Sunday, April 07, 2013

Weekend Links

This is an all self-pub Weekend Links.

Hugh Howey explains how the big Wool deal came about. This story will send tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of people into self-publishing.

John Winters has not had Hugh Howey's experience. Not even close. Tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of people should read this, but probably won't.

Hugh Howey kind of rebutts John Winters. I agree with a lot of what Howey has to say, except for the part about "learn your craft while producing material. You win over your fans directly."  He compares learning to write with learning to play a musical instrument and perform with same. "How many people teach themselves to play the guitar? We celebrate this, don’t we?"..."They go on to strum on the sidewalk with a hat by their feet much like someone might blog and hope for a donation. They play small venues on open-mic nights that we can think of as free books on Smashwords. They get a few paying gigs, which is like self-publishing on Amazon." He carries the comparison on until he gets to "This is how artists are born. They are self-made. They perform for people. They learn and improve as they do both."

Here's the big difference that he's not considering: Musicians may be learning performance and improving their performance as they perform but they have to have learned some kind of skill before that point or they aren't going to get many opportunities to perform in the first place, even on sidewalks. What's more, because we're talking performance, once that performance is over, it's gone. (Unless someone records it on their iPhones, of course. But try to see my point.) They are able to practice performance in public, but also somewhat privately because in most cases the public can't go over and over what they did and keep assessing it. With writers, it's different. You've committed something to paper or you've digitized it and the public has it and can keep looking at it. While everyone should continue to learn and improve throughout a career, if you are taking the attitude that it's appropriate for you to truly learn to write while you are publishing, then the public can be reminded over and over that your writing wasn't of professional quality with that first book. That you weren't really that good with the second one. Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers about how many hours the Beatles spent performing before they hit the big time. But they were performing in a strip club in Germany. How many people were able to hear those performances after the fact? The Beatles actually had a certain amount of privacy in which to perfect their performance skills. Personally, I think writers ought to consider looking for a similar type of privacy to learn their craft.

The Self-Published Authors Share 5 Things They Learned in 2012 series at Live Write Thrive Note that a few of these people stress the need for editing.

Some info on self-publishing in paper  from Maria Murnane

Info on making digital picture books at e is for book

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