Some Thoughts on Self-Publishing
Recently, a friend and fellow-writer-stymied-by-the-ridiculously-impregnable-world-of-publishing sent me a link to a blog post. Since it was about self-publishing, which I have done and my friend has not, he thought it would be of interest to me.
Boy, was he right.
It wasn’t just interesting. It was mind-blowing, perception changing, paradigm shifting (when I said that last one to Lady Aravan, she immediately groaned – her attendance grad school during the heyday of that catchphrase always gives her nauseating flashbacks when it resurfaces). It’s a dialogue between two authors who voluntarily left the regular world of publishing to become self-publishers. What was a vanity project ten years ago has, thanks to Amazon and other eBook companies, become a more viable publishing tool for authors. One of them walked away from a $500k book advance and contract to do it himself. Why? Because he can make more money that way. When all is said and done, an author generally gets less than 15% of the profits generated by the unique that only he or she could ever create when publishing through the traditional method. An eBook published on Amazon generates 70%. It’s math. 70% > 15%. Added to the fact that an eBook costs a few dollars when self-published (did I mention that The Curse of Troius is now available on Kindle for $2.99? Cheap than a vente mochachocolata frenzichino!), meaning that it is more likely to sell more copies and STILL generate more profit per copy than the traditional route, and self-publishing is now a preference for authors.
In fact, we aren’t self-published authors anymore. We’re indie writers. Now, that does make me feel like I should be wearing a beret and ill-fitting clothes and slouch around coffee shops a lot listening to shitty music, but I love the term anyway. Are we any different than people like Dave Sim and Jeff Smith and the other independent comic-book publishers that completely changed the comics industry a couple decades ago? I don’t think so. No one sneers at them anymore and derides their work as vain and mediocre. The world is changing in the publishing industry, thanks to a online book retailer.
It changed my life. Seriously. A year ago, I decided to
self-publish independently produce my own work in the far-fetched hopes of actually landing a deal with an established publisher. Now, I realize that I’m doing it wrong. I’m better off doing it myself. No more time wasted on bullshit form inquiry letters and submitting manuscripts (some of them still expect them on paper, for gods sake. It’s the digital fucking age, for crying out loud) to bored agents and monolithic publishing houses. That time is better spent actually writing and producing material to publish. That stuff makes money. Begging someone else to take a cut doesn’t.
I’m excited. I can actually see a future ahead of me as a full-time writer. I might not make it, but you know what? I’ve already made money on my first novel. That thing that no agent or publishing house wanted has earned me money that I had to pay taxes on. It’s just the start.
So, for my friend, that lovable Browncoat, and all of the rest of you out there who love to write – polish it and publish it. Share your unique perspective with the world: it’s easy now. Those words you’ve put down could only have been written by the singular entity that is you. Don’t be selfish; let us read them too.