I was chatting to a friend of mine and she recommended I read a blog cleverly titled The Well Fed Black Writer. You gotta love a title like that! :-)
Today I was reading his blog post on The Advance. While he doesn't completely discount Traditional Publishing (particularly in regards to their ability to distribute to wide audiences), he does encourage authors to do the math when it comes to a traditional publishing contract versus self publishing.
He really breaks down the math for you, so I highly encourage you to go read the post now.
Don't worry, I'll wait...
Fantastic! Now you've read the post, you know what I'm talking about. Personally I think he's left some things out. Like the fact that if you get a multi-book deal, you often have to earn the WHOLE advance before you get royalties, not just the advance for each book. Also the fact that, in many cases and particularly in the case of e-rights, the traditional publisher can end up holding your rights FOREVER.
As one of my writing "heroes" is wont to say: "Forever is a long time."
Time you, as a writer, can be making money on your art.
Does that mean that if a traditional publisher suddenly popped up and offered me an advance of $100,000 for Kissed by Darkness that I wouldn't take it? Hells no. But believe me, it wouldn't be as easy a choice as it would have been a month ago. I'm not exactly rolling in dough, so trust me $100,000 looks REALLY good, but after all my research, I'm starting to believe I could very well be getting the short end of the stick on a deal like that.
Of course, the likelihood of me, a newbie, getting a deal like that is slim to none. Unless you're Amanda Hocking, newbies just don't get those kinds of deals. If I did get an offer, the advance would be more likely to be something like $20,000, if I'm lucky. More likely $5000. And there's a very real possibility with the way the publishing industry is going, that unless I marketed my butt off, I'd never even make back that advance and my rights would be gone.
With those odds, self pubbing is looking REALLY good.
Besides, it's not like traditional publishers will even look at my novel without an agent, and agents aren't exactly beating down my door. I'm a nobody with one little finished novel and a growing pile of form rejections.
So, I'm going my own way, doing my own thing. I've got a fabulous editor, someone (possibly) to do my cover, and I'm going to learn to format the thing on my own (Oy vey!). I'm going to learn to market myself and I'm going to keep learning and practicing my craft every single day. It just makes good, solid business sense to me.
Does it make sense to you?
Do the math....