After having two novels published by a traditional small press (The Hating Game and Watching Willlow Watts), I had a decision to make with my third, Build a Man. I could submit it to my publisher, who might publish it. I could submit it to another small publisher directly. I could continue submitting to agents, in hopes of getting a big publisher, or I could self-publish.
With my publisher, the majority of my sales were on Amazon - and in e-books. So why couldn't I hire a cover designer and a professional editor and keep all my profits? Any small press struggles with bookshop distribution, and I already had a very good situation. I decided I wouldn't leave one small press for another.
So, that left two decisions: try to get an agent, or go it alone.
Let's say I was lucky enough to get an agent. Would they be able to sell my novel? How long would it take? And if they did sell it, how long would I have to wait until it was published? All things considered, the fastest would probably be a year - if I was super fortunate. In one year, I could write three novels and have them bringing in revenue. Not only that, I've already made from one e-book (The Hating Game) what big publishers might offer me as an advance for two or three books. The financials just didn't add up.
So, that left going it alone as the logical choice for me. I can control my output. I can build up my readership on my own timeline. And I can keep the revenues! I truly believe readers don't care who or what has published a novel, as long as it's an engaging, high quality story. I released Build a Man last December, and I couldn't be happier with the decision I've made. In fact, I plan to continue self-publishing in the foreseeable future, and I've recently put out Construct A Couple, with The Pollyanna Plan slated for release in November. To date, I’ve sold almost 80,000 copies of my self-published works, and I’ve recently signed with an agent to sell my translation rights.
Things are changing fast in publishing. It's exciting for everyone, and I can't wait to see what's ahead!
Are you an author? How do you feel about your publishing options nowadays? Does it overwhelm you? Or do you feel a sense of liberation?