You Have Chosen… May 22, 2012Posted by bobv451 in business, e-books, VIPub, writing.
Wisely? Poorly? It’s hard to say without benefit of a rear view mirror (with the note: objects are closer than they look). An author has many routes to write along, and choosing the “right” one isn’t possible. You take what you can get usually. A friend of mine has a plaque on his desk that says: take the deal. But that choosing makes a big difference, especially in the era of VIPub.
A few wildly successful authors can make a go of VIPub only, writing and editing and producing their own work and successfully selling it in ebook and POD. This requires hitting some critical mass. What that is varies. It might be one book or it might be a thousand.
A hybrid career seems preferable for most writers, not only doing projects that don’t fit into traditional legacy publishing niches but also finding dead tree book sales with those publishers.
It’s this route I want to dig into a little more. Traditional publishers have a lot of work for hire slots, possibly as many as they do for “stand alone” books. Should you sign on for a series where you get an advance, possibly a small royalty but the book, characters and often the right to claim authorship, aren’t yours? Playing in someone else’s sandbox with their toys can be a lot of fun, not to mention giving an immediate infusion of $ from the advance. It opens an audience you likely wouldn’t reach otherwise to your work (if your name is on the cover–if it’s a house pen name, oh well). You can make a decent living writing this way.
But the books aren’t yours. This can come back to bite you since you don’t control the copyright. The publisher decides whether (or not) to reprint as an ebook or other format. Maybe that nifty book would be a dynamite graphic novel. Not yours to decide– if it’s a work for hire. Not only are you not in control of your work, you might be missing lucrative markets if the publisher isn’t interested.
This can be a balancing act in your career. How much work for hire do you do? Some titles can be very lucrative (the God of War books I’ve written fall into this category) But I have no control over them. I suspect God of War 2 has been postponed until Feb 2013 now. This came to light by ego-surfing on Amazon. I’d thought it would be a Sept ’12 release (after being postponed from Sept ’11). As profitable as these are, they are not *my* books to publish when I want.
Being in control of your work is important but maybe not as profitable as work for hires. But that VIPub title can be yours to rake in money from myriad formats ’til death do you part and your heirs take it over.