Friday, 9 November 2012

Would you sign the deal and why?

Amanda Hocking and E.L. James did it: they signed a deal with one of the big six publishing houses after they became successful. There are more authors who signed contracts and I keep wondering why. Hocking had submitted her work for many years and kept getting rejections, and I'm sure it wasn't any different for James. Both made millions; both decided to hand their books, and with them control, rights, and money, over to a publisher. Hocking said she wanted to have more time to write instead of being tied up with marketing, and she also wanted her books to receive better editing. But surely she could have employed someone to do that for her? If you have millions why not take matters in your own hands? Of course, it's easier to sign a deal and let a publisher handle the paperbacks, hardcovers, audio books, and marketing, but if you sold so many copies, you have enough fans to carry your future projects; an announcement of an upcoming new book would be enough to have thousands of people downloading it.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging what they've done, I'm just wondering about the reasoning behind it. I've only sent out about 40 submissions, so I don't know how it must feel to collect rejections for years. But to be honest, even after my 'few' rejections (many of them deserved, I hasten to add) if an agent or publisher would approach me when I've already done the hard work, and I'm selling thousands and thousands of my books, I'd tell them to sod off. If they didn't believe in me back then, I don't need them to drool over my books now.
Certainly, I could keep my rights for the e-books and sign over the paperbacks, hardcovers and audio books, but I'm far too curious on how the whole process works and rather learn the tricks of the trade.
Many say they self-published in the hope to be discovered, and I wonder where their Indie pride is. Nobody would approach you if your book doesn't sell, but if it sells well enough, why would you need the help of publishing house? Someone said he'd sign the contract to satisfy his mates; it's more to be able to say a household name was interested in their work, or that they've been through the quality control process of the gate keepers. Something that doesn't bother me at all. People can think whatever they want. In fact, I believe those, who think my books are worth less just because I've self-published, would be rather surprised if they read them. I won't sign anything to please skeptics. I think it's safe to say that I'm content being a self-published author, and will continue this route.
The only contract I would sign would be a film deal, because I don't know anything about the film industry.

I'm curious how you think about this topic. Would you sign or rather stay Indie? 


  1. Only two reasons I can see to sign - a large advance and the ability to get your paper books in the stores. I'm not sure if that's worth what you give up. I'm happy being indie, then again, my stuff is so niche no publisher is likely to want it anyway ;)

  2. Been there done that before finally deciding to go it alone Stella.

    Take it from me when I say that being under a publisher's thumb was not an enjoyable experience. You have zero control over what's happening to your book. Plus its easier to get blood out of a stone than to try to get any sensible answer from a publisher about the book's market rating and sales, let alone get the royalties you are due.

    I'm glad I became an independent.

  3. I can understand E.L. James signing with a publisher - anything to get rid of that! If I were Amanda, though, I'd want to keep tight hold of the ebook rights. She was probably better at marketing them than most publishers are.

  4. She is for sure, but I think she signed the rights, too. Only My Blood Approves seems to still be in her hands. But I don't really know for sure.

    The thing is that I don't think she needs much more marketing. Just an announcement here and there and people will go and buy her books.

    E.L. James: I haven't read the books as I'm not into erotica, but what do you mean 'anything to get rid of that'? She, I think she is as good at marketing since she comes from a marketing background.

    Sessha: I could imagine that you won't have problems to get your books into the shops if you're selling thousands of them. Money talks, as usual. ;-)

    Jack: I was talking big six. I think nobody would go with a tiny publisher nobody has ever heard of if they sold thousands or millions.

  5. I can relate to one of your lines Stella:

    "If they didn't believe in me back then, I don't need them to drool over my books now."

    It's more or less the same with the quote "If you are not with me during bad times, don't expect to be included on my good times."

    Truly, why would I sign on those publishers if they have rejected my book on the first place? They decided to accept and want to publish it now since the book is already selling in the market and becoming popular? If I can be successful using my own efforts, then certainly I do not need any help from those traditional publishers!

    1. Hi,

      Sadly, it seems to be the case that, if your books don't sell, publishers will quickly dump you, too.
      I'm stubborn as a mule; if you can't see the value in my writing now, you don't need to come later when I've made a name for myself.
      Not that I anticipate ever making millions with my writing and a publisher approaching me. I'm way too complicated and forthright. But if they did, I'd tell them to sod off.

      I do understand publishers who approach successful authors; they're a business, and business needs to make money. I'm just wondering if it's a real win-win situation for both parties.