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Posts Tagged ‘Barry Eisler’

Barry Eisler Reveals Details of Amazon Publishing Deal

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Barry EislerRemember Barry Eisler? He’s the bestselling thriller author who in March turned down a $500,000 deal with St. Martin’s Press in favor of self-publishing.

Last week, at Book Expo America, Eisler announced he’d just signed a deal for Amazon to publish his next book. The traditional publishing crowd sniffed their disapproval over his perceived turncoat behavior.

But as Eisler points out, the point wasn’t to self-publish. The point was to get the terms he wanted. Along came Amazon offering those terms, so he took them. In Eisler’s words:

“…it’s the terms that are important to me, not the means by which I achieve them. If these terms are a destination, self-publishing is undeniably an excellent vehicle for getting there. But it isn’t the only vehicle. And if another vehicle comes along that offers all these terms, plus a substantial advance, plus a retail wing that can reach millions of customers in my demographic… then, as a non-ideological businessman, I’m going to change rides.”

In a recent conversation with fellow author Joe Konrath, Eisler revealed some of the details that drew him to sign with Amazon:

  • An advance “comparable” to that offered by St. Martin’s
  • “Much better” digital royalties (one source says 70%)
  • “Comparable” print royalties
  • A three-month turnaround from submission to release
  • Full control over the title and cover art
  • No DRM on the e-book
  • E-book released first, followed by paper

This deal shows that Amazon, as a publisher, is poised to cause major industry disruption, coming to market much faster and sharing royalties more equitably than traditional publishers, while bringing huge distribution and marketing muscle. Great news for authors, not so great for the old guard publishers.

The full conversation between Eisler & Konrath is a tremendously long but fascinating perspective on the current publishing industry and the changes that are occurring.

Would You Turn Down a $500,000 Book Deal?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

The blogosphere has been buzzing in the last month with news of two high-profile authors and their publishing choices.

On the one hand:
Barry Eisler, a bestselling thriller author, just turned down a $500,000 deal with his traditional publisher, opting to self-publish his next book instead.

On the other hand:
Amanda Hocking, an author who’s already made millions selling her self-published novels, has chosen to sign with a traditional publisher for a $2-million contract.

What gives? One successful author turns down a lucrative deal with an established house in order to self-publish, while a successful self-published author chooses to sign up with an established house. These seem like opposite strategies.

But both Eisler and Hocking have their well-considered reasons.

Hocking says it’s not about the money for her.

“Let’s be honest – if I self-published the Watersong series on my own, I could probably make $2 million within a year or two. Five years tops. I am fully aware that I stand a chance of losing money on this deal compared to what I could make self-publishing.”

Instead, Hocking’s looking for distribution muscle and mainstream exposure.

“Having large distribution is part of the reason why I wanted a deal, and part of that is having books in stores… I am getting an increasing number of emails from people who go into bookstores to buy my books for themselves or friends or family members, and not only does Barnes & Noble not carry my book, they can’t even order it for them. People are requesting my books, and they can’t get them.”

“I want to be a household name. I want to be the impulse buy that people make when they’re waiting in an airport because they know my name.”

Eisler feels ‘legacy publishers’ are out to lunch when it comes to the digital revolution. He wants the freedom to publish faster, charge what he considers optimum prices for e-books ($.99 to $4.99) and keep more of the revenue.

“I just don’t want to be part of an industry that doesn’t make sense, that’s fighting change rather than taking advantage of it. I want to make money by giving readers what they want, not by seeking ways to deny it to them.”

Hocking wants print books in bookstores. Eisler wants to focus on e-books.

Eisler says authors are leaving money on the table. Hocking says she doesn’t care about the money.

So who’s right?

They both are. Publishing with a traditional house has its benefits and its drawbacks. Same with self-publishing. One isn’t awful while the other is virtuous. It comes down to knowing what you want from your book and your writing career, having a realistic understanding of what each publishing route can offer, and choosing the one best suited to your goals.

Need help deciding? Try the 10-question quiz in our free Author’s Guide to Publishing Options. We profile both royalty publishing and self-publishing, along with the potentially tricky subsidy publishing model, laying out the pros and cons of each.