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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Going the ePublishing route alone

This last weekend's New York Times had an article by mid-list, established author Neal Pollack, which I found so interesting hat I printed it off and filed it.

It is a candid revelation of Pollack's decision-making process when he made up his mind to have a go at self-publishing.

As he says, there are plenty of stories of successful self-published authors going the rounds. "Witness the March news that the thriller writer Barry Eisler had backed out of a half-million-dollar deal with St. Martin's Press," he writes. Eisler had done his sums, it seems, and reckoned that over time he could make more money by doing it alone.

So, despite the added fact that spectacularly successful self-publisher Amanda Hocking is now going the traditional route (coincidentally with the same publisher, SMP), Pollack has decided to give self-publishing a try.

As he says, he has the credentials. Unlike a newbie on the scene, he already has an audience and a following. 

He also has good reasons.  In the old days, as all midlist writers know, it was possible to live on advances, as long as the books came out regularly.  Now, the advances are very much smaller.

And the technology is available, so why not?

I'll be following the progress of Neal Pollack's self-published book, Jewball, with interest.

It will appear later this year on the Amazon Kindle store.


Shayne Parkinson said...

I think we're going to see this happen more and more with established mid-list authors. There's also the phenomenon of authors getting the rights reverted on their backlist, and then self-pubbing the backlist in e-book form. A friend of mine, a Texan writer of mysteries, is among many I've recently heard of doing the latter.

My own path has been different, as I've never tried traditional publishing, but coming into this as an unknown I've been quite staggered at how rewarding it can be.

Joan Druett said...

I am delighted it has been so rewarding for you, Shayne. Beverly Broad, down in wobbly Canterbury, has been very pleased with sales, too. She went into self-publishing in sheer self-defence, after the publisher she had signed up with went broke, and has done well.

Shayne Parkinson said...

Thanks, Joan! I still have to pinch myself when I see that I have three books in the top 2,000 in Amazon's Kindle store, all of them in the top 100 for historical fiction. Who'd have thought it would happen to a girl from Opotiki? :-)

Joan Druett said...

That's wonderful, Shayne -- congratulations! I went onto your Amazon page, and was intrigued that you are giving away the earliest in the series, and then charging as the series goes on. I assume this is a marketing ploy? I've linked your blog to mine (RH column), as my mostly American readers love to learn more about New Zealand. Also hope that you might write a post -- or series of posts -- with self-publishing tips. The story of how you went about it, and how you have developed a following (obviously a loyal one!).

Shayne Parkinson said...

Thank you for the link, Joan - I'm honoured to be included in such company!

I offer the first book free because I'm an unknown writer among a multitude of others, and I want to make it as easy as possible for people to try a new and unfamiliar name. In part, it's my thank-you to readers for taking that chance on me. Because I write series, if someone likes the first book they're likely to want to continue. And if not, at least they haven't wasted any money. :-)

Many high-profile and successful self-publishers, Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath among them, blog about their experiences and offer advice. There's so much out there that I don't really feel I could add anything useful. Of course everyone's experience is subtly different, so perhaps I should bear it in mind. :-)

Joan Druett said...

Definitely bear it in mind! You have a lot to contribute. Every experience is an individual one.