28 March 2011

Publisher Pays $2 Million to Remain Relevent

After Amanda Hocking sold one million copies of her ebooks, on her own, she decided to open up her work to traditional publishers, who fought a bidding war. St. Martin's Press "won," with a $2 million contract. NYT reports, "Publishers, weary of hearing about their disposability in an age when writers can self-publish their work on the Internet and sell it on Amazon.com, said they were vindicated by the news."

Vindicated? Er, right. A writer who doesn't need you is willing to let you pay her to work for her. Sure, you're both making money on this, but who works for whom?


Mister Fweem said...

Nathan Bransford does some interesting math on his blog this week, comparing self-publishing to traditional publishing, and comes to the conclusion that they both work to make an author money and to lend credibility. It's an interesting read. http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/03/self-publishing-vs-traditional.html It's opening my eyes to the possibilities, at least.

carl g said...

I think, more than anything, we are not seeing (at least for today) one publication model replace another so much as a fragmentation and decentralization of publishing. Hocking absolutely did the right thing. All else equal, I can't imagine self-publishing being many people's first choice, even if there is a bit more money to be made. As Hocking says, it's not primarily about the money. Now she can just write instead of running a business.

But if ebooks continue to replace print books at an accelerating rate, then print publishers (and all the old publishers right now are still print publishers) really are at a dead end. St. Martin's did not offer Hocking $2 million for a piece of her ebook sales. They're betting they can break her in print, and make a killing. I expect in five years, that model will make far, far less sense.