In my February 23, 2013 blog on WordPress, I discussed the strange case of Colleen Hoover, the author of three wildly successful independently published ebooks. Amazon.com ran an interview with Hoover in the February Kindle newsletter. The story goes that, on the popularity of her first novel, A Big Literary Agent and Big Publisher approached Hoover and offered her a traditional publishing deal. She accepted the deal for her second book. But as for her third, she said “Thanks, but no thanks,” and self-published that title as an ebook and a print-on-demand book.

(Full disclosure: I haven’t bought or read any of the books cited here nor am I affiliated with the authors in any way.)

I won’t repeat the details of the first blog (I don’t have the link handy, please just scroll back), but the astounding reasons why an author would turn down a traditional publishing deal from a vaunted Big Publisher boil down to three simple commonsensical factors:

1—Money. Per book sold, you the author earn five times what you will earn through a traditional publisher and literary agent, who each take huge cuts out of your sale. No, you won’t receive an advance, but the days of blockbuster advances disappeared at the start of the Great Recession. Even Big Authors are complaining. The argument that a publisher’s advance compensates for a royalty arrangement versus profit-sharing no longer holds true. Especially for ebooks.

2—Timing of Payment. You the author earn sales income on a monthly basis (Amazon and Barnes and Noble) or quarterly (Smashwords). The income is directly deposited to your bank account just like a real job. In traditional publishing, you must first “earn out” the advance, which rarely happens because the publisher sets the royalty rate (7 to 12 %) so low. And if you do earn out, you get paid every six months–or longer because your literary agent needs to collect your earnings from the publisher, clear the check through his bank account, and take his commission before he disperses your funds to you.

You like that? Two entities standing between you and your earned money?

3—Control. (A) When you self-publish, you can offer your ebook for sale within 24 hours of uploading it or as soon as the print-on-demand publisher has prepared your materials. In traditional publishing, you’re at the mercy of the publisher’s schedule and may have to wait up to two years before your book sees the light of day. (B) Unless the publisher decides to invest in your publicity, you’re on your own even as a traditionally published author. The publisher decides where and how to publicize your book. You have no say in the matter. In fact, I was actively opposed by the publicity people at my traditional publisher when I set up my own book tour because they wouldn’t do it. (C) If you reread your self-published book after the perspective of time and see something you want to change, you can easily edit your file and reupload it as an ebook and as a POD title. You simply can’t do that with a traditionally published book. I can’t tell you how many Big Authors have substantially re-edited their books given the opportunity to republish (including me). (D) And finally, when you self-publish, your book NEVER goes out of print. You can grow your audience in the fullness of time. Traditional publishers typically yank your book out of print within six months if the title doesn’t sell like they think it should and you can’t do anything more with your work—whether it took you two months or two years to write—because they control print and digital rights to the  title.

How heartbreaking is that?

Which brings me to the latest story I promised you.

Tomorrow: Crunching the Publishing Numbers (Part 3) Wool and Wired

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add a bunch of stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, and spread the word to your friends. Your participation really matters.

More titles for your reading enjoyment:

Thriller! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide. SHAKEN is on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords and UK Kindle.

And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. My 30-day blog, The Story Behind the Story That Sold To The Movies, sets out the twists and turns the project took from inspiration to movie deal. On Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!

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