Posted on 2013-Dec-13
With the anticipation of the big headlines about book sales, eBook technicalities, and sales strategies, coming across two articles about self-publishing really defines me in many ways. I’d like to highlight two self-publishers who defend the honor of their career and continue writing what they profess without losing their independent spirit.
Turning down a Three-Book Deal
The first hard-earned lesson is from Brenna Aubrey who titles her blog why she turned down a three-book New York print deal in order to pursue self-publishing. The title might fit nicely if Brenna wrote plenty of books. In fact, she is a debut author who wants to get the best deal for her book from start to finish. As the title suggests, you might have a clue how she kicks things off with a good start.
While submitting her historical romance book through an agent, she worked hard to put out a new book in a totally different genre. She spent only 12 days to complete the first draft on Microsoft Word. She had one of the most intense writing experiences in years to put the story out with such enthusiasm. At the same time, her historical romance novel was auctioned by New York publishers and the bidding went up to six figures for a three-book deal. Before rejecting or accepting the offer, she attended the RWA National Conference and felt greatly inspired to self-publish. She made ‘a back-up plan’ reserving a cover artist and a copy editor and learning more about the process.
She made herself clear with her agent to get a one-book deal only and not sign a non-compete clause. It had been four weeks before the Big 5 editors contacted her offering the best deals possible. Apart from the value of her rights, she also considered all the extra benefits including having a team back her up, reaching a wider audience through print circulation, and standing a big chance to say she “made it.” But there are other issues she needed to factor in: non-compete clauses, release schedules, eBook pricing, etc. These were limitations that prevented her from accepting the offer even though a large sum of money was involved. Signing the NC clause will prevent her from publishing with another publisher or self-publish while under contract with the house she signs. Once signed, authors cannot publish tie-ins and short stories with anyone else.
The release schedule is another huge disadvantage. Forget about days and week when you can publish your own books, her debut book would have been published in October 2014 with the two sequels to be released in the middle of 2015 had she chosen the print deal. Instead, she declared her plan to release the 2 books in the spring of 2014.
Based on one of the publisher’s contract, pricing the eBook at $8.99 can jeopardize her chance to be discovered by readers. Unlike indie authors who signed with the publisher, they have had their fan base plus more readers who read print books. Without being able to set her own price for her book, it is too much of a risk to go down that way. Having given a lot of thought about the deal, the book is self-published and available now at her fingertips.
Hugh Howey’s Response to DBW Survey
Another self-publishing frontrunner, Hugh Howey, who breaks his silence after a survey done by Digital Book World shows how self-publishers earn comparing how 1.8% of them only made $100,000 with 8.8% of traditionally published authors and 13.2% of hybrid authors. Therein presents a problem because the survey group did not include the books that are in the slush pile and there is no detail about how many manuscripts that have been submitted to the agents yet never been published. The comparison is not even fair when comparing traditionally-published with self-publishers since the former can benefit from their publishers’ promotional budget.
Self-publishing has allowed so many people to fulfill their writing dreams and turn it into a career that can sustain their life. There is no charge for people to realize their passion, pick up themselves and write whether on a physical or virtual medium, and self-publish.
Hugh’s take on the survey immensely inspires so many self-publishers to voice their thoughts. Although the comparison between the income earned by traditionally-published and self-published authors cannot be agreed on, Alicia Butcher Erhhardt describes self-publishing nicely as a ticket to win the lottery. The ticket is always yours from the beginning to win the money but other methods of publication is riddled with conditions along the way.
Focus on Quality
In a response to Jacqueline Dooley about the “crappy books,” Hugh encourages the fair share of the trade by bypassing her concerns with competition. Likening books to websites, regardless of how many new websites have been created, people still surf the internet and share the ones that benefit them the most. Joseph Ratliff additionally criticizes the subjective term and suggests the solution to make a professional book in the process. Eventually, readers will be the best judge to differentiate what they want to read and what they don’t.
Without a doubt, many challenges lie in self-publishing and the comparison between traditionally-published and self-publishing authors will still continue. To draw the best comparison which camp will earn the most from their fans cannot be determined at this stage due to a wide margin of authors. Taking cue from Brenna, although self-publishing sounds like a risk one has to take, the freedom of having rigorous control that defines her work discipline earns her several satisfying results she has always needed. Leaving financial awards behind, her book has been fast-tracked to reach her fans as fast as possible. Hugh’s response on the survey justifies the method to compare the earning between the two methods of publishing. He also discusses what self-publishing is all about outside money-making perspective. While most authors aim to be successful financially, there might be hobbyist writers realizing their potential and living their dream to communicate with their global readers. Putting the financial comparison aside, the real competition is the issue of professional quality that every author has to bear in mind before publishing; they need to make sure their readers will be able to enjoy reading the best books they truly deserve.
Label: Self-Publishingcomments powered by Disqus