Even as I was posting my post about the “ebook apocalypse” just now, author Jon Mertz posted his own, about his experiences self-publishing versus his experiences publishing with big publishing companies. Here’s a bit:
I’ve been writing since 1994; I’ve been a traditionally published author since 2002. In the ten years I tried to play the game by New York’s rules, I’ve seen so much ridiculousness, it amazes me the publishing industry has lasted as long as it has. Midlist writers (that is to say those who are not gifted with million-dollar advances and groomed for the supposed bestseller lists) are treated like indentured servants: crummy advances that New York insists are “livable,” crappy royalty rates, contract clauses that are meant to provide steady income for the publisher not the writer, and an accounting system woefully behind-the-times and deliberately complicated so as to render auditing it both costly and intimidating for the average writer.In the year since I’ve been publishing as an indie, I’ve made more money than at any other point in my writing career. I’ve sold more books than at any other point in my writing career (over 20,000 copies of my Lawson adventures JUST on the Amazon US marketplace). And I’ve been able to engage and meet more fans than at any other point in my writing career. And I’m not even as succesful as other indie ebook authors – some of them are making thousands of dollars every single DAY.
Traditional publishing loves to claim that they do a ton of stuff for writers – hence the low pay and royalty rates.
He breaks things down in good detail, and if you’re interested in these matters, you should check it out.
It’s frustrating to me as a reader because there isn’t any sort of quality control with self-published books. I’m sure that there are a lot of good ones out there, but there are so many to sift through that haven’t even been professionally edited. I wish that traditional publishers would do more for their authors, but at the same time, I’m more likely to read traditionally published books.
I discuss the editing issue in my post Ebook Apocalypse. It is a problem, but I think the benefits to both writers and readers far outweigh it.