This is part one and I'll be running part two on Monday, June 4th.
|A 'Round the cup discussion.|
Most writers, who want to be published, are reaching for traditional publication. That's their goal. These authors have worked long and hard to be traditionally published. Now, we have traditionally published authors who are self-publishing many books in addition to their traditionally published work. Why?
I asked a friend, Judi Fennell, to give me her thoughts on why she chose to also self-publish a series of books. What's the appeal? How hard is it? Now that she has books in both markets, I was curious about what conclusions she drawn. So she shared her thoughts on why she chose to dip into the self-publishing market. One thing stands out in these articles—these authors (I know many) have a different mindset when it comes to the business of writing. They have to be to make it a success.
Those of you who have seen my Tritone Trilogy (Mermen off the coast of the Jersey Shore), may recognize the “dive into the romance!” tagline. It was funny, punny, and tied the series with the romance, but now I’m using it to talk about the fact that I’ve dipped my toes into the self-publishing pond with Beauty and The Best.
I’m like a lot of other traditionally published writers, and those who haven’t yet been traditionally published (henceforth TP): we have books that NY just doesn’t know what to do with. Self-publishing gives us the opportunity to share our books with readers.
NY has big rents. They have overhead. They have salaries. They used to have marketing budgets and editors who could grow an author.
Nowadays, it’s all about the bottom line, especially with the new kids on the block: Amazon. To achieve those bottom lines, NY needs to make sure they’re going to make money on a book. It’s not always advisable, then, for them to take a chance on a new author, or a new subgenre, or a storyline they haven’t seen before, or finish out a lackluster series. Tried-and-true is pretty much the way they hang.
But publishing is changing. Reading is changing. And the reading public is changing with them. E-Readers are now on our phones. Kindles, Nooks, iPads are all over the place. I was one of those who thought I’d never give up on paperback books, but I have to say, that One-Click buy button makes everything sooooooo easy. Especially if I finish a really good book at 11 pm and just have to find out what happens in Book #2. I can get it instantly.
We were on vacation two years ago and on the plane, Kid and I were talking about a book I recommended. We opened up the eReader and downloaded that book before the “Turn off your electronic devices” call sounded. Kid was entertained the entire plane ride (which meant Mom got to enjoy her book…)
|You can read more HERE|
Um, okay. I will.
Readers have seen this story for years. It was in the American Title contest. It was in the Gather.com/Simon & Schuster First Chapters Contest (the only Romance to make the Top 20 finalists out of over 2,600 manuscripts). Its won contests. The opening line is a keeper:
There’s a naked man in my kitchen.
Now, finally, I have the ability to bring it to my readers.
I’m on a lot of self-pub and indie loops and I see the same thing with other writers. Their editors didn’t know what to do with this new subgenre they’re writing. The editors didn’t want to change what was working. So the authors have put these stories up themselves and, finally, they’re able to make a living at being a writer. I say finally because a midlist TP author really can’t, not with one or two books out a year and a 6% royalty rate.
Plus, authors can now bring out more books a year, at a lower price, which is not only to their benefit, but also their readers’. Compare my TP book prices of $5.38, to the $2.99 I can offer Beauty and The Best at. Self-pub authors see sales figures HOURLY rather than twice a year.
- The ability to actually make a living as a writer
- The ability to put out more books a year.
- Self publish backlist rights to books the author has written
- Ultimate control over our story from editorial to the cover (something most TP authors have ZERO say in.
- See monthly income rather than twice a year—as TP contracts pay
- Self-published authors are paid 70% of the cover price (compared to 6% TP)
- Write the stories we've always wanted to write but no one “knew what to do with.”
Of course, self-publishing isn’t all wine and roses. Self-published authors now take on the role of publisher as well as author. That means no advances and all the up-front costs: Editing (story, copy, line…), a cover, formatting, ISBN, copyright, marketing. You have to be your own editor, art department, publicist, and marketer in addition to being a writer and businessperson.
Sure, there are stories of people putting a story up and doing nothing else and the book takes off, but that isn’t the norm. You have to get the word out. You have to have a good, professional product. Your story could be great, but if you don’t have a clue about spelling or grammar or leave plot holes wide-open, readers will call you on it.
Covers are arguably the best marketing tool you have after word-of-mouth. I’ll talk about that more on Monday with part two. How to choose the right cover, editing, and how to actually self publish a book.
- Writers, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on publishing—whether you've gone both ways or by passed traditional publishing altogether. What are you seeing?