Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trade to Indie – Indie to Trade

The publishing industry has just gotten twice as interesting.

New York Times Best Seller Barry Eilser turned down a $500k deal with one publishing company to Indie publish his work.


Indie publisher Amanda Hocking accepts a $2mil deal with trade publishing company.

Clarification – Amanda's link goes to her blog, while Barry's goes to Dean Wesley Smith's blog. The reason for this is a long, rambling, (possibly drunken) blog-post that has a number of links out, one of which is pretty damn offensive.*

Romance author jumps ship.

Now this – Connie Brockway, seasoned and often published romance author has also decided to e-publish books her trade publishing company has rejected. Here is her reasoning, quoted from All About Romance:

"Oh, there's reasons a-plenty. First off, the contract I was offered was not good either monetarily and elsewise, the elsewise being in terms of eBooks. It doesn't take too much business acumen to look at recent eBook sales history and project that eBook readers aren't going to pony up the same amount for an eBook, that exists only as a virtual entity, as a paper book which costs substantially more to produce  (printing, shipping, warehousing, distribution, covers etc.) Or if they do, they aren't going to do it often. And if the publishers set the price too high, it's the authors that lose the most. I hate losing.

Of course, this was more than a business decision. Strictly as a writer, I'm squealing with joy at the notion of being completely free to write the stories I most want to read. And, I sincerely believe, that my readers most want to read."

She's not the first. If you really want to know who has jumped ship – Kindle Boards has an Indie Romance Author thread.

Note the last paragraph – "I'm squealing with joy at the notion of being completely free to write the stories I most want to read."

Well, I guess that she's kept her agent – and her options – open because she mentions Avon imprint, although she doesn't talk about her project with them.

These are signs the Great Publishing Divide between Trade and Indie market systems is being bridged, in both directions. Is this good news? Well, it depends on if you look at it as a reader or as a writer.

The Good News:

This is great news for readers. High quality stories from authors who know their job. They offer quality entertainment for – well, not cheap – but less than the price of a paperback book, available in the e-book format.

The Bad News:

Professional writers, who know the ins and outs of the business, are bringing their platforms – skill sets, contacts, readers and fans into the small pool of e-books.

This is going to blow the top off the cottage industry of e-pulp fiction. As more pros take the plunge, the quality of the books (and the higher prices) they bring to the table are going to force Indies to keep prices down.

The $.99 ghetto is just what I've been saying all along – e-pulp fiction and dime/dollar novels. Poor writing is going to sink those who can't keep it up. The book hoarding readers aren't going to review the books they never read. Word will never spread – unless the writing is top-notch.

Well – there you have it. A market update – pros and cons on both sides of the Great Publishing Divide.

Stay tuned. Heaven only knows what's going to happen next week.

*Unless you want to see a monkey sexually abuse a frog.

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