So you can read my books

Friday, October 5, 2012


Actually, I have already quit.

Quit what?

I have quit what so many other authors have ...

Seeking traditional publication.

Nathan Bransford once did an excellent post :

{Yes, I have submitted to Harper Voyager, but they will pick only 12 from the hundreds of thousands of entries.  The odds are better with the Powerball.}

Let's face it : a lot of us are questioning the wisdom of querying agents and trying for traditional publication at all,

whether because of the length of time it takes,

the fear of losing control,

e-book royalties, and many other factors.

1.) Length of time it takes :

A year? Two? John Locke has a point:
When the product you have is hot, two years to get a second book into the reader's hands is too long for the interest not to have cooled down to an Ice Age.

A salesman with a hot idea and no merchandise to sell is in agony. With ePublishing, you can have a backlist of seven books for readers to gobble up in the time it takes a SECOND PRINT BOOK TO COME OUT!

2.) Control :

Let's be real. What prompts you to pick up a book? Usually the title at first. The Publisher can stomp on your beloved, carefully chosen title to shove in theirs.

Case in point:

F. Paul Wilson wrote a book that sold well, THE KEEP. He wrote another with the title of the creature who was the adversary in it. The Publisher shelved that title and named it THE TOMB.

Problem? There's no tomb in THE TOMB! Wilson pointed that out and was told that by the time the reader realized that, he would have bought the book! Aaaaargh!

3.) The cover art:

Again control. You're a newbie. You get the bottom of the barrel in artwork. But with ePublishing, you choose the artist and the artwork. The cover to the first CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Frank Frazetta was the first paperback to sell a million copies in weeks.

Why? That stunning cover.

4.) eBook royalties and shelf life.

You sell your eBook for 99 cents, you get back 35 cents ... 60 days later WITH NO AGENT CUTTING OUT HER 15%.

You sell your eBook for 2.99, you get back 70%.

Yes, you pay for the artwork, the formatting, and the marketing. But do you believe in yourself or don't you?

Shelf Life:

The shelf life of a print book is like unto that of a gnat these days. Your eBook? It's there for as long as you want it.


I've sold books to readers in Germany, France, England, Australia, New Zealand, India, and of course, the USA. You won't get that kind of worldwide distribution for a newbie print book.

5.) Your book is yours:

Neil Gaiman wrote BOOKS OF MAGIC for DC COMICS before HARRY POTTER -- the two main characters are so similar at the start that it is striking. Why no lawsuits? WARNER BROTHERS owned DC COMICS and THE MOVIE RIGHTS TO HARRY POTTER.

Also DC comics owned the characters of BOOKS OF MAGIC.


You may never sell the movie rights to them, but if you do, the money will come to you alone and not the publisher, agent, etc.

Like most print authors, you will probably never get to make a living off of your novels. But you will have the control and freedom to chart the seas as you choose.

Yes, you will have to hustle to get your book out there. But being an author is a grand, epic adventure, testing your wit, resolve, and passion. Remember ...

Impossible just give birth to legends!
{Image courtesy of the talented Leonora Roy}


  1. I don't consider it quitting. I consider it following a new path. One that keeps changing because of the internet.
    Good luck, you have excellent stories and an audience looking for more1

  2. I love Yolanda's comment about following a new path, not quitting.

    Right now, I am following two paths. I LOVE epublishing my Camelot trilogy and the empowerment I get from having absolute control. Yet I still want to follow the agent/publisher route as well for my Devil's... Series.

    This is a great time to be a writer. Much luck to you, Roland.

  3. I admire your optimism. Don't give up, Roland!

  4. You're in my brain, Roland. I'm planning a post on Sunday about my thoughts on self-publishing. I guess since I wasn't too keen on the idea of finding an agent to start with, the enthusiasm for querying died quickly. I want my Tuesday post to be back on theme, so thought I'd do an extra post this week. I did just submit to Harper Voyager, but I have the same thoughts you do about the likelihood of being picked up. It's nice to have options. :)

  5. Aaand - I have even less of a chance with HarperVoyager. I just realized I left some highlighting in my ms when I sent it. Urgh. I feel more upset that I was unprofessional than that I have no chance now. I hate making mistakes... :(

  6. I am also considering self-publishing, though of course me and everyone's cousin is doing it nowadays, which makes it harder to get exposure. But I don't really want to live off my books anyway, I just want to share my stories and have people like them :D

  7. Donna:
    Yolanda did put a good spin to it, didn't she? Follow your instincts. They will seldom lead you astray.

    Thanks. I shall try to keep my chin up although that makes it a good target! :-)

    It is a whole new world in publishing. I look forward to reading your post. You do not know that you have no chance now. Never say never.

    Yes, a good many people are self-publishing. But are they doing original, fun reads? Go for it and live your dream, Roland

  8. Indeed, follow our own path. One thing for certain we as authors have more choice than ever now and that is a good thing. Whilst I haven't altogether abandoned the traditional route the thought of self publishing in the future does not fill me with the fear it once did.

    Good luck with your path Roland.

  9. For the writer willing to tackle it all, it's a much better deal.
    I am with a small publisher and feel very, very fortunate that my covers have rocked and my royalty percentage is really good.
    And at the pace I write, I couldn't produce work faster on my own anyway.

  10. Suzanne:
    The paths available to us now as new authors are certainly much more than only a few years ago. T.S. Elliot's THE WASTELAND was basically self-published as was Mark Twain's INNOCENTS ABROAD (essentially it was sold door to door by salesmen!)

    Thanks, Shelly:
    May your own SECONDHAND SHOES be a great success!

    Each of us must follow the path that seems right for us. If a small publisher had accepted me, I might be quite pleased with my situation, never even considering self-publication.

    May you decide to continue writing! Always in your corner, Roland

  11. I commend you for trying. I didn't even want to waist my time by having to wait around for someone to notice my book. It's not that my story is horrible, it's just I want someone to read it--now. Great post, you inspire hope.

  12. Good for you! I've actually decided to self-publish my next book for the same reasons, and I hate the constant waiting game. It's nice to have control over your own work!
    Best of luck with it :)

  13. Happy quitting! I lasted for about three weeks of querying agents before I thankfully found my small publisher (yeah, I'm that patient!)

  14. Elizabeth:
    It means a lot to me that I might inspire hope in my fellow struggling novice writers. I wish you the best of sales!

    Best of luck with your own book. It is a new world in publishing today.

    Agents can be beneficial ... but only if they care and are good ... how are we to know that as novice writers? I'm happy that you found a small publisher that gets your books out there. :-) My Lakota mother told me I had to learn to be patient or become one!! LOL.

  15. Congrats on choosing your path. I just read Lara's post about self-publishing, and my upper lip curled when I read the part about a small press guy who was shredding queries on social media. Ugh.