March 22, 2011
So, yesterday the news is all about Barry Eisler deciding to self-publish instead of taking a $500,000 2-book deal with St. Martin's Press.
Betsy Dornbusch brought this to my attention, that Amanda Hocking, who has made a gazillion dollars self-publishing, is now having her agent shop a four-book series to major publishers with over $1 million for world English rights.
All together now: WTF?
I'm sure JA Konrath will have something to say about this, as will everyone else in the blogosphere. (Does the writing blogosphere seem sort of incestuous? Hi, this is my writer friend Darryl, and my other writer friend Darryl!)
As I mentioned yesterday in my addendum, if I were offered Barry's deal, I'd take it. Not an eye-blink.
Now, Lee Goldberg commented yesterday that he's projected to make about $80,000 off his e-books this year and those are primarily a backlist of previously published books that have gone out of print. I'd be slightly more than ecstatic if I were looking at that kind of money for my e-books. Unlike Lee, I'm currently on track to make about $1200 this year from my e-book sales. Whoa. I know. You're jealous, aren't you?
We'll see, though, because I expect to e-publish a nonfiction book in the next month or so and I have high hopes for it.
My point here is that everyone is a eunuch. No, wait. Wrong word. Everyone is unique.
I just read a quote by Margaret Atwood yesterday where she commented how the publishing business drives traditional business people crazy, because it's not like selling one type of car to a million people, it's selling a million types of books to a million different people. (Actually, I'm totally paraphrasing and I like the way I say it better, so bleah!) In other words, each writer is unique, each book is unique, and each reader is unique. And writers are eunuchs. Oh. Never mind.
I currently find the current e-book thing sort of freeing, although I haven't found it to be the economic solution to all my money problems. But from a creativity POV, yeah, it's cool to figure you can just go ahead and publish it and there'll be distribution.
Am I still going for traditional book contracts?
I don't know. And that's the honest answer. My current publisher is involved in working up the promotion/publication of my next novel, THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS, which comes out June 7th. Once we see how that does, maybe we'll discuss the next one, assuming there will be one. I'm tinkering with several different novels, including being about 85% through another Derek Stillwater, but for the moment my fiction writing has lost a lot of its momentum. I'm tired of fighting the industry and a client that last year brought in almost $60,000 is going through restructuring, etc., and apparently has no need for my services in 2011, so as you can imagine, my mind is focused a little more on paying gigs (and I'm doing fine finding replacements so far, with a good reminder to myself that when one client is responsible for a huge percentage of your income, you're only asking for trouble).
I think writers and aspiring writers who spend too much time online (that would be most of us) spend entirely too much time obsessing about this sort of thing. Keeping up on the business is good, and the industry is changing so fast right now that it's almost impossible to stay current, let alone predict what's going to happen next week or next year, let alone make the "right" decision for yourself.
Anyway, that's where I am today. No conclusions. Just musings. Maybe tomorrow I'll have puppies and rainbows.