Me and The Future of Publishing? Money Talks.

I assume most readers of this blog are aware that I have been self-publishing my reverted backlist. So far, I’ve gotten my rights back to all but one of my older titles, and I hope to have that reversion in hand shortly. In addition, I’ve self-published some original work.

Here’s what my publishing schedule looks like for 2011-2012 — not necessarily in order, by the way:

2011
  • Traditionally published My Immortal Assassin (Grand Central)
  • Self-published Lord Ruin (Backlist)
  • Traditionally published digital-only short story The King’s Dragon (Macmillan, was paid an advance that earned out)
  • Self-published The Spare (Backlist)
  • Self-published Stolen Love (Backlist)
  • Self-published Future Tense (original, a short story set in the My Immortals series, was previously given away free by Grand Central)
  • Self-published Moonlight (a short story originally published in Mammoth Book of Regency Romance, I retained digital rights)
  • Traditionally published My Dangerous Pleasure (Grand Central)
  • Self-published DX A Crimson City Novella (Backlist)
  • Self-published A Darker Crimson (Backlist)
2012
  • Traditionally published Not Wicked Enough (Berkley)
  • Self-published Free Fall (Original, a novella set in the My Immortals series)
  • Self-published Not Wicked Enough in the UK and selected territories (See above, Berkley has North American rights only)
  • Self-publish novella in anthology Midnight Scandals (original, with authors Courtney Milan and Sherry Thomas, August 2012)
  • Traditionally publish Not Proper Enough (Berkley) September 2012
  • Self-publish Not Proper Enough in the UK and selected territories (See above, Berkley has North American rights only)
  • Self-publish Scandal in UK and selected territories (Berkley has North American rights only) Still in print in North America
  • Self-publish Indiscreet in UK and selected territories (Berkley has North American rights only) To be reprinted in North America
  • Self-publish Passion’s Song (Backlist)
  • Self-publish Book 5 of the My Immortals series (original)

Before self-publishing I would have just about ZERO chance of finding a traditional publisher interested in taking on Scandal (a RITA finalist), Indiscreet (Bookseller’s Best Award winner), Not Wicked Enough and Not Proper Enough. ZERO. Because if it were possible, my agent or her sub-agent would likely have done so. Instead, I can DIY and start making money 60 days after the books go on sale.

Before self-publishing I would have had ZERO chance of finishing out the My Immortals series. Maybe, you’re thinking, the series sucks. Well, Book 2, My Forbidden Desire, was a RITA finalist. Book 3, My Immortal Assassin, was an RT top pick. Those two things don’t typically happen to books that suck. Not only that, books 1 and 2 have earned out. Book 3 nearly so (release date was January 2011). Book 4 hasn’t been out even a year yet so I haven’t had the statement with returns on it, but it’s on a respectable pace.

Some figures

In 2010, my writing income was 17,000.00
In 2011, my writing income was 62,000.00
In 2012, through May 1, my writing income is $17,000.00

My Question

So where the HELL do the Authors Guild and the AAR get off with their bullshit about self-publishing destroying publishing? Maybe it’s true that it’s destroying the publishing business. But it’s sure as hell not destroying the writing business. And BOTH those organizations are supposed to care more about the writing business.

Edited to add: When I was originally drafting this post, I specifically mentioned Amazon and then edited it out. But I think Amazon needs to be mentioned to make the link between the AAR and AG’s stance, Amazon and authors really clear. What publishers seem to have missed is that authors like me who were doing poorly in terms of money in are now in the position of doing very well indeed. Amazon is the test bed that proves low prices drive sales and that the business model for eBooks is NOT and should not be the same model as for print.

I mean that seriously. Both those organizations are supposed to my representing MY interests, as a professional writer. Take a good look at my writing schedule and my income and tell me where my interests lie. I would like to know why the Author’s Guild and the AAR don’t support a publishing endeavor that does that to my gross writing income.

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18 Responses to “Me and The Future of Publishing? Money Talks.”

  1. Anna says:

    Another author blogged about her experience. You might find it interesting.

    A tale of two royalty statements
    May 9th, 2012
    http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/

    I love the Immortal series and will purchase the next book whether it’s published through you or Grand Central. ;o)

    • Thanks, Anna! I saw Courtney’s blog. It was really interesting. Anyone who hasn’t read it yet should definitely check it out.

      And thank you for the kind words about the My Immortals series. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it so far.

  2. I LOVE your Immortal series. It’s about damn time we get another installment!

    I agree with you about the AAR and AG. I guess we now know what their priorities have been all along.

    I just released my first self-pubbed book. I truly enjoyed the creative freedom I had to go where that book needed to go, to brand the trilogy up-front, to price it how I wanted/needed to price it.

    Glad to see you’re doing so well!

    Anna–thanks for the link. I’ll check out Courtney’s blog as well.

    • Thank you, Elaine! Free Fall, the novella, drops a few hints about where things are heading…

      If you haven’t already, you should check out the IndieRomanceInk yahoo group. There’s a lot of great advice and experience there about self-publishing. I am just so glad to have the opportunity to get books into the hands and digital readers of people who like my writing, and yes! What you said about the freedom to take the story where it needs to go. Love that. Love it.

  3. Timothea says:

    I will buy your Immortals series regardless of how it’s published (and I will beg for the series to be finished, if necessary – I actually prefer it to your historical writing).

  4. Devyn Quinn says:

    After years of headaches and heartaches, I handed back an advance to a major NY publisher (NAL/Signet) and decided to try self-pubbing. I am no newbie, either, and have pubbed several books with two major houses, won recognition, etc… I just got tired of the run around and bs they can throw at a writer trying to make an honest living. Kudos for encouraging other authors to try their hand and taking control of their careers.

    • There are a lot of writers going through the same mental calculation. Self publishing is hard work, but so is traditional publishing. If one of them actually makes me more money…

      Best of luck to you, and thanks for stopping by!

  5. Kathy says:

    I love both The Immortals series AND your Historicals. Moreover, I, too, will buy your books, as someone else posted, either digitally or the more traditional paper. When an author writes great books, I buy and read them. That’s what you do. Write good stuff that I want to read. Keep ’em coming. I wish it were easier for you and other authors to do what you do best – write.

  6. Tara Hamdi says:

    When my 2 daughters tire and calm down, I will start with my new project and with your points it will be alot easier thank you so much.

    Tara Hamdi

  7. Kathy says:

    Have you read this blog on Harlequin?

    http://jakonrath.blogspot.de/2012/05/harlequin-fail.html

    Sorry, I don’t know to insert a link. 🙁

    • Your link worked just fine! I follow Konrath’s blog. Anyone who hasn’t taken a look and is interested in the publishing should take a look.

    • Anna says:

      Wow! I read the blog you attached. How awful for authors to get paid pennies for their hard work? I’m all for authors self-pubbing. The prices are perfect for voracious readers like me.

      A friend has wanted me to try Stephanie Rowe for a while. Well, now Rowe’s self-pubbing and I got her book for $2.99 (and it’s lendable)! Perhaps, Suzanne Enoch can continue her Samantha Jellicoe series, and we can get darker novels from authors that are told to lighten things up.

      There are some self-pubbed books in need of editing. Some readers are able to overlook that as long as the story and characters are compelling, but I still like a well-edited book. Susan Ee delivered a terrific and well-edited self-pubbed urban fantasy. Courtney Milan’s new self-published historical romance is divine.

      I wish all you authors success! Band together! Write terrific stories and the fans will buy them. Good luck!

  8. Katherine Bolton says:

    I’m so happy you’re doing well. (And! It means more books for me to read!)

    The time is coming when authors’ (alleged) representatives are really going to have to pick their side of the line. For reals. Because right now, they’re on the wrong side of it. I’d say it’ll come about the time that the biggest authors start sliding away from publishers at least part to self-publish some stuff themselves.

    This day was always coming, and I am so grateful: I’ve read so much great stuff because of this.

    Katherine

  9. Congratulations. Never thought you could make money by self publishing.

    • To be honest, I was on the fence about approving this comment. I find it odd that any author could be unaware that at least some people are making a living from self-publishing. If that’s the case with you, I hope you’ll spend some time investigating because this could be a great way for authors in your genre to, in fact, make money with SciFi shorts.

  10. Laura (kyahgirl) says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re having success with the self publishing. It infuriates me that the traditional publishing industry has their metaphorical foot on the neck of authors.
    Stacia Kane did a rather brilliant and heated ‘explanation’ of one aspect of the Amazon rating game.

    http://www.staciakane.net/2012/05/21/customer-service/

    I was kind of amazed! I guess I’ve had my head in the sand.

    • Laura:

      Well, until self-publishing via Amazon etc came along, traditional publishers had no incentive to give authors better terms. If you wanted to make money from your novel, there wasn’t any other choice. Now there is.

      I don’t fault publishers for seeking the best terms for themselves. That’s ostensibly rational behavior. What authors sometimes forget is that not only is the publisher a business, but so are they. In the end, the publisher has its best interests at heart, not the author’s. I think it will take a while for publishers to accept that the new environment suggests they offer authors better terms than in the past. But then again, maybe they don’t have to. Maybe they’ll be fine without midlist authors, and I mean that seriously. There’s already good evidence they can lure successful self-publishers.