Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Don't show me the money - NYT author turns down $500,000 adavance

Okay, so why does the news I've been waiting for happen right when I swamped with some unmovable deadlines? Well that's life. Unless you are living in a cave (this is all over the Interwebs) New York Times Best Selling author Barry Eisler walked away from a 2-book deal with St. Martin's Press even though they offered him a $500,000 advance.

For those who have not read the 13,000 word interview between Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler you can find it here.

So goes the first, in what I think will be many...already established traditional published authors going indie as they SHOULD. It is the best way for them to maximize their income - their legacy published works have built them a platform, now its time to take that platform out for a spin to maximize their income.

In related news...Amanda Hocking is in auction for a 4-book deal with a number of traditional publishers in a deal that is reported to be more than $1 million.

Are these two bits of news sending mixed signals? Not at all. People wonder why Amanda would take ANY deal considering she has made a reported $2M on her own. Because if she has done this well on her own...its quite possible that she can make the REAL big time - i.e. be right up there with Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King if she get bookstore distribution.

I think what we'll see a lot more of traditional publishing will be "one-timers" where and author signs to get some credibility and wide distribution (bookstore, libraries, schools, foreign rights) then do all their other books self-published.

Exciting times! I'm going to start making a list of those that make the jump (in either direction).


Robert Bidinotto said...

We're in an era of momentous transition between two publishing worlds. At such a time -- especially when the Old World has not yet run out of all its previous advantages over the New -- it's only natural that you'll see authors opting for the best of both worlds.

The main lingering advantages of the Old World are visibility in Establishment venues (chain bookstores and retail outlets, major media, traditional bestseller lists) and access to Hollywood deals. That will change quickly as ebooks continue to increase in sales against print books, as bookstores continue to decline in number and shelf space, as ebook authors win increasing prominence and success, and as Hollywood "follows the money."

But for now, highly successful indie authors like Amanda Hocking, or the husband of a certain small-press fantasy publisher (heh!), can wrest the lingering benefits of a higher profile in the Old World, before it succumbs to the New.

--Robert Bidinotto

John E said...

I'm not sure Amanda's decision is about money. In her recent posts she sounds overwhelmed. Maybe she's willing to take a lesser paycheck in exchange for going back to being just an author, and not an author-entrepreneur.

India Drummond said...

I think the decisions of both authors you mentioned are about choices. It's great to see.

It would be fabulous for publishers to see authors as assets, not supplicants.

Anonymous said...

"It would be fabulous for publishers to see authors as assets, not supplicants."

What India said. I've seen one too many blogs about how to approach agents - it's like Seinfeld's Soup Nazi. Funny if not kind of sad.

Anyway, I'm totally ignorant about the publishing business, but this reminds me of an employee who takes some of his employer's customers and opens his own shop. Happens all the time. That's why there are "no compete" clauses in many employment contracts. Do you suppose something like this will happen in publishing to prevent just the scenario Robin lays out?

Mike Dennis said...

It's like we're watching the dam break, Robin. Not long ago, everything was safe and secure and predictable and under the tight control of New York. Now, with big changes occurring almost daily, the world is very different than it was just a few months ago. And by summer? Or next winter? Who knows?

But it will be exciting.

Robin Sullivan said...

I think the "no soup for you" will one day be authors to publishers...you won't change the 25%/75% ebook royalty -- no book for you!

As for non-compete clauses - the more they try to tighten their grip the more star systems will slip through their fingers (okay that was pretty geeky) but the reality is BOTH parties benefit if you have traditional and self-published books - it doesn't matter which one "brings a reader" they each "should" benefit from cross sales between one or the other.

Cathy Keaton said...

I think Amanda's doing a good thing to broaden her audience, since she's the exact opposite of Eisler. Eisler grew his platform through having books on the shelves, and now he can break free and do it himself. Amanda will never have books on the shelves if she doesn't go traditional, and will never reach those bookstore shoppers.

Although, if there ever comes a time when print books get real hokey, and ebooks outsell them, then it won't matter.

Robin Sullivan said...

Exactly Kathy...and a big part of the reason that Michael is going traditional as well. As he said in an interview yesterday he can always go indie again but the opportunity to go traditional might not even come around.

Robin Sullivan said...

I so agree Mike...very interesting times indeed.

Robin Sullivan said...

I so agree Mike...very interesting times indeed.