I recently read a blog post by Joe Konrath in which he explained for those who couldn’t figure it out for themselves, that he was abrasive on purpose in order to drive traffic to his blog. I’d say “duh” except I’ve thought myself a time or two that he could persuade more people to his opinion if he used more honey than vinegar. But persuading people isn’t Konrath’s objective, as he explains, nor is selling books. His stated goal is to learn from his readers’ arguments.
As readers of this blog know, while I value much of the info I gain from Konrath’s blog, (like this excellent post about problem clauses to watch out for in traditional publishing contracts) I don’t subscribe to his version of Socratic philosophy. I prefer a balanced approach. And to that end, I’d like to recommend to you this post by Rob W. Hart titled “Six Tough Truths About Self-Publishing.” He pretty much nails it. The only thing I disagree much with is #5: Kiss Movie and Foreign Rights Goodbye. The fact is, movie deals aren’t common for any author, traditionally published or not, so the fear of this loss is a paper tiger. And there are ways of getting your book translated without the imprimatur of a publishing house. But you will have to pay either a flat fee or a percentage to the translator. One way or the other it will cost you money.
Hart is right about most of it though. Self-Publishing is hard, and growing your sales takes time and money–like any new business venture. A lot depends on luck. But for me it is much more rewarding than what I was doing before. And I’d rather give you the straight scoop as I know it, than fan the flames of resentment toward publishers.