There was a post yesterday on Writer Unboxed by Inara Scott about why you shouldn’t quit your day job. She talks about selling for an incredible 2 book six figure deal and that she immediately wanted to quit her day job but didn’t due to the counseling of her agent. Why? Well, as she outlines, stuff can happen:
Here’s the list: the book, already scheduled for two years out, was put off a full year; advance payments arrived months after they were supposed to; perhaps most importantly, selling once doesn’t mean you can sell again. I became captive to Delcroix in an odd way – without numbers from the release, no one would want to buy something new from me, but my release was years in the future. I tried to sell in another genre and couldn’t.
The end result? When the market collapsed in 2008 and people were losing their jobs left and right, I was intensely relieved to still have mine.
It’s no secret that I am desperate to quit my day jobs. I have a million and one ideas, and I’m eager to have more time to devote to them. It was a big deal that I recently resigned from the community college teaching job I’ve held since 2007–more from a mental and emotional standpoint than financial (they’d cut me back to one section the last two semesters and they don’t pay that well–certainly not well enough to make it worth my while to continue to put up with their BS). I should make enough by the end of the year on Forsaken By Shadow and Edge of Shadow (once it is released) to replace that one section. That’s exciting to me. It’s no six figure advance, but…there’s no delay in publication, I’m not tied to anybody, my payments come on a regular schedule, and for the most part I don’t have to wait on anybody or anything beyond me and my cover artist (not counting whatever delays I must endure from distributors–but up to 8 weeks isn’t anything like 3 years).
Once again I feel affirmed for having chosen to go indie. It appeals to the control freak in me. And once I reach a point where I am bringing in enough money from my writing that it can replace my day job income, then it won’t be a question of “Will the payout come in time?” because it isn’t an advance. It’s real time, readers are buying my work at a regular and consistent level and I’m getting royalties money. The only question at that point is how we will deal with health insurance, which is an issue for writers whether they be traditionally or independently published.
I feel like I’ll be able to accomplish SO MUCH MORE in the next two or three years by going indie than I would if I sold a book today and had to WAIT three years to see it on shelves. That’s three years I can put out books and find readers. And maybe I won’t have as much time to devote to marketing during that span as I would like (since I CAN’T give up the day jobs), but I will still build more of a following on the work alone in that time period than I think I would if I was trying to build a following through social media marketing WITHOUT having the work to recommend itself because it’s hanging out in cyberspace between some editor’s computer and the next when the first one changes jobs or the publishing house closes. It’s been known to happen. More and more often since the bottom fell out of the market in 2008. Frankly, I’m more comfortable on my own two feet.
And on a peripherally related note (insofar as we’re talking indie publishing), you simply have to check out Episode 1 of Zoe Who? It’s hilarious.
hehe thanks for the shout out! 😀
And I agree. I honestly don’t understand why anyone would want to NY pub with all the crap inherent in that entire process.
Mediabistro’s Galleycat interviews agents on a regular basis now. Its been frustrating, irksome, and eye-rollingly disgusting how many say “don’t quit the day job’. And then go on to tell us authors to not even expect to get there.
Who says? Why shouldn’t it be a goal? If authors aren’t getting there, maybe the agents should look at themselves for not selling enough of their author’s work for a good enough royalty and advance? (which brings to mind Dean Wesley Smith’s excellent series on that).
Congrats on your path towards financial independence! I think it’s so great you already are bringing in enough to quite one part of your stressful life. 🙂
Ha! You and Zoe Winters *are* the same person! 😉
Seriously, excellent points. The time delay alone is a major downside to the NY route, let alone all the other things that can go wrong. And congrats on quitting at least the CC job. Like you said, less stress for you, and it’s at least one tangible step toward the day you can wave them all good-bye except the writing.
How maddening that must be for her. More and more, it’s hard to see what services are being provided by industry professionals. You need a publisher to market your book/you must take time out from your work (both writing the next one and the day job you still have to keep!) to be on every social network marketing your book; you need the professional editing services that a traditional publisher provides/you must submit a virtually perfect manuscript to even be considered for admission through the gate; you need a big publisher to vet your work in order to convince anyone else to read it/you must submit a perfectly-pitched, kick-ass query letter to the right person, at the right time, with the right concept, at the right time, before they’ll even look at the first three chapters.
And the series of seemingly impossible qualifications [to how you can ever get anyone to read you book] continues indefinitely. I’ve got a lot of respect for anyone actively pursuing traditional publication because, in the face of the stuff we’re told day in and day out by people supposedly in the know, to persist toward that dream, in the face of those odds, is nothing short of heroic.
At the same time, to continue to put passion into something when reaching your goals seems so unlikely is kind of insane. Especially when there’s an alternative. I’m not ragging on anyone who’s clear in what they want and is determined to attempt the heroic act [see above, lots of respect]. Self-publishing is also fraught with challenges and intimidating odds. And, for many, it also involves a different set of goals. I don’t get it when people into the trad path have to spit on people switching to the indie path. Seems like it ought to be: hey, more room in the slush for me!