Who Needs a Publisher?

Discussion, background, reviews, and critical analysis of works by Feldgrau.net members who are published authors.
John P. Moore
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Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by John P. Moore » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:20 pm

A recent issue of Newsweek magazine contained the article, "Who Needs a Publisher?" See the link to the article below.

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/30/who- ... isher.html

It is worth reading and thinking about, especially the example of the author who was rejected by traditional publishers and who began selling an e-book for $2.99 in April 2009, estimating that is about what he would make on a hardcover version selling for $25.00. Sales exceeded his expectations and he expects to make over $100,000 in 2010!

Anyone with a creative mind and good writing skills ought to be able to match such a success story.

John

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Tom Houlihan
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Tom Houlihan » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:21 am

The concept does work. I knew I'd have a hard time getting my work published, which is why I did it myself. Granted, it hasn't allowed me to quit my real job yet. Far from it! But, I'm out there!!
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by John P. Moore » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:25 am

Tom - have you ever considered writing military novels? With your knowledge of the SS-"Nord" division together with your many years of experience as a USMC NCO and your very good writing skills, you have the potential to become the next Charles Whiting! You could write about the Aufklärungs Abteilung "Nord" and use the unit commander as your main charachter and let your imagination go. It's been a long time since I have seen a new SS novel hit the market that was any good.

John

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Tom Houlihan
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Tom Houlihan » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:32 am

As a matter of fact, I have been invited to work on a project along those lines. A friend who is a retired journalist had the idea a while back. We're both trying to clear some room on our plates to work on it. In the meantime, I've been collecting niblets of information, dialogue, etc. to aid the cause.
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Gebirgsjaeger
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Gebirgsjaeger » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:33 am

Go Tom, go! You´ve got the stuff required to do that job! Auf ins Gefecht!
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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:35 am

Personally, I find there are so many gripping non-fiction stories from WW2 still untold that there's no requirement for WW2 fiction. Plus I haven't an oodle of imagination in me. :D

The new breed of self-publishing certainly is much better than the old vanity publishing because there's not that massive outlay to pay for the publication (well, apart from the cost of research etc...). I've toyed with going down this route; my only concern is that there's not the clout to publicise the finished work, be it with Amazon or book clubs, or whomever - and that's not something I'd have the time to deal with either. On the plus side, you have total control over your work, its title, layout and the like, which is extremely appealing.
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Tom Houlihan
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Tom Houlihan » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:55 am

Richard Hargreaves wrote:On the plus side, you have total control over your work, its title, layout and the like, which is extremely appealing.
The lack of initial funding requirements, and that quote were my favorite parts. I had complete control, which was really nice.
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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:29 am

Tom Houlihan wrote:
Richard Hargreaves wrote:On the plus side, you have total control over your work, its title, layout and the like, which is extremely appealing.
The lack of initial funding requirements, and that quote were my favorite parts. I had complete control, which was really nice.
It would be for me too. My co-workers complain that I am a control freak. Nil satis nisi optimum. Das Beste oder nichts.
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Alex Dekker
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Alex Dekker » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:40 am

A few months ago I was asked to write down the whole story of my search for my grandfather. At first I wanted to decline. I wanted to do the whole process by my self. I gave the idea a few thoughts. Coming days the book will go to the publisher. 'All' I did was write the story I always wanted to write. Now a Dutch publisher has to do all the work instead of me :wink: . Also, I did enjoy the sparring part: 'Put more of this in it!' 'Did you spoke to...?' etc.
Always in need for info about: Dutchmen in the NSKK, HJ and TeNo.

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Tom Houlihan
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Tom Houlihan » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:12 am

Richard Hargreaves wrote:My co-workers complain that I am a control freak.
Can't imagine why... :roll: :[] :beer:
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by John P. Moore » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:55 am

Control can be an important thing for a writer who should want the best possible finished product versus the primary objective of most publishers to organize the book in a manner to generate maximum profits. A couple of years ago a publisher friend in England had persuaded me to agree in principal to allowing him to publish a new print version of my SS signals book that was originally published on paper in 1995 and later on as two CDs. We were in agreement on most things until he wanted to make some changes and get veterans to include their autographs in the book. I viewed that as exploiting veterans and backed off from having a third party publish my work. I don't regret that decision.

John

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:05 am

The downside of control is that sometimes you need to take a step back from your work, to have someone outside the loop come in have a look at it and say "don't like that", "that needs changing", "have you thought about that?" With friends and family passing judgment on a book it can become a bit of a lovefest, rather than something taking a cold, calculated decision to change something. (As a news editor I may have done this to the chagrin of colleagues... :roll: )

It's interesting reading reviews on Amazon which increasingly remark that "the book badly needed a copy editor" - although it's also worth pointing out that mainstream publishers are becoming increasingly poor at proofing/copy editing (see Hamann's Hitler's Vienna for an example of a good book badly let down by sloppy editing/proofing...).
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Alex Dekker
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Alex Dekker » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:12 am

Good decision, John!

For me the question was this: should I do it myself (do the investment and get the profit if the book sells), or should I contact a professional publisher? For me, both have advantages and disadvantages. WHen I did the first run of the book about Dutchmen in the NSKK, I was like a blind man in a dark room. I had to figure everything out by my self. The second run was a lot easier. I did it before and it worked out great. I've sold, on my own, round 400 copies. My publisher figured he could easily sell about a 1000 copies. He likes the subject (NSKK) and he has some better ways to sell the book (shops for example). That's why I accepted his offer. The main disadvantage is the time it takes: since this offer it has taken about three years! Meanwhile they will publish the book about my granddad, so I'm not complaining at all!
Always in need for info about: Dutchmen in the NSKK, HJ and TeNo.

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Terry Maker
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Terry Maker » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:17 am

Having to run my own historical research group, and researching for another, whilst writing a factual account of my cousins last mission, and "Ghosting" for a veteran who's hand written notes formed the basis of the story he wanted to tell, made me ask a similar question of myself, namely, "Do I need a publisher?"

After much consideration. I decided that this has to be answered with regard to the "Target Market", ie, if you are writing an account of a person for their memorial site, and the item is to be free and gratis, then my answer would be an emphatic "No!", but should that account then grow into something of "Merchantable Quality" (Size, Gloss, Demand etc., with the content unchanged), then probably, "Yes!", since very few people would buy a typewritten manuscript! Also consider the media of delivery; paperback, or hardback? CD, or Ebook? Or any other of the myriad ways to deliver the "written" word to the public.

I must also point out that I do not consider myself a 'writer', just a person who can 'write'. So if I felt compelled to ask the same question, then what must it be like for the 'new author'?

The area, is a minefield for the "Newbie", and I would have thought that a publisher would alleviate some of that, But you can produce a perfectly respectable work, either printed, or electronic, these days with very little skill.

I'm beginning to think that the answer lies in the money earned.

Terry

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Alex Dekker
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Re: Who Needs a Publisher?

Post by Alex Dekker » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:38 am

Terry Maker wrote: I'm beginning to think that the answer lies in the money earned.
I'm not sure about that.
I've earned a few bucks selling my book by myself. If it was for the money, I should publish every book by myself. BUT! I did the writing (1000 hours or more?), have to do the selling (writing emails, answering calls, etc.) and the shipping of the books. It takes hours and hours of doing things I don't really like in the end. So, did I earn a lot? I guess only a few dollars/euros an hour, long after I did the most work (e.g. writing the book).

This whole situation changenced when I got in contact with a profesional publisher. All I had to do (for my second book) was the writing of it. In the end, at least I hope so!, all I have to do is finding a goal for the money I will earn by the selling. I must add, I also got the chance to see my own book in almost every bookstore in Holland. I don't care about the money at all, but the idea my book is for sale in a shop around the corner, GREAT!!! It's worth a lot to me.
Always in need for info about: Dutchmen in the NSKK, HJ and TeNo.

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