Monday, February 6, 2012

Should You Focus On The Fast Return Or The Long Term Investment

In recent years, we have seen an increase in many opportunities for writers to get their book out there to "the public" in an extremely quick turn around time. Some will offer the chance to have your book available for purchase within 72 hours. WOW!!!]

But here is the big question... Should a writer jump at the immediate chance for some quick cash, or does a writer work for the bigger money and the long term investment.

I started thinking about this recently and I have to say, I would go with the second option. If we think about regular investment plans, the people who have tended to do well, in the long run, are those people who built slowly. No, these people did not suffer or starve to death along the way, they just worked to let their finances build.

Sure, there are those people who have made the immediate success, but, in the end, how many of those people, further down the line, still had that cash and still had that success? Let's just think about the following:
  • The dot com people.
  • The 80's investment bankers
  • The housing bubble.
I personally believe that this same analogy is going to extend into writing. If you think about the authors doing well out there, it took them a while. Sure, there were those with some immediate successes, but the ones who seem to be holding on were there a while. They still have their same agent. They are still with the same publisher. And year after year, they exceed their own expectations.

There are a lot of "publishers" out there offering writers the chance for a quick chance to be published. They even claim this will lead to those bigger and better things. But will it?

I am not sure if I would want to risk it with a career that I love.



  1. Reminds me of people who win the lottery. You hear about them a few years later, one jumped off a building, the other shot himself (after shooting his dog first), etc--why? Quick win, quick loss, easy come, easy go. Speed can be the felling blow to a career. In my opinion, the long and winding road is the best route; but with the cranked-up marketing machines of e-publishers, coupled with stories like those of Amanda Hocking, one can understand why writers are losing patience and choosing the easy road.

    I say this: only if the traditional route has been exhausted should e-publishing be considered.



  2. Is this one of those situations where a nom de plume comes in handy, making it easier to backtrack later?

  3. Great post!

    I don't even care about the money, but there are several reasons I do not plan on self-publishing...

    1. I know that no matter how much I polish my book, it will never be on par with what's on bookstore shelves without the vetting process and editing of a real publisher.

    2. Even if I felt that my book was an exception to the above, I would not want it to get lost in the sea of self-published books that were just not ready for publication.

    3. If I can't get my book past an agent and publisher, then it's probably not ready to go out into the world. I owe it to myself and my potential readers to put out the best work I can. Related to that, if I do get it published traditionally, then I'll have the satisfaction of knowing it's good enough, even if hardly anyone buys it.

  4. Rashad,

    I have an author that has a great piece of writing but at this point, the publishers are not nibbling. We discussed the digital route and personally, I think this is a mistake. Too often, works that have been passed on will get picked up by that editor later, after they find one that really connects with them.

    I would also have to say to not "bail" on your dream. If digital publishing is not in your game plan, then don't go there.

    I would also have to remind you that again, the Amanda Hocking story is an anomaly.

  5. I believe in building the wall one brick at a time and that endurance and discipline bring rewards.Second option for me.

    For the unpublished author, entering contests is a great way to build your skills and receive valuable feedback. Particularly if you final and the feedback you're getting is from editors and agents.

    If you go for instant gratification and e-publish, you make yourself ineligible to enter many of the these contests.

    Winning and placing in finals looks good on your resume, makes your query letter stand out and gets your name out there.

    I'd rather be a winning amateur with my name on the contest circuit than e-publish something substandard and have nowhere to go.