Thursday, April 29, 2010

Indie or small press?

When I got back into professional writing after my long hiatus, I had intentions of going right back to small press publishing. But my first project was to do something with my backlist, and after some muddling around, I hit upon the idea of Kindling my old books. Now I'm wondering, should I Kindle the new ones or try to sell them to a small press?

I guess like anything else, it depends. My books on Amazon are selling fairly well-- since I started, the best seller has sold over 900 copies and earned me $311 so far, which is not bad for a re-released novella. The next biggest seller has sold 750 copies and earned $266, and the other two books' sales seem to be growing. The amount I'm earning is not as much as I'd earn from an e-publisher, but if they continue to sell... I suppose my big question is, will my books continue to sell at this rate? Will they actually improve saleswise, as J.A. Konrath's and Zoe Winters' have? Or is this all a fluke which will fade away?

I have other concerns about selling only on Amazon, too. What if someone hates my writing and leaves one-star reviews on all my books? Could that significantly impact sales? What about the shift to 70% royalties? Will that help or harm my sales? Is it possible Amazon might eventually decide to stop selling indie books? I guess I'm a don't-put-your-eggs-in-one-basket person anyway; I had my books with more than one small press, too. It just seems safer that way.

Right now, my plan is to Kindle my whole backlist (including The Light in the Darkness if I can ever get Bantam to give me the rights back, grrrr). I also want to do a couple of new things for the Kindle and see how they sell. But I also intend to get something written for my Samhain editor. And who knows, eventually I may even try approaching New York again. I think I'm more comfortable when all my eggs aren't in one basket, even if that basket is selling well.


  1. I guess it depends how much time and effort you have to put in to create new stuff. Someone like me, who takes a year for a book, I can't afford to take as many chances or just toss a book against the wall to see if it sticks, so to speak. But if you have a better production rate, I can see the wisdom of being more experimental!

  2. Well, I can turn out novellas very, very fast when it suits me, as you know:-). Novellas are one of those things that are well suited for e-publishing, whether indie or small press. If I can make enough on novellas, it hardly seems worth it to churn out a novel, which DOES tend to take a lot of time for me.

    You and I discussed this the other day, and I really do think the question comes down to whether my Kindled books keep selling at this rate (or let's be optimistic, even faster!) or not. If they do, I'll probably eventually do better than I would with a small press. If not, then small press would be a better option. As you say, the only way to find out is to toss a few books against the wall and see if they stick or fall to the floor in a heap of goo.

  3. I don't see Kindle taking away people's right to self-pub on Amazon. It's too hard for them to have to sort through small press vs indie authors. I mean I'm set up as a small press so would they disallow me? How would they decide? It's too much paperwork when there is no real cost to them.

    If people leave you spiteful 1-star reviews you can have them removed by Amazon.

    However I've bought a lot of books BASED ON 1-star reviews and some people don't even look at reviews. It seems the more people who see your book on Amazon, the more who buy it.

  4. Oh, I agree, Zoe, I don't think Amazon is likely to stop indie writers from publishing. I'm just saying there is a certain vulnerability in writing for only one publisher and format, is all.

  5. Definitely. Which is why I'm getting into the sony ebookstore, and kobo, and B&N, and ibookstore, and eventually will also be selling from my own site.