Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Talking about a revolution...

...or why I finally decided to get off the sidelines and jump into the self-publishing game.

Like many struggling writers, I've spent years writing novels, and sending query letters to agents and publishers, with no good result. Personally, with five or six novels completed and an equal number of screenplays, I've probably sent 2,000 query letters (or e-mails) in my career. This usually involves waiting long periods of time only to be rejected or simply ignored. Yes, this is frustrating, but the option of self-publishing has long had a kiss of death associated with it. First of all, it used to be that you had to pay to have your books printed, and then take them around yourself to bookstores trying to hawk them. In other words, desperation time. Then along came POD, or Print on Demand. With this technology, you could upload your files for little or no cost and the books would appear on Amazon, only to be printed when one was ordered. Suddenly self-publishing for paperbacks was at least financially feasible, though sales never seemed to amount to much for most of those who took this option, and there was still a stigma associated with it by the publishing industry.

This has all now suddenly changed. With the development of ebooks, self-published authors are now making money. Some of them, real, serious money. And for someone like myself who has a closet full of material and no takers, there is suddenly no real reason not to put it out there and see what happens. Let the market decide what is worthwhile, not some agent or publisher sitting in an office and trying to figure out what that market might like to read. Suddenly it is those agents and publishers who are starting to sit up and take notice. It seems that most of the mainstream media hasn't really caught on to what is happening here, but let me post some examples of success stories gleaned from author forums. All of these are people who were rejected by the publishing industry and decided to go it on their own:

Just a few days ago, one author reported that he had over 1,200 in sales of his novel on the UK Amazon site in one day.

Another author had over 5,000 sales in November and signed a lucrative publishing contract.

A third author started selling her books this past October and signed with a big agent this week after selling 14,000 copies in just over two months.

And lastly, one author who writes paranormal romance started selling her books this past March. She had about 45 sales her first week. By the end of August she had 10,000. In November she had 20,000 for that month alone. And for the first week of December alone, she sold 10,000 copies. By my very rough estimate, that means she's probably making about $15,000 per week now. Not bad for someone who previously netted that per year in her day job.

So yes, it is a brand new world for self-published authors. I can't suggest that I'll have the same kind of success that some of these people have had, but whatever happens it is nice to finally get my work out there. Better than having it just sit in a drawer or on my hard drive. For previously unpublished authors like myself, these are exciting times.

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