Crossing Paths: Published Author Goes Self-Published, As Self-Published Author Considers Big Publishing Deal

from the which-way-do-you-go? dept

So we just wrote about best-selling author Barry Eisler's decision to turn down a half-a-million dollar book deal, in order to self-publish. In the conversation, some people pointed out that he could do this, since he'd already built up an audience. Of course, just a few weeks ago, we wrote about Amanda Hocking, an entirely self-published author who was making a ton of money, having built up her own audience with incredibly cheap ebooks.

Yet, as many people noted, the very same day that Eisler announced that he was passing on that big contract, lots of folks in publishing were buzzing about the fact that Hocking appears ready to sign a million-dollar-plus publishing contract, heading in the other direction. Some will suggest that this shows that self-publishing doesn't work. After all, if it did work, why would she sign such a deal? I'm not convinced that's actually true. There are plenty of reasons why she might be interested in this kind of deal, though, not all of them may be good reasons.

I think plenty of authors still think they need a big publishing deal to consider themselves to have "made it." Even if they're collecting tons of money elsewhere. On top of that, someone handing you a million dollars (or more) upfront sure must be difficult to ignore -- even if it comes with strings and may be less lucrative in the long run. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Honestly, though, if I were in Hocking's shoes, I'd realize that I have the leverage here, and that means a lot more than just getting the top dollar. She easily could be in a position to negotiate the key things she really wants/needs from a publisher, without giving in to the terms and strings that typically come with a publishing deal. The marketing support (if it works) could obviously help, even with the giant fanbase she's built up. But she could do a deal for just marketing, where she doesn't necessarily have to give up so much on the other side. Either way, this will be an interesting case study to follow over the next few years.

Filed Under: amanda hocking, authors, barry eisler, business models, publishing, self-publishing

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Marcus, if Mike was truly open, he wouldn't have spent years describing these industries as "buggy whip makers". Mike has come to a conclusion, and anyone who goes against that conclusion "has reasons, although they aren't all good reasons". It isn't being open, it's insulting by faint praise.

    Mike, you, me... we are all entitled to an opinion. That is never an issue.

    However, what Mike has done here is sort of like the basic concepts of marketing: the role model. You see it in ads every day (if you don't filter them out): The person with the horrible problem, the mop that won't mop, the mess, the stress, it's terrible. Then the positive model, the person with the "All New Moppette" who cleans everything, has time to relax with their family, and smiles while cleaning.

    This post is the "negative model, positive model" in perfect harmony. Eisler is the positive model going the new way with the all new, improved internet online sales direct marketing super job, turning down piles of money and sticking it to the man, while Hocking is put in the position of the fool falling for the baubles and false promises, all for a dump truck full of money, kneeling in front of her oppressors.

    It isn't quite as dramatic as that, but I would challenge you to re-read the piece (without your normal bias to agree with your publisher / friend) and see where it really lands.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.