I recently attended an online workshop by Jeff Goins. He offered two free workshops related to Art of Work. One was a general workshop, the other – the one I attended – was for want-to-be-so-bad-it-hurts writers.
During the session, he received lots of great questions. Many of them were related to the query “Which path is better?” The short answer, as always, is whichever one works best for you.
However, Jeff Goins recommends the hybrid approach. He said that his first book, self published (You Are a Writer – which I embraced after 25 years of dreaming), sold about $50,000 worth. His second book, published traditionally, sold about $6,000 – thanks to the standard royalties contracts offered through traditional publishing. In short, he likes the hybrid idea.
It’s like this:
When you say, “I write books,” people automatically assume that you must have a publisher. If you don’t, most people think you aren’t a “real writer.” Recently, I was talking with a friend about my upcoming novella release. I had been in discussion with a small press, considering contracts and the like. Her words were “Congratulations, that is the next step to becoming a ‘real writer.’” I expect it, so it’s not bothersome to my ego. What they don’t know is that the climate is changing – the way to make a living as an author is changing.
In the writing world, speaking to the non-writing-is-my-business world, traditionally published is the regular colored peacock. When I say, “I’m an author,” people expect me to be able to tell them which press bought my words. When I say, “I love peacocks,” people automatically assume I mean the blue/green ones. But those blue/green ones typically only pay newbies around 20% of earned royalties.
But that white peacock of the publishing world – or self publishing – is quickly overshadowing the traditional method. If I, as an author, want to pay my bills ASAP and have some left over, self publishing is appealing. The expenses are mine, but the royalties are mine 100%, not to mention that word I’m in love with: “control.”
I want to be a piebald writer – a little bit of this one and a little bit of that other one.
The benefits of self-publishing include the higher royalty rate. The benefit of traditional publishing is that it can quickly grow that platform. As writers, we all need “platform.” Self published authors work for years to accomplish what a half-hearted attempt by a large, reputable publishing house can accomplish within six months.
As I rush forward (hoping desperately that my skill catches up to my intentions, arriving in decent condition at the same opportunity at the same time), I am learning the self publishing method from a great bunch of authors this year.
And since I am winding down production on my self published novella, Cold Water Bridegroom, due out August 4, 2015, I am currently writing a suspense romance to pitch to Love Inspired (a Christian imprint of Harlequin) later this year. I might not get any traction on that. Competition is fierce and their selection process is specific. But it’s enough of a dream to keep me writing. It’s a great way to pursue my piebald / hybrid dream. (:
Thanks to Erin Hayes, Melanie Karsak, Pauline Creeden, AW Exley andMargo Bond Collins, to name a few. As well as we three building our own road through the jungle, my girls: A. R. Draeger and Anna Albergucci.
P.S. I’m only a control freak when it comes to my work. Mostly.
P.P.S. I do prefer the blue/green peacock variety (just ask my hair). Kung Fu Panda 2 sort of cemented that for me.
P.P.P.S. You can blame my friend for today’s shameless exploitation of peacocks. She surprised me with a drive-by visit this morning, and she brought new peacock goodies for my makes-me-ridiculously-happy collection (a peacock nightlight and a peacock fridge magnet).