Writer Abroad has been pondering something ever since the Zurich Writers Workshop in May, when an author discussed how, until he made back his advance, his royalties were 5%.
Because as an Amazon.com Associate, just by posting a link to a book on a blog, you can also make 5% if someone buys it.
But if an author, who works for at least a year (or sometimes many years) on a book, makes the same amount as someone does from posting a link to the same book in about five minutes, obviously, the publishing model is broken.
|Is traditional publishing a dying business?|
But if the traditional publishing model sucks, why are authors still going there?
Is it for the prestige? Is a writer who is published by a big publishing house still somehow more of a writer than one who self-publishes?
Writer Abroad thinks it comes down to another classic art versus science debate. Those who see writing as an art go traditional (or at least try to). Those who see it as a science–as a business–are more likely to go directly to self-publishing.
Over on her blog, Penelope Trunk discusses how she got a big advance from a big publisher and self-published anyway.
One of her main points is that publishers aren’t adding much value beyond the prestige. And if your blog is the way you are going to market your book, what value is the publisher adding? After all, it’s not like publishers offer marketing budgets anymore, except maybe for books by celebrities, who don’t need marketing budgets anyway since they are rich.
Others, like Digital Book World, question Penelope Trunk's story. But ultimately, the lesson is that publishers must be able to satisfy their authors. Otherwise, they will be in danger. Or more likely, endangered.
What do you think? Is the publishing model broken? Is self-publishing something you would consider? If you’ve been published, how did you decide which route to go?