Friday, March 25, 2011

Why I Still Publish Traditionally

"1,000 copies sold per day...and counting!"

No I don't live under a rock.
I'm well aware that the "in thing" these days is to self-publish. Jeeze, remember the golden olden days (like 6 months ago...), when an author who even muttered the words "self-published" was considered the worst kind of vain vermin, especially to MFA in Writing School types and college poetry professors?

Well, the world has changed and more than one self-published author, Amanda Hocking among them, have gone from absolute nobodies to multi-millionaires within a period of about a year. Having sold more than a million of her paranormal thrillers on Kindle and E-Book, Amanda just signed a deal worth two mill at St. Martin's Press. Big news in New York City, not to mention a watershed event of Tsunami proportions.

But wait a minute...hold the phone. Didn't I just point out that the cool thing to do these days is to self-publish? And why would a writer who is already making a million bucks decide to upset the "program" if you will, and make the switch to a traditional major publisher?

In a word: TIME.

Upon accepting her new deal, Ms. Hocking expressed a desire to spend her day "writing" and not formatting HTML and designing covers. Self-publishing might place all the control and money into the author's pocket, but it's a mammoth time sucker.

Which brings me to my original point. Why do I still publish traditionally when I could double my royalties by going DIY?


I'm both a journalist and a fiction writer. I write and edit more than 36 small pieces per month, plus write three "professional" blogs (these blogs are more like full-length articles), and in addition, maintain my own growing blog. And, at present, I have three books going plus I'm expecting a galley proof for my forthcoming new novel CONCRETE PEARL from StoneGate Ink. On top of this, I have to begin roughing out what will be the sequel to "Pearl." Plus I have kids, I travel a lot, and I like to work out, eat, and drink .... In other words, I want to have a life, not a live-in-significant-other relationship with my freakin' computer.

Therefore I have an agent (or in my case agents...), and I have a publisher (or three) who edit, publish, and distribute my books for me, and in exchange they take percentage of each sale, because they deserve it.

Like I already said, I ain't living under a rock these days, and any publisher, from small indie to the biggest major, which is fairing well in the marketplace knows that the book producing paradigm has changed significantly. Publishers are no longer Gods living high up on "You can't get there from here mountain!" They've become humbled as of late, and therefore, their attitudes on the working relationship with the author has shifted from Land Owner/Indentured Servant to Partner/Partner.

Nowadays an author provides the publisher with great work, and the publisher provides the author with great and necessary services. Traditional publishers will:
-Take your book on only if it's an exceptional read (Yes, this is a service believe it or not. Self-pub'd authors run the risk of unleashing absolute crap on the reading public!)
-They edit and proof your work.
-They take the time to provide your opus with the best, most eye catching cover possible (remember, in these the days of E-Books you can judge a book by its cover)
-They package, distribute, and market your book.
-They do your accounting, collect your money, and send you a check.
-If your book isn't selling well, they will assist you in improving those sales.

Of course, publishers do more than this, but even those few services mentioned above are enough to keep me publishing traditionally.

I remember taking flying lessons right when I got out of college. After about my fifth or sixth lesson, the flight instructor pulled me aside and suggested that I remain a passenger rather than become a pilot. In his opinion, I just didn't quite have the organizational skills it takes to become a pilot who maintains a life rather than crashing and burning. Somehow I get the feeling that if I were to attempt self-publishing, I'd forget a few of the necessary steps and, well, crash and burn.

I don't regret my decision.
With the assistance of my publishers StoneHouse Ink and StoneGate Ink, I am currently selling 1,000 copies of THE INNOCENT per day, and if it keeps moving the way it has been, it will become the Number 1 bestselling Amazon Kindle Book in the world (it's No. 29 as of this writing; No. 2 in Hard-Boiled Mysteries). The sequel GODCHILD is close on its tail, and THE REMAINS close on its tail...

So one more time...Why do I still publish traditionally?


And For bestselling Kindle author Vincent Zandri, there is simply no other way.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I get it. One day maybe I'll be there. Until then I'm learning. I also wanted to point out that when you publish traditionally all that publicity goes toward your other publications and vice verca.

  3. Great post Vincent! You're a busy man and every decision counts :) I am currently translating my own books for a publishing contract I signed in the Netherlands, more work, more deadlines... but then...I don't have kids, so it should be easy to find the time :) right?

  4. Awesome post... It's crazy how much has changed in 6 months... and you're absolutely right about time... I hope to see new smaller leaner traditionally publishers in the future.

  5. Hello Vincent, I'd like to congratulate you on your success - great post btw! I have submitted my latest manuscript to Stonehouse ink and now can only wait to hear back - good news I pray! I know I've said it before, but so far your book "Remains" is my favorite!

  6. I would say more but I am busy publishing Vincents book and trying to write my own... =)

  7. Awesome comments all...The Innocent hit The No. 1 spot in both hard-boiled fiction and psychological thrillers!!!