So many blogs, so little time…! One would think that two blogs would have been enough, but one would, apparently, be wrong. I am about to embark on a publishing adventure, and so it was suggested to me that I needed an “author’s blog.” As opposed to a non-profit blog and a catch-all-rambling blog. And probably that’s true, as you might be more interested in my views as a writer than a recipe for cinnamon rolls. (But if you want a recipe for cinnamon rolls, hop on over to The View From the Sunroom!)
So here’s what’s happening. I linked to a great blog by Joe Konrath from a Writer’s Digest article yesterday. The blog is awesome, and this article was incredibly eye opening. As a huge Kindle reader, I am definitely an eBook fan, and as a writer who has gotten her share of… well, I was going to say rejections, but actually, I’ve only gotten a few rejections. Mostly I’ve gotten ignored. Anyway, the nitty gritty on the Agent/Publisher model was pretty eye opening.
There’s a lot of angst about Amazon, but I’m a huge Amazon fan because I’m a huge book fan. As the customer, I want the best deal. I have no problem with Amazon selling books at prices that attract customers – I have a bigger problem with the way the publishing industry fixes prices (see Joe Konrath’s article on that here), and I especially have a problem with the way the contracts and royalties are set up for the mid-list writers. (Let’s face it, there are a lot of good books out there that aren’t best sellers, and a lot of best sellers are crap.) In the midst of this publishing evolution, with eBooks and self-publishing options so inexpensive, I think it is the writers who are getting the shaft, like musicians have, and agents are aligning themselves with the publishers for the most part, although their allegience is supposed to be with their writers. No bueno.
Did you know, for instance, that in the standard, traditional, publishing contract, the publishing house owns your book for your lifetime PLUS 70 YEARS? Yes, that’s right. And if they don’t do anything with it, neither can you. Hmmm. That raises a red flag or two, doesn’t it?
So I’ve been researching self-publishing, not because the 14 queries I sent out are all I could do, but because, upon looking at the math, looking at the flexibility, and being, in general, an out of the box person, I think it suits me. I like the idea of complete control over my work, of the cover art, even of the marketing. No, I’m not an extraverted marketing guru – like most writers, I’m an introvert. But I can take a half dozen books to my local bookstore. I can put links to my book on Facebook and my emails, tell my family and friends, maybe print up a tee shirt or two (ok, no tee shirt, but maybe a flyer). I wouldn’t even mind getting a booth at my local farmers market on the occasional Saturday.
And the math is pretty good too. You can do an eBook free if you do your own cover art and formatting (Scriverner formats eBooks with the click of a button). If you choose to go the totally pro route, you can get a package that includes cover, spine and back art; eBook cover art; formatting for print and all eBook formats; a banner for Facebook’s timeline; and an upload guide, for $460. On Amazon, uploading your eBook is free, and the royalty is 70%. That means you only need to sell 230 books to make back your investment. Traditional publishing royalties are 10%, after you pay back any advance, and you pay your agent (if you have one) from that. The numbers are actually better in self-publishing!
So I’m no expert, and this is a new thing, but I’m pretty excited. I’m excited to help design my cover. I’m excited to see the book in print in a month instead of a year. I’m excited to get royalties monthly instead of twice a year (and publishers can withhold royalties to cover any anticipated expenses, with virtually no justification, too). I’m excited that people will be able to read my book, and hopefully tell other people about it, because I think it’s pretty darn good fun.
So stay tuned! I’ll put a link when the book’s for sale, but I’ll keep you posted on the whole process, in case you ever want to try it yourself. Never a dull moment!