While listening to Adam Carolla’s great podcast, the topic of publishing came up. To sum up the clip, Adam Carolla wants to publish a second audiobook for “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks" and the deal his publisher has offered is that he gets a 25% cut of profits while they keep 75%.
I can’t help but wonder why anyone would seek out using a major book publisher?
If you have a following, you don’t need a publisher. You have blogs, podcasts, twitter, Facebook, mailing lists, etc. to let fans know when your work is out. You can release it immediately, price it at whatever you want, do whatever promotions you feel like, and essentially have complete control over the entire process.
If you don’t have a following, all the blood, sweat, & tears you spend trying to get the attention of a major publishers could be used to market a self-published book. Even if you get a publisher, it doesn’t guarantee anything. You still have to hustle your book and work for every sale and hope it pays off enough to where you see some of the royalties.
I’m not sure why Amanda Hocking chose to go with a publisher after having so much success on her own. It may have been the “secure” choice, but I’m not sure it’s the wisest. Barry Eisler recently walked away from a $500,000 deal to self publish. The barrier to entry is gone. An unlike the music industry, book publishers can’t flaunt a “Top 40” or “radio station for books” that’s easily digestible to audiences.
A great quote from a recent interview with Barry Eisler better explains this:
“There’s a saying about the railroads: they thought they were in the railroad business, when in fact they were in the transportation business. So when the interstate highway system was built and trucking became an alternative, they were hit hard. Likewise, publishers have naturally conflated the specifics of their business model with the generalities of the industry they’re in. As you say, they’re not in the business of delivering books by paper–they’re in the business of delivering books. And if someone can do the latter faster and cheaper than they can, they’re in trouble.”
Again, why not self publish?