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Some self-publishing advice from Chuck Wendig

Posted April 15, 2013 into Writing by John Birmingham

Hugh Howey (Wool) is touring down under soon and I'm thinking of dropping into his Brisbane event at Dymocks, lunchtime this Thursday. If I was a complete dick it'd be interesting to ask him about a set to he had with Chuck Wendig over the issue of putting out your own books.

Wendig has a piece I'd be hard pressed to find fault with over at his Terrible Minds blog, and if you're thinking of going down the self published route, it's worth a look.

He doesn't make the mistake of assuming whatever worked for him has to work for anyone else. And his various caveats make a lot of sense. A longer piece, but worth pondering.

Some of it picks up the threads of the fight he had over at, which ran a story that was basically an Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Heere, warning for would be selfies. Wendig characterised the article's author, a self proclaimed failure, as 'a guy who basically tip-toed into a dark and empty room, left his book on the mantlepiece like some kind of Author Elf, and then wandered back out wondering why he didn’t become a millionaire.'

Fair cop.

He warns about genres, agents, self delusion, risk, all the good stuff.

All up, for a guy with a rep for being, er, difficult when in contention, it's a very positive and useful bit. Sometime this week, I'm going to redo a piece I wrote for the Spectator about using an agent, but I thought this'd be nice to link to Wendig's first.

We’re possibly on the cusp of a golden age for writers. We have so many paths up the mountain. Let’s celebrate that. Let’s cheerlead not one option but all the options — and let’s embrace the fact that each path has strengths and weaknesses that’ll suit some authors and repel others. We don’t need to shut down or shout down options. We don’t need to suggest one way is superior. Or that others should feel inferior for their choices.

7 Responses to ‘Some self-publishing advice from Chuck Wendig’

damian mumbles...

Posted April 15, 2013

"Genres, agents, self delusion, risk...". Sounds like these are things that go together? I suppose this leads me to think of Eco again...

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w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted April 15, 2013

Obviously, there is nothing wrong in putting out your own books. The issue is expecting people to buy them in a very competitive market.

You could argue, if you can't create an internet presence (a blog etc) and publicise and generate significant reader interest (lots of repeat hits), then the idea that you can produce a self-published book that <u>will make an income</u> is unlikely. You need a publisher.

Most novelists are shy people. That doesn't help. You don't meet successful salespeople who are shy.

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JG swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2013

The trouble with self-publishing is that many of these books don't deserve to be published. They're often poorly written and/ or edited, are a design disaster, and are completely boring, as in 'So what? Where's the story?'

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TC reckons...

Posted April 16, 2013

It's the question I ask any selft starter - "Do you want to do this because it's something you're passionate about, or because you want to make money?". If it's honestly the former and someone thinks they'll make money out of it because they're passionate and enthusiastic, I advise them to let it go. Or at least look into similiar endeavours that both failed and succeeded and reasons for both. If I can tell that they simply don't give a shit about the pineapples then I wish them well. If they're hoping to earn good money, have a well thought out plan and have a realistic view of how difficult it's going to be, then I'll happily endorse their decison.

Most people simply don't realise that so few people going out on their own actually make a decent (ie: not hand-to-mouth) living out of it.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted April 16, 2013

I just caught a few minutes of HH on the Radio Nat book show.

No doubt it will resurface on podcast later.

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Matthew F. mumbles...

Posted April 16, 2013

Chuck has a lot of very smart things to say about publishing, as someone who's had pretty successful trajectories through both traditional and self-publishing and who uses them to amplify each other in ways that are worth studying.

He's going to be a guest at GenreCon in Brisbane later this year and I'm looking forward to hearing him talk.

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Len has opinions thus...

Posted April 17, 2013

This is timely. I am reading Wool right now, and find it a rip-roaring entertaining read. Well plotted, great characters (and character development) and worth putting aside a few hours to drive through and feel totally satiated by the end.

The fact that is was self-published, and then picked up by a major publisher, is an interesting story in itself and one that people should examine a little more closely. The fact that this other path to publishing exists at all is great news, given that the majors are all consolidating like the Borg into a few massive Cubes of publishing indifference.

Thanks for the Chuck reference as well. I will read with interest.

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