Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#1
I got a curious question. Let's say you've got an idea for a story. And let's say you might even have a full manuscript ready. What circumstances would make you consider putting it on Royal Road instead of giving it it a traditional publisher or to self-publish? Or maybe you can do both, but you decided to put it on Royal Road first? What are the benefits of putting your book on Royal Road first? Are there any drawbacks? Maybe once it's on Royal Road, its practically free, so no one might be incentivized to actually pay money to buy your book afterwards? I know it's a probably dumb question, but I gotta ask.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#4
It depends. If you intend using traditional publication, the smart route is to have it criticized and preened (or beta read) on a good , closed , or private critique site, then offered through an agent, or by direct submission to the publisher. There would be nothing gained and possible loss incurred by displaying the content for free, and no publisher, or agent for that matter, will touch anything currently on free display.  Even if they were desperate for the work, they would at minimum require it be removed from any public display site. They intend to sell it, and would not tolerate your giving it away free (go figure) save as a promotion under their terms and rights management.  Self publishing outlets of course don't care what you do as they are not invested. I would think this is all glaringly obvious.  Some sites note that technically you retain first rights, well all copyright anyway as they haven't bought anything from you under contract, but in real world terms, it makes no difference to a publisher, who wants fresh, unseen material to sell. You meet that expectation or they just plain look elsewhere, No one can force anyone to buy in on anything.

Also,  no one buys ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen. You must have a completed manuscript ready. It must beat out a thousand other competitive manuscripts to  even come forward for consideration. Editors no longer spend time aiding an author to polish anything either. In the end, they may make editing cuts to the material prior to publication, but overall the document as submitted must be near perfect of grammar, spelling, logic and plot, or you're wasting their time. They do not care a fig about your artwork. they supply artwork, binding, distribution and all of that. From you, they want the text. Formatted to their specifications.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#5

Cicada1317 Wrote: I got a curious question. Let's say you've got an idea for a story. And let's say you might even have a full manuscript ready. What circumstances would make you consider putting it on Royal Road instead of giving it it a traditional publisher or to self-publish? Or maybe you can do both, but you decided to put it on Royal Road first? What are the benefits of putting your book on Royal Road first? Are there any drawbacks? Maybe once it's on Royal Road, its practically free, so no one might be incentivized to actually pay money to buy your book afterwards? I know it's a probably dumb question, but I gotta ask.


If you post it on Royal Road or another website, you are giving up First Rights (or FNASR), as I understand it. I believe you'll have to take it down in order to negotiate for that, and you get paid better for First Rights than for Second Serial or Reprint Rights. People do publish their stories on Royal Road first and then on Amazon. That's originally how I discovered Royal Road, through a book that was here first, then sold there (Return of the Tower Conqueror in case anyone wonders- I believe a couple of chapters is all he can get away with leaving here while the book is for sale).

Trad pub, or traditional publishing is a more labyrinthine path to take, and there are many, many trolls guarding its few tiny passes. First off, that publisher has to be in a position where it can take on a newbie author. That isn't guaranteed. Your story has to fit that publisher's style. So read up on what that publisher is putting out there. I believe the whole "agent" model is in the process of dying off, and wasn't a particularly good model to begin with, so my humble advice is do NOT get suckered into getting an agent.

Even if the publisher is interested in your story, and has a slot for you, there's editing that will need to be done unless you are more amazing and awesome than 99.9999999% of people born with opposable thumbs. You can pay to have your work professionally edited before submitting, out of your own pocket, but that is a non-insignificant investment for most writers. And should you get picked up and published, there is still no iron guarantee you'll be marketed. Should that occur, your book's publication rights remain with the publisher, so you can't go willy-nilly putting out a sequel on a different platform (not that I know of, anyway).

If you self publish, you'll want it to be as clean a copy as you can get, so copy editors and line editors (or those rare unicorns that do both) will need to be paid. Cover art, more money (unless your artistic talent is up to snuff). You'll need to format your work for the intended output, be that kindle, nook, epub, etc.

There are guides out there on how to self-publish, even guides on this website (check Guides by The Community, I believe there is one pinned there).

The benefits of Royal Road, like other similar websites, is eyeballs on the work. That may accomplish two things. One, you may get useful critique of your work in progress. Two, fans. Fans are good. Fans are awesome. Fans are cool, too. They might buy your work, or they might not if you take the capitalist route of making money with your book and feeding your family with said money.

Do not underestimate the value of eyeballs on the work. Some of the people here are so awesome that they'll read your work, and actually tell you what they liked and disliked about it in detail. Feedback is something all newbie writers need, whether we admit it or not. Sometimes the advice you get might be crap, but by and large I've seen quite a few smart cookies out there.

What route you take is ultimately up to you. You could be the next J.K. Rowling for all I know. I chose Royal Road because I like to read, and I have a bad habit of writing that I just can't quite kick. The fact that it is free makes it hard to not at least try it out.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#6
Posting it publicly online means you are using your first publication rights. You can never sell first publication rights on something you've posted here, because any future publications would be a second printing (wrong terminology I'm sure, not a pro) and first rights are what everyone wants.  So, unless you lie about it, or find a publisher who's willing to look at second-run stories, it is an either-or situation. You can't have both.

Self-publishing, though, it doesn't matter as much. Or indie or hybrid, or small presses that specialize in litrpg for instance, posting it here would have less of an impact and may actually be an advantage if you can bring existing fans to the table.

Personally, I'm still not confident enough in my work to feel it's worth submitting to a publisher. So I post it here, hoping to get feedback to improve, and maybe one day I'll have something good enough to go traditional with. Until then, it's practice and getting critiques whenever possible.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#7
I'm publishing here for a few reasons. One is that there is no pressure really to publish here. I still own my work and I can put stuff out to see what people think. If something I make gets popular enough when it's done, I could then take it and actually make it a proper book to publish. It's also a place I don't have to worry about so many things I'd need to if I was publishing a physical product. It's more casual. I also think it's a good way to gain an audience and improve one's skill as they do so.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#8
Some really insightful responses on here. As for my own experience, I've been writing for a long time, and I have to say traditional publishing is dead. I mean people have been saying that for years and yet there are still book stores and there are still big name writers making a lot of bank, BUT in terms of the ancient idea of some peasant getting the attention of a publisher AND somehow coming out on top, forget it.

I self-published a historical fiction series and I nearly got published by a small publishing company. If I had been young, in my twenties, I would have been so freaking ecstatic I would have jumped at the offer. But I'm old now and I've seen so many disappointments that it made me hesitant. We talked a bit and they sent me a contract. I assumed it would be easy to get an agent considering I had a contract already in hand (it would have made the agent's job a heck of a lot easier), but no, they're just too busy. So I did some research and learned how to read a contract. The contract wasn't terrible but it wasn't great, either, and they couldn't give me any guarantee that they would put any advertising power behind the book. But the real kicker was they wanted to own the movie rights. I thought it was weird that they wouldn't work with me on that one, so I did a little more research and found out some publishers like to publish a miniscule print run and then just SIT on the movie rights. Then it just becomes an idea that moves around in the backalley of ideas, most likely never ever going anywhere. Really makes no sense to me but yes that's a thing. So I turned them down.

I have a friend who's traditionally published and he has nothing good to say about it either. He lives in perpetual poverty but he does have stories about meeting celebrities. But ultimately it just sounds like a trap was set and his soul fell in. When he told me most of the names you see in bookstores are people who make a living working "real jobs" rather than writing, that was a big wake-up call for me, too.

So if any of you guys are walking the Royal Road but imagining something better, DON'T. Just enjoy your life here, or self-publishing! Because honestly this is as good as it gets!

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#9
Trad publishing isn't something you just do. A lot of people talk about it as something they just do. "I have to go pick a publishing house that I like for my first book." Thats not how it works. You have to query with agencies until you find one that buys your book, and your first book wont sell for very much most likely.

And when I say first book, I mean the first book you sell, because the first book you write wont sell. Ever. Unless you're Terry Goodkind, and honestly, fuck Terry Goodkind.

Most authors dont publish until their 5th-7th book. So instead of sitting on manuscripts that aren't good enough to publish, why not upload them online as you learn?

For trad publishing your book has to be good good. There are very few works of actual publishable quality on royalroad. And when a book does have publishable quality, its obvious, because it tops trending and gets thousands of followers. Beware of chicken, mother of learning? Those? Those are publishable or will be after professional editing.

Lots of writers will cope with the idea that they're just unlucky or outside of royalroads genre or that their readers are vindictive. They're just not good. Thats okay. The first step to being good is being bad. You have to accept that you're bad though.

None of my works are good enough to publish. The highest follower count I've reached is 3000.

You should definitely pursue traditional publishing. When you're ready. 

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#10
Once you publish story on any site, you won't be able to go to most of publishers with it. You can only use it to show that you're capable of. You also won't be able to publish the story anywhere without publisher's permission.
There are authors that self publish their existing story on amazon store, but it's both bad and d*ck move in my opinion. It's better to just set up a patreon and doing whatever you like.

I stay the hell away from publishing for money. Market is overloaded and it's next to impossible to get on the top without great amount of ass licking and forcing yourself to write things based on ever-shifting trends. I already have a writer in family that slipped on that soap

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#11
I chose online free serial publishing (including Royal Road) over "real" publishing because I don't write for money (you're insane if you do) and I simply cannot be bothered fighting to get the attention of an agent and working with them to get the attention of a publisher and then spending 1-2 years in the production mill before FINALLY getting my story on the shelves with no likelihood if any bigger an audience. There seemed no point in doing all that when I have people wanting to read my story right now, and publishing on Royal Road and my own website is instant and free.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#13

Cicada1317 Wrote: I got a curious question. Let's say you've got an idea for a story. And let's say you might even have a full manuscript ready. What circumstances would make you consider putting it on Royal Road instead of giving it it a traditional publisher or to self-publish? Or maybe you can do both, but you decided to put it on Royal Road first? What are the benefits of putting your book on Royal Road first? Are there any drawbacks? Maybe once it's on Royal Road, its practically free, so no one might be incentivized to actually pay money to buy your book afterwards? I know it's a probably dumb question, but I gotta ask.



Nothing about your questions are dumb. I don't think putting stuff on RR will make your indie published stuff not get any readers or buyers. people looking to buy books aren't running to RR, they don't even know it exists. So what I'm doing is posting my stuff on RR for free. I will eventually start telling my readers that if they enjoyed a book or arc, that they can support me by purchasing the book on [x, y, z] platform. I'm indie publishing a bunch of stuff. Search Waraji Sama on goodreads, smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc and you'll see what I mean.

As far as trad publishing? Not interested. Being successful in trad is like winning the lottery. Also, they retain ALL the rights, so you can't write in that world or compete against that ip. It's kind of a scam.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#14
Don't be depressed, there are avenues, legitimate avenues, into entering the world of commercial publication, If this is an employment  track you wish to follow. It isn't a "high road", but for the diligent, one that is open. First, is through magazine submissions for articles, short stories, and such.  Writing itself is only part of what you need to be good at for this track, which includes very good bookkeeping routines, submission tracking, a very systematic, long suffering, active submission routine. Being able to forward yourself in some interesting other vocation, if possible won't hurt. I.E. a saleable Bio never hurts. Consider adding training in journalism to your educational foundations, if currently in school, sign up for duty on the school paper and yearbook. Look for openings within publications, and co-op associations. Submit, Submit, Submit. Know all the online fiction accepting aggregator sites, like http://www.ralan.com/

If you write fictions,  intend on attending all the conventions you can, prepare and practice delivery of elevator pitches for your work for them. Apply for positions at local news papers, advertisers and other such agencies that put you in contact with the industry and the people within it. Another words, know where to go and specifically, who to talk to.

Success will still hinge on how good you are, but never decry the power of being in the right place at the right time. Join professional associations as are open to you. The publications and newsletters and contacts they provide you are assets.  If you want to be there, walk the walk, - go there.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#15
Deathless Wrote: For trad publishing your book has to be good good. There are very few works of actual publishable quality on royalroad. And when a book does have publishable quality, its obvious, because it tops trending and gets thousands of followers. Beware of chicken, mother of learning? Those? Those are publishable or will be after professional editing.

Quick comment: I disagree on this front. Most stories that get thousands of followers and top trending are still far from publishable. If you took a published book, and posted it here on RR chapter by chapter, it would probably stay sitting under a hundred followers, unless it's in a popular genre. I don't think Lord of the Rings would attract many readers at all, for example, and it's Fantasy. Even worse numbers for horror, murder mysteries, war stories, detective stories, chick-lit romance... Even if those fictions were of publishable quality, "topping trending" ain't gonna happen.

There is correlation between "quality" and popularity, sure, but it's not so clear-cut. Stories don't become popular just because they're "publishable", and they're not automatically publishable just because they're popular and fun. 

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#17

SJ Wrote:
Qwart Wrote: There are authors that self publish their existing story on amazon store, but it's both bad and d*ck move in my opinion. It's better to just set up a patreon and doing whatever you like.



Yes, how dare they want to make a living off their work.

I'm talking about people doing Amazon start to rip off their audience

Remember Sexy Space Babes that was once in trending? Author deleted all existing chapters and told people to buy it on Amazon. Now that he killed his own audience, he deleted his story. Locking already existing content behind a paywall is a d*ck move. It prevents new readers from getting in and checking if it's worth or not, while followers that helped grow the story are now locked out of it.

Now look up stories in trending: The Dark Lord's Home For Undead Heroes, The Last Game, The Agartha Loop

Burningsock gets 372$ per month without locking content behind a paywall. Ravens Dagger has 580 patreons, which means at least 580$ monthly but I would say it's around 700$. How much Amazon strat would net for author at price of killing their story and disappointing their audience?

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#18

Qwart Wrote:
SJ Wrote:
Qwart Wrote: There are authors that self publish their existing story on amazon store, but it's both bad and d*ck move in my opinion. It's better to just set up a patreon and doing whatever you like.



Yes, how dare they want to make a living off their work.

I'm talking about people doing Amazon start to rip off their audience

Remember Sexy Space Babes that was once in trending? Author deleted all existing chapters and told people to buy it on Amazon. Now that he killed his own audience, he deleted his story. Locking already existing content behind a paywall is a d*ck move. It prevents new readers from getting in and checking if it's worth or not, while followers that helped grow the story are now locked out of it.

Now look up stories in trending: The Dark Lord's Home For Undead Heroes, The Last Game, The Agartha Loop

Burningsock gets 372$ per month without locking content behind a paywall. Ravens Dagger has 580 patreons, which means at least 580$ monthly but I would say it's around 700$. How much Amazon strat would net for author at price of killing their story and disappointing their audience?



Idk why royalroad members have this toxic and entitled mentality. If you want to read it while its on royalroad, read it. Don't cry when it gets removed.

I read both royalroad and KU, and the KU reader base is way, way larger. Its not ripping off their audience. If you're their audience, you would have read it, caught up, and waited for more chapters or got patreon chapters. 

If you only complain when it gets removed, you're not their audience, nor are you their fan. Just an entitled twat.

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#19

Ararara Wrote:
Deathless Wrote: For trad publishing your book has to be good good. There are very few works of actual publishable quality on royalroad. And when a book does have publishable quality, its obvious, because it tops trending and gets thousands of followers. Beware of chicken, mother of learning? Those? Those are publishable or will be after professional editing.

Quick comment: I disagree on this front. Most stories that get thousands of followers and top trending are still far from publishable. If you took a published book, and posted it here on RR chapter by chapter, it would probably stay sitting under a hundred followers, unless it's in a popular genre. I don't think Lord of the Rings would attract many readers at all, for example, and it's Fantasy. Even worse numbers for horror, murder mysteries, war stories, detective stories, chick-lit romance... Even if those fictions were of publishable quality, "topping trending" ain't gonna happen.

There is correlation between "quality" and popularity, sure, but it's not so clear-cut. Stories don't become popular just because they're "publishable", and they're not automatically publishable just because they're popular and fun.



This is cope.

I agree that a few, very specific genres wouldn't trend on royalroad, such as historical fiction. I think all the ones you named besides maybe chick lit romance could trend.

But the biggest thing that impacts whether or not a story trends is whether or not its good. And if its good enough to be publishable, it will almost always trend.

And when I say publishable, I mean something that could be published right now, not lord of the rings. I dont think lord of the rings would attract many readers either.

Also, most of the stories that eclipse 10k on royalroad are indeed publishable. You have to remember that first drafts of stories and manuscripts aren't meant to be publishable, they're meant to be edited. 

Re: Choosing Royal Road over actual publishing

#20

Deathless Wrote: This is cope.

I agree that a few, very specific genres wouldn't trend on royalroad, such as historical fiction. I think all the ones you named besides maybe chick lit romance could trend.

But the biggest thing that impacts whether or not a story trends is whether or not its good. And if its good enough to be publishable, it will almost always trend.

And when I say publishable, I mean something that could be published right now, not lord of the rings. I dont think lord of the rings would attract many readers either.

Also, most of the stories that eclipse 10k on royalroad are indeed publishable. You have to remember that first drafts of stories and manuscripts aren't meant to be publishable, they're meant to be edited.


I was responding about "trending", which is around 1k. Not "All-time best of Royalroad", which is 10k+. Yes, those gems are closer to real books. 

And ok, let's just agree to disagree. I think the vast majority of readers come here to read isekai/dungeon core/xianxia/anime, not publishable (contemporary) stuff. It can't compare in popularity, regardless of the inherent quality and "publishability".  Ffs, I remember when this story was on top of trending. 


Edit: oh, chapters were removed. But it was unreadably bad.