I have been in this business for a long time. I have seen and heard it all. And like all newbies I at one time had the grandiose idea of being “found” by a traditional publisher and agent who just couldn’t live without publishing my work.
That fantasy died many years ago. The reason is simple. There are as many writers as there are stars in the sky and grains of sand on the beach. That being said, all of them want to write the next great American Novel and make millions of dollars without doing anything but writing. Sadly that is not the case. For every writer who sends in a book to an agent there are twenty sitting in that agents inbox. If that agent is not into the genre they will never read it. They just delete it and send a no thank you letter. The same with publishers. They get more manuscripts than Carter has little liver pills.
I got enough to wallpaper my house. That however didn’t stop me. I did my homework and this is what I learned.
Even if one is lucky or unlucky enough to be picked up by a traditonal publisher this is what happens. There is fine print that most authors don’t read because they are so excited to be handled by a “publisher”. This fine print states, that if you are give an advance for your book and you don’t sell that amount in books in that year, you have to pay all of that money back. For example, if you are given $5,000.00 and you don’t sell that much in books then you have to give it all back. Second thing, when bookstores order a bundle of books from the distributor ie lightening source or Baker and Taylor, they will only keep them for 30 days. In the meantime you the author are paid for that bundle of books as a royality. When those books are packed up and shipped back to the distributor, you are charged back for all the books which are returned. In other words you lose that money.
Is this really what you want?
Now on to the “Agent”. Last night I was giving a speech to a writers group and one young lady kept insisting that she was going to hire an agent and that she was going to wait to get published with a traditonal publisher. If she could even get an agent to read her work.
My question to her was “Why would you want to pay that agent 15% of all your royalites and then the book might not ever get published. To me there is no logic in that statement. Her response was, I just want to write not all the other stuff.
Well, this to is a misnomer. Even traditional authors have to market their work. Agents and Publishers are doing less and less. There are more and more traditional authors leaving the traditional publishing world and going to self published because they are seeing that the houses are only in it for the money.
A publishing house only plays $0.80 per book and they expect that author to crank out two to three books per year. It is called garbage in garbage out. They also loose the right to their work. They have no control over the content, the cover or the pricing. Once that author signs that contract the book only has their name on it. The rest of it belongs to the house.
Why would any self respecting author want his or her work, slashed, hacked and reworked after spending hours doing research building their story and characters? It makes no sense to me.
I totally get the “Dream”. I had that dream from the time I was a child. However, I chose to control my own destiny, I refuse to wait, life is to short.
With technology the way it is – I am in control, I publish my own work, control my story, my cover, my pricing and my distribution. I sell books all over the world, on kindle, nook book, amazon, lulu and my own online store. I don’t have to wait on some publisher to give me a release date or tell me we can’t change the cover.
I decided I wanted my books in audiio so I found a reputable company to take care of it. I am not in bookstores so there is no inventory to worry about. I don’t worry about chargebacks, and every month I get money dropped in to my account for sales. I average $7.00 per book in royalites per sale.
Now you tell me which is better, being in control of your own destiny or depending on someone else who may or may not take care of your business.