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Oh the Haterade, It Tastes So Bad!

Ah the hate, it burns, it burns!

Lots of folks are up in arms over Amanda Hocking’s “defection” to the dark side, in this case the Sith Lords who reign over at St. Martin’s Press. She’s at least been offered a four book deal for more than $2 million, and this has driven at least a small segment of the e-pub community into a minor rage. She made about that much dough in the self-pub world, so a lot of folks are asking the perennial question:

Why did she sign with a traditional publishing house?

As she herself explains:

Here are the two considerations I made in my decision: what’s best for my career, and what’s best for my reader. (Notice I didn’t say what was best for my wallet).

It boils down to these points:

1. Readers inability to find my books when they want them. I am getting an increasing number of emails from people who go into bookstores to buy my books for themselves or friends or family members, and not only does Barnes & Noble not carry my book, they can’t even order it for them. People are requesting my books, and they can’t get them.

2. Readers complaints about the editing of my books. I have hired editors. Many, many editors. And I know that I can outsource editing, but I’m clearly doing a really shitty job of picking editors.

3. The amount of books I’ve written and the rate of speed that I write books. If it took me five years to write a book, and I only had one book written, I’d be thinking long and hard about this deal. But right now, I have 19 books currently written. By the time the Watersong series goes to print, I’ll still have 19-24 titles at least that I can self-publish.

So at the end of the day, she’s going to do both.

I would too.

I’d take MacMillan’s money and give them the best product I could. At the same time, I’d continue to launch other products on my own. There’s no reason I couldn’t, and I would refuse to sign any non-compete contracts that came my way. (My father signed a slew of non-compete contracts, and it meant that when he lost one radio gig, we’d have to move. I’m no rocket scientist, but I’m smart enough to never sign a non-compete.) So Ms. Hocking is going to do things this way, and more power to her.

One side effect of this announcement is that it’s seen as an “antidote” to Barry Eisler going the opposite route. Eisler’s been in the biz a lot longer than a few other folks, and he obviously feels he’s going to do better on his own. That being said, I’m pretty sure that if the right deal came along, he’d go back to traditional publishing. For $2,000,000, I’m pretty sure Joe Konrath would too. (But they’d probably insist on getting paid in three installments, not the ridiculous four, five, or six installment plans that have been born from the economy.)

I don’t think Ms. Hocking’s journey with MacMillan will be all smooth sailing, but hey, what is? If things don’t work out, she’ll have self-pub to turn back to. Because it seems she’s never going to leave it, at least for now.

So naysayers, stop acting like a bunch of peckers. Let the lady go and do what she needs to do. If you like her stuff, if you like her, then turn in your Indignation Society card and come to grips with the fact that she raised the bar for all of us. And she’s responsible for a lot of activity in the self-pub sector, and that’s only a good thing.

Don’t bitch at her for taking a really, really good deal. Thank her for what she’s done in the past, and what she’ll likely accomplish in the future.

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