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> Novels..., A glimpse how going-it alone in publishing can bring good rewards
David J Rodger
post Feb 14 2008, 06:07 PM
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Hi
My 3rd post and I’m already stepping up onto the soap box, so apologies for what is flagrant self-promotion but nobody else is doing it for me, and I’ve got a bit to shout about.

I’m posting here to say “Hello, I exist and I’ve got something good to offer to people who like to read crime-thrillers, horror and cyberpunk.”

I left my career back in 2005 to write, I now have 3 novels out and doing pretty well.

TESCO & Waterstones have recently started reselling one of my novels (GOD SEED), demonstrating the Print-On-Demand business model can provide a successful route-to-market, bypassing the creative bottleneck of the agent/publisher paradigm. It also possibly means I’ll start seeing my books given away free with every bag of sprouts at some point in the future, but hey, what can you do.

I don’t have a big corporate marketing budget pushing my work, there’s just me and a growing number of fans spreading the word.

Once again, humble apologies if I’m breaking any rules here; I’m hoping you find this of interest.

Regards

David

PS: Here's a press release for GOD SEED if you're interested.
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Mata
post Feb 15 2008, 03:07 AM
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It can work, yes, but it seems to have a far lower success rate than the usual model. I'm going to try the usual method first with my novel before thinking about taking the POD approach.


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David J Rodger
post Feb 15 2008, 12:41 PM
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QUOTE (Mata @ Feb 15 2008, 03:07 AM) *
It can work, yes, but it seems to have a far lower success rate than the usual model. I'm going to try the usual method first with my novel before thinking about taking the POD approach.




I totally agree. I simply grew sick of rejections:

I bought the Artists & Writers Yearbook(s); I wrote the letters and printed sample chapters and slid them lovingly into large brown envelopes; I stood in the queues at the Post Office and weighed the return envelope with the outbound content, and went through the same brief explanation to the clerk that the ream of papers would (probably) be coming back.

I always got excited when a publisher wrote back asking to see more, and dutifully hole-punched and filed their final rejection in a level-arch folder. Rejection: "in this climate publishers are taking on less new authors". Rejection: "although you write very well we don't feel your material is what the market wants". Rejection: "we wish you every success in your endeavour". Occasionally the letter would have a real signature, a sign that at least a human was involved in this great rejection machine.

P-O-D gave me the much needed breach in the wall.

Kudos though... what buttons does your first novel hit?

Djr
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Mata
post Feb 15 2008, 12:57 PM
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Cyberpunk thriller. A mix of William Gibson and Richard Morgan. It's currently a bit rough around the edges, but clips along nicely and everything is in the right place so it'll need a bit more work but it's getting there.

My theory is that I'll get an agent so they can handle all the crappy publisher rejections. Yes, it means less money for me, but it also means considerably less work and a higher rate of success at getting picked up by a major publisher. Ideally, a film option for my novel would be the eventual target, and I don't think POD is likely to produce that.

The plus side of POD is that I assume you get most of the profits.

If you don't mind me asking, how did you get Wstones and Tescos interested?


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David J Rodger
post Feb 15 2008, 01:57 PM
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QUOTE (Mata @ Feb 15 2008, 12:57 PM) *
Cyberpunk thriller. A mix of William Gibson and Richard Morgan. It's currently a bit rough around the edges, but clips along nicely and everything is in the right place so it'll need a bit more work but it's getting there.

My theory is that I'll get an agent so they can handle all the crappy publisher rejections. Yes, it means less money for me, but it also means considerably less work and a higher rate of success at getting picked up by a major publisher. Ideally, a film option for my novel would be the eventual target, and I don't think POD is likely to produce that.

The plus side of POD is that I assume you get most of the profits.

If you don't mind me asking, how did you get Wstones and Tescos interested?



Good plan; almost identical to mine a few years ago. *smiles* Getting an agent is certainly a desireable result. Have you made much inroads with any agents yet?

The Tesco & Waterstones thing happened without any effort from me. My understanding is that the POD publisher has established a relationship with the major resellers; they select which titles they want and hey presto, you're available to a mass market.

With POD I get a 33% return if the book sells directly through the publisher site; but this drops to 15% if it's via a resller.

The downside is there's no marketing budget and you have to do all the PR...but I'm finding that part quite rewarding. I now have a publicist pushing me in the US and a growing word-of-mouth.

Also, publishers these days have very small budgets for PR... so their only real advantage seems to be their leverage with retail outlets.

I sincerely wish you all the best with your novel, scoring an agent and getting it out there.

David
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Mata
post Feb 15 2008, 03:20 PM
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Do you know how many have been sold yet? It will be very interesting to hear how this venture goes for you. I may be in a similar boat in a few years!


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David J Rodger
post Feb 15 2008, 05:07 PM
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QUOTE (Mata @ Feb 15 2008, 03:20 PM) *
Do you know how many have been sold yet? It will be very interesting to hear how this venture goes for you. I may be in a similar boat in a few years!



The POD publisher provides me with an online account to view sales and royalties; sales through the publisher site update immediately, but sales made through resellers can take several months to appear. I'm not selling enough to call it a real living...yet, but if the upward trend continues, who knows where this could go? *beams a smile*

Good sales through POD might also make a mainstream publisher/agent look at you with more interest... I'm still open to a big distribution deal if the terms are good enough... that's what my guy in New York is trying to achieve for me. At the end of the day, I’m hitting as many angles as I can, my work is out there, it’s selling generating more interest and great feedback…which is really exciting.

You may be in a similar boat...but I get the feeling you'll get what you want sooner than later. I'm enjoying this exchange of words with you, sir. Have a splendid weekend.

Djr
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Mata
post Feb 18 2008, 01:48 AM
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I tend to be quite determined about getting what I'm looking for, so hopefully things will go well on the writing side of things. As I said before, there are still a lot of rough edges to be taken off the novel, but I think I've got something quite saleable inside it.

I've heard of the POD approach sometimes leading to mainstream distribution. It sounds like hacking your way into the industry the hard way, but I'm sure it can work.

I'm really pleased for you that things are going well. It's always nice to hear of authors teetering on the edge of becoming full time, or at least part-time at their day jobs! It must have taken a lot of discipline to keep writing when you were having so much trouble getting published.

Out of interest, how did you come across this forum?

And, on the subject of writing, how do you go about plotting? I found this time that I'm very heavily plot-led. I had rough ideas for my characters, but I had to get the plot sorted out in my head first. It was sparsely populated, and all of the characters revealed themselves to me as I went through the story.


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David J Rodger
post Feb 19 2008, 01:57 PM
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¦ dialling in from workstation ¦

Afternoon Mata.

Determination is the key. And total self-belief. Both of these attributes can become dented by the cynical (and jaded) attitude of agents and commissioning editors…but getting your work out there, even in a draft format, getting feedback from people you trust, fixing the flaws and finally having a tranche of total strangers telling you how much they like your work… willing to pay money to read your words, well, then self-belief just sets in around you like concrete. Not everyone is going to like what you write… but you can write with the confidence that you’re good enough to be on the market.

I found the forum through Google. I was looking for gaming forums as I’m busy promoting a role-playing game I created around the fictional world of my writing (I’ve just revealed I’m a geek, but there you go)… and I was intrigued by the Google listing. I’m very pleased I walked in *smiles*

Plotting. I’m like you; I need to map out the plot in advance. I use a lot of scrap paper at first, big circles with lines arcing off to end in arrows at the edge of a sheet, with a note saying “go to page 17-f”. A total mess of ideas…but then these distil into a Word doc, with broad brush strokes of every chapter, this gets reviewed, maybe chapters get rearranged, dropped entirely, and then I bullet point the key events…bang…bang…bang… it’s a great way to get a novel shaped, and you haven’t wasted weeks creating narrative if you suddenly find yourself down a dead-end. This helps flesh out the characters too…although I am pretty sure of the characters near the start of the process.

I create a profile for each character, a central resource for physical descriptions as I see them… but then I describe each character through the eyes of every other major character that has a voice in the book… how you and I see a person can differ extraordinarily from how a beggar on the streets of Cairo sees somebody, and I like to explore those perspectives during the planning stage even if I never use any of it in the final book. The last novel, Iron Man Project, is 90,000 words. I spent 6 months mapping it out, but then only took me 5 weeks to actually write it. I’m hoping I can repeat this method/process with the next few I’m got lined up.

Have you written up a synopsis yet? I hate that bit… having to condense everything down to so few words.

Have a great day.

Djr
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