Blogs, Writing, Publishing, and Rebellion

I subscribe to a blog called Mad Genius Club. Most of the time I find suggestions I can use, because it’s written by professional writers/authors. I suspect others enjoy it because they also write, or intend to someday. This morning, the post was there but the author explained why, and ended with “The floor is yours.”
Where a bunch of writers could see it? BIG mistake! 😀
So I wrote the following:
Ooooh! The floor is mine? Let the rebellion begin here!
I got an email from a writer this morning. He got through the slush pile but never managed to get his book published, so he left Baen (I’m taking him at his word). Now he’s getting ready to publish independently, and he’s too hesitant. Several editors. Beta readers. But importantly, not published.
So what would happen to me if I tried, say, Baen? Or worse, one of Hachette’s companies?
Slush pile, for four months. Discussions. Get an agent, son. You have to have an agent. More time gone.
The agent will then make a deal. He won’t tell the publishing company, “No. That’s not good enough. I’ll take the book somewhere else.” He won’t get paid if he does that, so he’ll accept an offer on my behalf. I’ll sign, and then the publishing company will own my blood, sweat, tears, and probably snot.
For, shall we say, not a fortune? No indeed. “Son, you’re a new writer. We’re taking a chance on you, you know. We could lose money!”
The important thing is that I would almost be guaranteed to lose money.
There are a few errors in the publisher’s assumption. I’m NOT a new writer. There’s no need for me to send my manuscript to the slush pile. No need for an agent. No need to smile and bob my head, “Yes, massa.”
Because I do it all myself. I write. I proofread, do the final editing too. I format. I assemble the document, prepare it by adding front material and end material. I write the blurb. I buy a cover from a professional. I publish it on Amazon, choose the 70% option (the other is for suckers; I was, for a while), price my book where I think it will sell, choose Select, and let that book fly. I wait until I have reviews, then advertise via ENT or BookSends. I’ve tried others, they aren’t reliable; FWIW, BookBub hasn’t seen fit to take my money.
Having done those things, repeatedly, I’ve reached ‘midlister’ status. Or I think I have. I don’t depend on income from writing, but if I had to I could live very comfortably on what I’m earning now.
It took me two years to reach this status.
Had I chosen to go traditional, I might have one, maybe two books in print by now. And how much money would I have earned from a publisher?
Less than I’ve made this year alone. Actual figures (horrors!): Amazon currently owes me about $17k dollars, and May isn’t over yet. That’s the sum total of what they’ll pay me at the end of May, end of June, and less than they’ll pay at the end of July because my books will continue to sell through May.
I doubt I’ll ever be nominated for a Hugo. Tsk.

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5 thoughts on “Blogs, Writing, Publishing, and Rebellion

  1. Miss Sissinghurst

    I struggle with this too, but in reality I just want to keep moving, keep writing, keep creating. The literary agent search is really slowing me down here. When do you know it’s time to take the plunge and self publish?

    Reply
    1. jlknapp505 Post author

      In my case, it was hate mail.
      Really. I started as an amateur, publishing books on a free site. I published a couple of them, they were well received (although in reflection, they were well plotted, not well written! Prose was too fat, too repetitive, too many unneeded words.), and then I got clever. I ended Darwin’s World on a cliffhanger.
      And the poo hit the fan.
      I had already begun the sequel, The Trek. So when so many appeared to believe that Matt had been killed off and reacted angrily, I realized I had become a real writer.
      I added Chapter One of Trek to Darwin’s World, then began revising for publication. I’ve never looked back. That series now has four novels, the Wizard Series has four, and I’m working on the fifth of my New Frontiers novels.
      I’m still learning.
      The Darwin’s Series is big on action, on adventure, doesn’t really become true science fiction (in which the plot turns on an SF theme) until it gets to The Return. But at that point, the reader is left with a huge question: where did the people on Prime come from, and what part did the supercomputer Central play?
      The Ship is more cerebral; some action, but science and engineering drives the plot for the most part. In the third book, BEMs, it begins to examine the effect an extraterrestrial contact would have. Book five, MARS, explores that in depth, plus also examines current human society and postulates probable changes.
      The Wizards Series has a lot of ‘Superman’ stuff, but also looks at what would happen if PSIs began proliferating. Suppose the audience knew when a politician was lying? What about police? What would governments do?
      Anyway, I’m 77 now, still writing. Health issues; I had a pacemaker installed Monday the 13th of March, almost three years after publishing Combat Wizard.
      The future is uncertain. Take note: write while you can.

      Reply
  2. Adam J Smith

    Thanks for this, it’s certainly encouraging to read as a new author taking the same path. My first novel has been out a couple months, working now on my follow-up. Your ‘workflow’ is one I was thinking of following. My stumbling block would probably be getting those first initial reviews (without using ENT or BookSends to advertise its existence). Even when my novel was available for free for a week it only generated one review from a couple thousand downloads. (I won’t look too deeply into the meaning of that – ha!) If I’m right, your books aren’t in the KU program. Was that always the way I wonder?

    (Redirected from FutureLearn)

    Reply

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