Author Topic: Publishing a book for love.  (Read 322 times)

RiverRun

Publishing a book for love.
« on: October 24, 2019, 05:00:42 PM »
A few years ago, I had what I thought was a great idea for a romance book, and the thing just flew out of me, I wrote page after page in no time - until I got about two-thirds of the way through. I did finish the book, but it wound up changing from what I thought it would be. It was not the genre type romance I had expected - it came out more of a women's fiction thing (I think). I self-published it briefly but KU 2 was happening and I was busy with other stuff and felt I was doing something wrong somewhere because I could hardly give the book away. So I took it down, thought about abandoning writing, and changed genres instead.

Life got even crazier and that project took a few years. It goes live this week - yea! But I still have this romance languishing away on my hard drive. It's a good book - at least a couple beta readers said so, and probably just needs a little editing. But it's a stand-alone novel. I don't want to promote it, I know it isn't going to sell, and its discouraging to publish a book I love when I feel no one will find it or read it.

I submitted it to a hybrid publisher, and they liked it and wanted to accept it, but they wanted to know that I was willing to write more like it. Pretty reasonable, I thought, since that's exactly the reason why I don't think I'll be able to sell it on my own. But I don't want to write more like it right now.

So, who has published a stand alone, or anything, just because you loved that book and wanted it out there? Even though you knew not much would come of it? Any inspiring motivation for finishing a project just for love?
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2019, 05:05:46 PM »
My only attempt at a stand alone was something I did for a change, and didn't think anyone would want to read. It went to #132 in the paid store. Could have knocked me over by waving a feather at me. Needless to say, it ended up a trilogy.

The point is, you can never tell.

Even if it tanks, its a book in your back catalogue. And once you do hit a winner, all the new readers will go back looking for what else you've written.

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notthatamanda

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2019, 08:50:06 PM »
The book that is closest to my heart is one of my worst sellers.  I'll be rebranding it next year and giving it another shot. I have enough experience that if I finish a book I will likely publish it. It would be too hard to have it sit there and wonder what if. And I every time I sell a book, I might reach a reader who will be willing to try more of my catalogue. I know that's the only way this particular book has been read at all.

I think tell the hybrid publisher (I'm not really sure what that means to be honest, and would like more details if you are willing to share) that you can't see writing more of it right now. You won't regret it down the road if you are upfront about that. If you are willing to consider it if the book sells, you can tell them that too. If you don't ever want to write another book like it, admit it.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2019, 09:10:55 PM »
I have published stand-alones and they have sold the best of all my books in terms of sheer profit. It's easier to command a decent price from a women's fiction novel than from a straight romance. You also absolutely must have a cover that signals your genre, and advertise.

I am not sure what a hybrid publisher means in your case, because they seem to be all over the map. Are you expected to pay any of the production costs? Are you expected to do extensive marketing? Or is it a small press that charges you nothing, does all the editorial and production, and expects nothing from you beyond tweets and Facebook mentions?

I think you should publish the book. If you feel one set of fans will be very different from another, use a half pen name such as "John Jones writing as J. J. Jones" or "Jane Jones as Jane J. Jones" or the like.   
 
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RiverRun

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2019, 11:26:10 PM »
The ship has already sailed with the hybrid publisher. I don't know why I mentioned that; it's not on the table anymore.

The company was Red Adept Publishing.  I think it's a good company for the right author, (though I have no first-hand experience, except for one phone call) but after talking with them it was apparent on both sides that this book was not a good fit for them for a couple of different reasons. They are looking for a good first in series, mainstream genre book, (as any successful publisher would be), and this probably isn't it.  I'm glad they were so candid. But it was a boost of confidence for me and for this book, and further confirmation that I really ought to do something with it.

The cover though - that's a problem. I have a cover but I don't like it. I'm not sure what the cover should be. But I guess I'll think of something.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 12:31:45 AM by RiverRun »
 

Vijaya

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 04:25:35 AM »
The point is, you can never tell.

Even if it tanks, its a book in your back catalogue. And once you do hit a winner, all the new readers will go back looking for what else you've written.

This.

Books of your heart need readers. If it sits on your hard drive, no readers. Publishing means a chance to find readers, one heart at a time. Good luck!

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
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Dormouse

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2019, 05:48:04 AM »
The company was Red Adept Publishing.
Bookouture might be a better fit. Slightly lower royalties though.
 
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j tanner

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 06:24:42 AM »
As long as you're putting out a polished product, what's the harm in publishing it? It can only be a net positive for you. Use a pen name if you want to avoid genre pollution.
 
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RiverRun

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 08:29:33 AM »
As long as you're putting out a polished product, what's the harm in publishing it? It can only be a net positive for you. Use a pen name if you want to avoid genre pollution.

It just feels so much like work:) But this thread is helping. I'm starting to feel a little more motivated...
 

spin52

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2019, 11:41:10 AM »
I wrote a standalone (on the right in my signature) based on a real life event, because it seemed a shame to waste the experience. I had a good time writing it but I seem to be almost the only one who likes it. I have thought of adding a couple more along the same line to make it a series, and may do that next year. 
     

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valeriec80

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Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2019, 03:49:01 AM »
OMG, I have written so many standalones, lots of which just sit around with phone number ranks doing nothing.

Just do it. Lower your expectations to completely nothing, and then throw a party if you get one sale or borrow or whatever. I'm convinced that it doesn't hurt anything to have a bunch of non-selling books sitting around when you publish something new. I've never found that the non-selling books work like an anchor on a breakout. (Sighs wistfully, remembering breakouts.)

But if it's not the same genre, I'd just stick it under a pen name and leave it out there all on its lonesome. Then you'll be sure it's hurting absolutely nothing. On your hard drive, it's also hurting nothing, but it's not doing anything. This way, maybe you make enough money to buy yourself a latte or something, you know?

Good luck!
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2019, 04:34:10 AM »
If you had an idea and weren't sure whether to flesh it out or not, this would be a different conversation. But the book is already finished. If you have confidence in it, put it out there. Even if it sells little, since you've already put in the time, you've lost nothing by hitting publish. In fact, it seems a waste not to.

Some of my titles sell very little, but I don't regret publishing any of them.

On a separate note, (for the benefit of people seeking publishing from a small press)I wouldn't describe Red Adept as a hybrid. They offer editing services for self-published authors, but they also have a wall between that and their publishing. Novels authors have paid RAP to edit can't be submitted to them for publishing. Novels they've rejected can't be submitted to their editing service. Anyone who tries to keep those functions that separate is a regular trad publisher.

It's true they expect authors to do some work publicizing. That's true of a lot of trads these days.

I don't know anything else about RAP, but their website is presented professionally, and they have a lot of books that seem to have done well, based on a few spot checks. I'm not sure I will submit, but the initial glance made me want to.


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cecilia_writer

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2019, 06:05:47 AM »
I agree with all the,advice to put it out there. For what it's worth, my favourites among my novels are mostly the best reviewed but hardly ever the best for sales. So at least a few people have enjoyed them!
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 
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Shoe

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2019, 07:59:43 AM »

So, who has published a standalone, or anything, just because you loved that book and wanted it out there?

That describes my entire shelf, though "degrees" of love may have varied. I can't imagine writing a book I didn't love writing. This isn't "mass market" thinking. Thank God I was able to create a niche with a decent audience. Otherwise, I'd be really pissed.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

RiverRun

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 08:17:01 AM »
Just do it. Lower your expectations to completely nothing.

At this point, my expectations are nothing for everything I write:) I've already self-published a book in the same genre so the author name is not an issue to me. It's just that the book needs to be edited. By me. I re-read most of it after posting this and I still think its good! but I realized my characters repeat themselves a lot. It'll take time to fix that I'm not sure I have right now. It would, however, be satisfying to put it out there. Hopefully I will work up the gumption to finish it, (eventually).  It's all that tedious stuff that inevitably comes at the end of a project that's holding me back.

If you had an idea and weren't sure whether to flesh it out or not, this would be a different conversation. But the book is already finished. If you have confidence in it, put it out there. Even if it sells little, since you've already put in the time, you've lost nothing by hitting publish. In fact, it seems a waste not to.

Some of my titles sell very little, but I don't regret publishing any of them.

On a separate note, (for the benefit of people seeking publishing from a small press)I wouldn't describe Red Adept as a hybrid. They offer editing services for self-published authors, but they also have a wall between that and their publishing. Novels authors have paid RAP to edit can't be submitted to them for publishing. Novels they've rejected can't be submitted to their editing service. Anyone who tries to keep those functions that separate is a regular trad publisher.

It's true they expect authors to do some work publicizing. That's true of a lot of trads these days.

I don't know anything else about RAP, but their website is presented professionally, and they have a lot of books that seem to have done well, based on a few spot checks. I'm not sure I will submit, but the initial glance made me want to.

That's interesting. I thought of hybrid as a catch-all term (I don't follow the industry very closely). They only do e-books, not paperbacks, which would set them apart from a trad publisher.
 

LilyBLily

Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2019, 08:36:06 AM »
I have been systematically going through and finishing or revising every story--no matter the subgenre--I've ever given substantial time to. I've published all but a couple by now, and even though sales title by title vary dramatically, I'm happy I published each one.

It is a time commitment to raise a zombie story and fix it. I started a story many years ago that I'm still thinking about fleshing out and publishing. I don't even know why; maybe because one or two scenes I wrote have stuck in my mind all this time? Today, I can manipulate a story with far more dexterity than I had at my command back then, so if I take it on I know I'll finish it. Or perhaps I should stick those scenes into a different story? Whatever, I don't like the idea that a story is lost because I didn't have the ability to finish it back in the day. Which is funny because it turns out I have lots of story ideas and will never have time to write them all. Yet the ones I started to write keep calling me...faintly.



 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Publishing a book for love.
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2019, 02:17:47 AM »
Just do it. Lower your expectations to completely nothing.

At this point, my expectations are nothing for everything I write:) I've already self-published a book in the same genre so the author name is not an issue to me. It's just that the book needs to be edited. By me. I re-read most of it after posting this and I still think its good! but I realized my characters repeat themselves a lot. It'll take time to fix that I'm not sure I have right now. It would, however, be satisfying to put it out there. Hopefully I will work up the gumption to finish it, (eventually).  It's all that tedious stuff that inevitably comes at the end of a project that's holding me back.

If you had an idea and weren't sure whether to flesh it out or not, this would be a different conversation. But the book is already finished. If you have confidence in it, put it out there. Even if it sells little, since you've already put in the time, you've lost nothing by hitting publish. In fact, it seems a waste not to.

Some of my titles sell very little, but I don't regret publishing any of them.

On a separate note, (for the benefit of people seeking publishing from a small press)I wouldn't describe Red Adept as a hybrid. They offer editing services for self-published authors, but they also have a wall between that and their publishing. Novels authors have paid RAP to edit can't be submitted to them for publishing. Novels they've rejected can't be submitted to their editing service. Anyone who tries to keep those functions that separate is a regular trad publisher.

It's true they expect authors to do some work publicizing. That's true of a lot of trads these days.

I don't know anything else about RAP, but their website is presented professionally, and they have a lot of books that seem to have done well, based on a few spot checks. I'm not sure I will submit, but the initial glance made me want to.

That's interesting. I thought of hybrid as a catch-all term (I don't follow the industry very closely). They only do e-books, not paperbacks, which would set them apart from a trad publisher.
The term hybrid doesn't really have a standard definition. Some "publishers" that call themselves hybrids are actually vanity presses by another name, which has made hybrid a somewhat suspect label. In the interest of clarity, I would define a true hybrid as being a publisher that in some way combines features of self-publishing and traditional publishing. When that means authors have more of a real voice and higher royalties, it's good. If it means authors pay for things traditional publishers normally pay for, but the publisher still takes a typical chunk of the income (essentially for doing nothing), it's very, very bad.

I don't remember the name, but I did run across a hybrid a few years ago that seemed like an equitable arrangement. It was started by an author as was a little like an authors' cooperative--under ideal conditions, it was full royalty pass-through. For instance, authors got 70% of the royalty on Amazon ebooks, just as if they had self published them. However, the publisher didn't take all comers, and if a book was promising but needed work, then the author had a choice--take a lower royalty (I think 50%) for a period of time to compensate for the needed editing, or pay for editing and take the full 70%. While that would make some people suspicious, and the system could certainly be exploited by an unscrupulous publisher, in this case it seemed like an equitable balance. (The editing wasn't intended to make the publisher money at the expense of authors but to be cost-neutral.) And the publisher provided some promotion, as well as setting up copromotion opportunities for its authors, who also got the benefit of having an imprint label rather than being self-published (for those who wanted that).

Booktrope, sometimes called a hybrid, involved creating books in a team approach. That is, an author might work with an editor, a cover designer, and a publicist, all of which were independent of the publisher. The team made an agreement about how the royalties would be split. The team might be smaller if, for example, the author was also a graphic designer and also did the cover. The publisher took I think 20% and handled payments, facilitated collaboration, and did some advertising. I guess the model didn't pan out, because the company went out of business.

Anyway, Red Adept pays all production expenses as a trad would and gives the author 50% ebook royalties (higher than most publishers), as well as doing some advertising. As far as only producing ebooks is concerned, it appears to me they start with ebooks and then goes where demand takes them. Some of their titles have paperbacks, and some even had audiobooks.  I just checked one of the titles, and Red Adept is listed as the publisher of all three formats. Even if they were ebook exclusive, though, I'd say that makes them atypical but not hybrid. (Most indies produce paperbacks, and a lot produce audiobooks, so being an ebook-only operation doesn't suggest a combination of trad and self publishing features.)


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