|So, I wrote this book...|
As writers, I believe it's safe to say we all agree on one thing: Most of us want to be published by a real, bona fide & certified publishing house. To be recognized and taken on by an editor and/or agent team who says, "Hey! We can sell this!" And, therefore, proceeds to throw all their big-buck NYC funds into our project. A great cover, perhaps even a stepback with people who really portray our characters well, a marketing plan, bookmarks, tote bags, t-shirts, big signing appointments at Barnes & Nobles all over the country, movie contracts...the list goes on and on.
But what happens when you've spent years without success? What happens when the most common rejection you receive these days goes something like, "loved the story, loved the characters, but we just don't have the space for it right now"? Because it's true, you know. Books are expensive to publish. And I know what you're thinking: Uh, but don't these huge publishing companies have, like, lots and lots of money? Yeah, they do. But they've got many mouths to feed, too. Think about all those things I listed in the first paragraph. Now think about how many authors write under, say, Avon. Some of whom have novels which go out first in hardback (a HUGE expense).
|Can you imagine how much $$$ went into the launch of |
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows??
You get the point, right? Good. Last month our local RWA (Romance Writer's of America) chapter NOLA STARs hosted its first Summer Writing Workshop. You saw me harp on and on about it (and Janet Mullany! *squee*) during the months of May and June. While we had plenty of talented authors and members of the publishing industry with great information and stories to tell, one particular tidbit stood out to me above all others. Perhaps because I, like many, many of my fellow writers, am desperately seeking publication. But the speaker--and I believe it was Deb Dixon, but my mind fails me often, so--said that NYC publishing houses are currently only giving 25% in profit to their authors.
Wow, I thought. There must be some mistake. Nonetheless, she explained that because of the economy (if all of us had a nickel for every single time we've heard that phrase over the past few years...) and overall decrease in sales on printed (paperback and/or hardback) books, the publishers have been forced to decrease their royalty rates.
Now, here's the next thing she said: E-publishers are paying up to 40% royalties.
Whoa. Big difference, right? Why is that? Well, it's obvious isn't it? While I, like most writers, still love the feel of a real book in my hands, the smell of its pages, both old and new, I must admit: I adore my Kindle. It's entirely too easy. I go to Amazon or an author's site and... CLICK! I'm conveniently reading my shiny new book within seconds. And we as a people--especially Americans--love our convenience, don't we? Just look at all the fast food chains booming like crazy. Sure, they're bad for you. Sure, they'll eventually kill your pocketbook. But we do it anyway. Because we're in a hurry, we don't want to be bothered, we... want... convenience.
|Ah... Starbucks drive thru...|
Hence, the big bang in the e-book industry. Now, at this point you may be saying, "Yeah, OK, Alyssia. But the title of this post is 'Self-Publishing,' so what gives?" Writers vanity publishing their novels via e-book, that's what. See! I do have a point! A couple of months back I stumbled upon Addison Moore, author of the Celestra Series. On her blog site, she advertised the first book in the series, Ethereal, for a whopping $.99. At the time I was trying to read every YA I could get my hands on, and so I immediately went to Amazon, clicked that handy Buy now with 1-Click button, and in less than 5 seconds, I was curled up at the end of my couch reading Addison's first novel.
Before all that, though, I noticed this (because by now we're all in the habit of looking at the publishing house on the spine of the book, right?): Sold by: Amazon Digital Services. (Click the link to learn all about Kindle Direct Publishing services on Amazon.com.)
Whoa. You mean... she self-published this book? This wonderful story? Instantly, my mind began this mad race of possibilities--which, may I say, gets faster and faster the more self-published books I come across. Recently I found this one, too: Morgan Karpiel's Fantasies of New Europa Series. Historical/Steampunk novellas with beautiful, 3-dimensional characters, gorgeous exposition, witty dialogue, and, most importantly, believable plots. And again... $.99 a piece. I read the first one, bought the next two in one fell swoop. AND, as I mentioned in my review of The Inventor, I'm a Morgan Karpiel fan for life.
Now, listen. YES, I've stumbled upon a few self-pubbed who were... well. They need some serious guidance and a lot more practice at their craft before even thinking about putting their work out there, in the world. But some are REALLY good. I mean, really. So, this is what I want to ask all of you...
Have YOU thought about self-publication? If so, what do you make of this whole thing with the big publishing houses & e-book publishers versus self-pubbing? Do you, like me, ever wonder if maybe, just maybe you self-publish that first book, it'll give you a sort of... I don't know... kick start? Are you ALREADY self-published, and have some words of wisdom to share?
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,