Why I Write Pulp Fiction

Why I Write Pulp Fiction Guest Blogger: James Scott Bell With the e-publication of my new suspense collection, One More Lie, I’m happy to count myself as a writer of pulp fiction. What is pulp fiction anyway? Please don’t get anywhere near confusing it with the nihilistic, over-praised and much too often over-copied film of the same name. True pulp fiction goes back to the magazines that used cheaper pulp paper in order to sell in great volume to a voracious reading public. These magazines had their heyday in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. It was fiction for the people, for the guy on the crowded subway going to work, or the busy mother with five kids who got a little reading time at night. It was for the people who wanted to be caught up in a fictive dream. It was not written in a style aimed...
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Will Self-Pub Sales Affect Your Future?

Will Self-Pub Sales Affect Your Future? Dear Rachelle: Could poor self-pubbed Kindle sales affect a writer’s chance of getting an agent in the future? Is a pseudonym safer? Signed, Considering Self Pubbing Dear Considering: Yes, if you’ve self-pubbed a book and it sold poorly, it could affect your chance of getting an agent and getting traditionally pubbed in the future. But of course, there’s the sticky wicket of defining “poor self-pub sales” which might be different depending on who you’re talking to. It used to be that the average self-published book sold 200 copies (or fewer). Nowadays, that’s probably still true, but there are self-published authors selling thousands of books a week, so an average is not only difficult to find but virtually meaningless. I’d say, you’ll only impress someone if...
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How I Created My First E-Book

How I Created My First E-Book Guest Blogger: Mary DeMuth I never thought I’d self publish anything. Truly. I’m a traditionally published girl with eleven books under my author belt. I love my publishers, love what they’ve done. But there came a time when one of my book ideas didn’t fit within their needs. The kernel of the idea to e-publish started when I pioneered my nonfiction and fiction proposal tutorials to help authors with the difficult process of writing a book proposal. Sure, they were simple e-documents I sold from my site (and they’re available here on Rachelle’s blog by clicking on “Resources for Writers” above) but they weren’t made of paper, and they’ve proven to be a financial blessing. I don’t make a lot, but the amount helps me pay my...
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Will Self-Pubbing Hurt My Chances?

Will Self-Pubbing Hurt My Chances? This has to be the most common question I get these days, from all kinds of writers including my clients. To use the words of one of my authors: Am I hurting my traditional career by self-pubbing? My pressing goal is to become a best-selling, traditionally published author. First of all, if you’re agented, the right thing to do is discuss it with your agent, because that’s who knows you and what kind of books you write. The answers I give here are generalizations and each situation (as always) is unique. But the answer is . . . NO. Self-publishing probably will not hurt your chances of traditional publishing. This is a 180 degree switch from just a few years ago! There was a stigma, as you know, attached to self publishing, and authors who went that route risked alienating...
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Tell Me the Truth Now

Tell Me the Truth Now No matter what I blog about lately—no matter where we go in the blogosphere as a matter of fact—somebody always turns it into a conversation about two things: (1) Publishing is dead or at least in its final death throes; and (2) Everyone should pursue self-publishing and if you don’t, you’re an idiot with your head in the sand. Let me just say this: I completely disagree with both of those statements. Yes, publishing is undergoing a tectonic shift, nobody is denying that. But the shift cannot be accurately described as “dying.” And yes, self-publishing (or indie publishing or whatever designation you want to give it) is increasingly an attractive option for many people, which is a development I completely support. I am, after all, a person in business...
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Do-It-Yourself Book Publishing

Do-It-Yourself Book Publishing It seems like every week there’s a new story of an author having terrific success with self-publishing. (Two examples from just this week: Amanda Hocking and Alisa Valdes.) I’ve had quite of few readers comment that they’ve gone the self-pub route, and many authors who’ve been published traditionally now have out-of-print books they’re selling via self-pub or simply e-book distribution on Amazon. So I want to know, if you’ve self published a book (or books), tell us how you did it. Did you have a print run, print-on-demand, or is your book strictly digital? Did you go through a company, or do it completely yourself? If you used a company, how was your experience? Would you do it again? Are you having any success? What have you learned that you’d...
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Are You a Do-It-Yourself Type?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/THLCH-1rL8I/AAAAAAAAECk/XZ9T7DqX3gc/s200/diy.jpg I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about self-publishing. My thoughts have been evolving – things are changing fast and sometimes our thinking has to change, too. Seems like these days, lots of people are into D-I-Y, and that includes the book world. My latest (but still subject to change) opinion is this: Self publishing is becoming an increasingly attractive and viable alternative to the typical commercial (royalty-paying, print-based) book deal.As I’ve mentioned before, I believe this applies much more to non-fiction than fiction, because non-fiction often is targeted to a niche audience to whom the author can effectively promote from their personal platform. Self-published fiction is a much more difficult sell, since there usually isn’t an accompanying...
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Non-Traditional Publishing

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S-tZnEAxGHI/AAAAAAAADzc/C54sOsChgKQ/s200/self+pub.jpg Guest Blogger: Sue Collier There’s a lot of talking, tweeting, and blogging today about self-publishing, as digital technology makes it more accessible to more authors. But there are still misconceptions about what constitutes self-publishing, and it’s frequently defined incorrectly. There are some major differences in publishing options, so let’s go over the three primary ways to publish: 1. Traditional publishing A traditional publisher will offer a contract and probably an advance against future royalties. Since a traditional publisher pays all production costs and makes final decisions on editing, title, and book and cover design, authors will lose some control over their work. They will probably also give up reproduction and other rights to the publisher. The publisher...
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Think Hard Before Self-Publishing

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S5Rmzql3BrI/AAAAAAAADp0/C9FgbvKdtoQ/s200/chimpanzee_thinking_poster.jpg I recently received an email from a guy who had self-published a book. He’d paid to print 500 hardcover copies, and was pursuing local and national bookstore chains and distributors. But he’d hit a brick wall, finding that most buyers and distributors were not interested in talking to him. He was flummoxed; he needed to sell his books, especially because he was already developing several more books after that first one. He was convinced that if people just looked at his book, they’d want to buy it; he’d already had many positive responses from acquaintances. But he had no idea where to go next. This was hard for me because basically, I could not help the guy. I’m not a self-pub expert. But I told him that his problems getting distribution are the main reason...
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Where the Money Comes From

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/Sy5AJOCdTUI/AAAAAAAADZg/CxWfHXIu4tQ/s200/money.jpg Ever since last month when the publishing world erupted in a brouhaha about Harlequin and Thomas Nelson entering the business of self-publishing, I’ve been watching the reports, reading the blogs and mulling this over. It took me awhile to identify what was really bothering me about all of this. But I finally figured it out. There are two issues that are making me uncomfortable with big traditional publishers opening up to self publishing, beyond the things I’ve brought up in my previous posts. 1. Self publishing’s NOT a great idea for fiction authors. Non-fiction books on specific topics that have a built-in audience or subculture are much easier to sell than fiction. You can have a blog and website that attracts people who want the information you’re sharing. You may...
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My Final Comments on Self-Pub

First of all, I want to reiterate that I absolutely love all the conversation yesterday’s post inspired. This is why I blog – to have an interactive experience, and to be able to engage with the writing and publishing community. It’s invaluable to hear all your perspectives, regardless of whether I agree or disagree (or feel defensive or even hurt, sometimes). There are a couple of things I want to stress about self-publishing and all of its various permutations (independent publishing, vanity publishing, subsidy publishing, e-book, POD, whatever). After all of the conversation, I still have two major pieces of advice for writers when it comes to this topic, the same things I’ve always said to writers. 1) Understand that self-publishing is usually an alternative to...
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Self-Publishing: A Rant and a Q4U

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SwYjV_Pnc9I/AAAAAAAADQE/yPO2ExTGSj4/s320/question+mark.jpg This week another major publisher, Harlequin, announced their entry into the self-publishing business. The blogs have lit up over it and there’s a lot of interesting reading out there. I think Victoria Strauss gave a great overview on the Writer Beware blog (here.) I have to admit that the idea of all these major publishers opening self-pub arms is making me nervous. It makes me worry about the future of publishing, much more than other issues like e-books, the decline of reading, etc. And here’s why. The lure and the prestige of getting a book published has always been based on… what? Exclusivity. It’s exciting to get a book deal because many want one, and few can get one. Published books have always been respected because of the many gatekeepers they had to go...
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Self-Publishing is an Option, Not a Stepping Stone

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SYpvXZ3W-eI/AAAAAAAACrQ/MHSZQrOADLM/s200/can_o_worms.bmp Seems I opened up a can o’ worms or two with my post yesterday. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll do my best to clear up a couple of things. There were some questions about whether self-publishing would ever lose its stigma. Truthfully, I don’t think the stigma will fade until most self and indie products are perceived as having the same level of quality as traditionally published books—in writing/editorial quality as well as interior/exterior design. (See this post about self-publishing where I explain my position on this.) I don’t know if it will ever happen. (But ask yourself where the stigma lies. I think it’s primarily with those of us who live and breathe writing and publishing. But many readers and book-buyers, not connected in any way...
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Who Takes the Risk?

ANNOUNCEMENT: I will only be blogging FOUR days a week until further notice. I plan to blog Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays and weekends are off. Thanks for being here! We’ve had a lot of talk on this blog about publishers and bookstores wanting “more of the same” rather than unique and original books. It’s a tough topic, because in all media—television, movies, books—nobody ever knows what’s going to sell in the future. All we have to go on is what sold in the past. When we branch outside of a “sure thing” it’s always a risk. Sometimes it ends up to be a huge success, even paving the way for entire new genres or styles to emerge and become popular. More often, the risk doesn’t pay off financially. Still, that doesn’t stop publishers, TV producers...
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