I had this big, long post that I carved together last night from Chuck Wendig’s recent post on self publishing truisms but the more I got into it, the more ranty it felt. In the end, I decided to scrap most of it because it just wasn’t serving anyone.
First, if you like Chuck Wendig (or, you know, are Chuck Wending), you’re great, I understand your frustration, and most importantly, I respect your decision to go about things as you have. He seems to have a great relationship with his publisher and is a pretty savvy businessman. He has analyzed his situation and, for him, has decided it is the best way to go.
But what it boils down to for everyone else (starting out) is that traditional publishers hold the power and are exploiting that. I have been a sales rep and I have been a buyer, the person who has the most to offer has the best position. If you go in with nothing published, no track record, nothing to indicate you’re the next big thing other than a quality piece of work, you have no power. If you go in with a strong portfolio, have made serious sales (no matter the avenue), you have more power.
When you get to that point, the more information that is out there, the better. So many see a traditional publishing contract as their big break and they will accept it. Period. They then give up the rights to their work.
Passive Guy has a great post about taking the Author Earnings report for what it is instead of a Holy Grail confirming everything we’ve ever thought (though it does push us in that direction) or as the final word on all things publishing. Instead, it is just another report authors have in trying to decide what avenue to pursue.
When traditional publishers begin to release information like this to give authors a better view on how to plan their careers (and then when those traditional publishers improve their offering to make those numbers look better after they look so bad) this industry will move toward where it needs to be.
Until then, I think we can all stand a little debating.