I Think I Just Bypassed What I Would Have Made Traditionally

Okay… so KEPT has been out in novella form for about a year and a half now. It’s a 20,000 word novella, so it’s not that long. Checking out some publishing advance averages through Google, a first romance novel tends to get between a $2600 and $5000 advance from a major publisher.

A novella is going to be less. Most novella anthologies contain 3-4 stories. With the length of KEPT, its inclusion in any print anthology would have likely been along with 3 others. In addition to that, almost all novella anthologies include one “name” author. Even if the author isn’t uber-famous they are high on the midlist. So it would be irrational to think that I would get the same exact amount for a first novella as other participants in an anthology with more publishing experience and name recognition would. In fact, I’d probably get the smallest advance of all of them. After all, if a well known author in the genre is a part of a novella anthology, very likely they are driving a lot of the sales, so they SHOULD get more. 
I just tabulated the amount of money I’ve made through Amazon Kindle for KEPT. Priced at 99 cents, I’ve made as of this moment: $1, 572.03. I think at this point, it’s safe to say that I have made more self-publishing through Amazon Kindle as a complete unknown, than I would have been given as an advance through a major publisher for participation in an anthology.
Also, in addition to my sales at Amazon, the PDF version is floating around free in many places. To date, in the places I can track, I’ve had close to 25,000 total downloads including paid downloads of KEPT. In addition to making more money than I would have made the traditional way for this particular novella. I’ve likely gotten more exposure for my work than I would have gotten the trad [traditional] way as well. Since novella anthologies don’t tend to sell as well as novels. They’re kind of a niche market.
Given that a book is considered “Successful” if it sells 5,000 to 10,000 copies… I’m going to go out on a limb and say the likelihood that 25,000 people would have been exposed to my work the trad way, is fairly slim.
So while many will still quibble over whether or not self-publishing was the fiscally responsible choice for me (let alone for most people. Let’s not open that can of worms.), I know at the very least, that it was the better financial and exposure choice for me for KEPT.
Most books never earn out their advances and so many authors never see royalties. The advance is all they get. Forgetting the fact that I have probably bypassed the amount of money I would have gotten from a print publisher for KEPT, I’m STILL making money from it. Steadily. I know at some point KEPT sales will slow down. However, with ebooks growing and more and more people buying e-readers, and KEPT finally getting into other places like B&N for the nook, the ibookstore, Sony, Kobo (some of these places haven’t shipped yet and I don’t think any of them have officially listed), that’s even more small income streams trickling in.
While I understand trad publishing is preferable to many people… I personally can’t see the appeal. 

This is a cross-posting from The Weblog of Zoe Winters.