Solo Pros & Cons

Posted Sat, 02/02/13

Over the years, I've had experience with publishers and also with going the solo route. There are pros and cons to each side of the fence.

My first publishing contract (with Tyborne Hill in 2003) sent me over the moon - literally. It's like working hard and believing in yourself for years without anyone giving a damn or taking notice. Most people - even those you consider friends - treat the notion of writing as a joke, regarding it as something you'll "get over" in time. Worse, it seems as if no one around you has the slightest idea or interest in a passion that has become your entire life's focus. A singular description for the reactions of others I'd use is dismissive.

Then, all of a sudden, the hard work starts to pay off in trickles and ebbs. By then - if you're like me - you've likely cut out the naysayers in your life, refusing to give up on your goals and dreams. The rewards may be small at first, but intense personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment is unmatched. Frankly, writing is the hardest job I've ever undertaken, but it's also been the most rewarding.

Since Tyborne Hill ten years ago, I've received nine additional publishing contracts for the Collective Obsessions Saga and the unrelated Ambrosia Cookbook. Working with a publisher alleviates just a bit of stress, such as editing and book cover design. However, marketing and most all other promotion falls under the author's drive, despite common myths that the publisher takes care of such "little details."

I also had offers for Celtic Remnants, Mind Sweeper and Bloodfrost but chose to go the solo route with those books instead, along with Torn Bits & Pieces, the Short Tales Collection and more than thirty titles in the Food Fare Culinary Collection.

The biggest downside to doing books solo is the enormous amount of time needed not only to write stories, but to edit the content, create book covers, set the price and then promote the work via social media and other like-minded web sites. The biggest upside of going solo is receiving the lion's share of royalties (70% as opposed to 40% to 15% from a publisher). To be honest, seeing money come in every month is a much happier state of affairs than receiving scraps every quarter from a publisher.

Since 2011, income has been steady from books I've done myself (with zero help from anyone else, I might add). The biggest payer has been Amazon followed by Barnes & Noble and Novelnook. The least fruitful has been Kobo Books. I'm not certain if more people have Kindle and Nook readers as opposed to the Kobo reader, but that's the way of it for now.

Don't get me wrong. Money is not the strongest motivator for a writer like me, but it certainly helps. I write what comes into my head, which is not dictated by the opinions of others or current trends.

Not one person in my fifty-one years of life has been a great influence on how I write or fuel the stories in my head that in turn inspire me to write them. For that, I owe my imagination and nothing else.

Fortunately, imagination and dreams are two things that will always be free.

Irish Eyes: Writing & Editing

Tags:  Writing & Editing