• Welcome to BookAndReader!

    We LOVE books and hope you'll join us in sharing your favorites and experiences along with your love of reading with our community. Registering for our site is free and easy, just CLICK HERE!

    Already a member and forgot your password? Click here.

Everybody's an author now.

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Well I think you are right in that people do underestimate how much it costs to create a book, which would be why limited run printing has always been so expensive, but I think that some of those costs are not present in an e-book mitigating some of the expense. It is also true that book sales have always been based on volume ie small profit on each book but lots of books sold = $$$.

I also think that there is a strong expectation to pay less for an e-book than for a paper book and I do think that all of those factor in, but I think that authors themselves are by far the biggest culprits in devaluing their work, after all it is not the reader who actually sets the price, or lowers it if the book doesn't sell.

Part of this could be market pressure resulting in inexperienced authors lowering the price in response to lack of sales instead of marketing it more aggressively and part of it could be the marketing strategies of Amazon et al which seem to focused around give away type promotions.
 

Toni Ressaire

New Member
No, there are many fewer authors

Self-published books are not "authored" and don't count. If one cannot get at least a small press to publish one's book, it is not a book -- it is a term paper, a journal, an English assignment, etc.

My view does not mean that there are not industry overlooked masterpieces that have been self-published. Such has been the historical case, probably usually caused by the author's death before completion, since it took so long to write a book before PCs existed. For example, a larger portion of the Bible was probably lost than published.

The real publishers simply sold out as prices to produce books exponentially increased. I have no doubt that there are many great books in their slush piles and that will never see the light of day.

How many brand new industry published authors can you name during the last decade? Soon, it will be one or two a year, or none, as the industry, including film, finds ways to put new twists on old works that have shown profit in the past. I boycott books and movies, for example, about vampires, werewolfs, Batman, Spiderman,........... I'd probably puke in the aisle if I attended a sword and sorcery film.

The only upside to self-publishing has been the expansion of small business into seminars, editing services, advertising services, and other promises to the ego driven "authors" that they will be recognized as an author if they just spend enough money to earn the title. Hopefully, these businesses are paying taxes.
 

Toni Ressaire

New Member
No, there are many fewer authors

Self-published books are not "authored" and don't count. If one cannot get at least a small press to publish one's book, it is not a book -- it is a term paper, a journal, an English assignment, etc.

My view does not mean that there are not industry overlooked masterpieces that have been self-published. Such has been the historical case, probably usually caused by the author's death before completion, since it took so long to write a book before PCs existed. For example, a larger portion of the Bible was probably lost than published.

The real publishers simply sold out as prices to produce books exponentially increased. I have no doubt that there are many great books in their slush piles and that will never see the light of day.

How many brand new industry published authors can you name during the last decade? Soon, it will be one or two a year, or none, as the industry, including film, finds ways to put new twists on old works that have shown profit in the past. I boycott books and movies, for example, about vampires, werewolfs, Batman, Spiderman,........... I'd probably puke in the aisle if I attended a sword and sorcery film.

The only upside to self-publishing has been the expansion of small business into seminars, editing services, advertising services, and other promises to the ego driven "authors" that they will be recognized as an author if they just spend enough money to earn the title. Hopefully, these businesses are paying taxes.

I completely disagree. After I bought my tablet I started reading self-published authors, and while there is a good deal of poor writing out there, I found some gems. As a reader it opens my options.

The big publishing houses are over-crowded with submissions. Some good stuff gets passed by. Why not self-publish?

I'm a small publisher, and I look for those quality authors who can't make it past the agents and stacks of unread manuscripts.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Well I think what happened is that the slush pile got published without the benefit of the filtering system of editors and proof readers while the same ratio of gems to junk applies. Instead of just having to worry if the book is something you might like, you now also have to worry about how well it might be written.

As has already been pointed out, things are still sorting themselves out, at some point some system will emerge whereby it will be easier to sort the good from the bad.
 

Toni Ressaire

New Member
Don't you read the free samples before you buy a book? That should give you an indication of whether or not it's well written.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Yeah sometimes, but the first few pages are usually the most subject to rewrites and are sometimes OK, and then it falls apart a chapter later so no, that unfortunately isn't always a good indicator.

Case in point, I just recently bought two books written by a Chinese guy, translated by his Slovakian students into English. The basic grammatical and spelling errors and well just plain bad English were not evident in the preview. Nor was the information about the translation available until the end of the book. And further more, not only was the cover just professional enough to hide the fact it was a self pub, but they also claimed it was published by some fictional publisher. Something that truly would have made me hesitate to buy it given the nature of the book. It didn't devalue the information in the books, thank goodness, but it was really annoying all the same and it did make me email the author to make sure he was on the level.

The whole fake publisher thing is something I'm seeing authors do deliberately to hide the fact they are self published to give the book more legitimacy. Sooner or later it will backfire creating even more problems with the public perceptions of self published e-books.
 
Last edited:

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Yup, was reading an author''s blog the other day where they confessed to it and quite openly said it was a deliberate choice to hide the fact the book was self published because of the bad perception of self pubs. Admittedly this was a previously published author who wanted to 'retain full control of her work', a point I understand, but it is still going to end badly at some point.
 
Meadow337 said:
I think that some of those costs are not present in an e-book mitigating some of the expense.

Fair enough, but still, the time an author spends writting is time an author does not spend training horses/growing carrots/whatever. If you pay abusive professional taxes, then your time is money, so time spent is money spent. Moreover, my costs in illustration, trips and marketing are comparable to those of distribution and printing of physical books...
Meadow337 said:
After all it is not the reader who actually sets the price, or lowers it if the book doesn't sell.

True up to some point, but still, the readers set the price when they choose to buy another cheaper book, forcing the writers to compete with their prices (because competing with quality is not easy in this market). Consumer do set the prices, always. The power of the consumers is really big, even when they don't understand and let themselves be stepped on in many other markets.

It is not me who says it. I have probed the opinions of lots of readers, and they demand really cheap prices for the ebooks. Yeah, I can set my books to bigger prices, but without reader's support we are doomed. A writer is nothing withour his readers.

Why not self-publish?

It costs money, effort and time. It is likely you won't be taken seriously by your friends, so it is going to be a good hit against your self-stem if you are not ready. The true question is "Why should you be self-publishing when you can dust your sword collection again?".

Wow, I had never heard of using fake publishers. That's sneaky.

Yuck. Yes, it is playing unfair.

Beware, people can get exasperated if they find they have not sold any book in a whole year. If they were expecting to become a best seller with their "great book", they will use extreme measures to try to save it.

I don't hide how my books are published, but I don't yell it for anybody to hear either. If they ask they will know. If they browse the book searching for information about the publisher, they will know. In fact, nobody gives a damn when they find the book in the book shop among Timun Mas' titles. When shoppers find a book to be interesting, they usually don't check who published it, because it is secondary. The book looks cool. That is what matters to buyers.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Firstly if you are published by a big publisher, who gave you a nice advance and pays for the advertising out of their advertising budget the cost isn't visible either to the author or to the buyer. It's spread so thin over millions of copies it can't be more than a few cents of the price of each book. And I think that this is where self published authors fall into a false perception of costs. Doing it yourself you are looking at 'oh gosh I only sold X books which cost me X hours in labour to write + X $ for the editor + another X $ for the cover and the trip to the book fair and and and)' and then thinking you should have charged $100 per book to just break even, but this is why the big publishers have big budgets and don't risk their money on a book they think will only sell a few thousand copies. If you are going to do it seriously, you have to do the marketing as seriously as a 'proper' publisher. And unfortunately reality is that you are a writer, not a marketer, not an advertising person and you don't have the clout to call up the book reviewers at the big papers and say 'Hey I have a best seller here' which is how it works.

So you have to either learn, or keep sending manuscripts and just know that doing it yourself will take twice as long to get half as far as being published by some one who can just pick up the phone to get your book reviewed by people who count.

Secondly being one of those readers who think e-books should be cheaper than paper books (and I'm yet to be convinced the costs add up the same) I honestly don't agree with you about the prices being set by the readers. It may seem to work like that, but if you put a value on your work and do not reduce it no matter the apparent pressure to do so, no one can make you. And I bet you that reducing the price does not magically increase the sales. You might get a few folks downloading a freebie, but truthfully, is it worth it? Do you get enough good reviews out of it to justify the loss? Do you get a spike in sales when you do charge for it again? Out of curiousity have you tried increasing the price? Some people, if not most, don't value a freebie, but perversely do think the book at $10 has to be better than the exact same book at half the price. Why else are you charging more for it?
 
Big publishers have the advantage of a big offer. I don't know how it does work outside of my country, but here, they mostly try to grab lots of books, knowing they are going to loose lots of money with most, and expect a few of them will generate revenue enough to fix the looses of the others. Just like disco houses. In addition, big publishers can use aggressive marketing with their distribution, forcing book shops to accept their books by distribution and deposit deals.

There is no way a single author could build up a comparable business model with just a few titles. It is big scale economy, and you need big numbers of wares to sell to compete in that level.

So, my suggestion is to play with you strengths and not with your weaknesses.

Secondly being one of those readers who think e-books should be cheaper than paper books (...)

I think so, but costs are still relevant enough, and for a small author who does not have experience and knows not if he is going to sell enough to justify the costs, they are demoralizing.

If you put a value on your work and do not reduce it no matter the apparent pressure to do so, no one can make you.

True. But if I sold zero books and I am told people says they are too expensive, I can either A)Keep the prices and eat my books; B)Change the prices and try my luck.

And I bet you that reducing the price does not magically increase the sales.

Not by itself, but price changes have an effect in the market. Shops do sink because the competitors offer prices 25 cents cheaper.

Out of curiousity have you tried increasing the price?

I don't have tried lowering it in the first place.

You might get a few folks downloading a freebie, but truthfully, is it worth it?

It depends on your plan, if you have any. It also depends on your actual goals.

Why else are you charging more for it?

You tell me, you are the one rising that price. Maybe you are rising the price because it cost a lot of money to make the book.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
You tell me, you are the one rising that price. Maybe you are rising the price because it cost a lot of money to make the book.

Nope I just set a price I thought was fair to all.

I got this in an email this am:

You don’t need us to tell you that discounting a book or even making it free is one of the most powerful tools in the indie author’s arsenal – but without a relentless publiciser to trumpet that offer’s availability the promotion is futile.

And I don't have to say how much I disagree with the entire thought process behind it. In business the only people who give something away for free are businesses who can afford to absorb the loss on a promo to get paying customers in for the rest of their not free products. I can't begin to fathom how this would work for an author.
 

sparkchaser

Administrator and Stuntman
Staff member
It seems to me that making up a publisher's name is kinda the same thing as making your own album and making up the name of a label.
 
Top