Would You Ever Turn Down a Contract?

This post, by Jami Gold, originally appeared on her Jami Gold Paranormal Author site on 3/31/11.

The comments for my last post were fantastic—thank you!  The range of opinions really got me to think deeper about the traditional vs. self publishing issue.

Many people wrote in with circumstances for when self publishing works (and possibly works “better”).  Others noted situations where traditional publishing is the only way to go, one being category romances (where the readers do buy based off the publisher or imprint) and the other being literary novels (where it’s harder to find and connect to readers).

Tom Honea wondered in the comments of the last post:

[I] can’t imagine that a writer who has the choice will go the self-publication route…

I understand his point.  If we really love writing, why would we take on the designing, promoting, and distributing that would negatively affect our writing time?  This was the main reason Amanda Hocking cited for her choice to pursue a contract.  But then you have Barry Eisler’s choice…

Can you hear the wheels turning in my head?  I love when comments force me to think, so thank you, Tom!

Would You Ever Turn Down a Contract?

Let’s say you were offered a contract with a traditional NY publisher.  What would make you choose not to sign that contract?

  • Mid-list Author

In the last post’s comments, Laura Pauling said her takeaway from Nathan Bransford’s analysis was ”[I]f you’re writing a midlist book … you’ll do better profit wise by self publishing. That’s huge.”

She’s right, that is huge.  This one probably depends on the imprint.  Some imprints are almost all mid-list releases, so they’ve learned how to promote and distribute those better than an individual author could do.  I’ve already mentioned the Harlequin situation, and I think MacMillan is trying to promote more as well, with genre-specific blogs, etc.

But if you’re looking at a contract with a publisher/imprint that doesn’t promote their mid-list authors at all, would you consider turning them down?  What if you knew there was a good chance they’d cancel your contract early (which happens with mid-list authors who don’t meet sales goals)?

  • Series Authors

Read the rest of the post on Jami Gold Paranormal Author. Publetariat Editor’s note: by now, most of us are aware that bestselling author Barry Eisler has already turned down a six-figure contract in favor of self-publishing.