Monday, August 22, 2011

Stealing a March (From a Legacy Agent)

The following is a comment I put on a blog called The Portfolio Javelin - followed by a reply, and my rebuttal. Such as it is. I thought my elegant prose worth preserving over here as well.
Many of the other replies posted by Wendy Keller feed into the myths about self-publishing digitally - the tsunami of crap, gatekeeper argument, books as produce, and so on that have been debunked endlessly by  Joe Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith. I highly recommend reading the whole article and all the comments, just to get a feel for both sides of the coin.
Silver Bowen August 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm
I just put up my very first –ever– ebook, a fantasy novelette. It took me about 6 hours, start to finish, and cost zero dollars. Unless you count the monthly fee I pay to my internet provider, in which case it cost approximately one dollar and ten cents. Granted, if it had been a full novel, it might have taken an hour longer to get the formatting done. In the interests of full disclosure, I’m also not counting the time I spent writing and editing. I did everything myself, of course. My own cover, content editing, copy editing, formatting, and conversion. I expect the process to be significantly smoother and faster next time, and the time after that, and so on. It wasn’t easy, but it certainly wasn’t incredibly time consuming. And it really doesn’t get cheaper than free. So, on at least two of the foundational points of this article, you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. The fundamentals rules of publishing have changed, and changed so radically that many, including you, are apparently incapable of even grokking the changes.
Wendy Keller August 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Let’s see…hmmm… I checked out your 99 cent book on Amazon. Looks like you have no sales and no reviews at all. That’s success?
Silver Bowen August 18, 2011 at 9:56 pm
Wendy Keller, Maybe you missed that part at the very beginning of my comment where I mentioned that I just put the book out? As in it went live on Amazon a little more than a week ago? I didn’t expect much in the first month, or several for that matter. I have gotten 59 downloads on Smashwords so far, where the book is posted for free. Go me. The thing is, buzz out of the gate isn’t relevant in digital publishing. It’s nice, sure. Doesn’t hurt one bit. Sales are always a good thing. But ebooks are forever. Forever is a long time to find an audience. Being an independent publisher, even if I only publish me, is a new business for me. Business take time to establish and grow. Judging my success by the first two weeks is a little bit premature, financial or otherwise. For me, as a new author, success is having my work available to be read, with no compromises in control over content or rights. I wouldn’t be anywhere near that with a legacy publisher, or an agent. I would be depending on people other than the reader (my customer) to decide whether my work was fit to be read. Depending on employees and distributors to determine the fate of my product. No thanks (not without big bags of money involved, which isn’t going to happen.) But thanks for checking out my –first– book, anyway. Perhaps now you might address my actual points rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks on my credibility?

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