As you may have gleaned from this blog over time, two of my guiding values are Balance and Perspective. I get nervous when all the information comes from a source that clearly has an axe to grind. I like reading persuasive arguments that disagree with my preconceived notions — but they have to be balanced and logical, not just full of emotion and bombast. It makes me uneasy when I read an argument that supports my point of view but is not well reasoned.
That’s one reason I keep recommending you read The Passive Voice. Passive Guy is an attorney with years of experience in contract law. Whether you like or dislike the traditional publishing model, Passive Guy’s analysis is invaluable if you plan to sign a contract with a publisher. I recently read Passive Guy’s post “How to Read a Book Contract — Contempt.” Even though PG calls it a rant and infuses his post with plenty of snark, he has the knowledge to back up his arguments. As much as anything on the Internet, I can trust what he has to say.
Likewise, Kris Rusch. She’s been in the business for a long time, and she’s talking to a lot of people. She is clearly opinionated, but she is balanced. By that I mean she’s not only focused on indie-publishing. She’s willing to work with traditional publishers as long as the contracts they offer aren’t abusive. She’s also willing to walk away if they are. Her mantra is:
Writers Are Responsible For Their Own Careers.
Writers Are Professionals.
Writers Are In Business, And Should Behave Like Business People.
When I first started thinking about becoming a publisher (which is what you’re doing when you self-publish), it was hard to let go of the old dream (a fantasy, as it turned out) of having an agent do all the work of selling my book and a publisher do all the work of publishing and marketing it. I grew up with that model. There was a prestige associated with that model. A blessing was conferred when a publisher conceded that you were good enough to join the ranks of the published few.
All snark aside, that model still has weight. There is still some benefit in being traditionally published. That’s why Amanda Hocking signed a contract with St. Martins. They offered her a lot of money and quicker market penetration for her physical books. She made a business decision, not an emotional one. Just as Barry Eisler did when he made a deal with Amazon’s Publishing arm, and John Locke did when he made the distribution deal with Simon & Schuster. Business decisions all. Based on facts.
As impatient as I am to get my work out there, I’m taking time to sample the information swirling around out there, always searching for new sources. The publishing environment is changing daily. It’s worth it to spend a little of our precious time keeping tabs on it. To that end I’ll be adding a page to my site in the about two weeks, with links to good information about self-publishing.
I hope the information helps others at it helped me.