Should I self-publish on Amazon or find an agent?

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Kasa
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#1
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#1
I'm a really amateurish writer and I know absolutely nothing about publishing and with no connections in the industry.
My friends have told me to bypass the rigorous and long-winded process of getting an agent and then the agent finding a publishing firm. They've told me to self-publish. However, I'm aware that very few authors make it through self-publishing. I'm not sure which option I should go for.
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DataVenia
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#2
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Self-publish.

I say this purely based upon what happened to Andy Wier's The Martian. (Originally available for free on his web site; readers asked for it to be available on Kindle; self-published on that platform for 99p; became a Kindle bestseller; approached by agent; rights sold to Crown Publishing; later adapted into a Ridley Scott movie starting Matt Damon.)

From the (very little) I know on the subject, I think self-publishing works best when worth-of-mouth recommendation becomes your advertising/marketing. That's how I first become aware of The Martian. So, once the book is available in some form, drop a few casual mentions on TSR and we'll try to get the word-of-mouth recommendations started. (That's assuming the book is any good, obviously. :wink2:)
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Kasa
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#3
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(Original post by DataVenia)
Self-publish.

I say this purely based upon what happened to Andy Wier's The Martian. (Originally available for free on his web site; readers asked for it to be available on Kindle; self-published on that platform for 99p; became a Kindle bestseller; approached by agent; rights sold to Crown Publishing; later adapted into a Ridley Scott movie starting Matt Damon.)

From the (very little) I know on the subject, I think self-publishing works best when worth-of-mouth recommendation becomes your advertising/marketing. That's how I first become aware of The Martian. So, once the book is available in some form, drop a few casual mentions on TSR and we'll try to get the word-of-mouth recommendations started. (That's assuming the book is any good, obviously. :wink2:)
Well that's the thing: the Martian was a novelty. I am not sure what I am writing is anyone near in the same league.
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DataVenia
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(Original post by Kasa)
I am not sure what I am writing is anyone near in the same league.
Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't.

If you opt to go down the long-winded agent-and-then-publisher route, the chances are we'll never know - as it won't get published. If you self-publish, we can all pay our 99p (or whatever) and have a read on our Kindles. We'll be kind in our criticism - honest!

Alternatively, how about posting Chapter 1 here. If we're all clamouring for Chapter 2 then you know there's a market. (Although your friends have already told you that.)
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skylark2
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(Original post by Kasa)
I'm a really amateurish writer and I know absolutely nothing about publishing and with no connections in the industry.
My friends have told me to bypass the rigorous and long-winded process of getting an agent and then the agent finding a publishing firm. They've told me to self-publish. However, I'm aware that very few authors make it through self-publishing. I'm not sure which option I should go for.
If you're a really amateurish writer then you first need to become a much less amateurish writer. There's no point spending time on the publication process of amateurish crap - how best to publish is something you worry about once you have something worth publishing. Which almost certainly won't be for several years, by which point the methods and advice will most likely have changed.

Have you found any critique sites yet? I suggest you start there. I do warn you - the first time you get a critique on something you've worked hard on it will be a very nasty shock. Don't post anything you've written for critique until you've spent a while lurking and looking at what a critique is and isn't - it certainly is nothing like friends telling you how wonderful you are for being able to put coherent words on paper.

Good luck and keep writing
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Kasa
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(Original post by skylark2)
If you're a really amateurish writer then you first need to become a much less amateurish writer. There's no point spending time on the publication process of amateurish crap - how best to publish is something you worry about once you have something worth publishing. Which almost certainly won't be for several years, by which point the methods and advice will most likely have changed.

Have you found any critique sites yet? I suggest you start there. I do warn you - the first time you get a critique on something you've worked hard on it will be a very nasty shock. Don't post anything you've written for critique until you've spent a while lurking and looking at what a critique is and isn't - it certainly is nothing like friends telling you how wonderful you are for being able to put coherent words on paper.

Good luck and keep writing
Hmm that's what I am afraid -- of being torn apart and plagiarism of course.
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Kasa
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#7
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(Original post by skylark2)
If you're a really amateurish writer then you first need to become a much less amateurish writer. There's no point spending time on the publication process of amateurish crap - how best to publish is something you worry about once you have something worth publishing. Which almost certainly won't be for several years, by which point the methods and advice will most likely have changed.

Have you found any critique sites yet? I suggest you start there. I do warn you - the first time you get a critique on something you've worked hard on it will be a very nasty shock. Don't post anything you've written for critique until you've spent a while lurking and looking at what a critique is and isn't - it certainly is nothing like friends telling you how wonderful you are for being able to put coherent words on paper.

Good luck and keep writing
Oh and thanks!
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4square
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(Original post by Kasa)
Hmm that's what I am afraid -- of being torn apart and plagiarism of course.
Why are you afraid of plagiarism?
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Kasa
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#9
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Dont know someone ripping of my ideas
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londonmyst
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#10
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#10
What type of employment, literary and financial ambitions do you have?
What genre of book have you written?

I wouldn't recommend publishing on amazon if you want to make a living from writing.
Quite a few friends have done so, the earnings are generally miniscule (usually less than £200).
The best things to do are get some advice/feedback/mentoring on your completed script and writing skills from an experienced professional working in the publishing industry.
Then focus on widening your writing skillset & networking contacts and building your profile in the writing & publishing worlds.
This is what I have spent many years doing.
Good luck!
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Kasa
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(Original post by londonmyst)
What type of employment, literary and financial ambitions do you have?
What genre of book have you written?

I wouldn't recommend publishing on amazon if you want to make a living from writing.
Quite a few friends have done so, the earnings are generally miniscule (usually less than £200).
The best things to do are get some advice/feedback/mentoring on your completed script and writing skills from an experienced professional working in the publishing industry.
Then focus on widening your writing skillset & networking contacts and building your profile in the writing & publishing worlds.
This is what I have spent many years doing.
Good luck!
Is that it? Wow
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4square
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Kasa)
Dont know someone ripping of my ideas
You'll probably make more money suing someone for ripping off your ideas than publishing, unless youre the next JK Rowling
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4square
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#13
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#13
(Original post by londonmyst)
What type of employment, literary and financial ambitions do you have?
What genre of book have you written?

I wouldn't recommend publishing on amazon if you want to make a living from writing.
Quite a few friends have done so, the earnings are generally miniscule (usually less than £200).
The best things to do are get some advice/feedback/mentoring on your completed script and writing skills from an experienced professional working in the publishing industry.
Then focus on widening your writing skillset & networking contacts and building your profile in the writing & publishing worlds.
This is what I have spent many years doing.
Good luck!
Fully agree.
Also, you'll have a publisher do all the marketing, promotion, type setting, proof reading, printing, distributing for you. The first two are the biggest points as they'll have the contacts already
Depending on what sort of work you've written, you dont tend to do it for the money. This is especially true for academics!
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Kasa
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#14
(Original post by 4square)
Fully agree.
Also, you'll have a publisher do all the marketing, promotion, type setting, proof reading, printing, distributing for you. The first two are the biggest points as they'll have the contacts already
Depending on what sort of work you've written, you dont tend to do it for the money. This is especially true for academics!
The problem my work is very controversial and I imagine a lot of people would want to avoid it.
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londonmyst
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#15
(Original post by Kasa)
The problem my work is very controversial and I imagine a lot of people would want to avoid it.
Have you got any feedback from published authors or publishing industry professionals?
It can be very helpful to do this.
Check out the How Strong Is Your Book Idea and Manuscript Review services from experienced professionals at Bloomsbury.
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skylark2
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(Original post by Kasa)
The problem my work is very controversial and I imagine a lot of people would want to avoid it
There's no book ever published which a lot of people haven't wanted to avoid - target audiences are a thing.

Obviously I haven't seen what you've written, but I will say that in my experience, young writers who say their work is very controversial tend to mean that it wouldn't be suitable for a ten year old. Everything doesn't have to be easy reading and books with adult themes (in the strict sense, not as a euphemism for erotica) are published every day.

I know there's the temptation to line up reasons why everyone doesn't/won't love your work (which are, of course, because of their prejudices, not because of any deficits in what you have written and how you wrote it). If you want to be a pro writer you will need to get past that. As a beginner, your writing will not be that good yet. You need to be able to work on improving, and the only way to do that is to stamp hard on what's every writer's natural impulse to find reasons why people who say your writing isn't perfect are wrong.
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mnot
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#17
(Original post by Kasa)
Is that it? Wow
Their are literally millions of books available on amazon even if you are the next John Steinbeck how do you expect anyone to know how good your books are or even of their existence when you start out....
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Kasa
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#18
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#18
(Original post by skylark2)
There's no book ever published which a lot of people haven't wanted to avoid - target audiences are a thing.

Obviously I haven't seen what you've written, but I will say that in my experience, young writers who say their work is very controversial tend to mean that it wouldn't be suitable for a ten year old. Everything doesn't have to be easy reading and books with adult themes (in the strict sense, not as a euphemism for erotica) are published every day.

I know there's the temptation to line up reasons why everyone doesn't/won't love your work (which are, of course, because of their prejudices, not because of any deficits in what you have written and how you wrote it). If you want to be a pro writer you will need to get past that. As a beginner, your writing will not be that good yet. You need to be able to work on improving, and the only way to do that is to stamp hard on what's every writer's natural impulse to find reasons why people who say your writing isn't perfect are wrong.
When i mean a controversial, I mean that a character in the story literally writes a 400 word essay as to why another character should literally kill themselves.
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Admit-One
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#19
(Original post by Kasa)
When i mean a controversial, I mean that a character in the story literally writes a 400 word essay as to why another character should literally kill themselves.
But what is the point of that character in your story? Reading about someone just being an a-hole isn't satisfying.
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Kasa
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#20
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#20
:8

(Original post by Admit-One)
But what is the point of that character in your story? Reading about someone just being an a-hole isn't satisfying.
I can’t go into much detail, but its consistent with what that character is, i.e. a murderer, etc.
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