OPINION: Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing e-BooksPosted: February 21, 2011
In traditional publishing, debut novels often have to prove themselves within six months with almost no support and sketchy distribution, before they are returned to the publisher and destroyed. A return rate of 30-50% is common! That’s a small window of opportunity. And the publisher will have the rights to both my print and e-book novel, for a long period. Even if Reprobate sells ‘well’, I will receive about 8-10% royalties. For that, I won’t be able to decide on the cover, am powerless to prevent changes of the title or other changes. And if it goes out of print, readers who like the sequel won’t be able to read the first novel.
By contrast, the shelf life of a debut novel on Amazon is indefinite – Reprobate will remain available for as long as I want it to be there. So if Reprobate doesn’t sell well the first year, it might take off the second year when the sequel comes out. I’m quite sure the 70% royalty rate will allow me to recuperate the costs of the Reprobate cover. And I will remain the sole owner of the rights.