Publishing? ★

PUBLISHING

Anyone who has published their work, would you mind sharing your experience/journey?

  1. Did you self-publish or traditionally publish?
  2. If you self-published, how did you go about that?
  3. If you traditionally published, did a scout reach out to you or did you reach out?
  4. What advice would you have for people who want their story published?
  5. Has wattpad helped you in any way?
  6. Feel free to share anything else

I often worry that I won’t get publish because my work has been posted on wattpad. Also sometimes self-publishing gets a bad rep. because people favor traditional so I never know which route to take

I have 5 self-published novels. I chose it over attempting traditional mainly due to the control I get to have over my work. It is a lot of work but worth it for me.

I started out using KDP (Amazon) but have since partially switched to IngramSpark. I had some issues with KDP’s paperbacks and customer service. Both are good options but have their own pros and cons.

As far as advice, research. Do tons of research, understand everything involved and all your options, and don’t try to rush yourself. Best case scenario you’ll end up with a sloppy book and ineffective plan and will just have to go back and fix it all.

Wattpad has helped me in the sense that I’ve been able to connect to people who help support my writing, but that’s about it since I actually started publishing. Before that though it was incredibly helpful for developing my skills and confidence

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Thank you so much for your reply!!!
I hear so many different things about publishing and I was really hoping to hear some experiences. Also congratulations on having 5 published, thats awesome!

I’m always happy to talk about my experience if you have questions. I know how daunting it is to start out

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Well thank you! It definitely is.
I dont know if Id want to publish the books I have uploaded to wattpad already as they were what Id call “practice”, but Id totally be down to write something fresh and self-publish it instead of uploading it to wattpad.

Makes sense. I’ve mostly stopped posting here, I’ll be posting a few things that I don’t intend to publish and a few select first drafts for the sake of gauging reader reaction, but mostly my books are going straight to publishing from now on

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Do you find that it works? Are people from wattpad willing to buy published books?
I guess the nice thing that comes with traditional publishing is the advertisement.

Some. My most recent book got a not huge but fairly solid following here before it was published and a lot of the readers at the very least helped spread the word about it when it was published

And yeah that’s one of the major perks of trad. Marketing yourself sucks

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Thats very kind of your readers!! I’m glad it went well.
And yeah definitely a perk, advertising is difficult haha, especially if you dont want to seem obnoxious

That’s the biggest con of self-publishing, at least for me. It’s exhausting to do. And if life things come up (like now, I’m pregnant and we just moved not long ago and are dealing with the lockdown and financial issues and all so it’s chaotic) it’s really easy for marketing to just get pushed aside

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Congratulations on the little one!!! Thats so exciting:) But yes, thats one thing I’m going to have to figure out how to navigate!

Thanks :slight_smile: and yeah it takes some practice and trial and error to figure out what works

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Hi there :wave:

As you’re looking for industry related advice, you may get a bigger response in the #industry-insider club. I’ve moved it there for you.

Thanks for understanding,

Hollie - Community Ambassador :azanthiel:

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I traditionally published in nonfiction years ago. I’m going to query a novel later this summer.

Nope. I created a book proposal and sent it out. I will also query the “old fashioned” way. Please understand – having someone from a legitimate publishing company reach out to someone on Wattpad (or anywhere else) is basically lottery-winning odds. The “publishers” that reach out here are scammers.

Focus on learning the craft of writing FIRST. Then learn to revise and edit. Get feedback – lots of it. Rinse and repeat until what you write is as good as what is traditionally published. THEN think about publishing. For most people, it takes several manuscripts and a hella lot of feedback to get there.

Not me, no.

There are agents and publishers who won’t touch work that has been on Wattpad. And there are ones who don’t care. If the work is good enough, it would find a home regardless, if you’re persistent enough. It takes only one yes.

Self publishing gets a bad rap because 95% of it is pure crap. There is some AMAZING work out there, but most people don’t create amazing work, especially in the beginning.

I’m a huge proponent of “self publishing well.” However self publishing well takes a fair amount of money, excellent craft, and a LOT of business knowledge.

I strongly believe that writers should FIRST traditionally publish – for several reasons:

  1. Being accepted for traditional publishing gives you external validation that your writing is READY for publishing. (Hint: Professional editing does NOT ensure that!)

  2. Traditional publishing gives you a wide fan base that you can leverage for self published books in the future.

  3. Traditional publishing will introduce you to the business side of publishing, and do so with a much easier learning curve than you’ll face if you self publish first.

  4. If you self publish first, you’ve blown your debut status. If you want to traditionally publish in the future, you have to show them that your published books have good sales. They don’t care if they were self published – low sales mean no one wants to read your books. (There are ways to mitigate the damage, namely using a pen name for future books – but you will have to be honest with agents and publishers upfront, and they may choose not to deal with the hassle.)

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Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions:) Id personally rather publish traditionally over self-publishing because the benefits are way higher with traditional. You gave a lot of good information.
One question I have is when you created your book proposal and sent it out, where did you send it? Did you submit it to different publishing houses?

It’s a bit hard to say whether the benefits are ‘way higher with traditional.’ It really depends on your situation. Even with trad publishing there are tiers - the vast majority of writers who get a trad deal get a rather humble advance - think 5-10k USD - and they are not given a very large share of the publisher’s marketing dollars for that quarter (if anything). They are spaghetti being flung at the wall - if it sticks, great, the house is happy because they have a winner and control the rights going forward and will make most of the money. If it slides off the plaster and sits in a cold, congealed lump on the floor - eh, it was only a small advance, so no big deal. Now, there are writers who get anointed and lavished with marketing dollars and generous advances, and that’s really the best situation you can hope for as a debut writer. But a six-figure advance from a major house is . . . I don’t know, 1% of trad deals? Less?

One of the great benefits of self publishing is that the writers keeps far, far more of the money the book makes, so it is much easier (IMO) to make a sustainable career as a writer. You might not get the notoriety, or your book in a display at Barnes and Noble, but it is quite liberating making enough money as a writer to not need to worry about having another job. A few years back Bezos let slip that over 1,000 self published writers were making over 100k on Amazon alone with their books - and that doesn’t include all the other outlets where you can sell books as a self-published author. That’s a huge amount of writers making a good full-time living, just from what they sell on Amazon. For me, I like that the bulk of the money my books generate goes to me, not someone else.

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Yes, I submitted my book proposal directly to publishers. I wouldn’t do that now, though. Now I would work through an agent.

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Wow, thank you for that very insightful comment.
In the future if I want to publish, Ill definitely have to do a lot of research. All the things you listed for self-publishing (like being able to take the profits of your work) sounds way more beneficial than a barnes and noble display.

Research is the key. And the decision to try for trad or self publish is very dependent on your personality, so you have to know yourself. Are you someone who is comfortable being responsible for all aspects of publishing? Four years ago I was in your shoes and it was actually the kind posters in this club that convinced me that I was better suited for self publishing. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

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I published 5 novels (4 under one pen name and 1 under another) and am almost ready to publish my 6th.

I wanted to traditionally publish my first novel. I wanted someone in the industry to tell me my novel was publishable. To get that validation (at the time I was only selling short stories to e-zines). The publisher I chose was the largest Romantica (erotic romance) publisher at the time. Their editor was ready to accept my novel if I made a change. The heroine commits adultery (that, IMO, was justified) and that’s a no-no in the romance genre. The editor asked me to change the wife to a fiancee (I guess they don’t consider it adultery if she’s not married). When I explained why she had to be a wife the editor agreed but said her hands were tied so I self-published it. At that point I realized my novels were pushing many boundaries so I continued self-publishing.

When I wrote a mainstream novel, I decided to try the traditional route again. I was interested only in the Big-5 publishers so went looking for an agent. And I queried the really good agencies (one represented authors like Hemingway and Fitzgerald). I only sent out about 5 queries. I quickly got fed up with the process and realized traditional wasn’t for me so I self-published. Being a significantly different genre than my other novels, I published it under a different name.

The mainstream novel was triggered by wattpad. I entered a short story in a wattpad contest and it received an almost perfect score from the judges. But it was the comments from readers who begged for more that made me expand it to a full-length novel. That leads to your #5 question. No, wattpad hasn’t helped me. The people begging for more didn’t buy the novel.

As to your #4 question, first learn how to write fiction. It’s different than other forms of writing. Learn grammar and especially punctuation. And then read. Analyze the story from a reader’s perspective. What did you like? What didn’t you? And analyze it from an author’s perspective (which, to be honest, will take some of the reading enjoyment out of it). How was the author successful in creating characters, suspense, etc.? What kept you turning pages? What would you have done differently? And get feedback on your writing. Grow thick skin when you hear it. And realize that all the feedback isn’t correct (just like, btw, all the articles on how to write fiction aren’t correct).

As to #6, the most difficult part of self-publishing is the marketing. You might have published the best book ever, but if no one knows it’s there it will languish in the sea of invisibility. If your goal is to sell, you better have a marketing strategy that works.

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