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Self-publishing vs. (vanity) Publishing house?


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Hey guys ;)

 

A few days ago, I have been chatting with an old friend of mine who told me, that he has written a novel… he just finished it and now he is wondering, how his book should get published.

 

I am really green to this, therefore I didn’t know what to say and couldn’t tell him, what he has to do now. He is looking for the most convenient arrangement and has already asked some mates for advices… they suggested, that he should choose between self-publishing or a publisher.

 

He has done some research on the topic but is still timid. The main problem is, that self-publishing sounds rather expensive and risky, but finding a publishing house (or an agent?) is also a pretty difficult thing to… because of that, we would like to ask you guys, if some of you already have written a book and what your experiences are?

 

Due to the fact, that he is an inexperienced and unknown writer, I would go for a publisher instead of self-publishing, or am I wrong?

 

Thanks a lot ;)

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The challenge with using a publisher is getting them to look at the thing, never mind publishing it!

 

Self publishing is not expensive. There are print on demand services where, I think, the cost comes out of your sales. And ebooks cost nothing to produce. I don't know whatAmazon and others charge for selling them, presumably a fixed fee and/or percentage.

 

But with self-publishing you have to do all your own marketing and publicity.

 

Vanity publishing is the worst of both worlds. You pay them (a lot, frequently) and then they do nothing to promote it.

 

It would be worth him joining one or more writers' forums to get some more specific advice. From what I have read, having a good cover design can make a huge difference - by catching people's eye and giving an impression of quality.

 

When you say "just finished", does that include getting it reviewed by other readers? How many edit/rewrites has he gone through? Several writers' forums have a facility where you can submit work to get reviewed by other members. Scribophile is very good: http://www.scribophile.com/

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Thank you very much for your suggestions! He already thought about publishing an e-book, but though it is cheaper and much easier to produce, he would definitely prefer a paperback version… furthermore, as is said before, he is rather inexperienced, therefore having an agent (or personal custodian) wouldn’t be amiss :/ if he goes with self-publishing, he has t do all the marketing and PR-Stuff by his own (I doubt, that this is a good idea, due to his lack of experience) but we both know, that finding a publishing house that accepts unknown writers like him is a pretty difficult thing to do… one of his mates has written a novel too and it has taken him two years until he found a publishing house that looks at his manuscript.

 

Because of that, my friend thought about vanity publishing but we had no clue that they won’t care about promotion and so on :/ his book got reviewed by two other readers so far and their feedback was pretty positive ;)

 

thank you very much for the link! These forums are definitely worth a try… but isn’t it a bit risky, to let complete strangers read your previously unreleased manuscript (come to think of copyright issues due to potential plagiarism)?

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It really depends on what are you looking for, like a vanity publishing house has experience and can offer that as service to you, maybe if you also need help concerning graphics, the titel, layout, there is a lot more in a book than just to write it - that is one part of the game! Merchandising is a total other one - like where can you promote it, to what costs, who do you know ... a lot of points to think about and vanity publsihers can help you with that.

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So, some vanity publishing houses do care about advertising and PR Stuff?

I mean, even though you wrote a real page turner it, I am pretty sure that the most important part to get your book sold and to catch potential readers attraction, are effective marketing efforts (otherwise a novel like fifty shades of grey wouldn’t have become such a bestseller :P) or am I wrong?

Therefore it is extremely important, to have someone, who takes care about this stuff (because none of us is a marketing genius much less a graphic designer or an editor…) We have already looked for some (vanity) publishing houses in the Internet during the past few days, but I guess that we have lost track… it is not that easy to find out, which publishing houses are reliable and in which we can “trust” (considering fees and extra cost for editing, layout and so on…)

@playground: what was your experience like and have you already published a book? If so, how did you manage it to get your book promoted?

 

Thanks anyway for your help, I hope you guys don’t mind answering that many questions :P

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Yes, as one of my relatives was in that process for some time, a few months ago and she is on the very good way to get publsihed now - she was also rejected by some of the major houses and then she decided to contact a vanity pusblishing house, in her case novum publishing, and they gave her a chance after they had quite a long talk and email exchange, she was in for it. And of course as family you get all the news firsthand!

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Wow, that sounds rather awesome :D getting a book published is a pretty difficult thing to do, but your relative must have done everything right, otherwise it would not have happened that fast… but from what I have heard, becoming a published author demands a lot of patience and perseverance and getting rejected that often doesn’t exactly boost your ego :/ but I have never heard about this vanity publishing house your relative got into… how did their “collaboration” look like and are there any genres they prefer? (my friend wrote a romance novel – would they accept that genre?) I suppose, you mentioned them because they do take care of that PR and advertising stuff… Has she been satisfied with their services or did she have any troubles (e.g. relating to graphics, layout and so on.) and more important: what services do they offer?

It would be really great if you tell us a bit more about them and their services ;)

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The collaboration is based on what you want, they offer three packages of services, which one you choose is upt to you, also depending on what assistance, or marketing you may need. There was always a good and clear conversation between them, so there war nothing bad. And a first talk you always can get for free, so it is up to oneself if you contact them.

Genres? No preferences, have a look at their website to have an own impression. I think romantic novel will be no problem.

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  • 4 years later...

Hi guys. I'm aware that this thread is a bit older, but I would be interested to know what finally happened with the idea of publishing that book. Was it published and if so, how? Was it self-published or by a professional publisher?

I would also be interested in publishing my own book on day. I write almost every weekend - it's a kind of mediation for me - and especially in Lockdown times I wrote a lot of texts and even finished my manuscript, which I started writing ages ago.

Before I even think about publishing, I want to think about editing and proofreading. I'm sure I can get a lot more out of the manuscript. Is it possible to contact some publishers directly and get help by them? Or is it better, in your opinion, for me to do these “revisions” myself and only "apply" to a publisher with a "perfect" manuscript? I'm not quite sure what publishers are looking for in principle...

I would actually prefer that publishers show interest in the manuscript and revise it together with me... to be honest, to me it would be weird if a publishers “only” publishes a book... something like, "the author does all the work by himself”…

So how does it generally work in the publishing world?

Maybe someone has some experience in this regard.

Thanks in advance for the answers!

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I only dabble in this, but my understanding is that you want the manuscript to be as polished as you can make it before sending out to an agent. That agent may help with some editing, depending on their experience and expertise, before sending it to an editor. If accepted you will then work with the editor in getting it into final shape. If you have the money you can pay for an editor to look at your manuscript (for instance, this is recommended for people who take self-publishing seriously).

Way before all that you might want to send the manuscript to beta-readers - people you trust to look at early drafts to give advice and feedback. Not friends and family - unless they actually give objective advice - but usually people you know in writing circles. 

Are you writing sci-fi by any chance?

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I would just try a publisher and see what happens.
Only then would I take further steps. The first try is like a test. You should get at least some feedback then.
Then you can always work on certain passages or parts of the story.
Of course I don't know what it looks like now, but you could also work on your work in workshops or let people read your own text over and over again. This is also how you get feedback. On the one hand in terms of the story itself, on the other hand in terms of its own technology.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/16/2021 at 3:24 PM, SamuelRichards said:

It seems to me that you should try to publish your first manuscript through a publishing house, you will find out all the contradictory moments and if you are not satisfied, in the future you will be able to promote yourself.

I agree. Just try out whether it works or how everything works. After that, you can always check whether you want to self-publish or whether you are looking for a service provider like novum publishing or something else. You will then have to weigh what you want and what you need. But that's just the next step. Is then also a question of what you trust yourself, whether you can do everything on your own or then need help.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello to all and thanks to you for the feedback. I'm sorry that I'm just now responding. I haven't looked in the forum for a while...

Prometheus, what is the difference between an agent and a publishing house? Is it the same thing or are there gradations again? Where are the differences? As I see, however, an editor is necessary anyway... which is totally logical…

Thanks also for the tip with the beta-readers... that is certainly helpful to get honest feedback from the readership. After all, they're the ones who will be reading the book - so they'll want to be entertained by it.

I tend to write novels and short stories... I have no experience with science fiction. Why do you ask? :-)

Zerbo, do you think it would make sense to just send the manuscript to different publishers? And such workshops you mention also sound very interesting. I would like to participate in one of those one day. I think you can learn a lot there… To be honest, I can't imagine that you can manage the whole procedure on your own. After all, as a newcomer, you hardly have any contacts in the industry, so it would certainly be more helpful if you could use the network of publishers or agents, right?

 

SamuelRichards, I would also prefer to publish the book with a publishing house. I believe that one might appear already more professional in such a way. Who of you has ever read a book that was self-published and you were very satisfied when you read it? :-)

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On 5/2/2021 at 6:09 PM, kingdom said:

Prometheus, what is the difference between an agent and a publishing house? Is it the same thing or are there gradations again? Where are the differences? As I see, however, an editor is necessary anyway... which is totally logical…

An agent acts on your behalf to negotiate with a publisher. They will likely know the professional landscape far better than you. You can work directly with a publisher but it's rare.

 

On 5/2/2021 at 6:09 PM, kingdom said:

I tend to write novels and short stories... I have no experience with science fiction. Why do you ask? :-)

 

You're asking these questions on a science forum. You'd be better off on a writing forum.

 

On 5/2/2021 at 6:09 PM, kingdom said:

Who of you has ever read a book that was self-published and you were very satisfied when you read it?

The Martian is the best self-published book i've read. It soon got snapped up by a publisher though.

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