So many things have changed in publishing in the last few years it is difficult to guess what will work and what won't.
There is a school of thought (Joe Konrath) that print publishing is dead. But others insist Big Publishing will go on forever. I'm in the latter camp - things are changing, but Big Publishing is here to stay.
For me, e-publishing is fine for now. Marketing my own work is a time consuming process, but the education I've gotten is worth a lot.
I didn't like the agent query process - takes too long, agents have all these snarky 'rules' you have to follow. Small publishers are nicer, much better about getting back to you. But it is difficult to know which ones are basement business with nice websites and which are being run as businesses.
It boils down to the individual writer - what does she want?
I gave up the traditional press long ago when, after going Indie with some non-fiction esoterica, I was approached with contracts by several large publishers who basically wanted to just take all my hard work (rights and all) and profit off of it while offering me $1 a copy for each copy sold. With NF, I sell the exact number of books I would have sold with any other publisher (niche market). The difference is I keep all the profit. Which makes sense since I did all the work.
With fiction it's a bit different, but not. Anymore publishers can only offer you shelf space at bookstores (more distribution) and maybe some advertising. Since bookstores are starting to look like a thing of the past... may not be so lucrative. Regardless, big publishers definitely increase your distribution. That said -- the publishing industry is shifting. Sure - the big publishers may help you build a fan base in a shorter amount of time, but when it comes to $$$ - you make squat. On the flip-side of that - most Indie fiction makes squat anyway so if you can get a large publisher great. Of course watch for contract clauses that say they get first dibs on anything else you write and also remember that you can end up at the mercy of a backlist at some point.
I shy away from traditional venues because of things like that. And yeah - it's taken me longer to build an audience (5 years and still working on it), but with each new book I end up with more readers and I'm finally making a livable, taxable income as a writer (most of it from fiction). So it can be done. You just have to be prolific.
As for getting respect as a *real* writer --- my writing income of $60K a year means I'm a *real* professional writer. I've got fans, too. No - I may not have as many fans as Stephen King or Nora Roberts or whoever, but I have enough to sustain a real writing career. People who decide who gets respect as a writer based on their publisher - that's just snobby. I make more than MOST writers who have contracts with big publishers (and I probably have just as many fans as your average traditionally published writer, too). Just sayin'...
I thought about opening a thread that wasn't dedicated to complaining. ;-)
Im just curious, are any of you who are listing your works on Pubit or even Amazon, are you also trying to submit to agents?
I only ask because I've thought about trying my luck at getting picked up.
So any and all comments to this would be fun to talk about.
First off: a news flash:
Canada's largest book distributor, H.B. Fenn & Co., is bankrupt http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Entertainment/20110203/hb-fenn-bankruptcy-110203/
. . . "the company said it has "encountered significant financial challenges due to the loss of distribution lines, shrinking margins and the significant shift to e-books, all of which have significantly reduced the company's revenues."
Second: When I first started considering writing a novel, self-published meant a vanity house where you paid to get your garage filled with unsold books. Now with indie publishing in e-book and POD the costs are low, the potential is high. With the numbers of eReaders being sold, our markets are growing.
Now it looks like the Big 6 publishers are vanity houses. The New York Times, Author clubs, agents, reviews, and the "Published Author" tag on your website -- that's all vanity. The reality is a two year wait to hit bookshelves and diminishing advances *if* your quality work wins the million in one agent/publisher sweepstakes.
Indie sounds cool, control is cool. If a publisher rings me up tomorrow, I will retain e-book rights. I see no reason to relinquish control for a 15% royalty. After that we can talk.
Agents and the publishing industry may continue to exist, but not in their present form. They seem to think adding interactive elements in a book will save them. They plan to control all the tech elements. I think freelancers and disintermediation will win. Unless our readers resent tech interruptions of their read, then we may win easily..
Third: What happens if you wait a year for an agent to shop your book, wait a year for the publisher to finally give it a go, wait eighteen more months for it to ship, and then the publisher enters bankruptcy? I don't know.
Finally: we are in the right place with the right product. This is fun.