You may have heard the news. New York Times bestseller, Barry Eisler, has turned down a $500,000 publishing deal with St. Martin’s Press to self-publish his next book. The blogosphere is all abuzz with the news. And I suppose this marks the moment when we start to have this conversation for real.
And by “we,” I mean those of us writing poetry and literary fiction.
Eisler, Konrath, Hocking and the numerous other e-novelists making money hand-over-fist through Kindle sales are genre writers. They write thrillers and YA vampire novels and the like. Genre fiction, let’s face it, is much more likely to have a following than authors of more high-brow literary stuff. After all, we don’t have characters who live through three novels to conquer the aliens, defeat the terrorists, catch the bad guys and…you get the idea. I’m not knocking it – I enjoy a good, quick read as much as the next girl. I’m addicted to John Grisham novels. But there is a difference in readership. The question is: does that difference make self-publishing a good deal for us or not?