Home » Self-Publishing, Social Media » When You Know It’s Time to Move On

When You Know It’s Time to Move On

30 March 2015

From author Elizabeth Spann Craig:

In October, my agent received an email from my editor.  I have a release scheduled in the Southern Quilting series this June (book 5).  My editor knew my contract for the series was about to run out and asked me to come up with some ideas for additional books for the series.

I developed two book outlines but never emailed them.  My editor wrote my agent last month to say that print sales had decreased (I’ve no doubt…they’re only a fraction of my digital sales for my self-published books) and Penguin Random House wanted to stop printing the series.  Instead, they were interested in my exploring their e-only line, InterMix.

And…I asked for my character rights back.

The publisher promptly returned a non-renewal notice for the series and a permission grant for me to continue it via self-pub.

I know my ebooks have been selling well—I get royalty checks.  I haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid here.  I know what I need a big-five traditional publisher for…expansive print distribution into bookstores.  But this is now becoming less and less important as indicated by my publisher moving away from printing this series.

I read my agent’s email and immediately knew I wanted to self-pub the series before I’d even finished the email. I’m fortunate enough to have a decent reader base at this point, making this the right decision.  Would I discourage everyone from accepting an e-only deal?  I wouldn’t.  But I’d add that we really need to go into these types of arrangements with our eyes open.  What do we want to get out of it?  We should do some soul-searching.

. . . .

Important for writers, I think—don’t let these types of decisions become personal.  I love my editor…I’ve had a fantastic working relationship with her.  My agent and I have worked together well.  This isn’t about relationships…this is business.  This is about my making a living.

I think they understand that. There are no hard feelings.  I’m not just taking my ball and going home out of pique. E-only isn’t a good fit for me…that’s all there is to it.

Link to the rest at Elizabeth Spann Craig

Here’s a link to Elizabeth Spann Craig’s books

When TPV was birthed in 2011, Elizabeth was already operating a thoughtful blog and PG has linked to quite a number of her posts over the years. Additionally, Elizabeth also has an active Twitter presence and has maintained that during the period PG has been following her.

Self-Publishing, Social Media

10 Comments to “When You Know It’s Time to Move On”

  1. And, I’ll second praising Elizabeth’s Twitter. Her weekly Saturday evening post collecting her week’s worth of Twitter recommendations has regularly caused my Sunday productivity to take a large hit. Just too many good and useful things that need reading right now.

  2. Good, well thought out reminder from Ms. Craig that this is a business.

  3. In this modern world, the one benefit you get by partnering with a big publisher is easy distribution to bookstores. That’s it. Everything else, you can do yourself quite easily.

    So why in the world would anyone want to do an e-book only deal with a big pub? The math just doesn’t add up on that.

    She made a good decision for herself and her books.

  4. You still see, occasionally, a writer happily announce they got an e-only deal with one of the “Bigs”. If they had guaranteed enormous ($$$) promo and marketing efforts than yeah, you can probably do better than the average indie letting their newborn babe be another one of the 10k titles going off into the woods that week. But I doubt that’s the case for anyone outside of the top 1%. And barring that, e-only with any publisher makes no sense to me.

    • There is simply no way that a Big 5 Traditional publisher would be willing to spend big bucks promoting an e-book only contract. If they are going to shell out enough real money that would garner lots of new readers, then some of those readers would want to buy the physical book.

      Why use a traditional publisher? Because somehow they add value. How do they add value is the question that needs answering, and the only way it could make sense seems to be if they can get your books into bookstores in a way that you can’t, thus increasing your backlist discoverability.

      • The way I’ve seen it for a while now is that when a successful indie gets a deal for something new of theirs, that the BPH would ostensibly own forever, that said indie does so as a loss leader to get new eyeballs. Many indies have gone hybrid over the years and I’ve yet to hear one taut that their print actionwas any kind of game changer for them. I could be wrong.

      • Might possibly get your book into a bookstore.
        Alpha/Penguin promised me my Complete Idiot’s Guide would be in all the chains and it wasn’t. Ever. Anywhere.

        Gee, I just thought of something. I hope the rights to that book never revert back to me.

        • We were taking about e-book only deals. I think most indies would welcome a print only deal to get into bookstores (the ones that are left) but aren’t interested in the all encompassing rights grabs and non-competes that generally accompany those deals. The “hands off” print only deals for indies (from BPH’s anyway) came, shocked the world, and then very quickly seemed to disappear.

  5. There is no Kool-Aid. There’s only clear-eyed contemplation of how to get read and make money from writing.

    Obviously, this author already self-publishes and can see the advantages. When the only additional “advantage” to a traditional publishing deal is the addition of profit to their bottom line, the decision is an easy one.

  6. Hey, what’s wrong with picking up your ball and going home when the other side isn’t playing a good game anymore? Of then taking that ball to a place with a better game? 😛

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.