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Bestselling Authors, Millions of Dollars, and You

Ebooks have always been a hot-button topic in the publishing business.  And that was before bestselling author Barry Eisler walked away from a half-million-dollar deal in favor of self-publishing his own ebooks.

And yes, you read that right: a half a million dollars.  Which, as you’ll see in a moment, might just be chump change . . .

So is it worth it?  Walking away from all of that money to do your own thing?  You can read his talk with J.A. Konrath here and decide for yourself.  (Many thanks to fellow writer Angie Hodapp for sending that one my way.)

Meanwhile, self-published ebook phenomenon Amanda Hocking — who had been initially rejected by publishers — decided she was tired of doing her own thing and signed a two-million-dollar deal with St. Martin’s.  Which, incidentally, is the very same publisher Barry Eisler walked away from.

So what does all of this mean for you, the aspiring author?  It means face front and keep your eyes peeled.  The ebook market is a wide-open frontier right now, and it’s changing too fast for some writers (and some publishers) to catch up.  Plus, it’s vital that we don’t confuse the issue of ebooks versus paper books with the very separate issue of self-publishing versus traditional publishing.  They’re tangled together right now simply because it’s so much easier to self-publish an ebook than a traditional book, but they are different issues.

So make sure you have all of the information available to you before you make any final decisions about your career.  As an aspiring author, the last thing you want to do is prove that you can write a novel only to publish it in a way that you later regret.  You want to explore as many options as you can — and depending on your particular career, that could mean self-publishing, or it might mean traditional publishing — or some futuristic combination we haven’t even seen yet.

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