Apropos of Stacey’s post about knowing when to say when, I’m squaring off with the unwelcome possibility that a book I love is on the verge of not selling. I can tell you that we came quite close at several houses, that there were editors who loved it, that all parties agreed that the author was prodigiously talented, that revisions were made and made again. And yet. We’re now discussing the possibility of e-publishing, this author and I, and so it seemed thematically appropriate that Edan Lepucki should publish her follow up post to Do it Yourself: Self-Published Authors Take Matters Into Their Own Hands in The Millions.
My client is still mulling it over, but Lepucki has decided not to self publish for the reasons she lays out here. I’m with her on most of these: I too read books released by major houses; I’m part of the publishing establishment (and hence about as far from a “hater” as one can be); I work with literary fiction and I am a thorough-going champion of the small press. But unlike Lepucki, I am perhaps less concerned with the validation that a contract confers. True, I am not an author, so my stake in this is different. I am certainly ambitious for the people and projects I represent, but I don’t set much store by what a client calls “the fantasy” in which book deal, stellar reviews and robust sales are the inevitable outcome of hard work, attention to craft, and talent. Indeed, it is because I am not an author that I can attest that the system by which books are acquired and sold is an imperfect one, and there are good books, very good books, that go wanting. Like this one.
So, whether or not my client will decide to e-publish is still up in the air, but in the meantime, he is administering himself a crash course in the uses of social media, which will help him whatever transpires. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I am curious to hear what you think of Lepucki’s decision.