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Eddyz Aquila
03-28-2011, 06:44 PM
Over at Nathan Bransford's blog.

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/03/self-publishing-vs-traditional.html

He raised a good point, which way will you make more money, self publishing or the traditional route.

And here's the important part, with the conclusion:


If you can sell print copies, all things being equal there's still the bulk of the money to be made there.

But if you're not going out in print in a big way, a self-published e-book is absolutely the way to go.


The rift between self pub and traditional pub is getting deeper.

Jamesaritchie
03-28-2011, 07:03 PM
It's nonsesne. For a very, very tiny few writers, self-publishing is teh way to go. For the vast, huge majority, however, the numbers are not there. Not even remotely there.

Too many are using the tiny few exceptions to say self-pubishing is a money maker, and it simply is not for any but an incredibly small percentage of writers.

At leats 99% of writers will make more money from a traditionally pubished book that sells poorly than they will in many years with a self-published book.

cameron_chapman
03-28-2011, 07:16 PM
It's nonsesne. For a very, very tiny few writers, self-publishing is teh way to go. For the vast, huge majority, however, the numbers are not there. Not even remotely there.

Too many are using the tiny few exceptions to say self-pubishing is a money maker, and it simply is not for any but an incredibly small percentage of writers.

At leats 99% of writers will make more money from a traditionally pubished book that sells poorly than they will in many years with a self-published book.

Here's one key difference, though. If I have a poorly-selling traditionally published book, I'm going to have a hard time getting a second contract. Sure, I might be able to swing it by going with a pen name, etc., but if your sales are poor, you're a bigger risk.

If I self-publish and have poor sales, no one's going to stop me from self-publishing another book. And what seems to be consistently the case for a lot of self-published authors is that the bigger your backlist, the better your sales.

Also, I know people personally who are making good money self-publishing ebooks. One of those people sells her (originally traditionally-published) backlist as well as new material, while the other sells just an original novel (one that I beta'd a couple years ago, and that has sold well over 12k copies since last fall). They're both making money at it. And these are not the people you hear about in the news (one was included in one of JA Konrath's blog posts, but other than that I haven't heard either mentioned).

I think the idea that self-publishing is a good way to get rich is false (as is the idea of traditionally publishing to get rich). But I do think there is reasonable money to be made if one is willing to put the work in. And honestly, if you have a good, publishable book, and you put as much time into promoting it as most people have to put into finding an agent and/or publisher, you've got just as much chance to make reasonable money as you do with a traditional publisher.

I honestly don't really care which way people opt to go. If you want the validation of a traditional publisher, then go for it. If you don't care about that and want to self-publish and go after readers directly, then go for it. It makes no difference to me.

quicklime
03-28-2011, 10:18 PM
One of those people sells her (originally traditionally-published) backlist as well as new material, while the other sells just an original novel (one that I beta'd a couple years ago, and that has sold well over 12k copies since last fall). They're both making money at it.


the first one has the huge advantage of having a name.


The problem right now with self-pubbing, and I don't know that it is ever going away, is anyone can do it. that means there is a sea of utter garbage out there, so if you self-pub, how do YOU make yourself stick out above the crowd.

I'm not saying it can't be done, or it is the wrong approach, I"m saying it in traditional pubbing your biggest hurdle is getting a sale to a house, in self-pubbing your biggest hurdle is how you're gonna make a thousand little sales instead, with so much stuff out there.

a lot of people want to believe in self-pubbing enough they seem to gloss over that fact. Not saying you, because I don't know you in the slightest, and maybe you are utterly aware of this, but a lot of folks seem to want to wave it away.

How are you going to stand out in a sea of mediocrity and worse, so folks can actually find your book?

RemusShepherd
03-28-2011, 11:04 PM
I think you've hit on the truth of the matter: If you are better at PR-work than the professional PR specialists who are employed by the big publishers, then you can expect to do better self-publishing.

The math is actually pretty easy. Nathan Bransford obfuscates it a bit. If you self-publish on Amazon and price your book below the $2.99 breakpoint, you make $2 per ebook sold. (If you price it for less, you make less. If you price it for more, Amazon's cut goes up.)

Now figure out what your advance would be if you signed with a big publisher. A new author might expect a $5,000 advance. An established one might expect $20,000. Whatever.

That tells you how many books you need to sell. That new author has to sell 2,500 ebooks to make as much money as they would signing with a publisher. That established author has to sell 10,000 ebooks.

Those are not trivial numbers. Most ebooks sell under a hundred copies. If you think you can sell at those numbers, then self-publishing may be for you. If you have no experience with marketing then you should take a look at your story and judge whether it can outperform other similar works by 25x. The honest answer will probably be 'no'.

Of course, there are other non-monetary reasons to go with the publishers. They handle publicity and editing and a raft of other things, and by getting a mainstream publication you can be eligible to join a writer's association which will help you with health care and such. So the situation is still not completely transparent.

But the base issue is clear. It's all about self-promotion and marketing. If you're a wiz at that, and you're willing to do all the work required, then you will do very well self-publishing.

More importantly, this situation will change. The industry is still in flux. I'm a cautious person with no skill at self-promotion; I intend to keep querying publishers while I wait and see.

ColoradoMom
03-29-2011, 09:07 AM
I think Nathan is becoming the "source" for all things e-pub these days! He certainly isn't shying away from the topic, nor filling up his blog with the status quo.

Which is a good thing for the professional blogger.

I think Nathan makes three great points:

1.That there are ways for writers to make money and it doesn't always involve the traditional route.

2. That writers have basically been getting ripped off for as long as traditional publishing as existed and that's about to change.

3. This is a very exciting time to be a hard-working writer with aspirations.

And hidden in the comments is another point: That one person's trash is another person's treasure and the trash passed up by traditional means have found a home, a fan base, and an appreciation at Amazon.

Williebee
03-29-2011, 09:32 AM
The rift between self pub and traditional pub is getting deeper.

Something tells me that success over the next ten years is going to come down to navigating that rift, and spanning it. What says this has to be an either/or opportunity?

PulpDogg
03-29-2011, 11:13 AM
If you self-publish on Amazon and price your book below the $2.99 breakpoint, you make $2 per ebook sold. (If you price it for less, you make less. If you price it for more, Amazon's cut goes up.)

I think you misspoke here :).

99c - $2,99 pays you 35% royalties, also stuff priced above $9,99.

Everything between $2,99 and $9,99 pays you 70% royalty from Amazon.