Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back to self-publishing...

Two interesting things came up this week since my mini rant that I thought I would share. Turns out there was a sampling done (very small) among 1007 self-published authors. I don’t’ know if any of these authors had been traditionally published previously.


Some were earning more than $100,000 per year, but the average was around $10,000 a year with less than 10% of the authors earning 75% of the total revenue. And half of all authors earned less than $500 in a year.

I thought this was a perfect mini picture of what reality looks like. It shows there are definitely going to be top earners, but most are going to be lower earners.

Guess what – that’s very true of traditional publishing too. Some are going to be Nora Roberts. And some are going to be… well me.

And then I read Sarah Mayberry’s blog regarding her self-publishing effort Her Best Worst Mistake (which if you enjoy her books or category novels in general you’re going to LOVE this.) This was a perfect example of how a combination of traditional publishing and self-publishing can work for you. She had a project that didn’t really work for Harlequin and was a nice compliment to her category career. Harlequin gave her permission to use the characters previously printed in a Blaze book and because she’s an established category author with a great reputation for writing quality books she’s probably going to make out really well with this title.

But she makes the point that the one thing that was missing from this project was Wanda Ottewell. For those who don’t know Wanda, she’s Molly’s and Sarah’s and my editor with Harlequin. I think we would all raise our hands and say she’s amazing and has made us all better writers. And to Sarah’s credit, she has obviously learned enough from Wanda over the years to know what she’s doing. Her book was awesome. But still there is that risk.

And I thought that is it. That’s the choice we get to make. Sarah made a great point about not standing on either sideline and wagging our fingers at one another. And I thought right – I don’t want to be on the sideline either. I’m a traditionally published and self published author. Now I know which I prefer and what I think works for me, but the great part of this new shift in the business is that we have options.

What’s important is that we recognize the pros and cons of each option.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Completely agree - you have to do what is right for you and remember to keep your options open. Don't burn your bridges because then you won't have a chance to go back.

Eileen said...

It's tricky. I was looking into putting my backlist up. I asked my agent about getting the rights back to my chick lit novels and she didn't think it was a good idea. She felt it would be seen as an aggressive move on my part. I didn't mean it as aggression. They're just sort of sitting there. I thought it could be fun to package them as a group. It's not worth it to burn those bridges, though.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Agressive? Really Eileen. While I agree publishers are struggling a little with the shift in the business model (and let's face it probably losing money) I can't imagine any publisher not acknowledging why an author would want to put up their backlist on something that's been out of print and isn't currently earning them money.

It's why HQ scrambled to make their backlist avaiable digitally.

But if your publisher isn't going to do that for your books - then I would have to think they would expect you to ask for the rights back since everyone is doing it.

Stephanie Doyle said...

But of course... what do I know!

Maureen McGowan said...

It's all the taking sides stuff that makes me crazy. There's no right or wrong in this debate, just options.

And with backlists... Given the success that some authors are having, who do have their lists back... maybe the publishers will catch on and start doing similar things. Like packaging your fabulous chick lit books as a set and pricing them lower as e-books...
It does seem wrong if pubs aggressively hold onto rights, and don't take advantage.

Sinead M said...

love the idea of more authors self-publishing their backlists, especially if they're out of print..

Eileen said...

Mine are not officially OOP, although based on the numbers I'm seeing and my contract, I should be able to have them declared OOP and then get my rights back. I didn't think it was all that aggressive of a thing to ask for either, but that's why I have an agent, to guide me in things like this.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...