Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Does Indie Publishing Make Sense?

Do you know Snooki? She's one of the stars on Jersey Shore and by her own admission not much of a reader (she admits to reading two books). Apparently Simon & Schuster (you know THE Simon & Schuster) saw something in this young, lightly lived, reality TV star when they offered her a publishing contract. Okay she has racked up more experiences than most other young women her age ... but she is only twenty-two. And okay they assigned a co-writer to the project but what is the message here for the hardworking, dedicated writer looking for a read? Is it always about money? Profit? Well, yes I guess it is. Publishing is big business.

It is also a rapidly changing market. Big time.

Laura Miller, a senior writer (and co-founder) at wrote:

When Anyone Can Be A Published Author last June 22, 2010.

Here is the lead:

When their former dictator, Augusto Pinochet, died four years ago, thousands of Chileans poured into the streets to celebrate -- but that's small potatoes compared to the crowds lining up to dance on the grave of traditional book publishing. The industry, we're forever being told, is antiquated and hidebound; it doesn't know how to spot great books or how to deliver them to readers. Fortunately, a tsunami of sparkling new technology is just about to hit those old fogies, washing them from the face of the earth so that the people who know what they're doing can finally take over. (great article!)

Well, turns out she was correct. Did you know that Barry Eisler reportedly walked away from a $500,000.00 advance from St Martin's Press? "I know it'll seem crazy to a lot of people," said Barry, "but based on what's happening in the industry, and based on the kind of experience writers are having in self-publishing, I think I can do better in the long term on my own."

Mr Eisler has been making lots and lots of money for a decade now writing bestselling novels (think - Inside Out, Fault Line, Requiem For An Assassin). The idea to self-pub came from his eleven-year-old daughter one evening during dinner. After doing the math he decided to follow her advice.

A former member of the CIA's covert operations team, Barry Eisler is happy with his decision.

Amanda Hocking knows a thing or two about self-publishing. Amanda writes young-adult paranormal novels and sells them by the hundreds, thousands online at and By the end of December 2010 she had sold 164,000 novels (priced between 99 cents to $2.99 per digital download). January (2011) she sold an additional 450,000 copies of her nine titles.

In a USA Today interview Ms. Hocking had this to say: "I can't really say that I would have been more successful if I'd gone with a traditional publisher. But I know this is working really well for me."

For every $2.99 e-Book she sells, she keeps 70%, and for every 99 cent novel she sells, she keeps 30%.

H.P. Mallory, another self-published paranormal e-novelist, has sold 70,000+ copies of her e-Book in just six months. Her books are so successful Random House took notice and offered her a three-book contract. "Selling e-Books on Kindle and Nook basically changed my life," Mallory say. "I never would have gotten where I am today without them."

And Amanda Hocking? Last month she received a $2 million dollar, 4-book deal with ... St Martin's Press.

Will Indies' and e-Books kill book publishing? No one knows for sure. But ask yourself this: Why do I write? If the answer is to make money you at least owe yourself time to consider the options ... all the options.




Peggy Frezon said...

I think it is possible to make more money self publishing if you have a huge platform and/or are very aggressive in marketing. But I still prefer traditional publishing. I published my first book traditionally. Best of luck to everyone!

Patricia said...

Peggy Congratulations! will you let us know when your book is available? Thanks for your input.