I read a terrific article over the weekend in Writers Digest, about self-published success story Hugh Howey. I hadn't heard of him, but apparently he writes sci-fi and had a breakout with his novella (series) Wool. Long story short, he ended up winning agent Kristin Nelson and signing a contract with Simon & Schuster for print rights only, while keeping his right to self-publish digitally. This is a huge deal because it's almost unheard of. Big New York publishers traditionally want all the rights they can get: digital, print, audio, movie, foreign...
But apparently Howey held out because he didn't feel a burning need to grant those rights (he was making upwards of $150K a month in royalties from his self-pubbed works, so I guess he could afford to be choosy). He wanted to secure a "hybrid" deal for himself in part to break ground for other authors to do the same - which I think is oh so cool.
That's not the part of the article I liked the most, though. This is the paragraph that stood out for me:
"...maybe you're earning $20 or $50 a month with the six or seven titles you have out there, and you're busy writing your next work. You're not thinking about landing an agent. You're not writing query letters, you're writing stories. And meanwhile, your ebook sales might be paying your cable bill...Instead of having your manuscripts in a drawer or in self-addressed, stamped envelopes, you have them out there where readers can find them, and maybe one of them will take off..."
Something clicked for me when I read that, a reminder that we should be writing because we love it, not because we need to pay bills with it or because a contract/editor/agent is breathing down our necks for the next manuscript or because a genre is bursting with new works and if we don't keep up then we'll somehow lose our chance to publish...well, ever.
His words reminded me that I need to take a deep breath and worry a little less about when my books are coming out, when I'm finishing the next one, whether anyone will want to sign it, how I'll promote the backlist along with the new release and...
Yeah. Deep breaths. And remembering why I love to write. Thanks, Hugh Howey. I needed that.