From Jeremy Greenfield on Forbes Blogs:
Unlike the other self-published authors to hit No. 1 this year — Jennifer Armentrout and Rachel Van Dyken — [Holly] Ward, who writes under the name H.M. Ward as well as Ella Steele, never published a book with a traditional publisher. She never gained the experience of what it takes to bring a book to market and make it successful from a secondary source — she’s self-taught.
Early on in her short writing career, Ward was in the early stages of working with a publisher for her first title, Demon Kissed (March 2011) but pulled out before the book was published.
“I have kind of a control freak personality and I didn’t think it was a good match so I backed away from that [working with the publisher] and decided to self-publish,” she said. “I did everything from the cover design to the model shoots to the content. I really like the level of control in everything when you do self-publication.”
. . . .
According to a recent report in the New York Times, quality editorial and marketing efforts keep authors coming back to publishers, but that’s simply not true. While editorial and marketing are factors, they’re nowhere near the top of the list.
According to a study of nearly 5,000 authors Digital Book World published earlier this year, asking them about preferences when publishing among other things, here are the two most important factors, in order, for authors when publishing a book:
1. Reach of distribution
2. Amount of creative control retained (read: exactly what Ward wants)
. . . .
So, the kind of control that Ward wants is actually quite typical for authors and it’s something that self-publishing caters to quite well. This should be disconcerting for traditional publishers, which typically offer a bevy of services and benefits but not control over a manuscript, its packaging and how it’s marketed and sold.
Link to the rest at Forbes Blogs and thanks to Dave for the tip.
One aspect of control that Jeremy didn’t mention is access to real-time sales numbers. With Amazon, Nook, Kobo, etc., an indie author can see what’s going on with each book, including what sort of response various publicity campaigns generate.
Whenever a publisher’s royalty report comes rolling into Casa PG, the difference is stark.
First, it typically looks more like a mainframe print-out from the 1970’s than a professional business report from the 21st century. It’s clear nobody really cares if the author understands it or not.
Second, it’s a summary of six months of sales with no week-by-week or month-by-month breakdown of sales so cause and effect from an author’s promotional efforts is impossible to evaluate.
Third, it’s badly out of date when it arrives, approximately three months after the end of the reporting period.
PG admits that suspicions always arise in his mind that the publisher is screwing around with the numbers. However, the royalty report is not designed to allow the author to double-check the accuracy of anything.
The reports an indie author receives empower the author to manage his/her business. Royalty reports from traditional publishers are one more reminder that the author’s place is out in the cotton fields, not in the mansion house.