Wednesday, November 9

Joe Konrath on Self-Publishing

Joe Konrath has come out of temporary retirement a second time to talk about self-publishing, and I think that what he has to say is well worth reading, so I've re-printed some of it below.

I'd like to mention, though, that I don't agree with Joe 100% on this one. I'm still a huge fan of his but I think that self-publishing is one option among many equally viable ones. I agree with him that it's wonderful to have the option, but I don't think a writer is foolish to go the traditional publishing route. Not in the least! That said, I do think it's silly not to consider self-publishing when weighing one's options.

Okay, without further qualification here's what Joe sez:
I've always stated that is important to set reasonable goals in your career, and to separate goals (things within your power) from dreams (things that require a "yes" or "no" from someone else in order to happen.)

Your dream could be to get published by a legacy house. That means your goals should be to write a terrific book, then send out ten queries a month to top agents. If stars align, your goals can help you reach your dream.

Then, once you have a legacy deal, your next goal could be to write another book for that house.

But is this really a worthy goal in today's publishing climate? Is it even a worthy dream to begin with?

Many authors defend legacy publishing without fully understanding their reasons for doing to. They don’t back up their opinions. They don't feel they have to. For the past 100 years, we writers haven’t had a real choice if we wanted to earn a living–it was legacy or nothing. So we pursued legacy.

I see that attitude still being expressed, even though there is now a choice. And based on everything I know, having been on both sides of the issue, self-pubbing is a far better choice.
- read the rest here: Guest Post by Barry Eisler


  1. Where I disagree with Joe is in the fact that he himself continues to explore other options beyond self-publishing, such as his signing with Amazon. Even in his post prior to the one you cite, Karen, he admits that if offered big money, he would go the legacy route again. We all have to explore and judge on our own with the best information available.

    Joe has good info but there are others with competing info. Writers have to make the tough choice and do what they think is best.

    Publishing is very fluid right now and all I know for certain is that I don't know much at all.

  2. Sounds about right to me!

    I agree with Joe that self-publishing is an option, one it would be silly not to consider. Similarly, traditional publishing is an option, one it would be silly to rule out. That said, what I've heard about the contracts even reputable publishing houses are putting out scares the heck out of me! I'd definitely hire an IP lawyer.

    Thanks for the comment :)

  3. Self publishing is great if an author has all the tools in his or her tool belt to do the job and he or she doesn't mind working 16 hour days--not just writing but editing, copy editing, conversion, cover art and--last but not least, the hardest part of all--marketing. Most of those who have been very successful at self-publishing have grown tired of all the work and gone with the majors--so much for living what they preach.


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