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Old 03-22-2010, 03:35 PM   #1
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How many here are self-publishing?

I'm curious about how many writers here are publishing works themselves through Smashwords or Kindle. Also of those who are doing some self-publishing, how many are established writers publishing their backlist or odd titles that they couldn't find a place for in traditional publishing, and how many are publishing strictly on their own.

I have had quite a lot of short fiction published, and I'm sticking to traditional publishing for most of my fiction, but I have a few things I wrote over the years with the idea of playing with web publishing. I never got around to doing anything with them, but now I'm going to experiment with some ebook publishing.

I know this is growing too fast for there to be a norm, but I am curious about what to expect.
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Old 03-22-2010, 03:55 PM   #2
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I am self-publishing a Kindle mystery and getting a second book, a romance out as fast as possible because of the (to me) success of the first effort. My book is also available on Smashwords, and so far as I can see that's been a waste of time. However, I did want to be able to tell people formats other than Kindle are available.

So far as I can tell from various self-pubbing author posts, how things do is very individual. Good luck.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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Thanks! If you don't mind my asking, are you a published writer outside of your Kindle book? And have you done much to promote? I've been reading J.A. Konrath's blog - but his success is so related to the fact that he has promoted the heck out of his whole career.

Anyway, I'm doing this as an experiment. I'm starting with just publishing and doing a good cover, and then branching out from there slowly. I'll be tracking progress on my blog, which is as far as I'll go at first for promotion. (But I intend to do more promotion later.)
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:09 PM   #4
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I am self-publishing, but direct through my own website.

I tried using Kindle and Smashwords, and considered others; but I discovered that as a small author, I received very little publicity on the big sites, and therefore, few sales... and the sites took a significant amount "off the top," leaving a significantly smaller piece of the pie for me.

I also had the ability to make a nice-looking site and set up automatic sales and delivery on my own, so I did that. I make much more through direct sales than I ever did through Amazon or Smashwords.

Much of this depends on a few factors: Subject (mine is sci-fi, not a popular genre these days); ability to create your own site (not recommended for HTML newbies); and ability to network and promote your material through the big sites (mostly a time issue, of which I have little).
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:27 PM   #5
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hi, Steve,

I saw a poll on a blog the other day that still had SF as the most popular ebook genre (it was a non-scientific poll, I think mainly of members of a specfic Kindle forum), but unlike some of the other genres, the sf community was a lot more proactive about keeping it's midlist when things went south in the 90s. AND Baen Books and Fictionwise have also created a pretty strong ebook market - so I figure you probably have a lot more competition.

Unlike sf readers, other audiences who are new to ebooks don't know where to find whatever they want, so they're probably more actively digging on the Amazon Kindle store. (At least that's my guess.)
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:42 PM   #6
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Just a comment from a consumer. I purchase through Smashwords due to the multiple formats available, no DRM, and no geographic restrictions.

I have friends with Kindles who look through the Smashwords site for new books & authors, look it up on Amazon, then whispernet the book to their Kindle through Amazon. Go Figure. Their reasons (all but one said) it's easy to get it on their Kindle with whispernet & it keeps all their purchases and books in one place. The other one said she used Smashwords because she had a Sony (travel) and a Kindle (home) and she only had to buy it once through Smashwords to use it on both Readers.

So, I don't think a lower sales number through Smashwords always means less exposure.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreams View Post
Just a comment from a consumer. I purchase through Smashwords due to the multiple formats available, no DRM, and no geographic restrictions.

I have friends with Kindles who look through the Smashwords site for new books & authors, look it up on Amazon, then whispernet the book to their Kindle through Amazon. Go Figure. Their reasons (all but one said) it's easy to get it on their Kindle with whispernet & it keeps all their purchases and books in one place. The other one said she used Smashwords because she had a Sony (travel) and a Kindle (home) and she only had to buy it once through Smashwords to use it on both Readers.

So, I don't think a lower sales number through Smashwords always means less exposure.
I have a kindle, and I prefer to buy books on Smashwords in order to save the $2 surcharge... If I'm planning to read/buy 100 books this year that would cost an extra $200 if I bought from Amazon (even the FREE books cost me $2) ...
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lene1949 View Post
I have a kindle, and I prefer to buy books on Smashwords in order to save the $2 surcharge... If I'm planning to read/buy 100 books this year that would cost an extra $200 if I bought from Amazon (even the FREE books cost me $2) ...
Lene: Is that because you're in Austrailia or something? This is good information for writers/publishers to know so they can direct overseas customers to other sites....

BTW, does anybody know if publishing on Smashwords (via the premium catalog) gets you into Fictionwise? Fictionwise is owned by Barnes and Noble, but I can't always find things there.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:51 PM   #9
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I have a kindle, and I prefer to buy books on Smashwords in order to save the $2 surcharge... If I'm planning to read/buy 100 books this year that would cost an extra $200 if I bought from Amazon (even the FREE books cost me $2) ...
Annoying, isn't it?! Luckily, a lot of indies publish on Smashwords and Amazon.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaringNovelist View Post
BTW, does anybody know if publishing on Smashwords (via the premium catalog) gets you into Fictionwise? Fictionwise is owned by Barnes and Noble, but I can't always find things there.
The channels available on Smashwords are Barnes & Noble, Sony, Amazon and Kobo.
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DaringNovelist View Post
Lene: Is that because you're in Austrailia or something? This is good information for writers/publishers to know so they can direct overseas customers to other sites....

BTW, does anybody know if publishing on Smashwords (via the premium catalog) gets you into Fictionwise? Fictionwise is owned by Barnes and Noble, but I can't always find things there.
Anywhere outside the states gets that $2 surcharge I believe. It's for international use of the wireless (whether or not you even have a Kindle to use said wireless with). I'm in Canada and see it. Refuse to shop Amazon eBooks because of it.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:22 AM   #12
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I am through booksurge (now Createspace) for my novels. My short stories on Smashwords aren't through anybody but me, though.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:12 AM   #13
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I'm a self-published author, and you can pretty much find me anywhere, Smashwords, Kindle, CreateSpace, but I'm a terrible self-promoter because I'm shy!
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:38 AM   #14
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I did self publishing to start, but quickly found out that it just doesn't work. You really need the power of a publisher behind you to get anywhere. And I'm not saying that others couldn't get somewhere by themselves doing self publishing, but the experience of a publisher will get you into a lot more places. Especially if your publisher cares about you like mine does.
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Old 03-23-2010, 03:46 PM   #15
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I did self publishing to start, but quickly found out that it just doesn't work. You really need the power of a publisher behind you to get anywhere. And I'm not saying that others couldn't get somewhere by themselves doing self publishing, but the experience of a publisher will get you into a lot more places. Especially if your publisher cares about you like mine does.
Well, I won't diss real publishing. (As I said, I am only looking at self-publishing for certain things that I wrote specifically for it. May main career is all traditional.) But I do know a few people who are doing well. All of them, so far, however, have already proven themselves in the traditional publishing world. Also, they often have some kind of editorial or design experience, or they hire professionals, so that their covers look good and their books are well edited.

I assume that support is what you mean by the power of a real publisher. People overlook the importance of real editing and book design. And for paper, the power of a real publisher in getting distribution is critical. You've GOT to get an attractive product in front of the audience.

But so far nearly everyone I've met who actually has much in the way of self-published sales are having their success with inexpensive ebooks, not paper, and most publishers seem to be falling down on the job on marketing ebooks. They don't price them well at all, and they just depend on the traditional book channels to do the work of marketing.

But.... I think those successes are still pretty rare, too. But that's a part of my experiment. Things are growing and changing so fast, it's really hard to see what is really going on.
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