Friday, August 13, 2010

A Traditional Writer Selling in A Non-Traditional Marketplace

Home of my old bosses. Same as the new boss? Not by a long shot!

It wasn't that many months ago that if anyone asked me if I self-published my own books, I would have hit them over head. Ok, maybe I wouldn't have hit them over the head, but the sneer I would have delivered might have caused even more damage.

Truth is, I vehemently loathed the idea of self-publishing as much as I did vanity publishing. In fact, after publishing two major novels with two major New York presses, I went an entire 6 years without a publishing a word of fiction, simply because my agent could not find a way to push another one of my novels through since I hadn't earned out my 250,000 large advance on the first couple. Simply said, the publishers were shrinking and didn't want to take anymore chances on a 6-figure advance guy no matter how good the book.

When things got real bad, friends and relatives suggested I self-publish and earn what I sold. I refused on the grounds of pride, and lost my wife because of it.

Just recently I finally signed several new contracts with two different traditionally based indie publishers for the release Moonlight Falls and The Remains. To my surprise, the novels have done great, the former having become an Amazon bestseller briefly and the latter going gangbusters, thus far spending 7 weeks as an Amazon hard-boiled bestseller and on occasion, a romantic-suspense bestseller. And the novel hasn't even been released in print. An audio deal has been sold and now foreign rights are being sold as well. A movie scout has taken the project on.

What's that famous movie line?

Both of these books were available to the majors in NY but all passed. I imagine that now, they might be scratching their heads a little. But I can't blame them. The reality is that considering the dismal climate in New York, publishing me might have been too much of a risk. Now, with my new found success, they might feel differently.
A lot differently.

But back to self-publishing. Just a few weeks ago I sent a copy of my first published novella, Permanence, to a guy who knows how to transfer printed copies of books into HTML. My plan, as revolutionary as it sounded, was to put this long out-of-print novel up on Amazon for sale. In other words, I was going to GASP self-publish.

But then something happened in the form of a phone call. My publisher and I had a long, frank conversation in which he explained that by self-publishing, I would actually be costing myself sales. By traditionally publishing all of my out-of-print books with him, I would not only quadruple my exposure, I would sell far more books while still earning a very good profit since the majority of sales would be E-Book. And yah, he and his company would earn a lot too. That's the way the system works.

But there's another reason why I backed away from self-publishing. I'm no genius. When I write I books, it's important that my agent read it and critique it. After several go around, hopefully I'll have something deserving of publication. In other words, the traditional system works for me, even if I am publishing traditionally via agented deals within the new non-traditional publishing model of E-Book first, followed by trade paperback down the road.

It feels great to be back on track and back in the game.
It feels good to have fans and readers all over the world.
It feels good to be wanted.
It feels good to be making money.
It really feels good to be a bestseller!!!

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