From author Mark Edwards on Future eBook:
Last summer, Louise Voss and I were, as far as I know, the first of the British self-published authors to be ‘snapped up’ by a publisher after hitting the No.1 and 2 spots on Amazon with our thrillers Catch Your Death and Killing Cupid. The first of these has since been published by HarperCollins in paperback and ebook, so we now know what life is like on both sides of the fence.
I can’t remember if, when we first put our books online, we did so with the hope of ultimately finding a publisher. But as soon as we got some success, we had no hesitation in trying to find a publisher – well, maybe a moment, during which we wondered if we could do better on our own. However, we knew how hard it would be to maintain that success, especially when promotion had become so time-consuming and neither of us had written a word since we’d published Killing Cupid. What we really wanted to do was get on with the important stuff: writing books.
And we haven’t looked back. For Louise and I, being with our publisher is far preferable to being on our own, even though we lost all of our Amazon rankings and have effectively had to start all over again. Even though we are both a couple of worriers who want to be in control of everything and have had to learn to let go to a great extent. We can’t tweak our blurb every hour or check our sales figures minute by minute. We can’t add cheeky sub-titles to our books any more… So why do we feel happier on this side of the fence?
The first reason is that we believe that being with a publisher will help us reach a bigger audience. Ebooks might be rapidly in the ascendant but they still account for the minority of sales, and we want our books to be real, in shops, on shelves. Looking at your own ebook is a pathetic experience compared to holding your own book in your hand – for an author, even if it’s becoming less important to readers, the paper book is still a potent object. Our potential audience is now everybody who enjoys thrillers, not just those who own a Kindle.
. . . .
The second reason is, perhaps, a contentious one. It doesn’t how much success we had as self-publishers, we get more respect now we have a publishing deal. We are seen as ‘proper’ writers. When you’re self-published, even when you’re No.1, you carry a faint whiff about you; you are the person who gets ignored at dinner parties. Of course, this is hugely unfair, and it will probably change. But once you have a deal, everybody, from other writers to bloggers to friends to taxi drivers, looks at you differently. That’s just the way it is at the moment. It also makes you see yourself as a ‘proper’ writer. Someone else has given you that nod of approval – and it does wonders for your confidence.
The final reason is the big one; the most important one. Quality. Publishers make books better. Having an enthusiastic editor, who can help you shape your work, is hugely important and Catch Your Death is a far better book in its HarperCollins version than in the original self-published version, despite the enormous amount of editing and re-writing Louise and I did originally. I wish I could go to the 50,000 people who bought the self-published ebook and swap their copy for the new one.
Link to the rest at Future eBook