Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Did You Hear. . .

. . .about Barry Eisler turning down a $500,000 advance last week?

For the details, check out Barry's talk with Joe Konrath at both Barry and Joe's blogs.

Dean Wesley Smith gives his own thoughts on the significance of Eisler walking away from such a deal.

Then a few hours after the Eisler confession, the New York Times broke a story that Amanda Hocking allegedly has a four-book deal in the middle of an auction.

My $0.02:

Contrary to other opinions I've seen on the interwebs, I doubt Eisler is making a mistake.  Something both my business and tax professors tried to ram through my head is that money in your hand is much preferably to money you're waiting for.  By indie publishing his next book this spring, Eisler can have that $500,000 in his hands much, MUCH sooner than if he waited until his traditional publisher pays him the typical thirds over the next two years.

As for walking away from a New York deal, I watched several midlist friends and acquaintances explore the indie route over the last four months.  I'm talking about people who hit the the NYT list and were nominated for Ritas.  So far, I haven't heard anyone complain about the chance they took.  And folks like Angie and Colleen already have a platform to springboard into indie publishing.  So I can't see a major NYT author like Eisler doing worse than my mid-list pals.

Then there's people like Melissa Ohnoutka and me who are starting from scratch.  Melissa has already made Faithful Deceptions available in both electronic and paper format.  I've already had two people ask if I'll have paper versions of Blood Magick and Zombie Love, and the books aren't even out yet.  *grin*

While I find the NYT story a little suspect (ex-attorney speaking:  you don't leak this kind of stuff without hoping to twist something in your favor and that's assuming it's not an out-and-out lie), I can see the Big 6 wanting a slice of Amanda's $2 million pie.  (Edit:  Publisher's Weekly confirmed the NYT story this morning.)

Personally, I have to side with Dean Wesley Smith on this one.  Print is not disappearing over night.  And indie publishers may be performing the same disservice to their readers that traditional publishers are guilty of by not having multiple formats of their products.

Sooooo. . .

Does that mean I'm giving up the indie plan?  No, I'm too niche for NY.  But I need to spend a little more time than I planned exploring POD options.  And yes, I think it'll be worth it.


  1. That was definitely an interesting set of posts. [nod] Some of the usual arguments popped up in Dean's comment thread (only skimmed a bit of the one on Konrath's blog) about Eisler being an idiot and destroying his writing career and blah-blah-blah. But I think Konrath hit the bull's eye when he pointed out that he himself is making piles of money, and Eisler has more of an established audience than Konrath did when he went indie. Add it up and it equals a lot more than $500K, and sooner than he'd have gotten even that much from New York. Makes sense to me.

    I'm gearing up for it; I'm not quite there yet, but it's a "when" rather than an "if." And finishing up a story and realizing that there's literally no market that fits it at all well really feels like the universe whacking me with the clue-bat. [wry smile]


  2. Hey Angie! *wave*

    I'm lucky in that I've got a supportive hubby with experience in start-ups. He's been on a major kick educating himself on the changes in publishing biz. The other day he was explaining to my accountant FIL the financial ramifications of me going NY vs. indie.

    So to a couple of guys with real-world business accumen, I'm doing the smart thing.

    For someone like you who's already made a name, what have you got to lose at this point? (I think that's more a clue-feather than a clue-bat.) Best wishes no matter which route you choose!

  3. Eisler's story really blows my mind. If nothing else, I see this giving authors more control and say over their careers. For me, indie was just the right thing to do at this time. A way to get my stories out there and keep writing new ones. I'm also finding that the POD works pretty well. I can get copies easy and pass on a bit of savings to my readers because I can wave the shipping, give them a signed copy and still be happy with the end result. It's a win, win situation. :) So I think it's well worth it too! Looking forward to seeing yours out there, Susan!

  4. Hey Melissa!

    The control thing? Yeah, I definitely understand. I admit I'm a bit of a control freak myself. (That sound you hear is DH laughing hysterically in the background.)

    And I've got two cover artists going out of their way to please me since I'm the one paying them. That definitely wouldn't happen with a Big 6 publisher!