JK Rowling made a lot of money from her Harry Potter books but just imagine how much the publishers made. Most deals for first time authors are pretty grim, even 20 years ago, and, yes, 10% of billions is still Multi-millions, but there are reasons why JK is now the independent publisher of her ebooks and audiobooks. Money and autonomy being just two of those reasons.
Australian writer Gail Jones in her talk repeated a sentiment I’ve heard a lot since I started learning about what it is to be a writer. “You can’t make money from books.” But then I went to hear CA Larmer, a self published, independent author with the same number of books as Gail. She was very clear about the fact that she makes money from her books. Good money. What’s more, she was adamant that we can too.
This was the first time an indie has been invited to speak at the Byron Bay Writers festival and it was standing room only. Christina was enthusiastic and engaging and so passionate about her work and encouraging others to write. Both Christina and Debbie from Ingram Spark who shared the stage with her were careful not to diss traditional publishing.
The differences between these two writers are many and varied, but the difference with the dollars attached is that Gail is published through traditional channels while Christina has her own independent publishing business for her own books.
As much as I would welcome interest from an agent or publisher, the more I learn about independent publishing the more attractive it looks.