Book publishing confidential | Gary Smailes | TEDxLiverpool



so to start with a quote that nested Buster has left us everyone has a fork inside room it's just a matter of matter of getting it out in August 2000 I was working in the pharmaceutical industry I was in a job that I've spent 10 years training to do and I hated it with a passion I really did fix it so I think the only logical thing that could do and with a with a wife and a six week old baby I handed my notice in and had no job and I knew that I needed to do something that was passionate about something I was interested in and at the time the only real thing that was doing it for me was writing and you wanted to write and I was passionate about history so I I gave up my job I actually enrolled on a master's degree in military history and spent two years with training as historian during this time I had to do a thesis and my thesis was on the Victoria Cross one of the books that I came across during my studies was written by Terry Derry of oral histories Fame Terry had written a story about a Victoria Cross winner who had later being common bully and that there was 12 bad things written about him but in the book he had not named the Victoria Cross soldier so I contacted Terry and and asked him I notice long story short we hit it off and within a couple of months I was working with Terry on the Horrible Histories I was acting as a researcher and helping him edit some of the books I did that for two years during that time I was also writing and sending proposals to publishers and trying to start my own writing career but I haven't told Terry this I was getting nowhere I was sending rejection I was sending the book proposals off and I was getting reject his backers anyone who tried this will find happens a lot I was at the stage where I was ready to give up so I actually went to Terry and I told Terry look this is what I'm trying to do just take a look at my work tell me it's rubbish he looks at my box so this is great what you've got to do is you've got to persist a couple of weeks later I get a phone call from Terry he'd been asked by a publisher to write a book they haven't had time to write he suggested that I should speak to the publisher I spoke to them they wanted me to work for them and now number of years down the line I have more than 20 books in print I have an agent have been published by a number of different publishers that's absolutely a story that's that's my story and sort of it's actually true those children's it is the story that I have created to communicate to people who I am or what I do it's it's a story that allows me to quickly go through all of that the reality of what happens as it's helped people directly I've learned through the years that storytelling is absolutely fundamental in what we do in life storytelling is the difference between success and failure for love in the and companies ironically the institution that has taught me the storytelling so important is punching out something today so okay so to understand a little bit about the book position well we've got a star this little shops book shops based on the concept of having a limited amount of bookshelf so the books that they place onto those shelves are the books that they feel can sell the most for the most profit they may not necessarily be the best books but they are the best selling books this is our first example great storytelling whenever you walk into a bookshop you are being told a story about the books you should be buying and eating these are books that are chosen not by readers or writers or by publishers and book sellers the problem is that no one really understands what creates a best-seller it's a little bit black magic involved put homeless mysticism it's kind of like remind you of purple.you bestsellers the problem we face is that when nailing up when you go to my book and you buy it for a bookshop you walk out and pay the till they have no connection there's no interaction there's no way of knowing what your light of this links are all they have is the solid sailors figures and this is not a good reflection of what makes a best-seller so their response is to build a business model that produces and sells lots and lots of books in fact they sell it they produce as many book to say physically afford they understand 70% of the books they they actually produce well probably at best breakeven will probably lose money of the remaining 30 descender actually make money only a tiny fraction of those will make any significant amount of money and we call a best-seller so what's the reality for a writer if if we accept that right a chance are not going to be bestsellers what is their reality well I try to put together some figures here to give you an indication of my experience the publishing era most writers when you get a book thicker will be offered in advance that's an amount of money up front days is cut off your overall royalties these advances are typically between a thousand and ten thousand pounds you will hear stories of writers we see with huge advances it does happen it's extremely rare most of us have got quite small you will also add a right to receive a royalty now here I'm working on a 15% of a discounted price when a book is sold into a bookshop the bookshop will not pay the cover price they will probably play at least 50% of the cover price you will get a quart of the price that they're selling into the bookshop so 50% for a five pound bull you'll probably as a writer you're going to get 75 pence per book so there's something this is thousand sales here on average and they'd be anomalous to sell about thousand once a year it varies for if we work on our figure that's about 750 pound a year the writers making particularly great for perhaps a year or two so if this is the reality why the writers still insist on submitting why the writers still seek out publishers to publish their work the reason for this is that we are being told a story one of the greatest story publishers of ever told I call it I closed it the best seller creation myth this is a this is a little bit of a if you look at if you look at a lot of bestsellers they will have a story around them about how the book was came into production Acadians life the story of the writers story and it goes something like this the writer will salt right there little fella been rejected probably lots of times and a long certainly have just about giving up and then some magical agent will see through all of the search Palin notice the genius of the writer they will put the purity then will find a publisher and everyone lives happily ever after this is the creation if this is the story publishers have been telling us because they need new rises this is saying that your Stephen King's would you page I wanted to shoot sort of highlights you that this story the publisher telling us that is so widespread but it's infiltrated at every line so this is the story of how Stephen King came a writer it's quite a story while he was writing characters first book he became disillusioned strudel was riveting event his wife retrieved the monsters and the police things of finishing this was the moment he was about to give all and then suddenly this son of his wife so July the next line down in deliver get this is with uses and win by the publisher the next line down we have that link straight away because it's why I did this he gets two hundred twenty two thousand five hundred dollars and his earnings with a proud veteran is with four hundred thousand dollars all because of his wife this is a story so it's true based on reality but it was not as clear course than that okay so long to see container this is our journey made models will be page now of all the put of all the rights the moment JK rowling copy asked about wide and complex creation story the ready but to be every 18 minutes anything types of one focusing on is the story that most of us know is that she started writing in Edinburgh faculties so the idea was that and this is up on wiki page after completing a fella bubble while survive like Social Security to vote in many cafes this is the creation it's just installed along now what I wanted to show you here though is just underneath this we have a quote that went from JK Rowling saying I am NOT student of the restaurant button editor in midwinter patenting she's dispelling the myth she's actively on her weekly pages dispelling this myth this story will still we believe it has even been a film made of her journey to publication okay so what about rejection so if we've got this story there that publishes that you can get your book published because you know you might be the next X bestseller think they exist how do the publishers feel with the rejection story well they actually make it part of the process I don't see a writers rejecting the report and you can see straight away we have a list of blog articles but there are using the mythology of the rejection to show them it's part of the process the publishers have even built in a story within that to say being rejected is part of it where you get rejected you're actually taking step close enough that further work although something you believe as a side point that top article is absolutely one I rose well rather sleep in hijack the creation myth story okay so the problem we now face though is that the publishing industry's world is completely changed and there's new stories being told I don't have anyone to come across this guy this is radical John Locke he is a self-published writer he's now or a publisher he creates rights which is his other books he sold over a million copies of his watch alone this is this is astonishing this is a best seller this is a best seller come to the store this the best seller the self-published to show though how John Locke is able to create his own creation mix story and how he's communicating with his readers this is a protecto from the times newspapers off their website and he says the our i novel is really basically what the saying here is that john locke is used batteries website and Twitter to build and sell a million copies the conduct the reasons behind John selling so many copies are far far beyond the use of social media but this is part of the story John tells he tells how how social media has allowed you to build okay so is this your model well traditionally what we would have done if you want to be positive you have to submit it to an agent and then able to give your publisher and the publisher would of foucha book now amazon have taken a completely different model rather than using the best sell model they use a longtail model where their interest is not so much finding a few books to sell a huge amount they won't find many many books that smell that sell a small amount the natural step from that is to move beyond publishers and to move to sub writers self publish writers and Amazon them in a golden age for the simple writers this is taken directly off Azam's website where you're able to log on using your normal Amazon account and upload your book onto Amazon I want simply made this processing here this is simply you fill this information in you upload your cover you uploaded your book to be in Word document it doesn't matter you then set the price you can set your own price and this is fantastic because as long as your prices are above a certain low threshold level you can set your royalty to rate to 70 percent so if we go back to that booklet who is ourselves a 5-pound if I then instead of like and polish to sell it I sell it myself on Allison I'm not longer making small anomaly I'm making three-pound 48 per copy Cosell which makes them ask quite simple as if we go back to this here now we have a self-watering profits so we see that the Bob bought for the traditional publisher which do 75 pence um however the self-publishing of three comma quantitative we stick about thousand books per year there's a clear difference in the amount of profit that a writer is making this is extremely attractive right recipe what I've discovered in my business is that successful self-publish writers are telling a story about their book the difference between success and failure for self publish writers tends to be the marketing on the story they're telling and people like John Locke have become experts at this this is taken directly off john's website if you notice they have color in red eight authors in the history of soil more than a million people on the kingdom this is all part of john story connectivities writing out all were all moving on this journey ahead how he's managed to sell his books and their father he's telling the different stories that different stories the one the publisher telling John story is so complex he's so hot a little bit he's actually written to the pork about he's written a book about how he wrote afore that so many copies that business by selling its own right has actually done you know he does it goes all day explains how he does it but this is part of his soaring this is part of one of the way he's telling the world these are the kind of people that we help a public area I wanted from the core Public Health where we help to interact with writers we also as a compliment have our own story and this is this is important what we try to do is we try to interact with communities by telling the story that they are ready to listen to this is the silent page of our website if you go to our page you will see a little pop-up window class manifests Maithili online chapter this last night and people will come in and quickly the messaging chatter meeting and it's great it's great building trust with customers but also great for me to tell our story time and time again the stage story that were telling over now is writers we also have a second sort of walk through our quarters yes continually telling writers self-assess writers same story which brings me the reason I really unclear is like what I wanted to do is pose question to you what's your story I passionately believe that every single one of us has a story that's worth telling we have a vital story that only we know that everyone else will file value and I feel that businesses and individuals up in the glass in this story businesses are up and so so fighting to survive they're building products and all the other things that they forget to communicate with their customers and the best way to communicate with your customer is tell a story that appeals to your customer and that's music I do this I'm sorry inside it's just a master yeah thank you you

11 thoughts on “Book publishing confidential | Gary Smailes | TEDxLiverpool

  1. After having trouble getting an agent, I tried the on-line route with Amazon. My book was online for about 3 days and then suddenly it wasn't. THEY LOST IT. That's irresponsible. But if this speaker wants to entertain us, he should get his Liverpool mate, Paul McCartney to sing for us.

  2. Yes, you get a bigger cut of the earnings, but it takes a substantial amount of money up front to self-publish–probably, several thousand dollars/pounds. Essentially, you're starting a business. If you're trying to make a lot of money writing books, you probably should self-publish. But if that's your main motivation, you're probably going to be seriously disappointed. If money is not the main reason, you probably should give the traditional approach a shot. At least you won't lose too much money, and you might actually make a little. Also, it's important to understand that, FOR A PARTICULAR TITLE, you can't expect to self-publish first and then go to a traditional publisher. No one is going to go for your book after it's already earned all the easy money.

    For me, the main deterrent to traditional publishing is that, or so I'm told, there are long delays in getting a publisher to get your book out. I see this as a big problem in my current situation, when there's an important message to get out. And I don't know why it would have to always take so long. Maybe there's a way around it, maybe through a small press. At least I hope.

  3. "Everyone has a book inside them, it's just a matter of getting it out." Makes me think of the time someone was interviewing Christopher Hitchens and perhaps hoping to get a word of encouragement from him, said something to the effect that "It's said that everyone has a book inside them." Hitchens replied, "Yes, and in most cases, that's where it should stay."

  4. While the presenter seems like a cordial and passionate man, he offers almost no content whatsoever based on the title of the presentation…

  5. I like how he sells himself later on. I got some decent information, but the camera work and sound was pretty bad.

  6. Sorry, mate, but agents, traditional publishers and booksellers are now OBSOLETE!! Don't need them anymore, don't give a toss what they think of a manuscript. Self-publishing is the road to take today. The author is in COMPLETE CONTROL and earns more, much more, in royalties than he/she would by taking the traditional route. I say good riddance!

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