• Fur Affinity Forums are governed by Fur Affinity's Rules and Policies. Links and additional information can be accessed in the Site Information Forum.

Any Advice For Self Publishing?

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
So, as the title says, does anyone here have some pointers or recommendations for a first time self publisher? I completed my first novel at the beginning of the summer and currently have my beta readers tearing it apart for me while I figure out how to make their suggestions work/fix shortcomings I've found on my own. It'll be a few months before I'm actually ready to pull the trigger on things, but I'd like to hear from those if you who have been through this gauntlet before so I know what to avoid/what I ought to do.
I'll likely end up going through Amazon, strictly for the print on demand service and the low cut they take. I know I'll have to get a social media presence going pretty hard and basically do all my own PR, so advice for making that work is welcome. So, what've you all got to say on the topic?
 

fallenengimon

New Member
I use Drivethrufiction, they have a pretty good staff and the print quality is pretty good. You are going to have to be pre-approved before hand, but many publisher sites do that anyway.

One hint I can give is look for online grammar checkers and run your piece through many as possible.
 

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
I use Drivethrufiction, they have a pretty good staff and the print quality is pretty good. You are going to have to be pre-approved before hand, but many publisher sites do that anyway.

One hint I can give is look for online grammar checkers and run your piece through many as possible.
Thanks for the response. I've currently got a whole horde of people helping me proofread the thing and I plan to (as much as my wallet pretests) pay the money for a professional edit once they're done proofing and giving me feedback. What made you choose Drivethrufiction and what kind of freedom do they give you over the end product? I'll look into them, though. Any venues I should avoid that you know of?
 

reptile logic

An imposter among aliens.
I have felt your excitement, and your pain. Both probably too recently for me to be of any great help. I gave BookBaby a shot for e-reader publishing. I'm going to submit my book for paper printing in another couple of months, and attempt to sell them directly for a time. I'll answer questions by PM if you like, but please be patient when awaiting my responses. It's 0522 local time and I'm just getting ready for bed. Goodnight.
 

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
I've already gotten a good idea if who my readers are/would be from the feedback I've gotten. Certain age ranges are already standing out and the fantasy genre already has a rather defined readership. I feel my main issue will likely arise from the "unknown author" aspect. That's part of why I'm getting on the good side of several authors I know (who have met with decent success) and I hope they might be so kind as to give me a nod via their blogs or other social media. As for the "why bother?" This was more of a "let's see if I can do it" project than a "Imma quit mah day job" thing. I'm willing to lose a bit of money on this. If it flops, oh well. I can always save up and try again.
 

Gnarl

The Arcane Sage
For what it is worth, i offer this advice.
1. get a real copyright! The eco can file it online and it covers you from day one. Without it, if your book is worth anything, it will get pirated, 6 novels of mine have been so far. I was able to file a dmca form and get them shut down only because i own a real one on each of them.
2. spell check re-read and spell check again. Remember the spell check will not catch when you use the wrong word if it is spelled correctly, ie: suite where you meant to say suit.
3. read it aloud to yourself, or better have someone else read it aloud to you...
4. read the fine print before you self publish with any site. Amazon requires you to have the rights to it, and you can not put it anywhere else for a period of time.
5. Try sending it to a publisher like Thurston Howl publishing first! Some of the smaller publishers are hungry for good new authors.
6. watch out for the scam publishers like Dorrance, they will not put the book out there but they will charge you a fee of around $10,ooo.00 USD to process it and you can do nothing else with it until they get paid.
 
For what it is worth, i offer this advice.
1. get a real copyright! The eco can file it online and it covers you from day one. Without it, if your book is worth anything, it will get pirated, 6 novels of mine have been so far. I was able to file a dmca form and get them shut down only because i own a real one on each of them.
2. spell check re-read and spell check again. Remember the spell check will not catch when you use the wrong word if it is spelled correctly, ie: suite where you meant to say suit.
3. read it aloud to yourself, or better have someone else read it aloud to you...
4. read the fine print before you self publish with any site. Amazon requires you to have the rights to it, and you can not put it anywhere else for a period of time.
5. Try sending it to a publisher like Thurston Howl publishing first! Some of the smaller publishers are hungry for good new authors.
6. watch out for the scam publishers like Dorrance, they will not put the book out there but they will charge you a fee of around $10,ooo.00 USD to process it and you can do nothing else with it until they get paid.
It's best to have the entire book finished before applying for a copyright, correct? But get it before you go to a editor?
 

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
I've got the whole first draft of the manuscript done, so no worries on having that completed in time. The main reasons I'd like to self publish are,
1: I won't be locked into a contract with deadlines to produce the next book.
2: my manuscript sits at around 165k words and (as Sergei said) I'm not an established author, so most publishers won't take a chance on such a long piece from someone without a proven track record.
3: I'll have (effectively) exclusive rights to the book and related IP, so it'll be entirely mine.
The upfront cost might be higher out of pocket for the self pub route, but I feel the freedom would be worth it. That said, I might query a few publishers, just to see if I've got something viable or if I can coax a good offer.
 
I've got the whole first draft of the manuscript done, so no worries on having that completed in time. The main reasons I'd like to self publish are,
1: I won't be locked into a contract with deadlines to produce the next book.
2: my manuscript sits at around 165k words and (as Sergei said) I'm not an established author, so most publishers won't take a chance on such a long piece from someone without a proven track record.
3: I'll have (effectively) exclusive rights to the book and related IP, so it'll be entirely mine.
The upfront cost might be higher out of pocket for the self pub route, but I feel the freedom would be worth it. That said, I might query a few publishers, just to see if I've got something viable or if I can coax a good offer.
Those are all good points. I think I might go a similar route. I think querying a small publisher like Silver Wolf Publishing would be a good idea as well.
 

Gnarl

The Arcane Sage
If you guys check out the Furry Writers Guild site, you will find a lot of good information. There is also a list of publishers, both inside ad outside the fandom.
You do not have to be a member to get a lot of the low-down from the guild. You also can join the guild forum without being a member. They have a chat on thursdays at around noon (depending on where you are) that has a lot of good help. They helped me get published! So i might be a little biased.

Also the first book of mine accepted by a publisher was 181K just so you know.
 

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
Odd, didn't get the notification more people had replied to this. Oh well.

@Gnarl , @reptile logic , did you guys have anyone beta read your stuff? If so, how did you motivate them to do it? I've got about eight people I've given the first section to and only three of them have managed to finish that offering and give me feedback. Also, thanks for all the other feedback. It's helpful.
 

Gnarl

The Arcane Sage
I have never had a problem like that, most of the time they get mad at me because they can't put it down.
Just be patient and listen to what they have to say.
 

reptile logic

An imposter among aliens.
Odd, didn't get the notification more people had replied to this. Oh well.

@Gnarl , @reptile logic , did you guys have anyone beta read your stuff? If so, how did you motivate them to do it? I've got about eight people I've given the first section to and only three of them have managed to finish that offering and give me feedback. Also, thanks for all the other feedback. It's helpful.

My personal experience has taught me that not all who volunteer to read my stuff will follow through. I accept what feedback those that have read it offer. Especially look for the points that most of them comment on, positive and especially negative. The 'where did this character's info come from?' or maybe 'character hollow, need more backstory' is much more helpful to developing a more polished work than 'Great, I loved it!'. Input from volunteers who generally don't read the genre is especially valuable. They will often give the best input on whether the story carries interest beyond what those faithful to the genre might settle for.

As far as motivating a volunteer to finish what was started, can't help you much there beyond this; offering a good story will do it better than any other incentive I can come up with.
 

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
Just a word of warning; know what your responsibilities are when you sign with a publisher. Make sure it's known who will do what, such as promotions, book signings, advertising to the book stores and most importantly, who will apply for your Library of Congress and ISBN numbers. Without those two numbers, a public library will not put your book on their shelves.

I also caution you to stay away from America Star Books. I used them for my first novel and I can honestly say, I was very unhappy with their procedures and attitudes from Day one. I could have done better by self-publishing my novel, since they never did apply for a Library of Congress for my book. All they wanted was more money for this and that promotion. They managed to sell four books for me while I sold almost one hundred at faires and such. Also, once they have your book, you're stuck with them for I think seven years, after which you have to buy back the right to publish your works for ninety-nine dollars.

Caveat Emptor!
 

Andarial

New Member
I can say this, if you self-publish and never get a publisher, the first time you try to get a publisher will be a long grueling process most likely and might not happen for several more years than it would originally. A lot of publishers do not like taking on self-publishers. In my opinion it is safer getting a GOOD publisher (in other words, do your homework on the available ones, play the field, and make deals) then boxing yourself into self-publishing for the rest of your life.
 

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
Thanks for the responses, everyone!
I can say this, if you self-publish and never get a publisher, the first time you try to get a publisher will be a long grueling process most likely and might not happen for several more years than it would originally. A lot of publishers do not like taking on self-publishers. In my opinion it is safer getting a GOOD publisher (in other words, do your homework on the available ones, play the field, and make deals) then boxing yourself into self-publishing for the rest of your life.
My main issues with going through a publisher are retention of profit (they will invariably take a sizeable chunk off of your sales), contractual obligations (I'd rather not be forced to complete another book in a series within a stupidly short timeframe/not be able to pursue another project because I had to meet a deadline somebody else set), and the general lack of advertising/pr support you get from them unless you end up as a big ticket author. I've heard stories of people being forced to do all of their promotion, advertising, and event scheduling despite their publisher assuring them they'd take on a bunch of the load. That said, I suppose that having a decently known publisher's name on the spine of you book would help lend an air of legitimacy. I suppose it's a good thing I'm taking so long to edit, because it's letting me think over all this crap.
 

Andarial

New Member
In my opinion it depends greatly on what genre you are writing about. Whether you have heard generally good reviews about that publisher, (from multiple types of sources). From what I understand the publishers are generally allowed 15% though this number may be a bit off because I haven't looked at it recently, and any more is negotiable in my opinion. I definitely recommend looking into others if the publisher you are looking at seems to be unreasonable. Also bigger names are not always better. In my opinion it depends on the over all... reputation of the publisher within the writing community. There are a huge amount of publishers out there and some of them, probably a majority of them are crappy, however there are generally some true gems in my opinion waiting to be found. I also suggest getting everything (and I mean everything) in writing, that way you can bring it up if they don't live up to their part of the bargain. That way if there is a need for lawyers it is easy to get what you need.
 

reptile logic

An imposter among aliens.
Andarial, is that figure, 15% to the publisher, a percentage of net sales or gross sales? If a percentage of gross, that will still be a greater chunk of money from the book sale than the author receives. Book printing, especially small batch printing like that done for an unknown author, can take up a big chunk of the book's wholesale cost. An unknown author can end up receiving a royalty payment of less than 10% of the book's retail price. The printing, distributing and shipping costs eat up the biggest chunk. Sucks, but it happens.

Honestly, self-publishing only does marginally better for the unknown author, money-wise, but as mentioned before there are no deadlines and locked-in commitments when self-publishing. If the publishing house actually does a good job to market the product for the author, then the better deal could again swing in favor of the publishing house contract.

My opinion only, based on conversations and correspondence with several people who work in the publishing industry, and my own market research. Your conclusions may vary.
 

Andarial

New Member
From what I understand self-publishing depends on where you do it too. If you self-publish I never recommend doing it with Amazon, the amount they receive from works without even telling is a stupidly large amount even compared to publishers.

How Much Should You Pay To Publish Your Novel? | Advanced Fiction Writing

This link explains a lot about different ways to publish. Also I highly recommend googling questions to ask publishers/how to talk to publishers and reading at least 10 sites on it. Also I don't recommend trying to publish a book if you haven't read a good book that was specifically written for teaching people how to WRITE FICTION, in my opinion I am a decently good writer, I get fairly good reviews when I share stuff online even when I get ACTUAL reviews from people who are known on sites to pick apart peoples writing. However a lot of things about writing basic fiction stuff for actual novels most people won't notice. It is totally different than what we learn in school. There is basics to writing a fiction book, a fiction scene, a fiction dialogue. A lot of the time people who do actually have a TALENT for writing and are naturally good at it, just need to have the actual skills honed in order to write a book correctly in my opinion or else it is less likely to go over well and be sold... sold at a good number to make it worth while. There is a lot of technical shit that goes into fiction writing that a lot of people don't do. They write a book that may sound good generally but is missing the basic backbones and keep having people turn them down without actually understanding why until someone tells them why.
 

Andarial

New Member
What I am saying in the above post is this... anyone who says, anyone can learn to write fiction or write a book and get it published with practice and using skills is wrong. Anyone who says if you have the talent you will get published is WRONG. Some people have talent and their stuff is a joy to read for a lot of people, but it honestly has no business being published in a book format because it won't interest the masses because of the format and skill behind it. Some people have the skill, but they honestly have no right being near a writing utensil of any sort unless it is to do an essay or communicate with a friend etc. Some people, hell a lot of people, should never ever write fiction and that is because they just don't have IT. Writing fiction is both an art form AND craft form. It is exactly like drawing or painting or blah blah (insert some other obvious art form here). It requires studying and note taking and WORK. It requires homework in some ways, it requires a lot of building steps that most people honestly don't want to do. And in my opinion until you've done all this annoying stuff for at least 2 years you have no business even trying to publish (though I know this is my opinion and people can argue all they want it still won't change it). Let's face it, most recognized college courses in the English language area do nothing for fiction writing. Creative writing courses may help, but it largely depends on what you take. I highly recommend going to a Writer's conference at a local community college if you can find one, you can find tons of agents, publishers, editors, and learn all sorts of information from all those plus some really highly regarded Writers themselves. In my opinion it is not rare for people to wait a good three years after their book is technically finished and edited for the first time to get it published (if going through a traditional publisher or a self-publisher that does most of the work for you), honestly this has been the norm for a very long time and just because we are in a century of "can't wait and do it the normal way" doesn't necessarily mean the other way will be better. If you find a GOOD traditional publisher and an GOOD agent who fights for what you want as the writer you would be far better off in my opinion than doing ALL the work yourself. And in my opinion it makes more sense to do shopping around and get these things then being forced to do a ridiculous amount of work for possibly enough to get some money back? break even? or get a little bit above what you put into it? I don't think if you are a first time writer without your name out there you should not attach your name to a publisher. It means you have very little possibility of being successful at all. Just my thoughts. Also with a publisher or agent who wants you to produce more books or whatever, you always have the choice to discuss deadlines and say... omg "no"!
 

sans-uchiha

New Member
As a traditionally published author (check out my brand new patreon if you like furry porn stories ;^) Sans Uchiha is creating Erotic Stories, Concepting and other literary smut. | Patreon I can tell you that getting your work published "the right way" has a lot of snags in it. First of all, before you even try to impress a publisher, you have to get picked up by an agent. Literary agents are all self-important pricks who make it their life goal to be unimpressed by everything they read, so wrangling one is easier said than done.

Traditional publishing is a dying beast, and the future is e-book publishing. I would strongly urge you try to publish as an e-book before you look into printing out a bunch of physical copies of your book. Self/Vanity-Publishers are pretty much just glorified printing presses. You pay them to create a product, they slap a bunch of units of it together, then you have to try to sell them. It's like paying a print shop to make you custom t-shirts, then selling those t-shirts at your store.

Trust me. I would urge you to really put a lot of thought into going the Kindle Amazon E-book route, get your stuff out on GoodReads and promo your shit like crazy. It is phenomenally easier to get your story sold if it's purely through the internet as opposed to a hard physical copy. Once you (hopefully) build a dedicated fanbase, then you could start looking at making physical copies.

That'd be my advice, as someone who has been traditionally published/is working on a self-publish (though this is turning into a choose your own adventure interactive story at this point) project.
 

Online Gatha

Online Gatha
All we know that in nowadays self publishing is in trend. When someone want to self publish a book, some points should be clear such as manuscript, cover design, printing , marketing of a book, etc.
 
Top