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Discussion Starter #1
I enjoy writing short stories and have received a lot of feedback that I should publish them. I have quite a few now. In reading about self publishing on Amazon / Kindle, they talk about "building an online presence". Anyone ever attempted such a feat. This site is the full culmination of my online presence, I'm supposed to Facebook and Twitter, things I have actively avoided. Sounds like the kind of thing that takes years but I thought I would ping to start understanding what I am up against. Maybe not the best place to start but I didn't know where else to go...



Cheers,


Mark
 

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There’s a lot to it, but yes, social media is an integral part of it. Engage with online user groups, share snippets, build your own website, etc. You have to treat it like a business, and consider your end goal.

Self publishing has never been more simple, so if it’s a hobby and you just want to cross that threshold, you can do that without all of the promotion. Just know that it won’t result in much sales, will likely cost money, but you don’t have to devote all of the hours and effort that the promotional side demands.

I’m not an expert in book publishing, but I do own/run a marketing/advertising agency, so I know what goes into getting the kind of attention that makes money. Unfortunately it’s true what they say, it takes money to make money. And if you are your own boss, it also takes all the spare time you’ve got.

Or you could just pop up a free blog site, put your writing on there, feel good that it’s out there in the world and go play with your car. :)
 

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Would your primary goal be profit? To actually make decent money? Then what you need is a literary agent. Any list of successful self publishers is very short.

I think if I were ever to "go for it" I'd look for a good editor first, before an agent. My thinking on that is; How do you get an agent to buy you as a client unless your initial writings are good enough to impress right out of the box? Many hugely successful writers would be failures without editing that steps outside the story teller's mind and sees a work from a target reader's viewpoint. An editor suggests changes for flow and format, when to embellish, what to cut. Not just punctuation, that's child's play. (Or it used to be anyway, these days the number of mistakes is glaring everywhere.)

There are many types of editors and some specialize in a particular genre. For instance, my dad was a career college textbook editor for a Madison Avenue publishing house. Would he have been a good choice to edit a comedian's autobiography? Something by Stephen King? The Herald Tribune? Nope, hell no, and a big fat maybe.

Wanna know who I think were two famous but terribly overrated writers? For entirely different reasons, Herman Melville and Sidney Sheldon. Both succeeded hugely without decent editing, but I'll be damned if I can see how.

Wanna know two writers who I think are underrated? For entirely the same reasons, Herman Raucher and Richard Hooker. What? Never heard of them? Both wrote novels about what they knew, and both stories became good movies, but their books were written beautifully.
Maybe they just both had great editors though. :wink:
I've never read any of your stories, but I hope I will. I like short stories especially. :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Would your primary goal be profit? To actually make decent money? Then what you need is a literary agent. Any list of successful self publishers is very short.

I've never read any of your stories, but I hope I will. I like short stories especially. :smile2:
Here are two samples I've posted here, the first is a short story, the second was promoting autocross, a sport that is so accessible and a fun way to see a different side of Mustanging.


https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/track/1143848-her-majesty-rat-pack-rides-again.html


https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/track/1081554-autocross-primer.html

While these do show some of my writing skills, they were a one shot, sit, write and post with no real editing. Most of the stories I am considering self-publishing I've been working on - editing and reediting for years to get each paragraph just so. Its a hobby I very much enjoy, I am considering calling the book: Vivid Vignettes - hand crafted short stories.



I had a fantasy that I might pay down some of my kids student loans with any proceeds and I don't mind taking on a second job to do so, but I do realize it is a fantasy. Its a good point regarding editing...

Thank you both for the insightful posts. After all these years, I finally started with Facebook, pretty overwhelming - spent most of the morning on the privacy settings ;o)
 

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We hired a full time marketing person in January of 2018. Prior to that, we had a part-time contractor doing it for us. The new guy is very good at digital marketing and in roughly a year increased our online presence tremendously. We now rank very highly in Google searches. I do not believe that we spent significant amounts of money doing this, I think it was really just knowing where to spend and how. There is so much that goes into the search algorithms, having someone who understands this has helped us a lot and likely saved money. I guess my point is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but you have to know what you’re doing. If you have any specific questions, I am happy to ask my guy. Good luck!
 

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4ocious has it backwards. In the publishing world the goal is to get an editor. They represent the publisher and it’s their job to get you to print. An agent represents the writer. They help you hone your work, market yourself and get you to an agent that is a match for your writing. My wife is an aspiring writer and has been learning the business for a few years now. As noted above very few self published works make any money. Most are not taken seriously because anyone can do it so there is no quality control and most is crap The field is slowly changing, and some serious writers have started to move to self publishing, but it is still not mainstream with the industry. If you just want to do it as a hobby, it’s the way to go. But if you want to be a serious writer and have a chance of decent sales, you need to end up with an editor at a major publishing firm.
 

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Sir Flade, and with respect, finding a good editor was my singular and primary recommendation.
I understand, but you said you needed an editor to clean up your work before you could get an agent. It’s the other way around.

You need the agent to get to the editor.
 

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My Daughter went to school for such things ,creative writing ,editing ,ect.
Face book can be a scary place for a person that wants to be private ,but it can be done to a certain degree I use an alias.On the other hand it can be a good place to find info and deals
 

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You need an "online presence" to build credibility with your "fans" so that they'll know that you're worth reading.

Take it for what it's worth as I don't have an online presence, other than self-named internet legend on a few forums, a personal Facebook page, and a failed youtube page with like 5 crappy videos... BUT I am a millennial (although on the older end...I know I shudder to say it too), so we're technically supposed to be social media gurus...

What I look for when following someone, in no particular order and probably not a complete list:

1. Unique content - what will set you apart from everyone else? These days, everyone with an iphone and a gopro are producing "content" and the consumer is saturated with choices.
2. Well edited pictures/videos - standard GoPro with stock background music is boring at this point, cell phone pictures are boring.
3. Relevant content - pick a theme and be the expert of it. Decide if you want car stories, road trip stories, or autocross content. Try not to be all over the place.
4. Updates - if you're not posting content relatively often (think once a week), people will get bored with it and stop following. I'd also say that you need to have quite a bit in the hopper to engage people on the front end to keep them entertained while waiting for new content.
5. Access - you need to decide how people will find you. This is where it may make sense to pay someone to promote your pages. You can actually purchase prime spots on Google to make it easier to find you. At the very least, I think you should consider Facebook, Instagram and Youtube presences.

You need a lot of followers/views to make money at this. We utilize social media influencers with our business, but it takes 100k+ followers for us to even send free product...those that get paid have significantly more.

Good luck! It can be done, but to make money you have to look at it like a business.
 

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Your "Autocross a Primer" contributed in me spending several thousand dollars on my car and enjoying autocross. Go for it!
 

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4ocious has it backwards. In the publishing world the goal is to get an editor. They represent the publisher and it’s their job to get you to print. An agent represents the writer. They help you hone your work, market yourself and get you to an agent that is a match for your writing. My wife is an aspiring writer and has been learning the business for a few years now. As noted above very few self published works make any money. Most are not taken seriously because anyone can do it so there is no quality control and most is crap The field is slowly changing, and some serious writers have started to move to self publishing, but it is still not mainstream with the industry. If you just want to do it as a hobby, it’s the way to go. But if you want to be a serious writer and have a chance of decent sales, you need to end up with an editor at a major publishing firm.
I too am a writer. I will clarify I'm an amateur writer since I've never had anything published. However, I've been writing for many years and I've talked to writers who have been published. Take it for what it's worth, but here is MY take:

- If you want to be a published author, forget vanity press. If you simply want your work in printed or E-reader form to hand out to friends and family, by all means, use vanity press. Yeah, you may be able to sell a few copies, YOURSELF, to people here and there. But you will not be a published author. No matter what the hype, if the "publisher" wants YOU to pay to print YOUR books, it's vanity press. If they're not up front about this, it's a scam trying to dupe wannabe published writers.

- Just like there are just many actors in Hollywood trying to break into movies and TV, there are just so many writers trying to get published. And just like there are so many scams wannabe movie and TV stars can fall into, there are many scams for wannabe published authors.

- Poetry.com: Complete, total and absolute scam. You can literally submit anything, and I mean ANYTHING, and you'll be nominated as a "Golden Poet" or some such nonsense and invited to their conference/competition. It's all a big ruse to get YOU to pay for THEIR books and trophies and to get YOU to pay for their conferences. Don't bother.

- "Editors": Complete, total and absolute scam. The typical line goes something like, "You have great potential. We really like your work. It just needs a little sprucing up, tightening up here and there. We can do this for you and get you published!". Forget about it. It's simply a useless service they want YOU to pay for. If you're a good writer, you don't need someone to edit your work. If a publisher is interested in your work, THEY will task THEIR editors to do the final editing for you and it won't cost YOU anything. Please share if you know otherwise, but I've never heard of an editor getting anyone published. I have heard of many scams posing as "Editors" promising to get people published but succeeding only in collecting fees.

- Agents: Absolutely. Positively. Good agents are the people who can get you published. Note I did not say "will" get you published. First, you have to get a good agent interested in you and your work. This is no easy task. Remember what I said about just so many people trying to get published? Yeah, it's tough. It's a screwed up system. But that's the way it is. If you can get an agent to take you on, it's the agent's job to get you published. He makes money ONLY when YOU make money. If the "agent" is asking you pay a bunch of fees up front, he's not really an agent. It's just another scam. Even if you do get an agent to take you on, it doesn't mean he'll find a publisher for you. But getting an agent is a very big step toward getting published!

- Online presence: People have become published authors based on their online presence; just like people have become rich by winning the lottery. And just like playing the lottery, don't count on it. Sure, the guy who wrote "The Martian" started off with an online presence, but it's not a reliable way to be published. Nothing wrong with trying. Have fun. Get some feedback. Just don't expect it to lead to a publishing deal.

- Contests: There are some really great fiction contests out there. Almost all of them are for students. Why? Remember what I said about there being just so many people trying to get published? Yeah, the people who run these contests can't read 890,000 entries. So, they significantly limit the entries by focusing only on students. If you can find a fiction contest open to you, by all means, enter. But again, be careful of scams. Some contests will require you to pay a small reading fee. That's usually OK. But if the "contest" requires significant fees, or many different fees, forget about it. It's just another vanity press scam. (Strangely, most of the contests I see are open only to previously published writers. So, what's the point?)

It is possible to get published. It's just really hard. And, even if you do get published, your books/stories will likely not sell. How many times have you walked into Barnes & Noble and saw some writer sitting at the desk for a book signing? I have seen many. And in every case I've seen, nobody was buying the book or getting the author's autograph.

But by all means, keep writing. And have fun!
 

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Klutch, very well written “pun intended”!

When I referred to and editor, I meant the ones at the Publisher, because that is where you want to be. I did not mean the scam editors out there. Totally agree on vanity press. It’s for fun and ego, not serious writers.

Contests can get you critical access to agents and publishers. There are many out there and not all are for students. If you belong to a professional writers group they often sponsor contests and line up agents and publishers to support them. For example My wife is a children’s writer and active in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). It holds several such contests each year.

To give everyone an idea of how it is to get published, an agent recent wrote about why it takes so long for them to respond to queries. She noted that at any one time she has about 60 books she has requested the full on and is reading. She also has double that where she has asked for the first 3 chapters, and she gets about 1000 queries a week. So you can see that getting your book noticed even if it is good, is part luck and part perseverance. But if you have haven’t polished it well it will end up in the trash.
 

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Klutch, very well written “pun intended”!

When I referred to and editor, I meant the ones at the Publisher, because that is where you want to be. I did not mean the scam editors out there. Totally agree on vanity press. It’s for fun and ego, not serious writers.
Cool. You obviously know the real deal from the scams. I feel bad for people who do not know. And I feel like a jerk when I tell them they are being scammed. I am as polite as possible, but man, people don't want to hear it.

I've heard, "My daughter entered a poetry contest and won! We're raising money to send her to the awards ceremony in Florida!'. Man, no fun telling Mom that every single person to uploads anything to that "contest" is a "winner".

I've heard, "My wife wrote a children's book and it's going to be published".

"Wow, that's amazing! I'm really happy for her!" was my initial reaction. I ask a few a few questions and, yep, it's a Vanity Press scam. :frown2:

The real bummer is when people don't want to know the truth. "You don't know that!". Um, yes I do... But fine. Go ahead and get ripped off, disappointed and humiliated. I tried.
 

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I'm probably not much if any help. My daughter had a art gig on the side. She seems to be knowledge of this stuff and watching and asking her a getting a following you have to spend the time following others to get more people to follow you. It becomes a domino effect. My daughter has a close friend breaking into Hollywood. She's been in a few music videos and TV shows. For her friend to get better roles it all depends on how many followers she has on social networks. She had my daughter managing her social accounts to boost her ratings. At the time my daughter had a larger social following then her actress friend. My daughter has relinquished helping her friend as my daughter had to focus on her work for grad school.

My daughter had something like 15,000 followers on her Instagram page. She's done art for a published book cover as well as a record album for a music artist who was on one of those music talent tv shows.

Here's her site. https://instagram.com/liadelyonart?igshid=dn74xcryidgi

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Liadelyonart
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Some great advice, I thought the thread died but I really appreciate the responses.



Even getting a Facebook page going is daunting at the start. Its like pealing an orange, I just keep spinning the orange looking for a place to put my thumb in and start pealing. I've looked up a few people and am totally amazed at what people will associate with their names in a public forum. Some are fun and interesting but would I want my boss to see those parts of my life???



Writing was the easy part. I printed my book and am doing a hard copy edit now, I really enjoy the process and may just put it out there for friends and family. Not sure I have the energy or money to make it and I certainly do not have any followers anywhere.


Thanks again for all the informed responses!
 
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