Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Publish or to Be Published

That is the question.

I'm facing an intriguing dilemma. I've been reading a lot of differing points of view and considering the opinions of many.

Self-Publishing evangelists like Joe Konrath do the hard sell on how to self-publish and be successful at it. But he also doesn't mention the fact that he did very well through traditional publishing before switching to the self-publishing model that he now espouses.

Joe's interview with Barry Eisler - who turned down a $500,000 contract with his publisher to self-publish is held up as a wonderful example of the truth of self-publishing. What this doesn't mention is that Barry made enough money writing books through traditional publishers for them to offer him $500,000 for his next book. Nice that he could afford to spurn that.

Consider that the publishing house spent a lot of money creating the Eisler brand - his jumping ship and going self-publishing is not as gloriously rebellious as he makes out.

So if I work hard and fluke getting an agent, who flukes getting a publishing contract and they all take their big slice of whatever retail price they set for Tankbread and i get about 14% of that at the end but they pay for everything.

Or I can self-publish.
ISBN numbers are around $250 Australian (closest to NZ$)
Formatting and producing an ebook or a POD through a service like Lulu is either free or next to nothing.
Cover art is coming courtesy of Billy Tackett and I'm paying for that.
The rest is begged and bartered. Editing, proof-reading, marketing etc.

Writing the book is easy - like getting accidentally pregnant - but once the book is "born" you have to raise it - just like a child and that takes a lot of time, patience and energy.


Anonymous said...

The biggest problem that I have with self-published books is the editing. Can I suggest that if you go that route you get a professional editor rather than beg and bartering for it. You can do that for the cover art and save money there and spend the money on getting your book quality editing.

Kaitlin said...

Interesting points about publishing. This whole publishing thing is like some awful morass of conflicting information with no right answers to be found - and of course it makes sense that it's so, but still it's just so hugely frustrating!

I'm coming from Amanda Hocking's blog and I just wanted to tell you your story about the cat was simultaneously hilarious and horrifying, as all stories should be. Fantastic.