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Going Indie: from OOP to self-pub bestseller

8 November 2012

From author Donna Fasano via Kobo Writing Life:

I spent nearly 20 years writing for a big name publisher. My 32 published romance novels won awards and sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide. I am forever indebted to the editors who helped hone my craft, and the royalties I earned put both my sons through college, paid for an unforgettable family trip to England, and garnered me some bling. With all of that said, working for a publisher wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Although I signed my contracts with eyes wide open, I had no idea just how paltry those 2-6% royalties were, and I didn’t receive a single raise in all the years I wrote for them.

. . . .

I read about authors who were acquiring the publishing rights to their backlist titles and self-publishing those books, and, even better news, they were finding readers and making money. I immediately became interested in the idea. I requested the reversion of rights (more on that later) to my first 11 books and my publisher complied, so I have spent the past couple of years updating, editing, and expanding those manuscripts, and I’ve succeeded in self-publishing nine of those backlist titles as well as one never-before-published novel. I’ve become an Independent Author—an ‘indie’—and I haven’t looked back!

. . . .

How has the title Indie Author altered my life? There are good changes and not-so-good ones. Some of the best:

Freedom. I can write whatever I want.

Money. I earn 35-70% royalties (compared to 2-6% that I’d been paid before).

Developing new talents. I’ve taken a self-taught crash course in book formatting, marketing, blogging, and social media; and I’ve discovered that I’ve got quite a knack.

. . . .

Every publishing contract contains a Reversion of Rights clause, which defines the criteria under which a book is deemed ‘out of print’—in other words, when the licensing term expires and all rights revert to the author. The clause also outlines what actions must be taken in order to have the rights reverted. Years ago, authors rarely requested reversion because the chances of finding a publisher willing to accept a previously published book were slim. However, in this digital age and with the boon of self-publishing growing by the hour, that has drastically changed.

Link to the rest at Kobo Writing Life

Contracts, Self-Publishing

8 Comments to “Going Indie: from OOP to self-pub bestseller”

  1. Mid list authors may well benefit the most overall by going Indie. Many have likely already been dropped by the big six.

  2. Congrats on getting your rights back and re-publishing! I know a few writers, interestingly romance writers, who’ve done this and experienced more success re-issuing their books. I wish you luck in your new endeavor. What were some of the ‘not so good ones’? Anything new authors can avoid as they begin the process of self publishing? Thanks!

  3. Good post! Helpful information about reversion of rights.

    I love seeing authors choose a smart path of self-empowerment and….more money and control. Good for her!

  4. Donna, thanks so much for this. I’ve known you for quite some time on SM but love knowing more about your bio. As a former editor, publisher & NYT bestselling author, I’ve been around publishing for a long time on both sides of the desk. I reverted the rights to my OOP books before epub even existed. I was frustrated publishers did nothing with my backlist but had no idea what *I* could do with my OOP bestsellers. Still I figured I should be the one to control those rights, so I sent out the reversion letters, got the rights back, waited and waited and waited. Then epub came along!

  5. You rock, Donna! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great post, Donna.

  7. I love these stories about people finding a new excitement about things I find hard (marketing). The fact that she realized the traditional publisher did give her value, but that didn’t mean she was indentured is my favorite part.

  8. Love this post, Donna! You’ve been an inspiration to me for a while. Thanks!

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