Remember 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.