There is an EXCELLENT article posted over at JA Konrath’s website. It’s a debate between Steve Zacharius, CEO of Kensington and JA (Joe), a hybrid author.
Here’s a snippet just to whet your appetite, but please go read the whole thing. It’s a humdinger!
Steve: Now maybe you can answer this question without jumping down my throat….if indie publishing is as good as you’re all making it sound…..why do you think that the biggest and most successful authors in publishing don’t go this route? Why isn’t Nora Roberts, Patterson, Lee Child, etc….going this route? Do you think it’s just the large advances they get? And even if you go down a notch from the megastars….those that are getting above a $50,000 advance for example….why do they stay with publishing houses?
Joe: Do people in happy marriages have affairs? Or do they stick with their spouse? If I had been making great money with my publishers, I would have stayed with them. What impetus would there have been to leave? And if I’d been given sweeteners like escalators, cover approval, expensive promotional campaigns, widespread print distribution, and large launches at BEA with massive media attention, I’d be defending legacy publishers right now instead of being on the other side of the fence. But very few authors get that kind of treatment. The vast majority don’t. In fact, a lot of them sign unconscionable contracts, are treated poorly, and make very little money (as referenced by the deleted blog post that started this line of inquiry.)
My brief take? Having read the whole article, the numbers Joe quotes from his own sales are wonderful, but they’re far from the norm for most self-published authors. As seen from this exchange:
Steve: Did you see the recent posts from Writer’s Digest that 80% of self-published authors make less than $1000. That’s from a survey of 9500 writers.
Joe: And that’s $1000 more than they would have made if they never were accepted by a legacy publisher. BTW, why wasn’t I surveyed? If I and a few choice friends were asked, we could have really bumped up that average
EVEN SO, he makes some great arguments for going Indie. The “unconscionable contracts” being one of them.