Monday, August 30, 2010
It is my pleasure to introduce my good friend and fellow published author, Edie Ramer to Mysteries and Margaritas today. Edie is here to tell you some exciting news about her career and to talk about traditional publishing versus self publishing. Things have changed so much in the publishing world over the past few years, and more and more authors are looking at this option. Edie is here to explain why she chose to go that route. She'll be checking in all day and will answer all your questions honestly. So, ask away after reading what she has to say about about all this.
Thanks so much to Liz L. and the M&M ladies for having me as your guest. I think Liz is a wise woman. Funny, too. Last Monday, she wrote a brilliant “Show Me the Money” post here. She said:
“In today’s economy, midlist authors are finding their advances shrinking and more and more authors are turning to epubs where they get no advance. Some are even going the self-publishing route, hoping to cash into that market in a JA Konrath sort of way. http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/”
(Waving hands wildly at the last one. Me, me, me!) Then she went on to say:
“I signed a three-book deal with a major publisher and pretty much got the average advance. Like any début author, I probably would have signed on the dotted line for much less just to see the printed book in my hands.”
Not too long ago, I would have said the same thing. Now I’d say no, at least to the “much less” part. The more I learn about indie publishing, the more possibilities I see and the more opportunities. I know of several indie writers who have turned down offers from the NY pubs. Not just because of the advance, but because of the low percentage they’re offered for digital books.
Zoe Winters is one of them. She was contracted by a NY agent who has read her novellas and wanted to represent her. Zoe turned her down. She openly admits she doesn’t play well with others, but that’s not the only thing. She’s making good money with her novellas. Yes, that’s right. Making good money with novellas. (She posts the amount on her blog every month. She used to post snapshots of her Kindle statements, but Amazon doesn’t allow people collecting 70% from their books to use snapshots anymore.)
70% is a great incentive. Much better than 8%. Or even 25%, which I believe is the norm for NY pubbed e-books. In addition, many industry watchers believe we’re nearing the tipping point from print books to e-books. I love print books, but the last few books I’ve bought have been digital, partly because of the ease and partly because I don’t live near a bookstore. And in digital books, romance is one of the biggest selling genres. One reason stated is because we can read the romances without fear that other people will see the sexy covers -- which is fodder for another blog.
With all this, why sign up with a publisher who makes you fight for every percentage point? The times are changing faster than Superman leaps tall buildings. Seth Godin recently announced that from now on he’s publishing his own books. A former book packager, he says the distribution system is antique and adds layers between the reader and the books.
You might think, “Easy for Seth Godin to turn his back on print. He’s a marketing guru.” But Karen McQuestion wasn’t published in print nor was she a marketing guru when she put her books on Kindle a little more than a year ago. Now she’s on the Kindle best-selling list and she has a movie deal.
Those are the highs. There are lows in digital books, too, but there are lows in print publishing. I know NY pubbed writers whose books either weren’t distributed in a timely manner or whose publisher printed less than they were promised. And if the books aren’t out there, you’re going to have low numbers, which will result in less money coming your way when the next contract comes around.
This is getting long, so I’ll just say that one of the best reasons to be an indie writer is that the money doesn’t flow to you through an agent or an editor. It comes directly to you in a timely manner. You don’t have to wait months for returns. And do you remember the 70% Kindle cut authors get? On Smashwords, it’s even more than that.
Though we’re in this business because we are storytellers and writing completes us more than Hugh Jackman ever could, we like money. And I like knowing that I’m the one in control of my career -- with a lot of help from the many writer friends who’ve helped me get to this point.
Despite everything I’ve said, if a NY editor offered to buy one of my books, I might say yes. I think a “tiered” approach is a good way to go. It would depend on the offer. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m loving the journey.
What do you think of all this? Has your view of indie publishing changed recently?
Edie loves her cat so much, she wrote a book about a cat who becomes a woman and keeps her cat attitude. Cattitude is available on Kindle and Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/22350. Edie is co-founder of Write Attitude (www.writeattitude.net), an inspirational website for writers, and the popular group blog, Magical Musings (http://magicalmusings.com). scheduled 5:00:00 AM by Liz Lipperman Delete
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