What’s Going on in Publishing?

These are interesting times.

A lot has been going on in the world of publishing, specifically when it comes to the e-publishing world. Here’s a recap, though I can’t guarantee it’s chronological (or even logical, for that matter).

Barry Eisler walks away from a half-million dollar publishing contract to self-publish electronically. Mr. Eisler has written a number of best-selling thrillers featuring assassin John Rain. A successful author making money in the traditional publishing world, when St. Martin’s Press offered up the $500000 contract, Mr. Eisler decided to go it alone.

Amanda Hocking signs a four book, $2 million deal with the same St. Martin’s Press. Ms. Hocking is said to have made between $1.5 and $2 million self-publishing her paranormal YA novels on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. She reportedly chose to sign with a legacy publisher so she could concentrate on writing instead of cover design, promotion, editing, etc. No word as to how the electronic rights to the four book series are being handled, but the first book won’t be available until fall of 2012, thought the deal was signed March 2011.

J.K. Rowling finally makes her Harry Potter books available electronically. The most popular series of books ever written has never been available for download (don’t believe me? Look here). In October, all that will change as “Pottermore” goes live to the world. It will be an interactive site where fans can experience the story in a new way. Oh, and the exclusive place to purchase audio and electronic versions of the book. Reports say Rowling has partnered with her publisher on the project but it seems she retains the rights.

John Locke – the first self-published author to sell a million books – signs a traditional publishing deal with Simon & Schuster. Ok, maybe it’s not exactly a traditional deal: Mr. Locke kept all electronic rights to his work. That means Simon & Schuster will publish the hard copies you’ll find in bookstores (if you still have one in your neighborhood) while the author will be free to publish and sell them on Amazon, etc.

So what does all this mean? You got me, but other than Ms. Hocking’s deal, it seems that electronic self-publishing continues to grow.  The number of e-readers in use grows every day while the usability and features of the units expands and the price drops. The one thing I’ve decided from all these happenings: I’ll never send another query letter to a legacy publisher. I’ll self-publish my novels and, with hard work and luck, maybe one day a publisher will come knocking on my door.

Watch for “Harvester: Icarus Fallen Book 1” to be available by Christmas for your e-reading pleasure.

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