Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The new publishing paradigm

A couple weeks ago I was present at the RWA convention when Stephanie Laurens made her amazing keynote address on the changing of the publishing world. In case you missed it, she’s put the text and the slides up here: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/rwa12keynote.html To summarize what Ms. Laurens said, the publishing world is changing but our role in it stays the same with respect to writing the best book we can. We just have a lot more options now when it comes to publishing and can choose to take advantage of pieces of the publishing world rather than contract with a publisher.

Since pretty much anyone can take their written material and put it up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or some other online store, the question is why trade the 60+% of the profits of a book for what a publishing house can give you? This is question a lot of authors are asking right now, and with good reason. I don’t have experience with the traditional publishing world, but I can tell you in the small-press world it is a really big question.

I see a publishing house offering three things of importance: good editing, good distribution, and a name for quality. A do-it-yourselfer can hire a good freelance editor, and contract cover art that, if not the best in the world, at least they have control over. And the distribution isn’t that hard to manage with KDP for Amazon, Pubit! for Barnes and Noble, Kobo’s Writer’s Life, and Smashwords for everything else. But the last item, the reputation of the publishing house to attract readers, that is something a lot more difficult for an individual author to manage.

If you have a big name already, you might be able to just throw up your work on Amazon and most likely your fans will find you. Price your book a dollar or so below your traditionally published titles and your voracious readers will snap it up as a bargain.

If you don’t have a massive fan base, then you need to have some way to get the reader’s attention. There are so many books released at online book vendors every day, if not every hour, that it is easy to overlook yours. If a publishing house has a reputation then people flock to it on release day to shop for new books and even if they don’t buy the book on the publisher’s website, they will look it up on the various online ebook stores associated with their favorite ebook reader and buy it there. The publisher’s website becomes the virtual bookstore to browse through.

I have a new title coming out today (8/14/2012), Beloved Stranger, which has already been preselling at Samhain, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble for the past couple of months. It is part of my Gaian science fiction romance series and is about a young woman sneaking into a Gaian prison colony to find her sisters by marrying one of the prisoners. It is a sequel to Beloved Traveler where we first meet Sonja Deems. She was so kick-ass as a character I decided I had to use her in another book, hence this one.

I’m very excited because this is my first title with Samhain and so far I’ve been very impressed with the editing, the covers, and the overall professionalism of the company and the people I've dealt with. I’m looking forward to seeing how sales are and if my publishing a book with Samhain gives me more profits than self-publishing.

Anyone else thinking about these things? How is the new publishing paradigm effecting you?


Josie said...

It's a fascinating time to be a writer. The options for publishing, whether epub or traditional pubs, is exciting.

Best wishes on your release.

janet/Cricket said...

Thanks, I"m really looking forward to it!

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

The keynotes at RWA2012 were uplifting. Good luck with your new release!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Janet, your post was so interesting that I will answer in another post.