Thursday, August 04, 2011

Same Tired Arguments

Misquoting me makes you sound stupid. So does taking what I say out of context, putting words in my mouth, and drawing false conclusions based on things I've said.

That out of the way, I keep seeing the same poor, tired arguments and examples repeated over and over around the Internet. Either folks are writing about self-publishing for the very first time, and naturally falling into the lazy trap of not thinking clearly, or they're purposely trying to disguise failed ideas as something new, like intelligent design and creationism. (Just to be clear--intelligent design is no different than creationism, and creationism is flat-out wrong. Period.)

Here are some outright falsehoods that continue to perpetuate.

Ebooks hurt the eyes.

E-ink technology is passive, just like staring at a piece of paper. There is no eye strain.

I'll never give up print books because I love them too much.

It's always painful to embrace a new technology. But everyone eventually does, and winds up liking it. That's why it gets embraced, and why we no longer read on scrolls.

You can only succeed with ebooks if you have a built-in platform.

There have been too many success stories of people without built-in platforms. If you can't find them, you aren't looking. Try Kindleboards.com.

So much self-pubbed crap will be published, you won't be able to find the good stuff.

Debunked that here.

Low prices devalue books.

The value of a book is how much money it earns, not its cover price. Low priced ebooks sell more copies and make more money.

You can't publish something of quality without a publisher.

Too many examples say otherwise. Go find some.

Konrath is a hypocrite who once said self-pub is bad.

Prior to 2007, self-pubbing was a bad idea. The Kindle changed that, and I changed my mind. I tend to change my mind as new information comes in.

Konrath and Eisler are hypocrites who said they're self publishers, and then they signed with Amazon.

I signed with Amazon for two books, out of 36 I've self-published. Barry signed for one, and has self-pubbed four. We're both still self-publishing. Besides, we've covered, ad nauseum, why Amazon is not a legacy publisher.

Konrath is paying his agent 15% for all of his self-pubbed work.

No, I'm trying it out with one title to see how it works. I'd love to pay someone 15% to manage the business end. We'll see what happens.

Konrath had to self-pub because his sales were lousy.

I've had eight books published by the Big 6. Contrary to some poor reporting, all have earned out their advances, and I kept getting offers up until I stopped submitting. All of my books are still in print. Yet I've made much more money, faster, by self-pubbing.

Self-pubbed books aren't edited.

They are if you hire an editor.

Konrath's legacy sales are the reason is self-pubbed sales are so good.

The opposite is true. My legacy pubbed books are getting a boost from my self-pubbed books, as evidenced by my sales. I sell far more self-pub than legacy pub.

Konrath is intentionally controversial because he wants the attention.

The point of this blog is to help authors, not to sell books. For the past year I've avoided interviews and most speaking engagements. I don't want attention. But I'm not afraid to speak up if I think it will help authors.

Many publishers, agents, booksellers, and even authors, don't want to hear my message, and criticize it, and me. None of their arguments hold any water. They're frightened of the future, and want someone to blame for it, and for their own problems.

Piracy will hurt ebook sales.

No, it won't. And since that blog post, I've been pirated many more times, and my sales have gone up.

Ebooks will never fully replace print.

No one is saying they will. But they're already outselling print, and will continue to be the dominant form of media for quite some time. That said, print will be around forever. There are billions of books on the planet, and they aren't going anywhere (though I do say otherwise in my novel Timecaster.) While the midlist will cease to exist in print, major bestsellers and niche publishers (including self publishers) will still use print, and can still make money from it.

After all, you can go to Best Buy and get Metallica's latest on vinyl. This is, however, for a very small percentage of users, not the general masses.

Publishers are necessary.

I’ve never born witness to a greater comedy of errors than the multitude of mistakes publishers have made in regard to ebooks. Windowing, high prices, the agency model, low royalties, title grabs–it’s embarrassing and an insult to both writers and book buyers. The fact that I’ve been able to make so much more money once I was freed from the constraints of the “experts” shows how little the experts can do for an author. And let’s be honest here–it is all about what a publisher can do for an author. We are the content providers. You need us. We do not need you.

Am I missing any bad arguments? I'm sure I forgot a few.

The bottom line is that it's safer to dismiss me and my comments on a superficial level because analyzing them closer could cause nightmares for those who rely on the publishing industry to earn a living.

What I say isn't Gospel. It is my opinion based on my experience. (If you want to check how ahead of the game I've been on this topic, here's a post from 2009.)

I don't say things without thinking them through and having evidence and logic to back my beliefs up. I'm deliberate. If I'm unsure of something, I experiment and then share the results.
That's what everyone should be doing. Keeping an open mind. Experimenting. Tracking sales and stats and figures. Trying new things. Sharing their results.

Publishing used to be intensely private. No one knew what anyone else was earning or selling. I'm proud to see that trend shifting, with authors more open about their numbers than they've ever been before. The more information we can share, the more we can learn.

Ebooks are the future, the future is happening right now, and self-publishing is a viable way to make money. Anyone who says anything else has an agenda, and they're flat-out wrong. Period.