Sramana: Do you maintain blogs as use those as a strategy for promoting your writing?
Bella Andre: I do not blog at all. I don’t think I am very good at it and I would rather spend the time interacting on Facebook.
Jasinda Wilder: I don’t blog either.
Sramana: Let’s talk about the publishing industry in general. Given where you are today I don’t imagine you would ever give up your electronic publishing writes for any reason. Is that true?
Jasinda Wilder: Correct.
Bella Andre: Correct, absolutely.
Hugh Howey: I would give up ebook rights for the right price. I am open to any conversation. The main reason people don’t sign off on ebook rights is that the royalties can’t go above 25% of net. Major publishers have made it impossible to offer those royalties because it would revert kickback to other major authors. A lot of people’s royalties would go up. The only way to get a higher royalty rate is to be given an obscene advance. If someone offered me enough money for ebook rights and they guaranteed that the price would not go over a certain ceiling, then I would entertain it. As it stands right now, signing away digital rights does not make sense for any author.
Sramana: Bella, you have done publishing deals with print publishers. Hugh and Jasina, are you entertaining those conversations?
Jasinda Wilder: I would love a print deal.
Hugh Howey: Bella broke ground with her print only deal, and a few months after I was able to get a print deal with Simon and Schuster. I think another offer has a similar deal with Simon and Schuster. Our deal is pretty cool where the rights revert back after 7 years, so they only have print rights for a limited amount of time. They sent me on a full book tour and put in all the marketing. I’m hoping that more deals like that make sense because it is what makes sense for offers. Simon and Schuster has already made money on the deal so everyone should be thrilled with it.
Sramana: Why is Amazon not doing the print deal?
Jasinda Wilder: I think they are open to that. I love that Amazon is open and honest. I have sat down with editors from the big six. When you have hit number one in the Amazon store they will tell you there is not much Amazon can do for you. Their print distribution is limited right now. Slowly that will open up. I think that would be a huge game changer in the industry if you could have print on demand books in your local grocery story. I think people are watching the print only deals right now to see how they do.
Sramana: What are some of the trends in the industry that you are noticing?
Hugh Howey: I would point out the rise of audio books. There is a whole self-publishing arm of audio books called ACX. I can live a very comfortable life on my audio book sales alone. My wife listens to two books a week. Everyone I meet now does a lot of their reading through audio books. You can share the royalties with the voice actor and you can help other aspiring artists in a different medium earn a living as well. I think that will get more attention in the coming years. All of my books are available in audio.
Sramana: Bella, Jasinda, do you have audio books out?
Jasinda Wilder: I love the audio books.
Bella Andre: One of my titles was number two for the entire month of June which knocked me over. I was so excited about it. I have met with my voice actors. That is a different group of artists that are getting work. They are so passionate about it to. I could live just on my audio book sales.
Hugh Howey: Speaking of other artists that are doing well, there is a vibrant culture of artists doing cover art, as well as freelance editors and ebook formatters. A lot of these people were displaced from the publishing industry and they are now making more money from home. Authors are the ones behind the microphone, but there is an entire band that is making money in the self-publishing movement. They are experts who are key to the process.
Sramana: This has really been a fun interview and a great story. I appreciate everyone taking the time to meet with us.