Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Publishing Success

Extending the Conversation about Traditional vs Self Publishing


Traditional vs Self Publishing Our current conversation, the longest one since I started the new format here, has covered this ground:

March 28th — Shifting to Self-Publishing

April 2nd — Readers as Gatekeepers

April 4th — Comparing Traditional Publishing & Self-Publishing

And, that last post has two comments that extend the discussion here…

From the U.S.A.:

“I enjoyed your comment: I realize Mr. Sparks has hit the Big-time with his books; however, I truly feel he should have used the phrase ‘make money’ rather than the phrase ‘become a success’…

“He actually did just that Alex, redefining success before he elaborated a very sad definition of success in my mind:

“’Success can be defined any number of ways. For the purposes of this section, let success be whatever “your” version of it is, with one caveat: you want to be able to write novels and earn enough to make a living.'”

From the U.K.:

“I write novels and I don’t ‘earn enough to make a living’ because I am retired. Published authors would consider me a hobbyist but that does not mean my writing is any less valuable than theirs.

“In fact, as long as I have readers I consider myself a success. I give paperbacks away free to the library and they are taken out until they wear out.

“There is nothing more satisfying than having a reader ask when the next volume is going to be published!”

The U.S.A comment is an extension of other comments we had about the traditionally published author, Nicholas Sparks, and brings out the notion many writers cling to: “If I’m gonna be a writer, I have to make money to be ‘successful’.”

And, Sparks’ clinging to money as “success” is really rammed home with his: “…let success be whatever ‘your’ version of it is, with one caveat: you want to be able to write novels and earn enough to make a living.”

And, interestingly enough, the U.K. comment describes a level of success with books that is free of money: “…as long as I have readers I consider myself a success.”

Admittedly, the two authors are not only on the opposite sides of the Big Pond, they’re also on the opposite edges of age; still, any writer can decide whether they want success yoked to traditional institutions that treat books as commodities and have shown vast disrespect to authors; or, hitch their hopes to their own gumption, whether or not they sell their books.

Thing is: innumerable traditionally published books fail to sell more than 500 copies; and, innumerable self-published books are bestsellers

Rather than me going on with my ideas about publishing, I’ll round out this conversation with some quotes from a writer who spent many years being traditionally published; then, found solid reasons to seed his fate with his own will and purpose…

Here is Joe Konrath from his article, You Should Self-Publish:

“For many years, I said DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH.

“I had many good reasons to support this belief.

1. Self-publishing was expensive
2. The final product was over priced and inferior
3. Self-pubbed were impossible to distribute
4. Most self-pubbed books weren’t returnable
5. Chances were, the reason you had to self pub was because your writing wasn’t good enough
6. Most POD houses were scams

“Yep, I was pretty confident that traditional publishing was the only game in town.

“Then, in 2009, I became aware of the Kindle.”

“So now it’s December 2010, and I’m selling 1000 ebooks a day, and I’m ready to change my mind on the matter.”

I’d highly recommend any writers reading this (even those who may already feel self-publishing is their path...) to read Joe’s full article

If you have a comment on anything you read in this post, it can be the reason this particular conversation continues

If you would rather, leave your opinion on what we “should” be discussing, in the realms of Reading, Writing, and Publishing
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The Best Book On How To Be Successful As A Writer?


What’s your definition of success as a writer?

Lots of money? Lots of books? Both? Something else??

I just may have discovered the best book to read, no matter how you want to be successful

And, even though it’s called The Newbie’s Guide To Publishing, I feel it can help those who’ve already attained a bit of publishing success to find even more.

The author is Joe Konrath, and, if you click-through on that name-link you’ll read stuff like this:

“Konrath…spent…12 years garnering close to five hundred rejections for nine unpublished novels.”

He now has 12 published novels, 15 tie-in stories, and 22 other stories.

If you want an independent and forthright blog to read, his is it!

In January of this year, Konrath wrote:

“One hundred grand [$100,000]. That’s how much I’ve made on Amazon in the last three weeks.

“This is just for my self-pubbed Kindle titles. It doesn’t include Shaken and Stirred, which were published by Amazon’s imprints. It doesn’t include any of my legacy sales, print or ebook. It doesn’t include audiobook sales. It doesn’t include sales from other platforms.

“This is from my self-pubbed books. The ones the Big 6 rejected.”

Needless to say, since I discovered him, Joe Konrath has been referenced on this blog many times.

So, that book by him has over 360,000 words. And, you can get The Newbie’s Guide To Publishing, only $2.99.

If you still feel hesitant, I’ll let Barry Eisler, best-selling novelist, speak to you from the forward to Konrath’s book:

“There’s no one in the industry more knowledgeable than Joe about both the craft and business of writing. A Newbie’s Guide is the result of years-worth of thought, research, discussion, and, most of all, experience. Want to know how to develop compelling characters? Write crackling dialogue? Run the kind of guerilla marketing campaign publishers only dream of? Put together a cost-effective, kick-ass book tour? Want to maximize your chances of getting and staying published? Then you need to read Joe. This is a guy who never accepts the conventional wisdom, who never does anything just because that’s the way it’s always been done, who’s totally unafraid to try new things, who’s remarkably honest in reporting the results of his experiments, and who’s obsessed with sharing for free his uniquely valuable insights. Yeah, you can get published without reading Joe. But you can drive a car with the parking brake on, too — it’s just not the fastest way to get there.”

And, if you still don’t want to download Joe’s book, here’s a video from 2009 with Joe giving quite a bit of advice:


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