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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Platform and publishing, 2017

MT White considers the pros and cons of self-publishing:
Notice, you’re not writing your book to appeal to readers. You’re writing your book to appeal to agents and acquisition’s editors. Naturally, they are looking for product that will sell, but to them it is just product—to you it will be a book written full of compromise…maybe. No matter what, you have to appeal to THEM first before your book hits shelves. And THEY might have very different tastes than you. They live in a different city (probably New York), while you might live in rural Texas. They might have polite sensibilities, while you have vulgar ones. You might find someone who is in alignment with you but as I stated above, there is a 99.9% you won’t. You have to appeal to THEM before your book even makes it to the press.

In short, it’s a road filled with compromise. You’re going to write thinking about THEM, appealing to THEIR tastes, hoping they align with yours. While you write, you might question certain passages, lines that may be too politically incorrect, or just too offensive for someone who might dine at Per Se every now and then. You might change character arcs around, change the villains, modify complete dialogue exchanges, not to please the reader at home who is reading your work to get their mind off of their dick boss—no you’re modifying your work to please THEM.
The only reason most people publish with a publisher is a) validation or b) market reach. And of the two, it's only the latter that matters. The problem, of course, is that the publishers who provide the greatest market reach also take the much larger portion of the revenues, and worse, have absolutely no loyalty to their authors, and even worse, are strongly inclined to thought-police them.

No one knows the risks of that better than Castalia House author Nick Cole as he considers the importance of a platform in light of the independent ones Stefan Molyneux and I have constructed with a little help from our friends:
Neither of these people are at the mercy of a big publisher, as I once was.  So… If some petty little  corporate thug decides he/she doesn’t like Vox’s opinion about something they have no ability to silence Vox.  Vox maintains his own website and blogs heavily from it.  Same with Molyneaux. I think Molyneaux once mentioned he’d sold over a hundred thousand books through his website.  Wow!  He’s even cutting Amazon out of the picture and keeping all the money for himself.

Thus proving to the rest of us if you build your own platform you can weather the storms of corporate social justice shenanigans/intrigues/nepotism and connect directly to your audience to sell your product.

So no matter what happens in these times of faux moral outrage and someone demanding someone we don’t like must be silenced because they’re “Hitler,” these two can still directly connect with their audience and sell some books. And laugh all the way to the bank.

Here’s what you need to know to do the same thing.  It’s easy.  In fact, it’s never been easier.

Blog regularly.  Six days a week.  Say something.  Anything.  Even repost someone’s article (like this one) and add a comment to get readers interested and sharing the post even if it’s not yours. People who click on it will land on your website and they might get interested in your books. Stop going on Facebook and giving them free content by just posting stuff.   Take the time to write a blog post from your own website and then post it to Facebook.

Do this faithfully and start connecting with your readers regularly.  In time you’ll build an audience that will be yours and not some SJW media mogul’s who might decide to blacklist you because you think DNA determines gender.  Or global warming is a big lie.  Or civil rights is just a con game some crooks are using to stay in power.  Or Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest film sucks.  Whatever. Build your own platform.
Nick is one of the Castalia authors who will be building his platform at the Castalia House blog. What I would add to his advice is to consistently work to build up others, not merely yourself. There is a virtuous circle effect that the Left has historically been much better at utilizing than the Right, which is much more inclined to purity-spirals.

But we're learning and we're improving constantly. And that's why we're winning.

Labels:

38 Comments:

Blogger Dave January 11, 2017 3:14 PM  

that the publishers who provide the greatest market reach

...may decide not to adequately promote your book or leave the promotion entirely up to the author.

The common theme we hear from authors here is they have to be their own biggest promoters whether self-published or not. So build that platform regardless.

Blogger Mats January 11, 2017 3:30 PM  

Your addedum to Nick's advice are spot on. No one who raises to the top gets there without help. That is why I like seeing you linkijg to Mike, Roosh, Heartiste and even Anglin.

Blogging daily and constantly is the advice I take from Nikck

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr January 11, 2017 3:36 PM  

"There is a virtuous circle effect that the Left has historically been much better at utilizing than the Right, which is much more inclined to purity-spirals."

Excellent point. Robert Stacy McCain (no relation to the Senator) is really good about this, so is Professor Reynolds...but not many others.

Blogger Dave January 11, 2017 3:37 PM  

Nick is one of the Castalia authors who will be building his platform at the Castalia House blog.

Watching and waiting.


Recently on the CH blog jeffro posted that SWAN NIGHT'S SWAN should be nominated for the Planetary Awards. I agree but question how best to go about nominating a multi-part story. Any advice?

Blogger dc.sunsets January 11, 2017 3:59 PM  

A magazine columnist friend of mine from college called the multi-channel system "you (insert name), Inc.

The idea was to use the drift net breadth of the Internet to sift for people with the desire to move to your profit-producing (much narrower) pipeline (paid subscriptions, books, etc.)

It's obviously a successful model, and far more honest than prior Gatekeeper-based systems, but the effort and relatively long build phase culls all but the most single-minded (and destroys the untalented.)

OpenID rufusdog January 11, 2017 4:10 PM  

Just got done with Nick’s Wasteland Saga, enjoyed it.

Starting Wyrd soon, probably going to have to take a break from Nick after that, only so much zombie and apocalypse stuff I can take before I need a break.

Blogger Orville January 11, 2017 4:11 PM  

I really like these insider posts on publishing.

I subscribed to Nick Stephenson's 10K Readers program last fall and it teaches much of the same things for indies including trying to partner up with other indie authors in your genre to cross promote new and existing books whether you sell them on your site directly or through Amazon, Bookbub or other places. His whole focus is that this is your business and you must market it effectively.

Blogger James Dixon January 11, 2017 4:40 PM  

> ...no you’re modifying your work to please THEM.

For truly creative people, this is the biggest reason to self publish. While a good editor helps enormously with a book, he has to know enough not to change what the author actually wants to write. Good luck with that with any of the mainstream publishers.

Blogger Orville January 11, 2017 4:47 PM  

Editors can be hired after running your manuscript through something like Grammerly. Whether you start out that way probably depends on the writer. I think there can also be an argument made to get product out if you can't yet afford to sub it out to an editor. You can always edit it later and repost to Amazon.

Blogger Orville January 11, 2017 4:48 PM  

Cernovich said you've got to be a producer and not a consumer, and I'm trying real hard to write more each week and spend less time online.

Anonymous bobdobbs January 11, 2017 4:51 PM  

actually they're distant cousins. That's why he is The Other McCain.

Stacy has blogged extensively about building up blog audience. He's good.

Blogger Bard January 11, 2017 5:01 PM  

Cross promoting is big. There are many people I read that Vox introduced. Plus, you have the added benefit of vetting out the BS.

Blogger David The Good January 11, 2017 5:04 PM  

It took me five years to build up the audience I have now and http://www.thesurvivalgardener.com was the biggest part of that.

My books sell consistently and even though winter is the slow season, they're still selling and will only pick up over the next few months as the weather warms.

You have to keep yourself in view and remind people you exist. YouTube is a powerful platform for this. Facebook, though I hate it, does send traffic to my site and books. Google plus, though I have no idea who uses it, will increase your posts in the search rankings if you drop them there as well.

You also need to learn to sell. Seriously - I used to be the worst salesman. But I believe in my books and believe they'll help the reader so I bring them up in conversation.

You don't have to force it. The other day I was at a hardware store and saw a woman buying flower pots.

"Are you a gardener?," I asked.

"Yes," she said, "I grow flowers. What about you?"

"Yes - I am. I write gardening books and am studying the local agriculture."

"Really?" she says, "do you know what type of plant this is...?"

She pulls out her phone and starts flipping through images. We talk for a bit, I answer her questions, then she says she'll look up my books.

I do this all the time. It's not hard. Your writing is your income - if you don't care enough to push it, no one else will.

Blogger Orville January 11, 2017 5:07 PM  

Hey David, did you every buy Facebook ads to promote your books? I see some authors taking that approach with mixed success.

Blogger David The Good January 11, 2017 5:10 PM  

@Orville

No, though I have heard it works for some. I simply can't stomach the idea of giving them any money.

OpenID brefaucheux January 11, 2017 5:46 PM  

These posts on publishing are so helpful. I'm in the middle of trying to decide whether to continue my current pen name or start a new one. I love that self publishing gives you that freedom.

@Orville I've tried Facebook ads. They gave me some success but eventually the prices went up and it got to be ridiculous. Overall, I think they worked for people when they first became a thing and then soured a bit as others caught on. But that's just my take.

Blogger Jack Ward January 11, 2017 6:36 PM  

Not to place mark Vox; but, he surely must feel great gratification seeing comment trains like this one where good people interact and raise up each other. Like the man is a father figure [in addition to being the Evil Lord of Evil, of course]

Blogger John Wright January 11, 2017 6:46 PM  

"In short, it’s a road filled with compromise. You’re going to write thinking about THEM, appealing to THEIR tastes, hoping they align with yours. While you write, you might question certain passages, lines that may be too politically incorrect, or just too offensive for someone who might dine at Per Se every now and then. You might change character arcs around, change the villains, modify complete dialogue exchanges, not to please the reader at home who is reading your work to get their mind off of their dick boss—no you’re modifying your work to please THEM."

Is this a satire? No writer I know or can imagine writes this way. Who in his right mind could compromise his craft like this? Changing your plots, characters and dialog because of the fear that uncreative semi-literate mentally abnormal cowards will somehow disapprove of you? That will kill off the muse faster than alcoholism.

Stuff and nonsense. If an editor tries any such crap, hit him sharply on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, and go find another editor immediately.

A good editor (and Vox Day is the best I have ever had the privilege to work with) does not try to impose his values or virtues or philosophy on your work. He tries to impose discipline, skill, punch, pizzazz, and the benefit of his experience and measured judgment. A good editor acts as ballast, coach, and mentor not as the navigator.

Blogger VD January 11, 2017 6:53 PM  

Is this a satire? No writer I know or can imagine writes this way. Who in his right mind could compromise his craft like this? Changing your plots, characters and dialog because of the fear that uncreative semi-literate mentally abnormal cowards will somehow disapprove of you? That will kill off the muse faster than alcoholism.

John, few writers are so fortunate as to possess a muse who is as imperious and demanding and talented as yours.

Vox Day is the best I have ever had the privilege to work with.

You are too kind. Also, PLEASE check your gmail and let me know if you like the cover....

Blogger James Dixon January 11, 2017 7:06 PM  

> Is this a satire? No writer I know or can imagine writes this way.

John, have you not yet learned that not everyone is like you? Take our word for it, writers can and do write that way. The great ones, not so much so, but lots do.

I could add that one you do have an established audience, the mainstream publishers seem loath to even edit your books for fear of upsetting the apple cart (see J. K. Rowling as the textbook example).

Anonymous JohnnyQuest January 11, 2017 8:04 PM  

"Build your own platform..."

What about those of us still beholden to the corporate trough? Vox has on many occasions recommended anonymity. So I'm posting this anonymously. I can't really build an audience in today's transparent world while using a pseudonym. But I'm open to suggestions.

Anonymous BBGKB January 11, 2017 8:43 PM  

Is this a satire? No writer I know or can imagine writes this way. Who in his right mind could compromise his craft like this?

They don't purposely write that way, their PC Mary Sues of Color just so happen to fit what the editors are looking for. "Professor Doctor Latrina outsmarted all the STR8 white males in the department in order to..:

You also need to learn to sell. Seriously - I used to be the worst salesman.

Telling gay customers that 2 male mulberry bushes wouldn't work out.

Blogger David The Good January 11, 2017 9:08 PM  

@BBGKB

"Telling gay customers that 2 male mulberry bushes wouldn't work out."

That was just for entertainment, which sometimes trumps making a buck.

Blogger David The Good January 11, 2017 9:20 PM  

Mr. Wright - I'm re-reading the Count to a Trillion series again... any chance we'll see another book in that world soon?

I would send good money to read more.

Blogger beerme January 11, 2017 9:50 PM  

I would send good money to read more.
Do you spray bad money with Roundup?

Anonymous grey enlightenment January 11, 2017 10:13 PM  


The left are ruthless about winning, not about being right ..that's probably why they don't spiral as often

Blogger David The Good January 11, 2017 10:29 PM  

@beerme

Monsanto has thus far declined to pay me off so I'm still railing against them.

Blogger Jack Vibe January 11, 2017 11:12 PM  

Building up others is good addition. You help them up, they will be more inclined to help you up as they'll feel obligated to reciprocate. Positive feedback loop achieved.

Blogger Brian Niemeier January 12, 2017 1:07 AM  

@8: Preach it, James!

Our esteemed Mr. Wright introduced me to my editor, and she could not more perfectly fulfill the criteria you set out.

Blogger Jose January 12, 2017 4:06 AM  

VD wrote:You are too kind. Also, PLEASE check your gmail and let me know if you like the cover....

Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither. Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither. Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither. Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither. Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither. Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither. Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither. Please let this be the sequel to Somewhither.

Anonymous Bz January 12, 2017 5:45 AM  

Two well-known examples of heavy editing are To Kill a Mockingbird and the production of Raymond Carver (editor: Gordon Lish). While it does showcases publishers getting involved with their writers, the process doesn't seem quite healthy for the author or muse, even if everyone involved gets famous and to some extent rich.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/13/books/the-invisible-hand-behind-harper-lees-to-kill-a-mockingbird.html?_r=0

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/dec/05/gordon-lish-books-interview-editing-raymond-carver

Anonymous Bob Just January 12, 2017 8:27 AM  

@VD -

In your mind, have you expanded/altered the focus of the blog? And if so, did that coincide with increase in readership (or what do you attribute your increases in readership to)?

@VD - Ever have any fatigue from covering issues you've already covered previously?

an example, following you and Nick's advice on writing something daily:

Let's say I create a blog and call it:

VOX DAY IS WRONG: examples of his WRONGNESS

Day 1: Nothing to report
Day 2: See Day 1
Day 3: I thought there was something, but I misread.
Day 4: His blog was DDOSed (I'm counting it as WRONGNESS)
Day 5: See Day 1
Day 6: He had to "Name That Tune" in 2 notes! (h/t @Spacebunny)
Day 7: He didn't rest

Anonymous Bob Just January 12, 2017 8:39 AM  

@21 I'd be interested in reading that!

"Building a brand while renaming anonymous"
- bitcoin
- corporations
- privacy


Also glad to see that it looks like the Real "DavidTheGood" is back and not Dave2000

Blogger John Wright January 12, 2017 2:48 PM  

@19
"Also, PLEASE check your gmail and let me know if you like the cover...."

Love, love, love the cover. Your readers should rejoice at the nice wrapping paper their present for the spring season of 2017 will be wrapped in.

Blogger John Wright January 12, 2017 2:49 PM  

@30
Your humble servant is writing busily! I am four chapters into NOWITHER, but I wanted to finish CITY OF CORPSES first. And I still have a day job...

Blogger John Wright January 12, 2017 2:51 PM  

@24
"Mr. Wright - I'm re-reading the Count to a Trillion series again... any chance we'll see another book in that world soon? "

A very good chance indeed. The final volume, COUNT TO INFINITY, comes out this year from Tor books.

Blogger L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright January 12, 2017 4:11 PM  

@24 -. The last (book 6) Count to a Trillion book is awesome!

It is like a novelization of Powers of Ten.

Blogger jon spencer January 13, 2017 11:19 AM  

Is there a reason that the CH blog does not have a RSS feed button?

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