I want to talk a bit about my publishing history too, and…my future?

I put a question mark there because it’s difficult to say what will happen in said future. I am confident, certainly, and I know what I think will happen, what I want to happen, but what we want is often not what we get — because often, what we get is in so many ways much better and stronger than what we want.

Such has been the case with my self-publishing: it has certainly not been anything I thought it would be, but in many ways it has been better, because I’ve learned so much from it, and have seen a side of myself that I would not have seen otherwise.

. . . .

I am twenty-three now, soon to be twenty-four, and I still get strange looks, snide comments, and the like when I tell people that I am an author. They haven’t gone away, though through the years I have met people who can recognize that it doesn’t matter how old you are — all that matters is the words — and those people constantly lift me up. So what if I’m not even twenty-five yet? Who said an author had to be older? Authors are as various as the stories that are penned, and that is a good thing. Age difference, background, religion, experience: all of these things give us different perspectives that should be respected, not tossed into the void.

Over four years ago (I started querying at about 17, I think), as the rejection letters poured in, and the market went crazy, and I searched for some way to be a writer despite the scowls I was receiving, I walked into a bookshop. It was a little bookshop, cozy and quaint, with wonderful shelves and a little cafe. On the side there was a large room where they held art classes for kids, and in the back there was a small cinema where they played old-fashioned cartoons, and independent, and black-and-white films. My mother and I happened upon the bookstore simply by chance — if you believe in that sort of thing.

Inside I searched, wide-eyed, as I do whenever I go into a bookstore. Fingers drift over spines, I inhale the sweet, musty smell of old pages, and the books seem to speak to me. Bookstores are a beautiful thing. But the real magic came when I went to pay for my books, and met the owner of the bookshop. I am ashamed to say that I cannot remember her name — I’ve always been terrible with names — but I can remember her face. She was a middle-aged woman, perhaps nearing her fifties, and she had curling hair, pulled back, brown. The air of an author hung about her, the air of literary dignity, and she thanked us for coming into the store. Then she mentioned her books, and pointed them out to us. They stood directly behind me on a loving little shelf of their own: children’s books with unique covers, which reminded me of mosaic stones. I flipped through the books and was amazed, and then I told her the terrifying truth: that I was a writer, too.

Only this woman didn’t scoff, didn’t judge. She was happy to hear it, and she asked me what I wrote, if I was going to get published, how long I had been writing. Finally, I was a peer instead of a sad little teenage girl with a dream she couldn’t possibly fulfill until she was at least fifty (because aren’t writers supposed to be at least fifty, maybe forty, maybe in their late thirties, if they’re lucky?). We talked for quite a while, and it felt amazing, to finally be considered a writer — and especially by someone who was published! But then she told me that she had published herself, and that I should look into it.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Self-publishing was still considered…eh…at that point, despite the fact that some people were doing quite well selling e-books . . . . But with the mass of rejections, and the fact that nobody seemed to want to take me seriously due to my age, I decided to look into it.

. . . .

Through my four years self-publishing I have released nearly twenty books, though not all of them are still published — due to the fact that many of them have been experiments, have been ways for me to try different writing techniques, release times, story ideas, both to see what works in the market and what doesn’t; the information alone is very valuable to me. I have had several bestsellers on Amazon — not all of them free, though that still technically counts…in a way.

. . . .

Despite the difficulties, what I was given was, while not what I wanted, exactly what I needed. It has made me stronger, as trials do, and now I’m ready to take on the next leg of my journey.

What might that be, Alexandra? Well: querying. Things truly do come full circle.

Though I have enjoyed many things about self-publishing, I have come to understand that it simply isn’t the best route for me. I have never given up my hope and dream of one day being part of a large team, part of a publishing house, of seeing my book on the bookstore shelves (say what you like about print, but it still means the world to me), seeing my name and my book listed on a publisher’s site — and I’ll admit, a film would be great, too…or maybe a musical, a la Wicked; I aim high, always. This is my dream, and I’m prepared to fight to the death for it. It may take years, much sweat and tears, but nothing worth having comes easy.

Link to the rest at Alexandra Lanc and thanks to Eustacia for the tip.

Here’s a link to Alexandra Lanc’s books

Library contest aims to bring fame to self-published author

6 December 2014

From The Chicago Tribune:

Public libraries in Illinois once again are seeking to bring an author laboring in relative obscurity into the limelight.

For the second year in a row, the libraries are hosting The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project that will choose a self-published Illinois author’s work for a year of book talks, author events and other promotions in Illinois public libraries.

Illinois authors who have self-published an adult fiction book are encouraged to enter the second year of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project until Dec. 15. The winner of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project will spend a year being promoted in libraries throughout the state, participating in book signings, special presentations, media interviews, and conference appearances.

. . . .

“Librarians are all about connecting readers with books (or viewers with films, etc.),” said Dee Brennan, executive director of RAILS, a regional library system, in an email. “It’s our job to seek out the best books we can and deliver them to readers. We need to look beyond the traditional publishing world to include and support the aspiring authors who haven’t been able to break through the publishing ‘wall.’ Who knows when we will find the next Gillian Flynn?”

The project was the brainchild of a group of library marketing professionals who were inspired by remarks made by New York University professor David Vinjamuri about the importance of libraries in an era of E-books, said Christine Cigler, marketing manager of the Fox River Valley Public Library District.

She said Vinjamuri challenged libraries to bring attention to a self-published Illinois author and demonstrate the influence libraries and librarians have over the public’s reading selections.

Link to the rest at The Chicago Tribune

Amazing Times

4 December 2014

From author Russell Blake:

I was talking with another author, who does extremely well as an indie, and we started comparing numbers. He/she will earn close to two million dollars this year. Most have never heard of him/her.

I had an email exchange with another indie a few days ago who clears a cool half mil a year. You’ve likely never heard of him/her, either. He/she is friends with another author who works the same genre, who does a little better than he/she does – probably close to three quarters of a mil this year. We all trade tips and help each other – there’s no competitive snarkiness between any of us.

I’m part of a group of authors on Facebook, have been for about two years. In that time, more than a few have gone from earning a few hundred a year to tens of thousands, and in several cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. You’ve probably never heard of any of them, either. As with the above buddies of mine, everyone is supportive of each other regardless of the stage of their career. One of the reasons might be because we’ve all been alive long enough to have learned that you meet all the same people going up as you do coming back down. Another might be that we don’t feel competitive – there’s no limit to how well any of us might do, other than the market’s fickle nature and our own abilities and drive.

. . . .

What do all of these authors have in common, though? All these indies who are making serious, and in some cases, insane, bank? First, they publish regularly. As in once every few months, and in some cases, once every month. Second, they work in genres that will support them. While most of the top earners are in romance or one of its offshoots, others are in science fiction, which voraciously consumes indie work; some are in my genre (action thrillers), some in mystery, some in fantasy. Third, they all work long hours and take this extremely seriously. Fourth, they operate their publishing businesses like businesses, not like hobbies. They have production schedules they stick to. They market and promote. They invest in professional help when necessary and grasp that you have to spend money to make it. Fifth, they write books readers enjoy reading, as opposed to books their muse dictates they write. That’s an important distinction, because what we as authors often want to write might not be all that marketable. So we compromise based on our understanding of the market. And sixth, they’re constantly adjusting their sails to best negotiate treacherous water and ever-shifting winds. They’re pragmatic. And most have great senses of humor, as well as a keen appreciation of irony. That goes with the gig, I suppose. As does pragmatism.

. . . .

Most have never heard of Russell Blake. Probably 99% of my target audience has no frigging idea who I am. I find that exciting and motivating. It means that there’s a whole world out there to conquer, of potential readers who might enjoy one or more of my yarns, and might tell a friend.

Most importantly to me, I’ve been able to write novels that I would read, the way I like to write them.

Link to the rest at Russell Blake and thanks to Toby for the tip.

Here’s a link to Russell Blake’s books

Thoughts on the DBW Writer Survey with Author Lisa Grace

3 December 2014

From Joe Konrath:

Lisa Grace: I asked Joe to please respond to the DBW 2014 survey questions because I just love how he rips through all the *flakes. Many people spout utter nonsense that is meant to slam self-publishing back into a little box marked “they can’t really be doing that well since everyone knows self-publishers really don’t make more than $500 per book, ever” so let’s write a survey that highlights that particular wish-oid (which are related to hemorrhoids.)

Joe: You can see some of the results here, but I’m not going to link to the actual survey because I STRONGLY advise writers not to waste their time with it. If you’re really curious, Google it, but I’m not going to send any writers DBW’s way.

Keep reading on to see why. TL:DR: The DBW survey is damn near worthless.

The survey results are… well… “skewed” would be overly generous. Do you know how lawyers only ask questions they already know the answers to, in order to persuade a judge and jury? And how what is left unsaid is just as important as they way certain questions are phrased? And how they can ask you to reply either “yes” or “no” even though that doesn’t tell the whole story? Add in researcher and response bias, awful and/or incomplete questions, limited and/or missing possible responses, and no random sampling, and welcome to the DBW Survey.

. . . .

Lisa: I just don’t get the point of this survey. Most of the questions, the ones that should be relevant, asked questions relating specifically to the last book published. This is ridiculous. My last book was published on November 12, 2014 (Angel in the Fire, Book 4) and like many others I do a soft launch.

Referring to “the last book published” shows a complete misunderstanding of the fundamental difference between self-publishing and traditional.

This particular book is the fourth in a series. I still sometimes promote the first, and won’t do a large marketing push for another four months when the final book in the series is finished. This is all by design as there is no urgency to promote mid series.

Joe: I had many similar issues, which would lead anyone reading the results to form incorrect conclusions. When this survey is trotted out to prove various points, or its results are cited, be wary.

Here are the survey questions that we thought were problematic, with our fair use critique and comments.

Question: Have you had at least one book published (either traditionally or self-published)?

Lisa: Okay, I thought this survey was for published authors. Yet, a surprising amount of non-published writers are posting.

Survey over for them, right?

If they’ve never published, it’s fairly safe to assume they make zero, and this survey is no longer applicable to them, UNLESS they were going to add some questions (spoiler alert: they don’t) like:

Have you ever queried a traditional publisher?
How many times have you queried traditional advance paying publishers?
How many works/books have you queried publishers with?
How many rejections did you receive on each work?

Now each of these responses should be going into the ZERO made column on the trade side.

Actually, there should be another set of follow-up questions, like:

How much do you estimate you spend in a year on postage, fine linen paper and envelopes, SASEs, paper and toner for your full and partial manuscripts that were rejected?

This of course, puts the trade-pursuing faction in the NEGATIVE column for earnings for the year.

Joe: I used to be known for saying, “There’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published.” Years ago, when publishing was exclusively a lottery/carny game, not every manuscript was published. But this survey allows authors who haven’t even finished a manuscript to provide data. So far, 47% of respondents haven’t complete a book, yet they can still take part of the survey. Who would be interested in that data?

Companies that market products and services to wanna-be authors.

. . . .

Question: About how many hours per week do you spend on OTHER ACTIVITIES RELATED TO WRITING (social networking, marketing your titles, engaging with fans and other writers, etc.)?

Lisa: Again, this is important for those who want to cross-sell services to authors.

Joe: Writing is hard enough! Do you also want to work 250 hours a week running your own business?!?!? We here at Screwya Vanity Press know that you’re an artist who shouldn’t have to get bogged down with all the non-writing parts of the job, so for only $4999 we can do them for you!

This survey is looking less and less like a way to analyze the industry and more and more like a way to survey suckers to better sell them stuff.

Lisa: Or maybe this question is on the survey because trade publishers plan to go back to their authors and say, “Look, they’re spending X hours a week promoting, you should too.”

Link to the rest at Joe Konrath and thanks to James for the tip.

Here’s a link to Joe Konrath’s books and Lisa Grace’s books

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