Race scores and e-publishing

Recently, I’ve spoken a little bit about e-publishing. E-publishing is a wonderful thing that lets writers completely control their work. The cover, the editing, format, distribution, etc, etc. It’s also a great way for writers to get themselves out there without having to fight the good fight to be noticed by a publisher. Now, I am not saying traditional publishing is bad. I think it’s great and I have every intention of trying to get traditionally published. Honestly, the advertising and marketing that comes from New York is awesome and will potentially generate more sales for e-publishing. However, there is a problem.

Every story I publish electronically takes away from my race score. What’s a race score you ask? It’s a way of competing with other writers. The basic breakdown is 1 point for short stories, three points for partial novel manuscripts, and 8 points for full novels submitted to an editor. Simultaneous submissions don’t count. You can’t count the same story for each editor you have it out to at one time. If you send a partial manuscript out to five different editors, it’s still only three points. Dean Wesley Smith explains it really well in his personal blog. Once the story is taken off the market, you lose points. Thus you see the problem. Electronic publishing takes my stories off the market.

Fellow writer Annie Bellet and I have discussed this and come up with something that may work a little better. This focuses on stories published, not stories in the mail.

1 point for short stories, that stays the same.
3 points for short story collections of 5 or more.
5 points for novels

Repeats are okay for short stories, but not for novels. In other words if you have a short story for sale on its own and one in a collection, you can count it twice, but not for novels. If you have a novel on its own and one in an omnibus, you can only count it once. You also can’t count a novel more than once if you do e-pub and POD. In addition, you must sell at least 5 copies of the story before it will count and you can’t generate the sales yourself. No buying your own story, that’s cheating. This is, of course, still up for debate, but may prove beneficial in seeing who has the most success in the e-publishing ring.


About amandamccarter

I am an aspiring writer. I spend most of my time balancing my work, my personal life and my craft. It is my hope that my craft and my work will one day be the same thing and I can spend more time on my personal life. I live with my boyfriend, my insane fluff ball of a cat, and two snakes. In what little spare time I have, I play video games, read, knit, and help out with the local conventions.
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4 Responses to Race scores and e-publishing

  1. Again, thanks for the link over here.

    I think that’s a good system — except for the caveat about a story having to sell five copies before you count it. One thing Dean is suggesting is that the more stories you have up, the more sales you’ll get. I know, for example, that while looking at Book A by Author A, I Amazon (or someone) guides me to Book A by Author B. But when I start looking at Author B, I ending up buying Book B. Wouldn’t have happened if not for Book A — even though I didn’t buy it.

    I think you just need to race scores — one for for the stuff in the mail, and one for stuff you’ve self-published.

    But maybe you have a rationale behind five sales. Do you?

    • Yes, we do have a reasoning for five sales before counting the story. We figured the first five sales, at least at first will be pity sales. Basically sales from mom and dad, friends, etc. We want to count it after five so that we know it’s beyond just people buying our stories because they know or like us.

      • That makes sense … if you actually tell people you’re self-publishing. I’m not, at least not yet. I keep my writing very, very close to my chest. I only tell people who have to know … and so far the only one who knows anything about my writing is my wife.

      • Jeff, I would be in a great deal of trouble if I didn’t tell people I was publishing. My mother would murder me if I published a book, electronically or otherwise, and didn’t tell her. She wants to read my work. As do several of my friends and high school classmates. It’s really weird.

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