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ETpro's avatar

Are you planning to, or have actually you written one or more books that were published?

Asked by ETpro (34247 points ) September 16th, 2013

Did you (or will you) go the vanity pressing route or secure a mainstream press publisher? What genre/s do you write in? If it’s a done deal, whether a major publisher of vanity press, which way did you go and how did it go? Was the income worth the effort?

If you went with a publisher, did they approach you for the project or did you solicit a publisher? If you initiated the search (or are planning on doing so), how did/will you go about it. What seems to work well, and what does not? How does the process vary for works of fiction versus technical books, histories, textbooks and such?

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26 Answers

drhat77's avatar

My wife is about to submit to harlequin novels. But they are as voracious as Galactus, so it’s almost a path of least resistance, especially compared to the rest of the print media world.

ETpro's avatar

I have one book in print (well, it was in print, but the publisher who most recently acquired the rights to it just went bankrupt). It was a technical book about electronics miniaturization published originally in 1989. This was the original version. Howard Sams approached me about writing it. After the title went through a series of publishers, one decided to have Professor Glenn R. Blackwell write a bit in it to add updates. So it’s still selling after all these years, but I never made enough from it to save up a down payment on a free lunch.

Therefore, my next book will be an attempt at a great American novel that garners movie or TV serial rights. So I’m asking to learn how best to sell that project. @drhat77 it doesn’t sound like Harlequin is the right route. I guess that I could shape the story so they are a publisher of last resort, though. :-)

tups's avatar

I’m working on a poetry collection, maybe I’ll try and see if it can be published.

drhat77's avatar

@ETpro my wife is hoping to use harelquin to build up a published portfolio that may get her in the door of more {ehhh} publishers. I don’t know if there is something equivalent you could do.
A lot of sci fi writers started by putting short stories in magazines. I think a portfolio of some sort might help you.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I have written chapters in several different (scholarly) books, but never a book in which I am the only author.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Matt Browne has. I have a copy.

ETpro's avatar

@tups Why not, if you already have expended the effort to write it?

@drhat77 Humm. Makes very good sense. I’ve done a bit for magazines, but it’s been ages. It would be good to freshen up the portfolio.

@elbanditoroso Publish or perish.

@Dutchess_III I invited him to have a look at the question. I’ll have to pick up a copy of his book. Thanks.

picante's avatar

I have written a chapter in a book, which was published by the mainstream media within my specific industry (West – Thomson Reuters). The collective work focused on excellence in law firm technology (management/administration/directorship). The chapter I contributed centered on the power of the human network and explored the use of social media to supplement that network. Fluther, anyone ;-)

Seek's avatar

Matt’s book is self published, printed on demand.

He’s also in Germany, for what that’s worth.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Nope, I’ve thought about it though. Titled BASTARD

Coloma's avatar

I have boxes full of my printed materials, submit on occasional basis, but, my only claim to modest fame is compiling a species list of birds of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range that is used by various wildlife and Audubon groups in my state. I am not a novelist, I prefer non-fiction, research, humor, poetry and satire.

ETpro's avatar

@picante Well done. But I am sure the practice of law pays better. :-)

@Dutchess_III I just bought a copy from Amazon.

@Seek_Kolinahr Well, I just contributed a tiny sum to his next royalty check.

@KNOWITALL We could all contribute a chapter to an anthology with that title. :-)

@Coloma Cool. That’s success enough.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ETpro It’s actually based on a lot of people in my generation growing up in the hippie aftermath of Free Love and how it affects you socially, economically, mentally, etc…. But I catch your drift!

starsofeight's avatar

I have a book for sale through Amazon: print on demand. It is a book that explores topical themes of the Bible. Amazon has placed it on a back shelf somewhere, and I don’t have money for promotion efforts. No sales. I have a smaller work, a study of the Gospel of Thomas published in ISSU. There are other completed books I have yet to do anything with, also on religious topics. Lastly, I have a coming of age sci fi/fantasy about faeries and humans which I would have published, except they wanted me to cut 500 pages from the work. :(

augustlan's avatar

I’ve always felt I have a book in me, but I’m not very serious about getting it down on paper. Maybe one day. Meanwhile, I take joy in editing the writing of others, polishing it into publishable shape. Every three months, I receive a copy of the magazine where my work, though invisible, is on display. I’m absurdly happy about it! I go through and mark all the articles I worked on, haha.

ETpro's avatar

@KNOWITALL I had just grown up when that hit, but adults weren’t immune to its effects either.

@starsofeight Edit 500 pages OUT?! Wow! Sounds like someone would have to pay you a great deal to get you to stop writing.

@augustlan A good editor is essential to a good book. Authors may get irritated with the editor from time to time, but we know what a difference they make. Even some major news sites are now dispensing with rigorous copy editing for the Web, and the lack of it scream at me every time I read such an article.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s almost impossible to get accepted by any of the big publishing companies. Only 1 in 1000 authors who try succeed. Some say, it’s rather 1 in 10000.

So in almost all cases the benefit of writing and (self) publishing isn’t making a living of it or getting famous. It’s about improving your writing skills. It’s about improving self discipline and focus. It’s about thoroughly researching multiple subjects related to the book. It’s also about experiencing flow i.e. the “mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.” This means it feels good. Often it’s like during and after intense exercise.

I just sold about 300 copies of my book and I estimate that less than 1000 people have read my novel (used copies get resold on Amazon frequently). There are just too many novels out there. It’s easier to sell non fiction, but still hard, especially for non-niche subjects.

One of the main benefits for me was this: A lot of influential people in my company know I pulled this off. English is my second language and it’s extremely important when you work in large companies in Germany. It’s a huge plus to be seen as someone who is close to native speakers. The other thing is about establishing a reputation for perseverance. Don’t underestimate this. A lot of people run marathons just for the sake of it. When they succeed they feel good about themselves. And others will learn about this. Writing is a bit like running a marathon. Including all the wonderful endorphins.

Dutchess_III's avatar

English is your second language @mattbrowne? I thought you were born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas?

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne Excellent input. And make that 301 copies. I bought one over the weekend. Waiting anxiously for it to arrive. I’ll be sure to review it on Goodreads.com. Perhaps that will sell a few more copies.

As to work related benefits, I own the business I work for, but impressing clients with the ability to write is definitely something that can boost my career. Thanks for pointing that out.

Seek's avatar

I’ll have to be number. 302. The cover of my copy was a casualty in the Great Toddler Bookshelf Battle of 2012.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Need to Pub it on FB @mattbrowne!

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne Get active on Goodreads.com and the discussion groups there too. Lots of members love to read stuff written by people they know on the group.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks, everyone! My book was published in 2007. I invested a lot of time in marketing in 2007 and 2008 and I came to realize that only a small minority of potential readers like reading a 730-pages book. Many prefer shorter books.

In addition to Amazon, there are reviews of my novel on sites like www.bookreview.com, www.goodreads.com, www.revish.com, www.bookpleasures.com, www.epinions.com, www.authorsden.com, www.alibris.com, www.bewilderingstories.com. Some bloggers also wrote reviews, e.g. http://grahamclements.blogspot.de/2008/02/review-of-matt-brownes-future-happens.html who is also active on Goodreads.com.

If you google for reviews, you will find plenty

https://www.google.com/#q="future+happens+twice"+reviews

Of course, new reviews are much appreciated !

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne Give me some time. I’m a little over halfway though Car Sagan’s 437 page tome, The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark which is an excellent book. Your book just shipped, but I have to finish this one first and get it back to the library.

mattbrowne's avatar

Take your time @ETpro !

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