As fiction writers (well, fiction AND nonfiction as I have played with both), we usually see “The Deal” as the ultimate prize for our efforts. We slaved over the keys, banged out a story, got an agent and… a book deal? That might not always be the right route to follow. And these days, it’s becoming more common than not to take it to the streets in any way, shape or fashion that you fancy.
Why not? With up to 70% ROI royalties, you can can throw your beloved book or natty story up on Amazon and have a go at it (check out A Place In This Life). However, this isn’t to say that whatever you put there is a free-for-all. You still have to make sure it’s right. If not, they’ll barf you out like nasty Underwood Devil spread on a hot August afternoon after drinking Southern Comfort. Well, the Underwood Devil stuff isn’t that bad, but Southern Comfort?
The point is, you need a finished product to publish, and getting a formalized deal with any big-named publisher isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. With the changing dynamic in how we read books, digital publishing is the emerging arena and we are the players on its board. Digital publishing allows you to be in control – sort of. You will need the help of your social media friends to make it work in your favor. Who do you know? Who is your follower or friend on Twitter or Facebook? Do you have a good rapport? Ask them for a favor but always give something in return. This is how business works, especially with publishing.
Another good reason to make your book deal your own affair is royalties. Sure, you might get an advance with a big publisher, but they expect that back in sales and then some. After the then some, you are lucky to get a percentage way smaller than 70% from doing it yourself on Amazon. And if you have an agent, there’s 15% more out of your royalties, and so on. But monies aside, what is your REAL goal for publishing your story? Is it really money? Fame? The New York Times Besties List?
Writing is a pleasure of the heart and should be that. Sharing your story is a delight, and you gladly do so for little or nothing. In return you want to touch the hearts and souls of many. That is the Prize. Go for it.