01.25.11

Self-publishing: A ramble

Posted in Writing at 11:17 am by kyrias

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Probably for too long considering that I haven’t even managed to finish Estyria (temporary title) yet, but hey, that’s how procrastination works, right?

The thing is, if I ever do finish Estyria, I’m probably going to try and sell it to NY first, and then if that doesn’t happen, I just might try self-publishing.

There’s a couple of reasons for that:

I don’t like how little money most authors make. What I’m hearing from the authors I read and like is that it’s really hard to make a good living off of writing.

The consensus is to not give up your day job. Keep it even if you could scrape by, in case piracy drives you back to it!

The way I see it?

Unless you’re one of those writers who will simply die, die, if they do not write — you not writing sucks a hella lot more for the reader than for you.

Well, also unless you hate your current day job a hella lot more than you hate scraping by and relying on the vagaries of humanity to keep you and yours fed.

Me?

I hate relying on the vagaries of humanity to keep me fed just a little more than I hate my current day job. Considering I have a boyfriend to help put through college, a family to feed, retirement to think of, children to save for, and my own love for disposable income to think of — no thanks.

The idea of busting my tail off to write the book, then shop it around, probably get a paltry 5~6k for my efforts, and then have to start praying that I make back that advance while working furiously to pump out the next book and to just continue on that merry-go-round is somehow oddly disincentivising.

Then there’s more facts to dissuade!

The fact that authors only get about four dimes for every paperback novel they sell and 2.50 for each hard cover is just a tad disheartening. Add to that the fact that you need to make back your advance first and thereafter the money often comes in bi-annually…

It’s almost incidental to comment that bookstores often don’t keep books on the shelf for all that long and that bookstores will order less with each subsequent order based on how they perceive your books will do, driving some authors to publish under other names.

The little quibble I have with losing control over cover art, book title, and ebook rights pales by comparison to all of the above.

Mostly, I’d put up with a good deal with regards to cover at and book title, but in this day and age it almost seems like financial suicide to give up ebook rights.

…right.

Uh-huh.

How about a big, fat, resounding no?

I’ll publish on my own terms, or self-publish, or not at all.

The way I see it, there’s some pros and cons of self-publishing for me personally, cheerleading and hide-bound dinosaurs aside:

Pros:

  • Making significantly more for each book I sell. Smashwords, just as an example, offers 85% of net sales proceeds.
  • More control over the book, period.
  • I’ll be able to reach more readers if I go with a non-DRM system that is user-friendly and doesn’t rely on ebook readers. Think instant demographic boom.

Cons:

  • Lack of platform. It’s going to take a lot of PR tail-busting to get it out there and to get past the stigma of self-publishing. Problem? I’m desperately shy.
  • Need to hustle to find/pay people to do the editing, proof-reading, and cover design.  ~3k for an editor? Hah. When I win the lottery, perhaps.
  • Trying to shout above the masses to get attention is going to suck.

The thing is, I don’t believe that the majority of publishers and authors are looking in the right direction when it comes to ebooks. Completely asides even from the self-pubbing bit.

E-books means that you can offer up to half or more of your book as a tease.

It means that ex-pats in other countries can easily find and read your book, thus fulfilling their burning desire for something in their own language.

It means that, not even ex-pats, English speakers the world round suddenly have the ability to become your readers. If I could just sell my book to 1% of the Chinese population, I’d have it made. Which, with their push on English learning, I might very well be able to sell to the Chinese eventually given enough pushing.

So there’s no way I’m giving up my e-book rights. Which is probably a deal breaker. Oh well.

I’m lucky in that C can probably do enough editing to make it pass muster for the majority of the population, which is all we’re really aiming for anyways. If I pass the book around my friends, I’m sure between us monkeys we can get enough plot-nits out. Deviantart can probably supply me with amazing cover art.

I’m not saying it’ll be professional grade editing or cover art, but honestly, reading through horror stories of how new authors can get screwed over with regards to editing and cover art — I’ll take my chances if it comes to that. By the way, I’m speaking of barely getting edited and proof-read because of the time crunch and white-washing of characters, not the lack of choices.

Now, to finish the damn book so I can test out how badly I can fail at this. :D



1 Comment »

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