This post, by J.A. Konrath, originally appeared on his A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog on 9/30/11.
Yesterday, an agent blogged about a speech she recently gave to Sisters in Crime. Some of the advice was fine. Some was archaic (no, writers don’t need to attend conventions or volunteer for anything), but this was just downright awful:
"Do NOT drink the kool-aid on E-publishing. It’s too early to be making sweeping statements about any of it. We’re all learning this as we go and the right answer to almost everything is "we’ll see what happens."
I threw up a little in my mouth when I read that. It’s terrible advice, especially coming from someone who should have writers’ best interests at heart.
Here are some sweeping statements I’ll make, which can be verified:
1. Ebooks sales are going up, paper sales are going down. This trend WILL continue. This means that you need to worry less about who handles your paper rights, and more about who handles your erights.
If you handle your own erights, you keep 70% of the list price (that you set.)
If you let a publisher handle your erights, you get 17.5% of the list price (which they set.)
2. There isn’t much a publisher can do for you that you can’t do for yourself (or hire someone to do.) In other words, paying a publisher 52.5% to create cover art and do some editing is crazy.
3. More and more self-pubbed authors are doing well. And more and more legacy pubbed authors are trying self-pubbed. On this blog I’ve had dozens of guest posts, and listed hundreds of authors by name, who are making good money. Some are getting rich. None of them would be making bupkis if they didn’t drink the Kool-Aid.