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


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2011 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't ignore what you say. I just point out ALL that you said, not just the selected words you are trying to balance your stuff on.

    So the claims are often the opposite of what you wish they were, because you are using weasel words and faint praise to damn the things you don't like.

    Thus, (3) is correct, only that it is what you meant to say, you just try to say it in a way you cannot be called out on.

    Example: Why are the reasons for self publishing all goo,d but for signing a publishing contract reasons are slagged as "not all of them may be good reasons"? Why point out the problems of the side you don't support, while being blissfully ignorant about the poor reasons to self-publish?

    What you are doing is painting a bad picture of the site you don't like, while ignoring or downplaying any flaws in your approved choice. It's not hard to see. I suspect you don't even realize it yourself.

    I am not lying or smearing. Obviously, you can deny it (you always do), but it is there in almost every post.

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