publishingPublishing Fear Freeself-publishing

Repeat after Me: Publishing Is a Business

Publishing is a business; writing is an art.
So a few months ago, Barry Eisler decided to forgo a $500,000 2-book deal with St. Martin’s to self-publish. This week, the news broke that he had signed a deal to publish his next RAIN novel with Amazon’s new thriller imprint Thomas and Mercer. J. A. Konrath–that force of indie pubbing–also has at least one book with Thomas and Mercer.

He and Konrath discuss their decisions here.

Apparently, many in the indie publishing community find Eisler’s and Konrath’s decisions to sign with Amazon’s imprint to be hypocritical, and frankly, that’s just silly.

I have tried to make the point on this blog before that publishing is a business. The reason established authors are leaving legacy publishing and that new authors are not even pursuing that route anymore is because it is not good business. A new model came into play that made the old one obsolete. Authors can now take their work directly to consumers and earn much more money per book. No longer do writers have to pretend that they enjoy being poor, starving artists. They can actually make a living at their jobs!

But does that mean self-publishing will always offer the best business model? That it’s the be-all-end-all? No. Keep an open mind. What if a company were able to offer the best of both worlds? You would get full editorial control, but you’d have the use of proofreaders and cover artists and a huge marketing department. You could get your book in physical stores, thereby expanding your market. You’d be making excellent royalties too.

Wouldn’t you at least look into it? It would be foolish not to. Publishing is a business; writing is an art. And indie publishing is one business model for bringing your art to market. I believe it is a good model, but you’d better believe I’d look into all the options. Don’t artificially prevent yourself from making a good business decision because you’ve labeled yourself “indie only.”

2 thoughts on “Repeat after Me: Publishing Is a Business

  1. Gosh, why do you always have to be so reasonable? 😉

    Self-publishing is like (ok it’s not like it actually IS) being a small business owner on top of being a writer. I am married to a small business owner. It is NOT for the faint of heart. Which is why I can’t really criticize people like Hocking who decide that it’s easier to just be a writer than an empire . . . could she hire people to do all that publicity and marketing work for her . . . sure. But maybe that’s just not her bag, baby.

    As for Eisler and Koranth, it’s all about getting your name, and your books, out there as much as possible. More power to them.

  2. Exactly. It’s a small business. You are responsible for everything a legacy publisher would have done: editing, proofing, art, marketing, bookkeeping, etc. If someone comes out with a way of doing one of or all of those things better and cheaper than I can do it myself, I am going to consider changing because it is the smart business decision.

    I don’t want to get in that fearful mindset that is preventing legacy publishers from changing when they see plainly that the need to do it to survive.

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