From author Frank Schaeffer via The Huffington Post:
I’m self-publishing my new novel And God Said, “Billy!” Where’s my advance? What will I live on? The New York Times won’t review a self-published book! Libraries won’t know about it! I’m screwed! This is my funniest, darkest and most spiritually reaffirming book. Have I wasted the 17 years I worked on it? If so, then why am I so happy with my insane plunge into the unknown? Why do I feel so bloody liberated in equal measure with my look-over-a-cliff panic?
. . . .
Up until now I’ve been published by mainstream publishers. I’ve had many starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus and Library Journal. Wonderful writers including Jane Smiley, have reviewed my books in places like the Washington Post. Writing in the LA Times Richard Eder launched my writing career with a glowing review of my first novel Portofino. The New York Times published a profile about me calling me a “traitorous wayward prince.” Oprah and Terri Gross have interviewed me. I was one of the first bloggers on the Huffington Post and my writing there has made me a regular on MSNBC, CNN and now on Huffington LIVE.
So why on earth would I self-publish? Here’s why.
First, too many of my editors got bought, sold and moved with each grab by the 4 or 5 remaining publishing giants who gobbled up the imprints that used to publish me– from Macmillan to Avalon. My books no longer live in the homes where I took them. I don’t know the people there. Who do you call?
Second, publishers haven’t a clue how to use the new media. Marketing for the traditional publishers comes down to sending a few review copies to cronies at the dwindling newspapers, then sending out a few more to the media. Then they sit back and count on author ego to do the rest. Since books are writer’s babies we tend to try and save them from death-by-indifference. Publishers know we’ll finance our own tours and beg for attention… mostly at our expense. Since I’m doing the work anyway, why pay them a cut?
Third, even though my books are still in print, the publishers seem to have joined the print-on-demand craze too. They hold onto books as “in print” (entitling them to their big cut), but these days this only means that they’ll print a back list copy on demand, stock no books and still only send me a few cents on the dollar. I can do that for myself.
Fourth, Amazon is the only real game in town. Yes, I love going to small bookstores and talking to 15 to 50 or so wonderful readers who have most kindly come out to hear me read and answer questions. (NOTE to Indy Bookstores and libraries: Please stock And God Said, “Billy!” I’ll do anything to help you introduce it including paying you a visit free of course.)
Fifth, there’s the snail mail pace of old school publishing. Self-publishing I dictate the pace.
Link to the rest at The Huffington Post