Monday, January 03, 2011

A Response to Richard Curtis

Yesterday, respected agent Richard Curtis posted an article he wrote called Do Authors Make Good Publishers?

His conclusion is: No.

He cited me as one of his examples, and quoted my website. I wish he'd contacted me personally, because the quote he took is out of date.

It's my fault for not updating my website regularly, but I've since had a 180 degree change of stance on self publishing.

Authors should self-publish.

As ebooks continue to gain ground, and print continues to lose ground, and publishers and bookstores continue to report losses, this industry isn't nearly as stable as it once was. In fact, I'm not sure the industry will survive.

In an ebook-dominated world, are publishers even needed?

I can't think of a single, compelling reason to allow publishers to keep 52.5% of ebook royalties and give authors just 17.5%--especially when any writer can make 70% by uploading to Kindle themselves.

In December, I made over $24,000 self-publishing, and I'm currently averaging $1300 per day. But I'm far from the only one doing well.

Among other insights, Curtis said:

If your name is not familiar to the reading public, however, emulating Konrath will flop.

That's an easy conclusion to jump to, but it's wrong.

LJ Sellers sold 10,000 ebooks in December. No agent or prior large publishing contracts.

HP Mallory sold over 22,000 ebooks in December. No prior publishing contracts, and she just signed with an agent.

Michael R. Sullivan sold over 10,000 ebooks in December. No agent or prior publishing contracts.

Amanda Hocking recently turned down a lucrative offer from a house to continue self-publishing. Amanda sold a staggering 100,000 ebooks in December alone.

Here's a partial list of authors selling more than 1000 ebooks a month, none of who had any traditional publishing background (no deals, no agents.)

David Wisehart
B. Tackitt
Vianka Van Bokkem
Maria Hooley
Tina Folsom
C.S. Marks
Melanie Nilles
Robert Burton Robinson
Bella Andre
Lexi Revellian
Michael Sullivan
Victorine Lieske
H.P. Mallory
Lauren Saga
Terri Reid
Imogen Rose
Nathan Lowell
Ellen Fisher
Vianka Van Bokkem
David Dalglish
Sandra Edwards
C. S. Marks
Sibel Hodge
Julie Christensen
Holly A. Hook
David McAfee
Danielle Q. Lee
Valmore Daniels
Steven L. Hawk
Edward C. Patterson
William Meikle
Maria Hooley
M. Louisa Locke
Beth Orsoff*
Eric Christopherson
Monique Martin
Ellen O'Connell
Karen Cantwell
Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Aaron Patterson
Zoe Winters
Karen McQuestion
JR Rain

And this is a very small sampling of authors doing well epublishing.

If you browse the Kindle genre bestseller lists, between 20% and 90% of the authors listed there are self-published authors. In some cases, because of the higher royalties Amazon offers, these writers are making more money than traditionally pubbed authors. I earn $2.09 on a $2.99 ebook. I only earn 82 cents on a $4.79 ebook published by my print publisher.

On top of that, I'm earning $100 a day on POD books through Createspace, selling through Amazon.

I really think it's time the world stops calling me an outlier who is successful because of my platform. Here are three reasons why the outlier argument is poor:

1. If platform is the key, why are unknown newbies smoking me in sales?

2. If background and name recognition leads to huge sales, why aren't my traditionally published peers who decided to self-pub (I can name a dozen) selling as well as I am?

3. And if my name is so gosh-darn golden, why weren't any of my print novels bestsellers?

Change is scary. When it first starts to occur, people are afraid of it, and come up with excuses for it. Of course the industry wants to view me as an anomaly. If I'm not an anomaly, and others can do what I'm doing, the industry is in big trouble.

Guess what? Others ARE doing what I'm doing. And the industry IS in big trouble.

If you want to read about more self-pubbed authors doing well, check out this thread on Kindleboards, begun by Robin Sullivan.

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,47263.0.html