Several days ago, author Aubrey Rose wrote a blog post about Amazon Publishing. She was offered a publishing deal through its romance imprint for her book Me, Cinderella?
This sounds great for any author, and even Rose was excited about the opportunity.
“Naturally, I was thrilled. A real publisher wanted my work!,” Rose wrote on her blog.
However, she turned it down. In Rose’s own words:
It was hard for me to say no. Ever since I was a little girl I’d dreamed about being a ‘published author‘. However, I needed to make the best decision for my book and for my fans. I realized that although the praise from the editor boosted my ego, the praise that really matters comes from my readers. They are the ones who’ll make or break my books, and I want to make sure that I’m always doing the right thing by them. If I mess up, I want it to be something I can fix. I’m a control freak like that.
So sorry, Amazon. It’s not you, it’s me.
Rose indicated on Reddit the offer was a $5,000 advance with 35 percent royalties. Rose said on her blog that the advance was actually less than she made in her first month as a self-published author.
This story was picked up by a number of blogs and media outlets, including The Guardian.
It’s interesting to see self-published authors with these types of options. Perhaps 10 years ago, if a company as well established as Amazon is now wanted to pick up a self-published author, the thought process would likely go differently. People, like Rose, dream of getting book deals, but the options in this marketplace are greater.
Authors have the opportunity to say no and turn down offers. That’s not to say Amazon or another publisher will not offer Rose a better deal. She is just able to keep her options open and is in a book world where she can say no.
It’s interesting to look at the parallels. Earlier this week, we published an interview with author Catherine Ryan Hyde, whose book shot to the top of Amazon’s best sellers list. She uses Amazon Publishing and had nothing but great things to say about her experience.
Hyde was hit the same option as Rose. Her book rose through the ranks and Amazon Publishing reached out to her. It was either continue self-publishing certain works or hook up with Amazon. In this case, Hyde felt the best option was to go with Amazon.
In both instances, it seems the authors did their research and made the decision they felt was best for them.
These women – and many, many other authors – have a choice. A company found them after all the hard work they put in, then they had the chance to choose what was best for them. Neither choice is essentially wrong either.
Options, opportunity and choice – isn’t that the best part?
I turned down an offer from a relatively small-time publisher of IT books for similar reasons. The proposed advance would have covered about a third of the time actually required to write the book, and imposed all sorts of conditions as to timing and length. In addition I would have been bound to rewrite, at my own expense anything they disagreed with, whether they were right or wrong. Add in the stresses and costs of dealing with deadlines and multiple editors, and essentially they were offering about three weeks’ salary in return for three months’ work, with an unknown chance of making 15% of some unspecified further amount. I can understand their position, but the figures just didn’t add up.