Indie authors vs. published authors

By on January 28, 2014 6:16:33 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
+102

 

Many people have dreamed of writing the great American novel.  Few people actually do it because, well, it’s a ton of work and even harder to get published.

These days, you can release your indie book on Amazon but don’t count on selling any copies. The age of publishing isn’t over, not by a long shot.  I’ve talked to many indie authors and I’ve yet to meet one whose book outsold Destiny’s Embers. Not because my book was better but because Random House was my publisher and they did a lot of work to make sure my book got well marketed and well distributed.

But being published can also come with a high price that most people don’t realize.  My manuscript for Destiny’s Embers came in at about 100,000 words.  Random House’s editors added over 30,000 words to it, mostly internal dialog for characters but also changes to the plot. 

Since my day job isn’t being an author, the changes to my book bothered me because even to this day, I don’t feel like it’s my book.  But that is the price that authors often face, if they lack literary clout, if they want to be published.  That’s not to say I don’t like how the book turned out, it’s just that it’s not the book I had dreamed and set out to write.

With the loss of physical retail stores, the clout of traditional publishers continues to decline. But publishers still matter.  Here are things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t let the publisher hijack your novel. By hijack I mean don’t let them change the story to the point that you don’t feel it’s not your novel.
  2. A good publisher should provide good, quality editors who can help you find your voice and bring out the best in your story.  They should be the voice of sanity (“Hey, take out the love scene with the Orc, please…it’s not related to the story”)
  3. The role of the publisher is to take your book and make sure it is read and enjoyed by as many people as possible. That means marketing, distribution, setting you up for interviews, PR, book tours, etc.
  4. Don’t expect your first manuscript to be the final word on the topic. The manuscript is your raw vision of the story. A good publisher will help you find the core elements of your story and make them shine. 
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January 28, 2014 6:56:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And how does one get their MSS actually read by a decision maker at a publishing house? Isn't an agent required?  And how does one contact and contract with a quality literary agent?  Web searches uncover vast amounts of data, and many scams,,,

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January 31, 2014 3:38:46 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Some good notes to keep in mind on this subject, especially now while technology is making so many different things possible (both good and bad) and we're all still figuring out what we can do with it. A year ago, my husband and I made the decision to go the indie route and become author-publishers for our own work, after trying for a few years to break into the traditional publishing scene. No matter which way you go, it's always hard work. Hard...yet oh so rewarding.

As huge fans of Stardock games, Elemental and GalCiv in particular, we're both really excited about the founder program for GalCiv III, because it'll give us a chance to submit the name of a planet from our first novel as a star (pending approval, of course)! Nerd highlight of the year for us!

If you'd like a free copy of our book, Brad, feel free to email or PM me. We'd love to share our work with a guy that we've admired creatively for a number of years. The refund-remove-banhammer incident against an asinine forum troll is still told around the campfire in these parts!

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February 6, 2014 5:35:55 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Random House’s editors added over 30,000 words to it, mostly internal dialog for character

This was to make it more marketable? Like, to bring it in line with the style of other fantasy genre books? 

The decision surprises me, on their part. I'd be curious if you think it did indeed gave the book higher mass appeal.

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February 7, 2014 12:21:18 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

It' shard to say. The main problem I had was that Dave, who is a good writer, has a different style from me and it clashed. if I had to guess I would say they made the book less risky. My original manuscript was a kind of super hero prigin story told in a fantasy setting. When they finished with it, it had become a fairly traditional fantasy adventure story.

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February 7, 2014 12:50:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

...  don't trust the proof readers (as well as the author) to not miss continuity mistakes. eg.. feist had a chapter done with the wrong character and it got printed

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February 8, 2014 12:20:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting alaknebs,

...  don't trust the proof readers (as well as the author) to not miss continuity mistakes. eg.. feist had a chapter done with the wrong character and it got printed

 

ROFL 

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February 10, 2014 5:47:31 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I have a friend who has had several books published and even had one co-authored with Arthur C. Clark.

He said if he were to do it "today" he didn't think he would have made it in because of how difficult it is to get  publisher to look at your work.

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February 10, 2014 11:05:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I liked your book.  Read it twice.  Would have liked it to be a bit more adult, rarely like weak boy hero protagonist.  Is there going to be another?

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February 15, 2014 2:24:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Need to read it, it's on the list.  What the hell is "the great American novel" anyway though. Probably different for everyone based on their perspective i suppose.

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February 18, 2014 1:15:38 AM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,

I liked your book.  Read it twice.  Would have liked it to be a bit more adult, rarely like weak boy hero protagonist.  Is there going to be another?

 

Not sure.  The original manuscript was very different in so e respects. The protagonist was very powerful from the start originally going up against more and more lethal foes.  Random House insisted on dialing back on Xander.  If I ever did sequels I'd re release with my manuscript edited by my editing team here along with the sequels.  I don't think my manuscript was "better" per se but it is more true to what I originally had in mind,

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