It's taken a while, and I've been pulling my hair, but I have finally managed to publish two stories to Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.  This time I didn't go through my agent's office. I got some formatting help and then uploaded myself.  The stories are mine and so are the cover designs.  This is an achievement of sorts for someone as technically inept as I am.

 

I have a good mind to do more in the future.

 

The point is: if I can do it, so can you.

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Great to hear, Ingrid. I have just uploaded my first thriller - K.A.R.M.A. - to Amazon, too, since the publishing world seems to have fallen into a gap year after Penguin and Random House published my first two. Quite nerve-wracking to see what readers thought of this one, but the first reviews have been fantastic. I'm now editing a new mystery and hope to get it uploaded soon, too. I've already designed the cover for it, but the day job has been taking too much of my writing time lately. K.A.R.M.A is the novel that first attracted the attention of agents and publishers, but after making it past the publishing board of a major NY pub - the controversial nature of the story made the top brass nervous and it was shuffled aside. It's great to finally be able to share the story on my terms - and readers are responding very positively, which is always the main goal. Here is the cover.


Best wishes to you, Grant.  Yes, I think there are going to be a lot of us who've found big publishing less than fair in their dealings and are turning to other options.  Thank God for options.

Ingrid,

 

I am curious, were they short stories, or novels?

Clay, they are short stories, notoriously hard to sell.  These are individual stories and brand new.  While I'm watching what happens to them, I also have a story out to AHMM, and am planning to put up the short story collection that has been making the rounds of publishers for several years now.  There may not be much money in short stories and the publishers won't touch them for that reason, but they are bound to make enough money for me once all the middlemen are removed.
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Thank you Ingrid. I have a number of short stories (some published, but I retain the rights), as well as two unpublished novels. I'm trying to figure out exactly what to do with them and have been watching your efforts and those of others closely.
Well, I'm watching myself.  I get a good spurt of sales at first, but then things slow down. I'm probably not promoting enough.  Best of luck, Clay.
If I may ask another question. Are you also offering your self-published books/stories in print through CreateSpace?
I haven't tried that yet.  Is CreateSpace a good way to go?  I have a local publisher who specializes in short stories.  I may contact him about those.  For self-published novels, I'd probably rather go with Encore or Thomas & Mercer.

I don't know if CreateSpace is a good way to go or not, which is why I was asking.

 

While i do get turned off by his presentation, I do believe to a large degree Konrath is correct about taking matters into your own hands. After 2 or 3 years of very polite, often personal/hand written, rejection letters from publishers and agents, I am working on a plan to "get my books out there."

 

The electronic aspect is easy enough to figure out, but trying to make a decision on a potential print offering is something else.

Clay, I think traditional publishers, even small ones, will demand a large chunk of your e-rights.  Do negotiate hard for those.  Or better, hold on to them and work the print deal some other way.

Konrath is in a situation similar to mine: traditionally published but dropped by his publisher. He promotes heavily.  That may account for his success, plus the fact that he switched to thrillers and writes much faster.  What he has done is to give struggling authors the hope that they might be able to survive in spite of the lack of support from the big houses. That's worth an awful lot to people. He has also been absolutely open about his sales and his methods.  So perhaps he wears rose-colored glasses in some instances.  He's still someone most of us must be grateful to, because he has shown us just how badly we were being ripped off.

I think Konrath's big contribution to publishing is to show people that there is another way, and then in tremendous detail, show them how he did it. My main problem is he comes across as a bit ... strong.

I'm trying to figure out how, without name recognition, to obtain some at least decent sales if I self-publish. Konrath, some others, and even you have the benefit of a following (and yes you have a following, including my mom, a niece, and half the folks at dad's fire station).

Certainly, for my short stories, it can't be worse. I published five short stories through online publications and got paid exactly nothing. I'll make more than that off my mom alone if I put them up through Amazon.

The idea of self publishing the books I'm not as sure about. I think they're good. I've gotten very positive feedback from agents/publishers, but the fact nobody's made an offer concerns me.

We'll see!

Clay, You're quite right that if you have a following and some name recognition it's easier to get some sales. Konrath has that plus an enormous amount of promotion.  But you have to start somewhere. What do you mean "online pubs"? Why don't you go to Kindle?  Give them an exclusive and see if they'll give you a bit of promotion. Then do some announcements on Kindle boards and Author Central and Facebook etc.  Konrath's message is that you've got to set the price low and put up as many items as possible, because that gives you shelf presence. And you have to be patient.

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