This is not to shine a poor light on Inc. Magazine's Michael Schein (haha). It's merely to point out how his recent article, Why Self-Publishing Is A Terrible Idea (Here's What You Should Do Instead), is not only misguided, but sort of dangerous considering half the title is devoted to dishing out advice to would-be writers.
Normally, I'm so busy with the daily word count, that I don't have time to respond to articles like these. After all, everyone is entitled to an opinion and we're still sort of a free country. But I actually wrote a comment and attempted to post it in the comments section of the piece, but Inc. is one of those online mags that makes you sign up or take out a subscription in order to leave a comment, so my words got lost in the ether that is the internet.
Read the article, and you'll see why I think it's way off base if not fake news. But if I were to focus on one important aspect of the piece, it would be this. Mr. Schein speaks of the advances major publishers dole out which are supposed to help a writer really make his or her manuscript shine. This is hilarious considering the average advance these days is about $5K and even then you get maybe $2K up front. That pays for maybe a couple of weeks worth of time away from the salt mine or where ever a traditionally published author must find work these days.
He also states that having Simon & Schuster or some other big publishing house printed on the spine will add a certain cred to the publication. Sure, I get that. Everyone wants validation, especially in this business. But Dear Mr. Schein, no one gives a shit who publishes the book, the reader only wants a good story or their needs fulfilled (as in the case of nonfiction). I've got a bunch of books with major publisher monikers on the spine and they don't do nearly as well as the books that bear the moniker of my personal indie publishing company, Bear Media.
As a hybrid author, I am now no longer at the mercy of a big publisher. Up until recently, I relied on big advances to pay my way. If I didn't get an advance, I was in trouble for the year. It's a hell of way to live, let me tell you. It's the life of a slave, or an indentured servant at base. You see, a major publisher can make or break a book. If it wants to propel it to the top of the lists, it can. But if it gets bored with a title, or the marketing team doesn't like the title, or if there's a major staff shift at the publishing house prior to publication (this has happened to me twice and in both instances the novel tanked), the title will be DOA.
But today authors have a choice. We can publish traditionally or independently (this is not to be confused with vanity publishing which is criminal). Or, like me, we can do both. Used to be I would put out a story or a short novel via Amazon KDP and it was sort of a fun sideline that made me a few bucks per month. I was more of a traditionalist back then. But now things have been reversed. Traditional publishing has become more of the sideline, while the books published under my own label provide me a nice living.
Come February 2018, I'll have a new hardcover thriller released to the world. Sure, I'll get the reviews, I'll be in the bookstores, I'll do the signings in NYC, and it will all be fun. I might even get a movie deal out of it. As a writer, I will be validated. Hopefully I'll earn out my advance. But like the old days, I won't lose sleep over earning it out. Financially speaking, the books I own all the rights to are doing the heavy lifting. Have I mentioned rights argument yet? I'll save that for another piece.
I imagine Mr. Schein's argument might revolve around the following: It's a terrible idea to self publish a business book. But that's not what it says in the article header. Fake news! But then, we live in an age where lies are considered truths and truths are reviled.
For an article on why crime authors are going indie click HERE!