So you can read my books

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Actually, despite what I posted yesterday,

I have already quit.

Quit what?

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

Seeking traditional publication.

See Nathan Bransford old but still excellent post:

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? 

Though it hurts my lips to say it, 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 to eleven 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.


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!

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.

3.) 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 Japan, Mexico, Germany, France, England, Australia, New Zealand, and of course, the USA.

You won't get that kind of worldwide distribution for a newbie print book.

4.) 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?


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.

If you have crash upon the reefs ... well, you were the one who steered.

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!

(Check out Tom Hiddleston latest)


  1. Aaaaaargh. I am sure you are right, but my dinosaur self MUCH prefers the feel, the smell, the experience of paper books (and in deference to you and others I changed 'real' books to read paper books).

  2. You presented some great arguments, and in fact I've had one book traditionally published and another I self-published (both hard and e-copies). I'd love to be a traditionally published big-time author, and right now I'm going through the grind of querying, but a comforting fact is that if this doesn't work out I can again self-publish.

    Having options is good.

  3. Great points for going indie! I think both have pros and cons and if you enjoy the marketing and DIY aspect of it anyway, I'm not really seeing the advantage of going traditional, except for the advance, I suppose and the "validation." :)

  4. I admire those of you who go indie. It's more than I would want to attempt. I've been fortunate with my publisher and the covers, distribution, and all that. I know I wouldn't have had the same success on my own,

  5. I have mixed feelings. I am indie and I love it. But it's exhausting. Getting an agent/publisher wouldn't necessarily change that. But sometimes it would be nice to have a "cheerleader" on the sidelines.

  6. Indie publishing is here to stay, and many of those who have chosen (or have been chosen) to publish traditionally have gone hybrid as they've reacquired rights to earlier work. But indie is still a difficult road for those of us who don't care about controlling anything but our words.

    VR Barkowski

  7. Hi, Roland,

    Definitely some strong arguments here. It's a tough choice, but for many authors and excellent one.

    I may chose Indie too, if nothing happens this year.Five years is long enough to pound the pavement!

  8. Dang! You make some good points. I didn't know that about The Tomb. The must have been so frustrating.

    I think the marketing would be the hardest part. So much to learn and understand.

  9. Elephant's Child:
    I felt the same way about paper books over eBooks until I got a Kindle -- then, I was disappointed when I couldn't find a Kindle version of a book I liked since I could carrry many titles with me.

    Now, I feel the same way about audiobooks since I can listen to books I like when I am on blood runs. Progress is like that I guess! :-)

    I would love to be a traditionally published Big-Time author -- but alas, my reams of rejection slips say it will never happen. :-(

    Actually I hate the self-promotion part of Indie publishing but the Big Six and traditional agents have given me no other choice. :-(

    You were quite fortunate in the publisher who accepted you as they were with the success you have had with your platform! :-)

    An agent will drop you flat if your first book is not a success so they are really lousy as cheerleaders! LOL.

    And 15% forever is a big price to pay for most new agents and what little they can do for you. Ouch!

    I have read horror stories of what publishers have done to titles and covers. And two years for readers to wait for an author who has caught their fancy is usually deadly to the new author!

    I am not a control freak just do not want shabby treatment from a bored publisher!

    I will help you as much as I can if you decide to go Indie. The traditional publishers and agents do not seem to be giving most of us any other choice. :-(

    Marketing is the hardest. F. Paul Wilson of THE TOMB was a physician and used to dealing with professionals. He was not impressed with the publisher.

    Stephen King actually named himself President of the Repairman Jack (the hero of the series) Fan club!

  10. Great points. I've had a few friends self-publish. I for a library and know that buyers are loathe to purchase self-pub paper copies of books, usually because they look so shitty and the authors don't seek distribution through Baker and Taylor. However, that tune is changing, as the public demands the self-published print copies of their favorite self-published e-books. Erotica is in high demand, as is urban fiction.
    I recently read a small press collection of horror tales by a local author, and was blown away by her talent. It's very difficult to get my hands on good horror these days. It's all Stephen King or his son.