Saturday, February 15, 2014

Self-publishing or Traditional Publishing - you choose!

There's been a lot of noise being generated on the internet about the merits of self-publishing over the last few days, so I thought I should throw in my two pennies worth (or two cents worth for my American friends).

It was started by a blog posting from self-publishing sensation Hugh Howey (The Wool series) who analysed a mountain of raw data from Amazon which seemed to prove that authors will always make more money by self-publishing.      YOU CAN SEE HUGH'S REPORT HERE

Self-publishing guru Joe Konrath spread the word on his blog - SEE IT HERE - and said it backed up what he has been saying for years, that self-publishing is the only sensible choice for an author.

Then battle commenced, and it actually got quite nasty.

I always find it strange how much vitriol Joe gets from traditionally-published authors. The reaction of British crime writer Mark Billingham is typical. This is how Mark Billingham talked about Joe Konrath on Twitter some time ago.

I don't see that there's any need for name-calling. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Joe thinks that self-publishing is the best deal for any author.  Other writers - such as Mark Billingham and Stuart Neville (WHO PUTS A GREAT CASE FOR TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING HERE) - prefer to be with a publisher.  It's horses for courses.

So what is my two-pennies worth?

It doesn't matter. Seriously. As Stuart Neville says on his blog, it's just noise. Discussing the pros and cons of self-publishing is a waste of time. Period.

Personally, I am following the hybrid route. I sell a lot of books through Hodder and Stoughton, a terrific traditional publisher.  I sell a lot of books through KDP and Smashwords, books that I have published myself.  And I sell a fair number of books through Amazon imprints Amazon Encore and 47 North.

In terms of earnings, I get the most cash from Hodder and Stoughton. Hodder and Stoughton get my books into the all-important supermarkets and the surviving book chains and get me into various Amazon promotions that aren't available to self-published writers.  There would be no advantage in my becoming a totally self-published author.  Yes I would get a higher royalty rate by self-publishing - Amazon give you 70 per cent on eBooks priced over $2.99.  But then I would lose the paperback sales, and that's worth a lot to me. And my books wouldn't be in public libraries. I take great pride in the fact that I am one of the most borrowed writers in the UK library system and I wouldn't want my novels not to be available to library users.

But that's just me. I don't have a view on what anyone else should do.  Joe Konrath made more than a million bucks last year selling eBooks (Disclaimer - I am a huge fan of his writing).  Writers like Lee Child make even more money being published traditionally. Hybrids like me get the best of both worlds. But which route you choose doesn't matter. At the end of the day it's your writing that matters, the system you use to deliver that writing to your readers isn't important. Energy spent on arguing with other writers about which is best is a total waste of valuable time, time that would be better spent writing. So that's my two pennies worth - now I'm going back to working on my new book.  Which will be  published this summer by Hodder and Stoughton.