So if you’re a facebook junkie like I am, you probably would have seen the negativity surrounding being traditionally published by the top 5 world publishers. There’s been posts about authors getting crappy deals where the publisher takes advantage with low royalties. There’s been other posts about self-publishing being a much better option if you want to get paid.
My first piece of advice would be to look at what you are being paid for your writing right now. How many people have read your book so far? Old-school authors who've been in the game for thirty years can bemoan the loss of gross to net royalties. Did it bother me? Not really. Anything was more than the nothing I already had. It was all about me. It was all about what I wanted and where I was at. It still is.
In this business, you, and only you, first and foremost, can decide what’s good for you. I’ve seen authors fizzle and burn out because they attempted to get their whole body through the door in the first year that they put pen to paper. Has it been done? Yes. Some newer authors decide to go the indie route almost straight away and some have reportedly made a very comfortable living. That definitely wouldn’t be the majority case though and some of it is nothing more than lies and showboating (not all though).
Most of the books I’ve read by newer indie authors from Amazon have been poorly edited and not just for line errors but for structure. The amount of repetition has almost made me cry a few times. Are my books perfect every time? No. They’re often not. But I know I have the absolute best book I possibly can because it’s gone through at least two editors, an acquisitions team, a marketing department, a copy editor, a typesetter, and maybe more. The Road to Ruin was even read by the two most senior women in the HQN Sydney office. I knew I had a good book to release into the big wide world after it had been polished to a shine. My royalty rate isn’t stellar. It never is. My publisher is a business and so is the book and department store who on-sell my novels. Everyone makes some money. You have to decide if you want more than the nothing you probably have right now. You have to decide if your 10% or 15% of the net price of the print book is enough for you. The top 5 also have immediate distribution into bricks and mortar stores. Self-pubbing means driving your own marketing. It means doing all of the steps yourself or paying someone to do it for you (but make sure you are covering costs and not paying more than you'll earn). It also means not getting to writing the next book straight away unless you’re prolific or don’t have children, a husband or a life.
If you’re happy to drive your own machine the way you want it driven, then go ahead and jump right in, good luck to you. But if you have a dream to see your book on a shelf and in the hands of your readers, then stick with it. It might take years, traditional publishing is slow and sometimes heartbreaking, but it’s the right path for me right now. You also can be what is popularly termed a ‘hybrid’ where you can be traditional, e and indie published. I have a contemporary ebook coming out in April with Escape Publishing that I’m really excited about. Just remember that if a publisher wants to see your book sales and they’re not high, you might have less chance than if you’d never self-pubbed to start.
In this day and publishing age, you get to decide. But, please, please don’t think there’s a pot of gold at the end of any of these rainbows. Every single different author and book will be received in different ways in different parts of the world. What works for one doesn’t work for all of us. Don’t be pressured into anything either. Until you’ve signed a contract, you are not bound. Once you’ve signed it, you are. Be careful. Watch for options clauses and rights returns based on sales units, not how long they get to have the book or in dollar values of sales. Try to keep your media rights like tv, movie, radio, etc. They don’t need them. You might.
Eloisa James says, this is your business. It’s not your baby. Make business decisions with your head and you might pull through. Toss the negativity and propaganda aside and do what makes you happy, not what’s going to be the quickest way to earn a buck…
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I'm a published author but I'm still mostly stumbling about in the dark looking for the right paths so this blog is about that, though sometimes something will give the me the shits and I'll have a bit of a rant. I'll try not to be offensive but occasionally my mouth opens without asking my brain's permission so I'll apologise in advance.