- Introduce the hero
- Convey the plot via one of the hero’s major goalsInclude some of the obstacles in the hero’s way
- Show what’s at stake for the hero if s/he fails
- Provide genre indicatorsUse the voice of the novel (in third person, present tense)Hook the reader into wanting more
If you are a self published writer, this may be the most important video you will ever watch. It is not enough to write the book, you also have to get somebody to read it.
To self-publish or traditionally publish. That is the question.
So. You have yourself a book. Should you just go ahead and self-publish and see how it does? Should you try your luck with agents and publishers? Should you try agents and publishers first and then self-publish if that doesn’t work?
Having traditionally published the Jacob Wonderbar series and self-published How to Write a Novel, I’ve seen both sides of the publishing world.
Which way should you go? Here are seven questions to ask yourself:
The Amazon/Hachette dispute has been the catalyst for my own move into direct sales of books, even though I have been selling courses online for a number of years now. Amazon represents 60% of Hachette’s ebook sales in the US, and 78% in the UK, according to GoodeReader in June 2014. Once another company/platform has that much control over your business, negotiations are always going to be difficult.
Most books sell less than 250 copies to say nothing of getting any significant attention. It’s impossible to tell whether a launch will be a success or not. And even if everything goes exactly as you hope—the results could still be disappointing.
So no wonder it can feel like you’re going to crack up, fall apart and die.
Every person who’s ever been there before you has felt this way at some point.
It is simply a fact — a fact — that a lone author can distribute 100% as effectively by herself as she can with the assistance of a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate (again, editing, marketing and all the rest is a separate story; for the moment, we are talking only about distribution).
To put it another way: a publisher offering an author digital distribution services is like someone offering me air. I already have it and I don’t need to pay extra for it. I know it can be unsettling in some circles to have the matter stated so baldly, but I really don’t think the matter is disputable, either. In digital, as Clay Shirky has said, “Publishing is a button.”
On January 29, Amazon Technologies Inc. received a patent pertaining to the “secondary market for digital objects.” According to the patent abstract, the technology will enable Amazon customers to transfer — and presumably sell — e-books, MP3s, and other digital files to other customers. And, Apple too has filed for patents on the transfer of owned digital items.
The whole issue of used digital goods is a big one, with far-reaching implications for media in general, but music and publishing in particular.
While several companies have entered the fray, ReDigi is already reselling digital music and recently announced it would also sell e-books. In fact, ReDigi is in court right now with Capitol Records, which is seeking to shut the digital marketplace down, claiming copyright infringement.
As the music and publishing industries wait for a decision in that case, the news that Amazon had applied for a patent sent another ripple. While ReDigi and others could certainly change the game themselves, if a player as big as Amazon gets into the used digital content business, the changes could come at lightning speed.
It’s still unclear however, if Amazon will actually use the patent. And if it does, how it might structure such a business. An Amazon representative declined to comment to MediaShift on the issue.
Is this where traditional publishers are going with their contracts?
The short answer: Not necessarily, but if authors and readers don’t raise hell about it, it becomes more likely.
The slightly longer answer: Look, what Random House is doing with their Alibi and Hydra imprints (and presumably their Flirt and Loveswept imprints are well) what the raptors inJurassic Park did: They’re testing the fences, looking for weaknesses. If they find them, then why wouldn’t they charge through them, to feed on the soft and chewy morsels on the other side (i.e., authors)? And if they can get away with it, why wouldn’t other publishers follow their lead, using the excuse of “this is how the business is these days”?
This is why authors and readers have to keep the fence electrified. Authors have to say, “no, this is bullshit” and refuse to deal with imprints offering these sorts of terms, and they have to tell other authors — including and especially aspiring ones, who are the most vulnerable to crap like this — that it’s bullshit, and explain why. And they have to explain to readers why this is bullshit too. Because readers are fans of authors and they’re sensitive to the people whose work they like being exploited.
Read more at Raptors at the Fences – Whatever.