Here’s another guest post. Robin Sullivan has a great blog over at Write to Publish. She comments and evaluates both print and epublishing from a much wider and deeper knowledge base than I do.
Here she is:
I sent Derek an email recently about exchanging guest blog posts. So here I am. For those that don’t know I’m not an author, nor do I play one on TV, but I do know a fair bit about the publishing industry. I handle “the business” side of my husband’s writing (Michael J. Sullivan <http://www.riyria.blogspot.com/>). I do a lot of public speaking on publishing (I run a writer’s group <http://www.meetup.com/DC-Write-To-Publish/> of 500+ authors in the DC area), and I also run an indie press (Ridan Publishing <http://www.ridan.publishing.com/>). My husband has been self-published, small press published (by AMI of MN), and now has a six-figure, 3-book deal from Orbit <http://www.orbitbooks.net/2011/02/22/orbit-acquires-self-published-ebook-bestseller/> (fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group). As you can see I’ve had my toes in just about every aspect of publishing and while many accuse me of being a “self-publishing cheerleader” I can honestly say that I think all paths offer plusses and minus and the trick is to align yourself to what works for you.
Since Derek’s blog is “Adventures in ePublishing” I thought I would take a minute to give you some of “my” impressions on ePublishing which is, without question, the biggest thing to hit publishing since the Guttenberg Press. There’s a lot of talk these day about Hocking, Locke, Konrath and the like. I’m thrilled for each of these fine writers but recognize them as outliers. Just as Meyers, Rowling, and King are in the legacy publishing world. But to me, the “real story untold story” about ePublishing is how it has the potential, and is, changing the lives of many authors that are not in the top .01%.
It’s no secret that many in legacy publishing have to keep their day jobs. So I was shocked that starting in November 2010 I noticed more and more self-published (primarily e-published) authors making high five and six figure salaries. It wasn’t just one or two…it was 30, then 60, and that number is growing every day. Now many critics say in the overall scheme of things this is small percentage of writers, and to that I agree. But I fully contend that if the only variable you changed for these 30 – 60 authors was keeping on a traditional publishing path, or going ePublishing their lives would have been MUCH different.
The February AAP <http://www.publishers.org/press/30/> numbers came out and ebooks are now *29.5% of the TOTAL trade publishing sales*. And this data is from 82 publishers and only 16 of them reported ebook numbers. Throw in all the uncounted self-published numbers and that is MUCH higher. For instance, in December I sold 10,500 ebooks of my husband’s Riyria Revelations but only 490 print copies. I’m thinking if we had access to “all sales” data ePublishing would be 30% -35%, which is MUCH higher than the 12% – 15% that I was predicting when the 2010 AAP numbers <http://write2publish.blogspot.com/2011/02/2010-ebook-sales-are-in.html> came out showing only *8.34%.*
Now over on AW (Absolute Write) there are many that say, “don’t mix ePublishing with self-publishing.” And it is a valid reminder to keep in mind that one is a format and the other is publishing decision, but for the self-published, ePublishing has transformed what was once the last resort of the desperate to the preferred choice of the savvy.
One lecture I give frequently is *Which path is right for you?,* sometimes entitled *Publishing 101*, where I discuss big-six, small press, and self. I must have taught this lecture a half dozen times but for the February 2011 version I had to completely revamp the materials as the income *potential*for self completely up-ended. Six months ago, my husband’s self-published income was “play money”. From November – February he made *more* than his * ENTIRE* six-figure, big-six advance. I crunch numbers….a lot of numbers and my analysis tells me by signing we’ll lose $200,000 to $300,000 by taking the deal. Such a thing was unthinkable a year ago.
For those avoiding self-publishing, the ePublishing revolution will help you as well. As more authors like Bob Mayer and Barry Eisler turn down $750,000 and $500,000 deals to self-publish the 14.9%/52.5% author/publisher split will change. It has to. Publisher’s can’t attract and retain top talent with such disparity. Also, I think the business model of multiple books with short times between which has propelled successes for Hocking, Konrath, Locke, David Dalglish, B.V. Larson, J.R. Rain, and even my husband Michael J. Sullivan, will show traditional publishing to stop limiting their author’s output with long release cycles and non-compete clauses that prevent them from releasing books too close to one another.
Anyway you dice it…ePublishing is the biggest and best thing to happen to writers since 1455. All of you will benefit from it.
That’s a lot of great info from Robin. As you can see, she keeps well-informed on the publishing world. You should definitely follower her blog so you can benefit from that in your own epublishing endeavors.