Advice for Amanda Hocking from authors and agents

When Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old poster girl for self-publishing, revealed her $2 million book contract with St. Martin’s Press, she defended the deal on her own blog to legions of fans and militant, mystified indie authors.

“I only want to be a writer,” Hocking said. “I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling e-mails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full-time corporation.”

OK. After a brilliant start as an indie author, she’s turned over the onerous heavy lifting for four new books to a mainline commercial book publisher. So now seemed like a good time to survey some friends of mine, including fabulously successful writers and savvy literary agents, who weigh in here on Amanda’s big score, and what may be in store for her next.

You’ll be working just as hard, if not harder

“Good luck, Amanda. Having a publisher to deal with marketing and publicity is wonderful in concept, but remember that no one loves your book as much as you do.  My publisher Harper sent me on tours and launched plenty of great marketing initiatives, and they have been terrifically supportive of The Art of Racing in the Rain.  But having done this before, I wanted to do more; after Harper was finished, I stayed on the road, pretty much non-stop, for the first 2-1/2 years after publication, much of it at my own expense and with me doing all the organizing.  And now, nearly three years after publication, I still spend hours a week attending to business, e-mails, ongoing initiatives, and book clubs and such.

It has all paid off, which is nice.  But don’t think it gets easier because you have a big publishing house behind you now!  I’m constantly struggling with the balance between marketing, family, and writing my next book.  I’m sure you’ll do fine, Amanda, but if you think having a publisher behind you will free you up to write all the time, I respectfully suggest that you may be mistaken.  I have a feeling you will be working just as hard, if not harder, on your new books as you did on your previous ones.  Because I think you will agree with the truth of a fortune cookie I once received:  He who has a thing to sell and goes and whispers in a well, is not as apt to get the dollars as he who climbs a tree and hollers!

Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain [HarperCollins], now 94 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list, and more than 1.5 million copies sold to date in hardcover and paperback, also How Evan Broke His Head, and Raven Stole the Moon

I thank the gods that I came of age before barbaric electrons ate the printing press

Legendary author Tom Robbins says he knew little about self-publishing until a young author he’s been mentoring convinced him that avoiding the traditional route was the best choice for getting her work out quickly and under her own control.

“Her detailed explanation of how difficult it’s become for a young novelist who isn’t a Twitter diva or Facebook star to get published these days made me thank the gods that I came of age before barbaric electrons ate the printing press.”

Tom Robbins, bestselling author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, and many others

Surrendering control can be a gift

“What Hocking has accomplished on her own is incredible. But I think it’s absolutely a good move for her to see what an established publisher can do for her and her books. The drawbacks are clear. To sell your work to a publisher is to surrender a lot of control. Though the content remains your own, decisions about cover art, marketing strategies, where it falls in respect to the other titles on the list, etc. are now out of your hands. But this can also be a gift. Hocking already has a huge fan base and St. Martin’s will be able to expand her readers to those not as tuned in to the blogosphere. Sacrificing some control to gain even more readers and have more time to write seems like a wise career move.

Though self-publishing has a great indie, renegade spirit to it, and accounts for a thriving and valuable part of the market, being a major house’s author gives a writer an instant credibility that those who self-publish have to work harder to achieve. It provides a huge team of allies and advocates, people whose professional purpose is to bring books to the world and make sure those books reach as many readers as they can. After working on her own behalf for so long, I imagine that having this dedicated team of people behind her will feel pretty great. And if it doesn’t, she can always return to her roots in the future, now with an even larger base of readers.”

Nina Lacour, author of the YA books Hold Still (2010) and The Disenchantments (2012) [Penguin]

Writers want more than money

“I love Amanda Hocking’s publishing story and not just because I come from pioneer stock and am a huge fan of perseverance.  What she’s accomplished with eBook sales is impressive. And closing such a big deal with St. Martin’s is impressive in different ways. Yes, it’s great money. But at the end of the day I’m not sure what a writer wants can be calculated in dollars alone.

I imagine that being the engine of your own machine both creatively and business-wise would be exhausting. Maybe she wants to partner with St. Martin’s for her next four books so she can have some of her personal responsibilities lifted. Or maybe she wants to feel part of a publishing family. I enjoy working with the different departments at Random House or Disney-Hyperion or Simon & Schuster. They make me feel very supported.

She only committed to four books and she still has the ability to write eBooks while under contract. I don’t think she’s losing anything. She tried publishing without a house and was wildly successful. Now she’s publishing with a house and has a wildly successful track record and a big pile of money. She’s young and talented and resourceful. I’m sure she’ll gain something useful working with St. Martin’s whether she continues to publish with them or not. Seems like a smart deal.”

Kristen Tracy, author of Lost It [Simon and Schuster], A Field Guide for Heartbreakers [Disney], The Reinvention of Bessica Lee [Random House] and others.

Self-publishing would make me crazy

“I can see how frustrating it would be to not even be able to write because you’re so busy with all the other junk that a publisher is supposed to do for you. So regardless of money or “career move,” I’d say this would be invaluable to any author who just really wants to write. I know I would never want to self-publish. It would make me crazy.”

Amy Reed, author of the three-book YA series Beautiful (2010), Clean (July 2011) and Crazy (now in copyediting), [Simon and Schuster]

Marketing and publicity muscle will broaden her audience

“I think that signing a traditional deal (especially one that exceeded $2 million) was a good move on her part.  By bringing on a traditional publisher, she’s getting the editorial help she wanted, along with marketing, publicity and sales teams that will get her work even further attention.  And with that level of investment, the publisher is sure to broaden her audience, even if she never sees a dime over the advance.

Since she plans to continue self publishing eBooks between now and publication of the first St. Martin’s book next year, she can continue to grow her audience and make some money.”

– Michael Bourret, Vice President, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

Will her fans pay more than $2.99?

“The million books she sold on her own were at a much lower price point, so this will be a good test of how loyal her fans are, and whether it was the $2.99 and 99 cent price tags that attracted them.

Hocking has said, “Right now, being me is a full-time corporation.”  SO, now she’s HIRED a ‘full-time corporation’, St. Martin’s Press, where they will, I do believe, get her even bigger sales, AND free her up to be the full-time writer she wants to be.”

– Sandy Dijkstra, Dijkstra Literary Agency

Will St. Martin’s be able to build on her success?

“Amanda Hocking’s deal for four books for $2 million in today’s economy is an aggressive number. I don’t know how her books have done in print, and she says she wants to be with a traditional publisher for better distribution.  But will there be a big print push for her books?  Or will they just be tapping into her eBook platform?  Will they be able to build upon her success, I wonder. And Hocking pricing her eBooks at $2.99 and 99 cents made a difference.  Will St. Martin’s Press price her eBooks at the same level?  We will see how much price matters here.

Hocking says she welcomes the editorial process a traditional house can offer. YES! That’s validation of the process that’s been in place for decades — if not generations — for honing a manuscript.  Not to mention the amount of editorial work we agents do in order to sell a work, and sometimes on the back end as well.

Every week I’m having conversations with writers about their interest in self-publishing or new online ventures they’re undertaking. The authors who are savvy and following the news and have platforms and audiences already are of course incredibly interested in this—they’re the ones who have the best chance at electronic self-publishing success.  A quality product from a known quantity at a competitive price will rise to the surface.”

Susan Raihofer, David Black Literary Agency

Congratulations, Amanda! But I’m sticking to self-publishing

Amanda Hocking is smart. She’s proved herself as a writer that readers buy, so she’s totally in the power seat. Of course publishers were eager to out-bid each other for the privilege! She’s the unicorn in the forest of publishing!

But here’s why I’m self-publishing:

• You own the rights when you self-publish.
• You don’t have to pay an agent 15% of everything you make.
• You earn more royalties. I’ll get about $6 per copy self-published. But just $1-$2 if I had a publisher.
• Publishers decide in advance which books get the marketing dollars, and only 20 percent of any list has a major budget.
• The self-published author has total control. I’ve chosen my own editor, my artwork, and my paper. Good luck ever getting that much choice at a publishing house.

Self-publishing used to have a real stigma attached to it. To be self-published meant your work was SO BAD that not one publisher would take you seriously. But that’s just not true anymore. Readers just want a great book to read.”

Kaia Van Zandt, author of the forthcoming historical novel Written in the Ashes [self-published]

Plucking the diamonds from the carbon

“Amanda Hocking made the papers here in England, too, because everyone loves a story about someone making it huge bypassing the normal channels. Her story has two morals: Don’t trust the experts — but also let’s be wary of everyone doing their thing, because without some professional quality control, how will the reader know diamonds from carbon?

Agents and publishers have a role to play in establishing standards, though we all know they are entirely subjective. While self-publishing eBooks offers writers great opportunities, how do readers find a foothold in a tide of mediocrity? Of course you leave it to the individual judgments of readers, but with millions of titles to choose from, how do you make an informed choice without mediation by people whose opinions and taste you recognize and respect?

So there’s still good reason for going the literary agent and commercial publisher route.”

– British literary agent Peter Buckman

The issue for Hocking is how to maintain her success

From what I’ve read, Amanda Hocking seems like an unusually thoughtful young author.  She’s obviously figured out to become financially successful by self-publishing, but has also assessed how much time and effort she needs to spend being a publisher to maintain that success.  She wants to spend more of her time writing and perhaps free up the rest of her time to have a life.  How could anybody argue with – or second guess – that decision?

– Jim Levine, founding partner of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency

___________________________

The jury is out and questions remain

Will readers buy Hocking’s new books at a higher price? Will her $2 million advance be earned out? Will the sales on her self-published books continue to boom and ultimately eclipse the St. Martin titles? Will she really have more time to write?

What do you think?

Are you a writer who’s self-published?  What do you think of Amanda Hocking’s big score, her choices, her reasons?  And if you’re a writer who’s published by a commercial house, what’s your advice for Hocking?  Or if you’re as yet unpublished, what’s your takeaway?

24 Responses to Advice for Amanda Hocking from authors and agents

  1. P.I. Barrington

    I think bringing up the question of whether Hocking’s fans will pay a higher price is one of the main cruces of this situation. I have been published through an epublisher and print publisher and I at time feel that the price should be lowered to reach out to readers who might be more inclined to take a chance on new authors for under a dollar or two. Price can be inhibitive even with large houses and a large fan base that Hocking has as of now.

    Personally I would be concerned more with retaining my rights as opposed to cover art and or publicity. I do almost all of my own promotion with the smaller houses so I do understand the onus that Hocking refers to in relation to hiring a staff to deal with the communication and work that goes into it. And that promotion is not only online; I have done presentations, appearances, book launches, and festivals so I can understand her desire to have more support either via major houses’ PR force or a staff that can facilitate her goals.

    I have no advice for Amanda Hocking; all I can do is wish her continued success.

  2. Kathryn Lively

    As an author who has published through a small house and independently, I support Hocking’s decision to sign with St. Martin’s. We should bear in mind that this contract is only for four books, and I believe Hocking has intimated that she will continue to produce her own work as well. With eBooks on the rise and social media to boost her popularity, she enjoyed a great wave of publicity and word of mouth. I think it helped that she writes in a genre that’s in demand that right, and her association with St. Martin’s could help her with negotiation of foreign language rights, film, etc.

    I think in the future we’ll see a number of authors experimenting with traditional and self publishing. It’s an exciting time.

  3. Jen Greyson

    I bought my first Amanda Hocking book (SWITCHED) last week. Bottom Line: the kid can write. Her stories are engaging and entertaining.

    I think her readers will follow her anywhere, and price isn’t going to scare them, they’ll just funnel money away from other authors or trinkets to buy her books. She says she didn’t take the deal for the money, and I think she’s full of enough spunk to get exactly what she wants and just might be the author to marry blogs and the power of an online platform with traditional publishing marketing.

    If nothing else, she’s added a whole lot of entertainment to the mix for the last month.
    Jen Greyson
    The Survival Mama

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  5. Brian Meeks

    Great blog post. I loved all the different perspectives. I have not published, but will give it a try soon. My drivel is entirely available on my blog, so my question is, will people pay for something, they can get for free?

    I suspect some will. I have read articles about musicians who offer their songs for free, which builds audience; then people buy the songs anyway, for their ipods.

    I can’t imagine that a higher price point will keep her fans from buying her books. J.K Rowling could have sold her books for twice what she did, and I would have still bought them. The low price point, seems like a good way to get someone to try an author, but once they are a fan, will they mind paying higher prices? My guess is no. It is only a guess, I may be wrong.

    Good luck Ms. Hocking.

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  7. Matt Mikalatos

    I’m a commercially published author, and I love my publisher for all the reasons Ms. Hocking is hoping she’ll love hers… they take care of covers, editors, and getting my book into the big bookstores. I adore my publisher and hope to work with them for a long time.

    At the same time the idea of doing some smaller or more eccentric works via self-publishing is something I’m considered. Maybe a couple of novellas, which don’t have a great market in physical books, and I could do it myself as e-books. I think we have two legitimate publishing options growing here, and in time the best uses for each will become clearer.

    Best of luck to Ms. Hocking. I hope her commercial books are a great success and that she gets more time to focus on her writing!

  8. Emily Hill

    Compelling arguments on both sides of the Amanda Hocking grass-is-greener issue.

    While it is true that the authors who do best switching from IndiePub to TradPub are the authors who, like Amanda, have made a name for themselves sans an agent [Kazzie comes to mind]; Amanda’s reasons for making the switch catch my attention. Someone has convinced her that St. Martins will promote her titles like nobody’s business. Granted, I haven’t read Amanda’s contract, but if its boilerplate – Good Luck, Sister. Those ‘woo you’ dinners are nice, but the reality of a publisher [particularly St. Martins] pushing an author’s titles as hard as the author would (or did) is remote in my experience.

    Amanda herself is going to have to keep the publicity machine going, and her image strong, with IndiePub releases while, simultaneously, St. Martins pushes the font around on the four books she’s giving them. Why is she handing St. Martin’s 85% of her royalties, and her agent 15% of that 85%? That must have been some ‘woo-you’ dinner party in the reel of Eisler’s spurn.

    I hope for Amanda’s sake that trolls, unicorns, and paranormal don’t go the way of the dodo bird in the next 2 years — hurry, St. Martins!

  9. Ken D.

    My big take away from her story (and Barry Eisler’s recent move away from traditional publishing) is one that I haven’t seen get much discussion – namely, the opportunity that independent e-publishing offers to authors in the face of the industry’s contractions over the past few years.

    The economic downturn, the layoffs, the explosion of new writers trying to get a foothold – all of that has made getting a traditional deal MUCH more difficult than in the past, especially for debut authors. Harder to land an agent (many of whom won’t even respond to queries they aren’t interested in anymore); agents are flooded by queries; submissions from agents take much longer to be evaluated by editors; publishers are much more risk-averse and seemingly chasing after the same trends.

    In my case, I write historical horror novels. Back in 2008, I landed my dream agent, one of NY’s top-tier agents. He had the my manuscript on submission for years – but no sale, ultra-slow responses from editors. He eventually stopped updating me on submissions – in fact, to this day, I don’t know which editors actually saw the manuscript. We worked on a next project, but after a round of feedback and revisions, I couldn’t get an email returned by him about whether he’d read the new version.

    Hint taken. I moved on. Went back on the query-train, but every partial and full request came back with something along the lines of “fabulous writing, compelling story – but I don’t know how this could fit into the current commercial marketplace, sorry.”

    Maybe Amanda’s rounds with agents (she detailed on her blog at some point) were likewise impacted by the downturn that hit the industry, too – she had something like nine novels rejected by NY.

    But she found readers, on her own. Without going indie, all that writing would have done nothing but collected dust on her hard-drive.

    Her success clearly makes her an outlier (the JK Rowling of indie!), but the takeaway is that there’s an avenue to finding readers that doesn’t have to pass through an industry that’s become both more competitive and more conservative – especially for authors like me who are working in genres that aren’t the trends that NY is hot on.

    I’ve hired a pro editor and cover artist, and both my novels will be indie published within the next month or two.

  10. Carol

    Congrats to Amanda! She’s getting the best of both worlds.

  11. Torchy Blane

    Frankly, I think it was an ass-backward move. Do the math. And I think her youth and ego led her into making that bad decision.

    I certainly wouldn’t pay an author more after I’d been reading her cheap. I absolutely love Dr. Pepper, but if they jacked the price on me, I’d find another soda. Especially when her ebooks are worth exactly what she’s charging and no more. Look at the reviews on Amazon. 3 stars? Not good enough for a 10 dollar price hike.

    And do you really think her writing is going to go up in quality to justify the new price? Probably not. She just dove into the pressure cooker that is main-stream publishing. Now she answers to a deadline, although she says she can churn out books no problem. Well, it’s going to be more of a problem at 14 dollars than .99. (See point above)

    Next, what is her fan base? Readers who will pay 99 to 2.99, most of whom probably can’t afford to pay any higher. I think shopping at the dollar store is good for some things, but I’m still going to buy the majority of my groceries at a major market. And frankly, I’ve never bought a book at the dollar store. I know too well how much work and how much expense an author and a publishing house puts into a book. And to price it that low screams bloody bad to me, rather than quality product.

    I don’t think there’s any question Amanda took the money and ran. And I don’t blame a 26 year old for making that kind of decision. But she better save that money, because she’s about to come face to face with the realities of swimming with the great white shark.

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  13. Jeff Rivera

    I’m so happy for her. She deserves the success. It’ll be interesting to see what her reaction will be after going through with the traditionally published process. My guess is that they will be in top form because she’s already proven herself and St. Martin’s has invested a lot of money in her success.

  14. Carolyn Jewel

    Great post. The remarks and analyses were fascinating. I enjoyed reading the different perspectives.

    I write for two publishers (Hachette and Penguin-Putnam). A while back, though, I got my rights back on some of my backlist and recently re-issued one of them as a self-published eBook (via Kindle etc). In 6 weeks, I have made three times the advance I was paid on that book. That book earned out, and I have also made more than my royalties while the book was in print.

    I think Hocking made a very wise decision and I’ll respectfully disagree with @TorchyBlane. Buyers and readers of eBooks aren’t necessarily the same people. She doesn’t need to convince her eBook readers to follow her to print, though I expect many will. What she will get is exposure to all the readers who don’t yet have eReaders. She’s expanding her market, not contracting it. Hocking herself says she’s heard from readers complaining they could not find her in Bricks and Mortar stores. It’s also my opinion that a good editor makes a writer better, and the editors at St. Martin’s are very, very good. In fact, she WILL improve as a writer. She’s too smart not to.

    As for my experience with my print titles and my self-pubbed backlist, all I can say is my writing horizons have just expanded. Two years ago, my OOP backlist titles were not earning anyone any money — except used books stores I suppose. Today, my backlist has value to me. If, as I continue to get those titles out there, I continue to make MORE in a month than I take home in my day job in that same month, I might actually be able to think about not having the day job. For now, I would achieve that through a combination of self-pubbed backlist and self-published original titles in addition to my print titles.

    What I am looking at right now, though, is a near future when a print publisher cannot/will not offer me terms that are more favorable than what I can make on my own. I think print publishers may well find they’re having a hard time holding onto their midlist authors because right now the digital side of a print contract is highly unfavorable to the midlist author and the print side of the deal does NOT make up the difference for writers like me.

    Should be very interesting over the next 2-3 years.

  15. Sharlene Martin

    I believe Amanda’s success is akin to winning the lottery. It’s an anomaly that many writers will seek to re-create. This should NOT be the prototype for writers. It happens about as often as a full solar eclipse.

    However, her dedication, tenacity and refusal to be conventional has proved to be a winning result for her and I expect St. Martin’s Press to do a great job for her.

  16. Sheila Cull

    I think that I’ll continue the search for an agent/publisher simply because of what Nina LaCour said about major house’s and credibility.

    By the way Alan, my re (a million time, re) edited memoir has morphed into a collection of essays because of something you wrote, that I learned from.

    Rock On Alan Rinzler! I’ll be one of your cheerleaders. I’m good at it.

  17. Debbi

    While no one can say for sure if this will turn out to be a great decision on either party’s part or not, my thoughts on the matter are summed up in a post I wrote for my blog.

    http://midlistlife.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/reaching-for-anne-tyler/

    The analogy may not be perfect, but it’ll give you the general idea.

  18. Glendon

    I think many people are under estimating the shrewdness of the Amanda, from day one she has been angling for a DEAL,that was her original route to begin with. After reading her blog post it is real clear why she took the deal. Seriously anyone reading this blog post would have taken the money and run to the bank if they were in her shoes! She can truly have the best of both worlds and the time to strike was now, while the publishers needed her! She was only going to be the girl to sell sooooooooo many ebooks for a very limited time.

    Why?

    She still has the money for the ebooks coming in! She still has the rights to 90% of her work and she can write DAMN fast, I would not be surprised if she has 30 books written, so “IF” she loses a small amount on four books, for the name brand awareness, access and prestige she is about to get, it is a fair trade off. In the long run, she will sell more books, because more people will know about her. Not to mention the industry connections she can make when she does her self published work in the future, she will have top notch editors on her team, there is no way in the world she would have access to these people without a deal.

    There are many people who do no read ebooks ( and many book buyers LOATH to buy books by self publish authors for distribution) even with her success the B&M s were not buying her books wholesale, a fact clearly not lost on her. Just looking at the total picture, she will not lose dime, she can pimp the publisher advertising to sell her ebooks that are not in the four book deal, just a thought.

    When an indie author can get their books on the shelves of retailers in the same manner as JK Rowling then , we would have arrived, but that day is not near, it is going to a minute before the playing field tilts in our favor. Granted a well selling indie author is going to make more percentage wise. But few authors making a living from writing. Shoot, 90% of writers have not made in their career what she made in the last 8 months!

    If Amanda invests what she has earned in the last 12 months properly she will never need to work a job the rest of her life! ( she has a financial advisor, so I know that is the plan) She is a rare postion to takes risks and not have them bite her in the ass.

    I plan of self publishing my next 15 books, because I enjoy all aspects, the writing, the cover design, talking to people. I do agree with many posters she will be working just as hard as she is now and the best marketing is what she is currently doing. Time will tell…

  19. Kevin O. McLaughlin

    What the not terribly well informed folks who were quoted in this article missed is that Ms. Hocking plans to write 3-4 additional novels for each one she writes for SMP. She has nine novels in print self published right now. She intends to have 19-24 self-published novels in print by the time the four book contract is done.

    You do that math. ;)

    The young lady has done a very smart thing. She’s taking a loss on those four books (she’s said she expects to) in order to use the heavy marketing dollars SMP will throw at her to help push all of her *other* books to higher levels of popularity. She’s working to gain more audience, build more fans, and basically get an add package she would have paid a publicist many tens of thousands of dollars for – but instead, she’s getting paid $2 million for SMP to advertise her body of work.

    The folks talking about trad pub or indie pub being better, and Amanda “proving” that, have entirely missed the point. She still plans to produce a few self published books for each one she hands to a legacy publisher. She’s doing both – with a focus on self pub, and just enough trad pub to get some good advertising dollars.

    Gotta read between the lines a little, folks. ;)

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  21. Ken K. Chartrand

    To all my buds and bud-ettes. I am also a self pubbed writer and like the control,but wouldn’t mind a similar deal and opportunity to just write.I have just published a self published book with Friesenpress. A very well touted publisher in Victoria British Columbia Canada. The book’s title is “The Lupine Effect” a werewolf story not like any other before.I hope to catch on with a traditional publisher too. Being a late bloomer I really need this.

  22. Joanne Tombrakos

    I think Amanda’s new contract is wonderful news and I too would have signed that dotted line quickly. However her reasoning that she will be free now to just write is a reflection of her age. No writer can just write anymore. The world is moving too fast to not be involved with it. Having spent more than my fair share of time in the corporate world, she will learn quickly that things there don’t necessarily move with more ease.

  23. Natalie Wright

    Kudos to Amanda Hocking and I say “You go girl!” She started with no “platform” and worked her hind end off, pumping out quality books and marketing them wisely all on her own. Why not “give” the publisher 4 books for $2mil and then still pump out books on her own too?

    The quote from the London agent above (which mirrors comments found around the net from some agents and editors) rubs me wrong. It flies in the face of the ideals of democracy and a free thinking society that we have a relatively small group of people that are “gatekeepers” who determine for all of us what we read. It may have been the way for hundreds of years but that doesn’t make it right or even best. The rise of the e-reader and indie publishing is good for readers. I don’t need an agent or editor in London (or New York or L.A.) to choose for me what I’m able to read, thank you. I think us lowly regular folk can sift through it ourselves. We’re okay with being burdened with some mediocrity here and there to have freedom of choice.

  24. Michael A. Robson

    ““I can see how frustrating it would be to not even be able to write because you’re so busy with all the other junk that a publisher is supposed to do for you. ”

    As time goes on, we scratch our heads here and wonder, “What was that again?”

    Tim Ferris put it succinctly. Publishers legitimize your name, and they’re good at doing book covers.

    Considering Amanda got famous on her own, with no help from the company, and in the age of digital eBooks, book covers are less and less important (sorry, my eBook reader is black and white), the Publishers are hanging on to a mighty thin thread there.

    If you want to hear how Publishers treat a NYT Best-seller, just ask Adam Carolla why he’s going indie for his next book (unless you haven’t heard, he has the top downloaded podcast, and tours the country doing standup. He doesn’t need help with the marketing, thanks).

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