Friday, April 29, 2011

Sorry, traditional publishing: I'm breaking up with you.

It's not you, it's me.

No wait, it's you. It's definitely you.

For as long as I've known me, I've always been a staunch (read: militant) paper and ink book guy. The sensation of flipping through a physical book is just another book-related taste that I'd wager I inherited from my mother. As a reader, I fought the so-called electronic revolution...then I used a Nook for the first time. Love at first sight, I tell ya.

More importantly, as a writer, I was determined to make it the traditional way: query my ass off, wallpaper my writing space with the rejection letters, and query my ass off some more until I was finally lucky enough to get through the rest of the slush and find an agent who'd be worth their 15%. Then my book would sit on the shelf for a month-and-a-half until it was pushed out by the newer stuff.

Not exactly a dream come true.

That process officially started in October, and it officially ended a few weeks ago, when I first started reading articles like this: Ebook sales whupping up on print.

Even if the reported numbers aren't wholly accurate, the message that they send is clear: Can't fight the future.

As a reader, I kind of mourn the imminent demise of print. As a writer, I'm !@#$%^& psyched.

When I started weighing the lists of pros and cons, I was certain that, when all was said and done, I'd still be torn over my decision. Let me tell you: ain't happening.

Self-publishing offers: ease of initial publishing (and the ability to make instant changes to the finished product); setting your own price (and changing it instantly); a much higher percentage of profit for the author; 24-hour reader access and reviewing.

Lastly, and, what I think is the most valuable asset: permanence. Once you put it out there, it's available for as long as you want it to be. A motivated, prolific, and patient author (which is what I'm trying to mold myself into) can gradually build up his readership over time. Only a lucky few traditionally-published authors can claim that. They either make a big splash or they disappear.

John Locke (not the guy from Lost) occupied seven spots on the Amazon Top 50 and made over $126,000 of profit in March alone: Holy Crap. As an aside, I read his debut novel, intending to review it. Lethal People was so phenomenally ridiculous that I couldn't bring myself to actually write a review, but his success illustrates my point well enough. Slow and steady wins the race.
The only true advantage I can see print having over ebooks is the fact that a self-publisher is 100% responsible for their own marketing, but this is offset by a) the knowledge that very few books actually get any type of marketing blitz, and b) the permanence of ebooks which we just discussed.

So that's where we're at.

See you in the e-trenches.

1 comment:

the wrath of khandrea said...

given that the extent of my reading these days centers around the bailey school kids, babymouse, and lemony snicket... and they're all read right at bedtime to a captivated audience of 2, i'd have to say i'm a bit out of the loop on what's hot in the adult world. but good luck, and i can't wait to see how this all works out! my paperboy... the author. awwwww...