I have been talking a lot about indie publishing lately. Logical since that’s the tack I’ve taken with my novella. There’s not much room for argument that a well written novella can earn out more self-pubbed in e than it would in print. Joe Konrath is putting up pretty convincing numbers that suggest that regular novels stand to earn out considerably more in e if they’re well written and priced cheaply. And big publishing in general has been spending a lot of time showing its ass lately regarding how they are (not) coping with the digital revolution and how little respect they have for readers (without whom they would have no SALES). I’ve been saying a lot that “if this keeps up, I’m just gonna skip traditional and do this on my own.”
Zoe keeps delightedly asking me “Have I corrupted you?”
Sort of. As I told her yesterday, big publishing itself is doing more to convert me than she has. But what she has done is EDUCATE ME.
The prevailing, popular opinion is that New York published books are better than self published books because they have been vetted by a group of professionals and separated out from the dreck. What many people don’t realize about this argument is that it implies that readers are stupid and can’t determine quality for themselves and that these professionals have any kind of training or credentials that make them better at it than the average Joe. And while, yes, based on experience alone, maybe editors and agents do have a better eye than Average Joe, it doesn’t mean they’re right. Look at how many people passed on Harry Potter.
There is also an ENORMOUS misconception that self publishing equals vanity publishing. NOT THE SAME THING.
Other than whatever investment you put in your cover, possibly editing, and the price of copyright, it costs nothing more to self publish. It’s not some huge scam investment where some poor, uneducated bumpkin who couldn’t hack it in traditional publishing gets taken in and has their collection of grocery lists published.
Indie publishing is a viable business model wherein, yes, the author takes on all the risk, but there’s very little outlay. If it doesn’t work, you’re not out much. And if it does, you get to keep more of the profits. I mean seriously, if Joe Konrath can make more selling his ebooks at $2.99 than he would get in royalties off a $24 HARDBACK, there’s something seriously wrong with the money side of things in traditional publishing.
I want to MAKE A LIVING doing what I love. Period. It’s very difficult to do that in traditional publishing unless you’re one of the very lucky ones. I read a statistic somewhere that only 20% of published writers actually make a living JUST writing. And a lot of those have spouses who work. That’s one of the reasons my parents encouraged me to get a “real” job. But I don’t want a “real” job. I want writing TO BE my real job. And it’s looking more and more like keeping control of everything and publishing everything myself may be the way to do that in the long run.
It’s a long game either way.
But here’s what I’m looking at. I’m currently writing the novella sequel to Forsaken By Shadow. The next thing in the pipeline is a YA trilogy that will be either novella or short novel length (not sure how long they’ll shake out to be yet). All pretty short stuff because it’s easier to manage shorter stuff while working the three jobs that aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Those projects will easily take up the next year and a half before I even plan to work on the first novel length book in the Mirus series. And then, would you look at that, it coincides with our plan to start a family. Babies = time suck = likely to stick with the short stuff for a while. So potentially for the next…five years or so, I’m planning on sticking with shorter length stuff that traditional publishing isn’t likely to be interested in.
A lot can happen in five years. In that span of time I could easily self publish half a dozen or more novellas or short novels, which would be a pretty decent backlist (which, let’s also point out, is a means of getting a backlist out there MUCH faster than I would in traditional publishing). It is my hope that in that span of time, the passive income stream from my writing will be enough that I can abandon at least all the side jobs, which would (in theory) give me more time to write. I can’t say the average advance that most new writers earn would allow me to do that.
So have I been corrupted? I guess we’re down to a great big “We’ll see.”