A lot of fuss at the moment about self-publishing, and whether it's the way of the future, when we've got big-name authors turning down six-figure contracts and people without a platform selling zillions of copies per month of their self-pubbed books.
Yay and good luck to those people. I'll buy a self-pubbed book to read if I like the look of it. No prejudice here.
But I don't want to self-publish, and here's why.
The main advantage of SP that's being touted seems to be money. As in, the author makes more of it per book, because they're getting the whole (or nearly all of) cover price, not just a small royalty. So why let a publisher profit from your work, when you can take all the money yourself?
See, thing is, that's like saying to me, "Wow, Erica, you could make much more money as a lawyer than you ever will from your books. Why don't you go work for a law firm?"
And I could, y'know. My uni (college) degree is law. I'm admitted to the bar. I could go work for Local Law Firm, Inc. doing divorces and traffic violations, and I can tell you right now, I'd make more on a junior lawyer's salary than I'm getting right this moment writing for a NY publisher.
But I want to be a writer. I don't want to be a lawyer.
Nor do I want to be a copy editor, a cover artist, a back cover copy cruncher, a printer, an e-book layout designer, a publicist, a distributor, a web marketer or a sales guru.
I want to be a writer. Every day, I get up, I exercise, I shop for food, and then I spend the rest of the day writing and plotting and revising and crunching revisions.
It's my dream job. And I'm not giving it up to spend my working day in hell. No matter how much the devil pays.
Sure, I do promo. Everyone does promo. But for me, it's an opportunity. It's not an imperative. I have a publisher's sales and publicity force to help me, and those people are doing stuff for authors, even if sometimes it looks like they aren't. If I didn't have them, I'd have to spend my writing time doing what they do. Ditto on cover artists, editors, layout people and so forth.
Look at interviews with the latest self-pubbed bestsellers, and see what they do all day. When do they write? Never, or as near to never as makes no difference. Sound like fun? Uh. No.
So forgive me if job satisfaction is more important to me than money. I'm weird like that. I've worked enough jobs I didn't like to know how miserable it makes me. I'd much rather use my publisher to help me reach readers, and spend my time doing what I love. Even if it means I only get a small percentage of cover price.
And hey. If that means I'm missing the chance to sell a squillion copies of my latest for $2.99 and become rich and famous? Well, shit. I guess that boat in the Bahamas will just have to wait a while. Like I'd have the time to sail it if I was self-pubbed anyway.
Seriously, people. It's not all about the money. So sue me.