It’s interesting once you really start learning about a topic how many things seem to jump up off the page (literal or web related) to show you examples of the truths you have been investigating. Such as my interest in self-publishing and why it appears to make a lot of sense which has been gleaned (but not limited to) J.A. Konrath’s blog, “A Newbies Guide to Publishing”.
Numerous posts are written about publishing houses keeping the truth of book sales and money being made that are hidden from the author with strange sales tallies and accounting practises by many different authors.
As a rank outsider of the publishing industry with only a few rejection letters to my name so far, the niggling thought in the back of my mind as I read these blogs has always been… “really? It’s really this bad for writers?” The allure of having a Big 6 company saying my work is good enough for them to publish is a great enticement to a new writer.
For a long time I’ve wanted to read Ken Follett’s book “The Pillars of the Earth”. I’ve read so many reviews, heard by word of mouth that it’s a great story and personally the historical blend of the story is right up my alley, but finances just haven’t allowed me to splash out of such a treat.
The Salvation Army has a special place in my heart for many reasons, but one area of service from the church that I really appreciate at this point of my life is the Thrift Shop / Sally Ann stores selling all number of second hand goods at very reasonable prices. Especially wonderful are the sale days. Because as a ‘bookaholic’ without the budget to maintain her addiction even at the second hand shop prices, being able to buy books cheaply is bliss, and being able to pick up a copy of Pillars for 99 cents was damn near orgasmic!
I’m sure you can imagine my surprise to read within the Preface these words penned by Ken Follett himself:
One day I was checking my royalty statement from New American Library, my U.S. paperback publisher. These statements are carefully designed to prevent the author from knowing what is really happening to his book, but after decades of persistence I have learned to read them. Page 8
I’m willing to bet that the publishers were less than amused at having that written in the paperback edition of a best-selling book – but it is yet another confirmation of the truth behind the groundswell of authors, what they are complaining about and why so many are making the move to self-publishing. And suggests that my long term love affair with the idea of a publishing house publishing my books requires some serious reconsidering.
But as my debating teacher once taught me, for every opinion, there is a flip side that makes just as much sense. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, here is a good argument from Nathan Bransford for sticking with the tradition publishing route.
I’m still not sure which way is the right way but I do know I need to keep writing.