This week I finished doing some niggling revisions on my romantic fantasy, Forbidden Talents, the second book in my Vinlander Saga. (FT is the sequel to Dangerous Talents which is under submission to a New York publisher. Keep your fingers crossed for me!) Then I moved on to amping up the sensuality in my contemporary paranormal, Lightbringer. (Jill Knowles, who writes erotic romance, is helping me with that — thanks Jill!) I’m also struggling with the question of whether to add to/change/enrich some of the primary character motivations.
This is part of the job of writing. (Not the fun part). I have to decide if the book is strong enough as it is, or if it really needs to be rewritten and if this is a good use of my time. Or would I be better off working on something entirely new?
Time management is a huge part of the business of writing. At the most basic level, we have to get our BIC (butt in chair) on a regular basis. Then we have to decide how much time we should spend wearing each of our many hats.
I had a great conversation about this recently with Janni Simner, who has commented here before. Her perspective on time is that it’s better spent writing or revising than doing almost anything else. She believes that writing and submitting to traditional publishers (large or small) is the best business model. I’m not as convinced, even though that is the path I’m pursuing at the moment.
Questions we both would like to see answers to: 1) What percentage of manuscripts submitted to traditional publishers are purchased? (Quality aside, what are your chances of selling?) I’ve heard numbers ranging from less than one percent up to four percent (for small presses). But what is the average?
2) What percent of self-published manuscripts sell a thousand copies or more? I recall reading that only three percent sell more than 500 copies, but I couldn’t swear to that.
If the results of #1 are less than the results of #2, or even close, is it still the better business model? In other words, is it better to keep hoping that you’ll beat the odds and get that New York contract, or is it better to get a small amount of exposure (most likely), and make a very small amount of money by self-publishing?
Of course, in earlier blogs we already determined that money isn’t the only factor to take into account when deciding which publishing model to pursue. So maybe we should ask a third question:
3) What percent of authors following either model are satisfied with their experience? And of the few who have done both, what do they think of each model?
Inquiring minds want to know. . . .