Author as Publisher?

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Richard Curtis in a recent EReads post asks a provocative question: Do authors make good publishers? The question is in the context of ebooks, keep that in mind.

They point to high-profile authors who have tried this route this year: Cory Doctorow, Seth Godwin and J.A. Conrath. Curtis concludes that the services of a publisher are valuable.

As he quotes Doctorow, “With a Little Help has helped me realize something: whatever I do next, I don’t want to be in charge of all these moving parts. I can’t be both a Zen, let-it-all-happen-at-its-own-pace writer and an aggressive, deadline-pushing publisher. If I were realistically going to keep up this publishing stuff, I would need to outsource every task that requires the virtues inherent in agents, editors, sales, marketing, distribution and retail, especially that willingness to tithe a large portion of my working day to logistics, follow-ups, and calls.”

Here Conrath however, takes issue with Curtis’ conclusion, reporting, “In December, I made over $24,000 self-publishing, and I’m currently averaging $1300 per day. But I’m far from the only one doing well.”

He then lists many authors with sales figures of over 1000 ebooks in December and concludes that you should self-publish.

The Wayfinder ebook

May you always Find your Way!

What do YOU think? Know anyone who is doing well by selling ebooks or Kindles? My own Kindle version of The Wayfinder did well in December, but didn’t hit 1000 sales. It was originally published by Greenwillow/Harpercollins, but went out of print after a couple years. For me, it’s a way to keep the book in print, make some money from it and test the ebook waters.

What do you think? Know anyone successfully selling ebooks? Ready to move toward self-publishing? Or, like Doctorow, do you still appreciate the professional team of a publisher?

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2 Comments
  • SueBE
    January 5, 2011

    When I was in the bookstore over the holidays, I heard the clerk telling a woman that they can no longer get copies of backlist titles by X author because she decided to self publish her latest book so her publisher is phasing out her backlist. I wish I had caught who it was and which publisher!
    –SueBE

  • Darcy Pattison
    January 5, 2011

    Sue:
    That would have been interesting to know.
    I know that it’s happening in romance a lot and some in sff.
    Darcy