It's not you, it's me.

I've been asked to explain my decision to forego traditional publishing.  For me, it boils down to these three factors:

1.  Publishers and agents don't seem do enough to justify their commissions in perpetuity. 

I'm not saying that they can't provide valuable services, I just believe the price over the long term commercial viability of intellectual property is simply too great.  They are running a business based primarily on marketing the creativity of others, and they haven't streamlined their operations in such a way that they can feed the great digital beast of the internet just yet.  They may come around to it at some point, but from a strictly logical perspective, I believe it will be just as much work to create, polish, and publish a novel as it would be to try to attract attention from publishers.  That may not be true, but I'm going to find out.  At least I'll know how much work it really is once I get there and I'll be choosing my distribution partners from an equal footing.  Know there's literally nothing stopping a tech-savvy author from creating their own storefront on the internet and distributing their work with a hefty 0% commission minus cost of running the website, which can be negligible.     

2.  E-Book revenue splits are far lower from legacy publishers. 

The information shared by Barry Eisler and JA Konrath illustrate this to a far greater degree than I ever could.  You could hope to maybe make 15% on your overpriced, under promoted, digital novel through a traditional publishing house.  That is, if they can even report the revenue accurately.  Dean Wesley Smith breaks down the upside fairly succinctly here.

3. You give up price control, final title, time to market, cover art decisions and more with traditional publishing contracts.  Contrast that with the ability to re-compile and re-release at will.  When I'm done with my first trilogy, I'll be able to release an annotated copy of all three books nearly immediately with the way I'm using technology to capture notes in my process.  I can then release the compendium and the annotated versions at different price points, with new cover art, immediately.  By self-pubbing you give up none of avenues, and gain process flexibility and time to market as well.  

But how?  I'm still working all of that out and I'll be ready to share it as soon as my own product is published and I've got some real experience to talk about.  First big deadline is in 10 days and I'm nearly on target.  I feel great so far.     


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