New York Times: Amazon Signs Writers, Cuts Publishers Out
Oh boy, like it’s something a zillion people didn’t already know.
But when the Gray Lady herself starts covering it, then you know it’s got to be the real deal…finally.
But there’s still tons of denial out there. Just recently, I watched from a near distance as a veteran horror author cautioned a fledgling writer to find an agent, and not self-publish. He didn’t mention the years of waiting that would be involved; the months waiting for an agent to read and agree to represent, the months of trying to sell the manuscript to an editor, the time it would take for the editor to sell the product internally–it has to have the blessing of the marketing department, you know–the edits, the rewrites, the acceptance, the printing, the distribution, and finally, if all goes well, the earn out. We’re talking years.
And at no time did the veteran mention to the newcomer that the agent will be helping him/herself to 15% of all earnings–forever. And that 15% of a 6-8% royalty is a lot of work for doing nothing.
I know several published authors–some big names, too–who are trying self-publishing. They’ll release old or maybe even new short stories, and then bitch that they’re not raking in the money across the transom. Readers want novels, not short stories, but these big guns give up their novels to the publishing industry (and 15% of all proceeds to agents) instead. I don’t get it, myself. There are most certainly instances where individuals have gone to win the publishing gold doing it their way–hell, see the NYT article–but I guess once you’re set in your ways, there’s no going back.
Fine by me, I guess. I’m digging the whole self-pub cycle, even though it’s a hell of a lot of work. But the best guy I’ve ever worked for is myself, so I’m unusually motivated to keep my boss happy.