I'm currently in the midst of working on two big writing projects. The first is a currently untitled humor book about my life with the female nit wit at my office. (You can vote for a title here.) The other is a straight up romance about a former figure skater and a former NHL star. (It's first for me, I actually set out to write a romance, and by gum, I'm doing it!)
Elsewhere, as you may know, I have two books out in various forms. The first is Dream in Color, which you can get in print or e-book form (and yes, Nook users, you can get it at Barnes and Noble.) and then Lies in Chance which is in e-book form only. (And both these books could use your help! AHEM!)
I like the idea of being an e-pubbed writer. While the guarantees aren't there...yes, I've sold about 11 copies of Lies in Chance, but I just know that any day now people are going to go crazy for this book...I at least have the book out there for people to read. For a new author, one without the support of Oprah, (who would LOVE my books if she read them, of this I am certain) just having titles out there is key. I love having control over my cover, my editorial content, the name under which a book is published.
Marketing...however...and distribution...well, that's not as much fun.
So now I've got these two writing projects going, and I'm really confident that one or the other or both are going to blockbuster big. If I e-pub myself, I can get them out for sale quickly. If I go through a publisher, I once again step on the treadmill of submit and reject. Then, if I'm lucky, an editor will buy my book, and then I lose a lot of control over the book. ("Lies in Chance" is ALL MINE.)
So, even though I've only got two titles out there and I'm not making $300 a day (I'm a disciple of J A Konrath that way) my writing career is my own. It's exhausting, but the covers I pick are mine. The titles I pick (as lame as they can be sometimes) are mine. How much I sell the books for are mine.
On the flip side, the two books I'm working on have a ton of potential. Like a moderate advance check sort of potential.
So, am I a fool to consider going back to traditional publishing, in the interest of furthering my career as an author? Now that I've chosen the path of e-publication, is that the way I must always go?
Charting where and how our writing careers go is a very inexact science. What works for someone may not work for someone else. As a follower of J A Konrath I believe in the power of the e-book. I believe that publishing is heading in that direction and that while print books will never go away, a day will come when more people get their books on a reading device than from a book store. (And yes, I can hear my author friends running and shrieking. Hey, I never thought music stores and video stores would die...but when I can buy one song for a buck, or stream unlimited movies for a minimal fee, then why should I get in my car and drive anywhere? E-books are here to stay.
On the flip side of the coin...the perception is still that someone who is e-published can't get published anyplace else. That is a perception that is changing more slowly than the reality. Successful e-pub authors edit just as much as those who are writing under contract. Maybe the slick polish isn't there, maybe the story is a bit more raw. But aren't we told from early on that the world is looking for our singular voice? Still, the perception persists that e-pubs just aren't as good as "real" books.
So if I've got a slam bang story that I know is going to fit perfectly with a giant publisher, am I an idiot for even considering NOT submitting to the publisher, who could give me big distribution and make me a more recognized name? Or am I shackling myself and giving up my lifeblood to enrich someone else?
I don't have the answer for these questions. I don't think anyone does. I think we creative types very much just want to share our vision and our stories with others. All I want is to have someone other than my best friends and my mom enjoy my books. (Well, that and I'd like to quit my day job and just write.)
Now, you don't need to answer the question for yourself. You just need to go forth and WRITE!