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Old 21-06-2017, 14:04   #46
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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As a professional writer I'm convinced traditional book publishers are doing everything they can to put themselves out of business. The value they bring to the table these days is virtually nil (unless you're Oprah, Springsteen, or Obama), but they still demand the lion's share of the royalties. Since the average author has to do almost all the work and foot much of the costs now anyway, self-publishing is a far better economic deal.
As a professional publisher I resemble that remark... I mean resent that! (And there are still some good traditional firms making quality books out there, as long as they haven't been bought up by one of the two or three big multi-nationals.) Besides according to your later comment, it sounds like you've pretty much entered the publishing world yourself.

All I have to say to contribute to this discussion is that if you are being published by a "real" publisher then the only cost to you should be the postage you used to mail the manuscript in, and these days email takes care of that too. If you are being asked for any money at all, then what you have found is a vanity press who are in it to gouge you or a service company that has tacked "publishing" on to their name to imply they are actually invested in your project. They aren't. You are still essentially self-publishing.

Not that a good publishing service might not be worth it, but remember if you are paying, then they are working for you. Not the other way around.
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Old 21-06-2017, 15:28   #47
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Well, then there is the weird world of scientific publishing, in which the author has to fork over "page fees." Generally about $1k per journal article. Oh, but it's weirder than that because you need to get a third party to pay those fees through a grant. If you pay them yourself, the article gets published with a disclaimer saying that it's a "paid advertisement."
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Old 21-06-2017, 15:46   #48
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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As a professional publisher I resemble that remark... I mean resent that! (And there are still some good traditional firms making quality books out there, as long as they haven't been bought up by one of the two or three big multi-nationals.) Besides according to your later comment, it sounds like you've pretty much entered the publishing world yourself.

All I have to say to contribute to this discussion is that if you are being published by a "real" publisher then the only cost to you should be the postage you used to mail the manuscript in, and these days email takes care of that too. If you are being asked for any money at all, then what you have found is a vanity press who are in it to gouge you or a service company that has tacked "publishing" on to their name to imply they are actually invested in your project. They aren't. You are still essentially self-publishing.

Not that a good publishing service might not be worth it, but remember if you are paying, then they are working for you. Not the other way around.
No offence intended to the, seemingly few, good remaining publishers here in Canada Macblaze. But I’ve been pretty deeply involved at the writer end of the business to know that, in general, publishers are demanding more and more from their authors, and offering less and less. Editorial support is too often minimal, marketing has been reduced to online presence on Amazon and few email news releases. Distribution is mostly just to the major outlets. Gone are the days of decent (or any) advances, supported book tours, or any real media planning. Authors are expected to come to publishers with a social media presence, and all too often I’ve seen contracts demanding authors pay for rights to ancillary copyrights around images, etc.

And for all that, the standard publisher deal sees the author getting 10% of the royalties — if that.

This is why I say most authors are better off self publishing these days.
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Old 21-06-2017, 15:48   #49
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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If you're a publisher, then you actually own a printing press these days? And decide what goes on it?
I remember some years ago reading an article about how the publishing business in the US had gone from so many actual publishers, to 40, to less than ten. I've got to assume "I can count them on my fingers" applies now, since virtual publishers and folks who rent press time just aren't in the same basket. No offense.

I've had the chance to email briefly with a couple of authors wrt their Kindle offerings. One, who falls in the "boating" category, is not on the NYTimes bestseller list and it was soon obvious that their Kindle version was done by OCR from the out-of-print book. They were VERY happy to hear about errors, so they could correct them and make the product more professional. Another, who is very much still in print and on bestseller lists, was equally happy. But since the book was still in print, and in theory you'd just upload a massaged version of the book to Kindle...Damfino how so many errors get published these days. Frankly, I think some of the remaining "real" publishers are just asleep at the switch. I KNOW how hard proofreading is, but there's this thing called spellcheque? Really doesn't cost much to use it.
Maybe that's why everyone is on YouTube and Patreon these days, they don't have to pay extra for the spellcheque.(G)
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Old 21-06-2017, 16:13   #50
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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And for all that, the standard publisher deal sees the author getting 10% of the royalties — if that.

This is why I say most authors are better off self publishing these days.
Ya, it's a sad state. Publishing with the big three is a great deal but you have to be related to an Obama or be a serial killer. Publish with a small indie house and they are so strapped for cash you are lucky if they print 300 copies and get any distribution beyond Amazon, Kobo and the local bookstore. The mid size guys are all disappearing either because they can't compete or the being bought up and dismembered by the big guys.

And the mid size guys are the ones who would traditionally take risks on niche markets like the OP is suggesting. It's a sad state of affairs that will eventually work itself out...I hope... I just despair for all those self-published titles that equated "proofreader" and "editor." Its not the same thing people: you need both.
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Old 21-06-2017, 16:20   #51
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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Mac-
If you're a publisher, then you actually own a printing press these days? And decide what goes on it?
I remember some years ago reading an article about how the publishing business in the US had gone from so many actual publishers, to 40, to less than ten. I've got to assume "I can count them on my fingers" applies now, since virtual publishers and folks who rent press time just aren't in the same basket. No offense.
Publishers (generally) haven't printed their own books since the 20s—that's what printers are for Those b@stards are even worse than publishers for screwing you out of your money...

In actuality "publisher" is becoming one of those words (like cruiser) that seems to mean something (used to mean something) but is actually becoming meaningless as a descriptor. I am all for making books and selling books and keeping reading alive and well but it is getting harder and harder to see the trees for the forest. Too many books, too many bad books, and too little interest in paying for the value you receive. Publishing is becoming a retro version of YouTube.
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Old 21-06-2017, 16:26   #52
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Mike-
Not that I would defend publishers. Heck, I remember Ace double-cover paperbacks, two novels in one book, turn the book over and the rear cover becomes the front for the other one at a whole 50 cents! These days, $29.95 for one just seems, well, even more ludicrous when it is for an ebook.
But the real cost of paper. Of printing presses. Of warehousing, distributing, and taking back all the unsold copies...There's serious money that has to be committed, made or lost, by a publishing house.
What I can't figure is James Patterson. Recent article mentioned that he spent years as a lead copywriter in advertising before he turned Author, she he certainly understands the concept of "ten thousand words before lunch". But how that guy, or his invisible empire(?) cranks out so many books so often....I'm reminded of The Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Rick Brandt, and the other series that used to employ multiple ghost writers. Heck, I'm reading a Robert Parker novel written by a license ghost writer (since Parker is dead) now.

Much of what a "publisher" did, was to polish the work, encourage the author, and publicize the product, putting it out front and getting the word out that it was worth reading. That was all really incidental to the heavy lifting and expense and putting the ink on paper and shipping the paper from here to there. Now that the heavy stuff is optional...one wonders why there can't be publishing houses, that screen material, polish it, and say "HEY, CHECK THIS OUT" and still make a profit from a reasonably priced ebook. Reasonable, as in a fraction of the tree price, since all the heavy lifting just isn't there any more.
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Old 21-06-2017, 16:53   #53
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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Funny reading this from you. I would have thought you'd be more generous about the return. Maybe not from just the book itself, but form all that came along since it was written. I'd say looking forward to sharing an anchorage some day, but I don't like the cold....:-))) g
The publishing world changed dramatically since we started. We could get $1000 for a single good photo back then. But the internet completely ruined all the economics. So our experience is not repeatable today.

And today it is super crowded in the internet space. Very hard to gain any visibility unless you have a really unique experience (like say the bumblefuzzes had) or a really good looking blond in a bikini (honestly . . . That's the common feature of all the top vblogs today).

I think it is better to start off thinking to share on a website in a "casual way" and develop/grow it from there if you have a unique enough approach to develop an audience. Writing a good well structured well edited book is ALOT of work and I think that effort is only worthwhile down the road when you know what your "voice" is.

And, not to be unkind at all, but the OP is probably at that stage of gaining cruising experience where they think they know a lot (and that their answers are the one true path), but actually probably do not (they have crossed one ocean?). We went thru that development curve and then later learned we knew way less than we thought and there were a lot of quite decent answers and approaches to almost everything.

But I wish them the best of luck. There is always a non-zero possibility they will become the next Rawlings.
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Old 21-06-2017, 18:45   #54
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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Ya, it's a sad state. Publishing with the big three is a great deal but you have to be related to an Obama or be a serial killer. Publish with a small indie house and they are so strapped for cash you are lucky if they print 300 copies and get any distribution beyond Amazon, Kobo and the local bookstore. The mid size guys are all disappearing either because they can't compete or the being bought up and dismembered by the big guys.

And the mid size guys are the ones who would traditionally take risks on niche markets like the OP is suggesting. It's a sad state of affairs that will eventually work itself out...I hope... I just despair for all those self-published titles that equated "proofreader" and "editor." Its not the same thing people: you need both.
Completely agree Mac. Book publishing is caught in the tidal currents of cultural and technological change. I don’t envy my publisher friends who try and travel these waters. The big boys have never been interested in risk, and the tiny are too small. The middlin' folks are where the life is, and that life is being squeezed out by the economics of "online = free” and the big multinationals who swallow and spit out.

As estarzinger says, not long ago a writer or a photographer (or editor or publisher) could make a reasonable living producing quality content. The economics of “free" have destroyed this business model. So now we swim in content; most of it poorly written, edited and presented, but the sheer volume makes up for all the crap (I guess…).

Change happens … not always for the better.
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Old 22-06-2017, 07:10   #55
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Yes, clever, isn't it? How the tv media and the magazines all went from "We'll pay $$ for a really good photo" to "upload your shots here!" and while digital film was making photography so much more affordable...it was also lowering that bar, so the volume got cranked up and no one wanted to buy product any more.

I understand there's that whole "social media" thing. And folks on Patreon are glad to somehow live in the moment and donate way more than they would have paid for a book or a "meet the authors" event. But when a publisher says "Yeah, well, we don't pay for pictures any more, but we're going to profit off them by selling ad space..." it just doesn't seem right. (I missed that day in grade school when they were talking about how the world wouldn't be fair.)

Which is not to say that I'm not in wonder at the folks who do pull that off, and I wish them greater success.
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Old 22-06-2017, 08:49   #56
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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Yes, clever, isn't it? How the tv media and the magazines all went from "We'll pay $$ for a really good photo" to "upload your shots here!” ... "Yeah, well, we don't pay for pictures any more, but we're going to profit off them by selling ad space..." it just doesn't seem right.
Yes … it’s much like the business model here on CF. We produce the content for free. CF owners use this to attract advertisers, and collect our data to sell to other third parties (or allow it to happen).

Not saying there isn’t value for everyone all along this chain, but we’re sure come a long way from when writers (and photogs, illustrators, editors, videographers, publishers) were fairly compensated for the work they did. And at the same time we’ve moved a long way from the commercial-free (and mostly free to use) Internet that carried Usenet and BBS forums where we use to hold these kinds of online discussions.
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Old 22-06-2017, 09:19   #57
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Wait, you mean CF isn't paying YOU for each message you post? I mean, it would be more generous if they paid by the word, like real publishers, but at least the buck per message is better than nothing.

At least we get the collateral benefit of having a forum to use, instead of having to meet up down at the pub. Wait...maybe having access to draft beer would be better than what we get paid here.(VBG)
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Old 22-06-2017, 11:44   #58
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

The volume of writers is tremendously increased by the internet and by the digital age. When volume is increased, average quality of anything tends to diminish. However, there is an increase in available good writing.

Now, as to cruising and boating books. I don't read them as literary gems or critiquing them on the quality of proofing or editing. If it's too bad, it will annoy me, but I'm reading for the story. I want to feel the experience. Also, not how to, although how to comes through as part of the experience. I like to know where they went, what they saw, what the pleasures were and what wasn't enjoyable about their cruising. I'm after an emotional experience, not a literary experience, not a how to experience. I like to read and smile as they describe their child's enthusiasm. I've read dozens of cruising books, everyone I know of on the Great Loop, the Big U and more.

Now the single most read document on the Great Loop is captainjohn.org. He has brief how to's such as how to select a boat. Some I agree with, a lot I don't. He accomplishes his goal very well though, the goal to spread the word on the loop. He is enthusiastic and makes you want to do the loop.

Melanie Wood has written her Diamond Lil books. They make me want to visit the places she talks about. A book like "The Plastic Butterfly" makes me think about the European canals.

Everyone reads for different reasons. I judge writing in the same way I do music or art. It's a form of communication so the ultimate test is simply does it effectively communicate what it intends to it's audience or reader. If I read a cruising book and enjoy it and get the feeling of being with them, then it's good. If it's a technical book then accuracy is important. If it's humorous, then it better make me laugh. If it's a biography, then it should make me feel I know the person it's about. If it's intended to be great literature, then it should exhibit an exceptional ability of expression through words.

So, on cruising writing, I love to read blogs online, I love most of the books I've read. It all allows me to share an experience. I don't pay enough for it to ever make the author wealthy. Those of us interested are still a small group. Blogs are filled with poor spelling and grammar. I'm not an English teacher grading them. I get the point and I enjoy.
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Old 22-06-2017, 12:42   #59
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

Most of the posters in these last few pages have completely hijacked the original inquiry by TV195. They seem more interested in impressing everyone with their profound knowledge of the publishing business, then offering advice to Chris.
I suggest you read the writer’s guidelines contained on most sailing magazine websites. Then invest $9.99 in Michael Robertson’s Kindle book Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines and follow the advise.
Send individual articles about the various sections of your journey, a different article to each magazine, and see what happens. It sounds like you could split it up to about eight stories, which will earn you more money than any full length internet book ever will.
You can always explore a "book" option later and will do much better if you already have published articles under your belt.
The best of luck. JR.
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Old 22-06-2017, 15:01   #60
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Re: Writing about sailing adventures - and the stuff learned?!

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...Send individual articles about the various sections of your journey, a different article to each magazine, and see what happens. It sounds like you could split it up to about eight stories, which will earn you more money than any full length internet book ever will.
You show yourself an amateur if you just send completed articles to mags. Yes, get the contributor’s guidelines, but much better to query the assigning editor, pitch the story idea, then produce the agreed piece.

Do your homework first. Learn the type and style of articles they publish. Nothing more frustrating for an editor than to receive a pitch, let alone a completed piece, which is clearly inappropriate for the publication. This happens all too often.

There are a thousand ways to tell the same story. An editor will likely want to shape the piece. That’s what the query and pitch process is all about. Better for you and the mag b/c you don’t send them something they don’t want. Doesn’t waste your time, or theirs.

But yes, fully agree. Mag pieces are a far better way to make a few shekels than writing a book. It’s why I never bothered with books … I looked at the potential revenue and always came to the conclusion I could make more money selling a few mag articles. And for a lot less work.

(I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for over 25 years now… in case that matters to this discussion).
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