Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How Do YOU Measure Success?

I read. A lot. As a writer, it's essential. As a business woman it's pertinent.

One thing I've been studying is this eBook trend, especially in self-publishing. I've read lots of success stories. One about a Miss Amanda Hocking. She sold 420,000 copies of her books last year. FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY THOUSAND! Okay, yes, I'm sure she's the exception to the rule. But then I read about Victorine Lieske who sold 27,000 books in January and made over $7,000 in that month alone.

Now, I don't know about you, but I could certainly deal with a $7,000 paycheck each month. I'd take it every other month for that matter. Heck, I'd take it every quarter. Because, quite frankly, that's more money than I'm making with my novel sitting on my hard drive collecting virtual dust.

I've heard lots of bad things about self publishing. But the amazing thing is that all the "bad stuff" all the stuff that says self-publishing has no merit, has always come from agents, editors and publishing houses. "Self-pubbing is for losers. People who couldn't make it in the real publishing industry."

I guess I would beg to differ. I mean, Amanda Hocking sure doesn't look like a loser to me. In fact, she's the one laughing. All the way to the bank.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not bad-mouthing the publishing industry, or agents or editors. I just wonder what their opposition is.

When I'm reminded of all the people who've been successful in this world, I realize none of their success ever came to them through conventional methods. They thought outside the box and broke the mold.

So what do you think? Does this eBook/self-publishing thing have merit? Do you look down at authors who've chosen this route? Do you wish you had the money in Amanda Hocking's bank account?


14 comments:

Cherie Reich said...

I think self-publishing isn't quite as taboo as it used to be. For some authors, this is the best way for them. For others, it isn't. It's an individual basis and what people have to remember is the success stories often worked hard to have that success by writing the right book at the right time, having great cover art, finding an editor (no one should self-edit their own books), and setting the right price.

Self-publishing is a LOT of work, and I admire people that go that route and succeed. It's not something I'd be comfortable doing exactly for one of my novels, but I have to admit it's tempting when you hear about these success stories. Very tempting. ;)

Laura Pauling said...

I think going back self published books tended to be unedited and riddled with mistakes and the writer would pay a ton of money for a bunch of books to sit in their garage. I think agents were looking out for writers when they spoke against self publishing. But ebooks have changed that. And I see lots of agents not speaking against it as much.

Just like with regular publishing the few that are extremely successful are few and far between. I haven't read Amanda's stuff but it helps that she's got great titles and covers and a whole bunch out in the series!

If I felt fully confident in a book, I wouldn't be against it.

Angela Felsted said...

I respect and admire those who self-publish. It takes guts, guts I'm not sure I have. There's so much more risk involved, not to mention the huge amounts of money you have to put upfront to get the ball rolling.

Patti said...

Like Laura I think the image of self publishing is changing and there are more success stories now then there were twenty years ago.

Amie B said...

thanks for your input ladies! i think a real stigma has been attached to self-pubbing and most of the time it's valid. many writers rush into the process without editing, revising, getting feedback that matters from CP's (not family members), editing and revising some more. and that's a shame. these kinds of writers really do give self-pubbing a bad name.

but then there are the GOOD books, the ones that get overlooked somehow (maybe it was timing, who knows) and end up being a charming self-pubbed book. and there truly is no harm in that. i say good for them for making their own success!

Sara B. Larson said...

I think that a lot of self-published books fit the stigma. Bad editing, writing that needs to be polished. But there are also books that got overlooked for who knows what reason that do incredibly well being self-published. I've had people ask me about it, but I just don't know if I could do it. So much effort and time and often money has to go into making self-publishing successful. I admire those who do it. And with the ebook trend, I think it's going to happen more and more.

Kindros said...

I believe it has merit. But like everything, the work will speak for itself. I've seen terribly edited and thought up concepts from traditional publishers and I don't put a bad mark on the company, it's the author.

I think it's a growing industry as well and that more and more authors will go with this method. Epublishing is making it even easier to get into. Also, haters gonna hate no matter what, so might as well do what you feel is best for you.

KarenG said...

Loved this post, Amie! I wrote (sort of) about the same topic this week. And yes, these are two of the authors I was thinking about. Another one is Lexi Revillion of the UK who sold a LOT of her self-pubbed book. I love your take on this. So many things are turning around in the industry, and it's all happening so fast.

caterpillar said...

I don't think self publishing is for people who couldn't make it in real publishing industry, rather I think it's for people who are ready to take a risk, to try and do something out of the box...

Ciara said...

I've been studying self-publish vs. small press the last couple of months. I had a local PTSA president ask if I'd submit my book for school board approval so that I could do a fundraiser.

After a couple of months she has two other PTSA presidents sending me messages. I have a full, with three book proposal, sitting at a publishing house for another few months. If it comes back with a rejection I'll consider my options. I've never considered self-publishing until now. I parted ways with my agent a month or two ago, so I'm thinking; do I find a new agent, submit to publishing houses or small press, or self-publish. Oh, my head hurts now. LOL

Colene Murphy said...

I think it's changing for sure, but it is also still on my low merit list of things. Just because of the people who abuse it, is the only reason. Not like those HUGE success stories ther, by any means! WOW! And it takes a lot of work to promote yourself and all that. You just really have to know what you're doing on top of being an amazing writer. But that is just my opinion.

Laura Howard said...

Lots of great opinions here! I feel like we have our own path to success, and they're so different... what works for one is always quite different for the next. That's true in all parts of life..right? The way I make apple pie is different from the way my neighbor makes it..but they both end up being great, so who's complaining??

Amie B said...

laura - i really like your way of thinking! so smart!

Casey said...

Besides the general merits of self-publishing, when you sell 420,000 eBooks, I bet a major publishing house would eventually be like, "Whoa, man!" and you'd end up with a traditional book deal, anyway, which is kind of fun. Because you can't sign my eBook. :(