I awoke to two shocking things on Facebook this morning. One of the things has nothing to do with books, so I won't even mention it (I will, however, look toward Steven Savile and Dean Drinkel with pity).
The other thing happens to deal with Terry Goodkind's announcement that he is self-publishing his next novel, The First Confessor, on July 2.
My first reaction to the announcement, which is saw through buddy Jon F. Merz, was one of awe. I couldn't believe it. Here is one of sci-fi's great authors dipping his big toe into the waters of self-publishing. Much like when Barry Eisler did so on March 2010, Goodkind's move to self-publishing gives this movement just a little more legitimacy than it had a few years ago.
There are so many questions, of course, as to why Goodkind is doing this. He is not, however, forsaking traditional publishing altogether; TOR is publishing the sequel to The Open Machine shortly after TFC comes out. If anything, this is his grand experiment to see if self-publishing is viable, at least in my opinion. If the experiment is successful, how many other books will Goodkind put out without using the middle man of the Big Six? The possibilities, of course, are endless.
And there will always be detractors in this world of publishing that we live in who will say that Goodkind is shooting himself in the foot with this move. There will be those who don't want to give self-publishing legitimacy and will always work to down it.
But let's look at the facts: a 70 percent royalty on Kindle for books priced between $2.99-$9.99 (I expect Goodkind's new book to hit $9.99 for maximum earning potential), and 65 percent on Nook. Either of those royalty rates would surpass anything he could receive at a Big Six publisher (hello, 17.5 percent) for the amount of books he will sell -- and yes, he will sell. Goodkind recognizes his earning potential, and receiving 65-70 percent for his work will just increase his coffers.
There have been several authors who have been traditionally published -- Savile, Merz, Daniel Arenson, Jim C. Hines, Mike Stackpole and Kevin J. Anderson, to name a few -- who have moved on to self-publish ebooks, whether new stories or backlist, and have sold rather well.
Terry, welcome to the party.
The revolution continues.