A few weeks ago, I entered The Roar of the Spheres in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Today, I learned I’d moved on to the second round, along with 1000 other books in the general fiction category.

I don’t know how this contest looks to industry professionals. One logical perspective is it’s 10,000 people fighting for two seats at the dinner table. There’s not a lot of dignity in that. Of course, the competition to find an agent and a publisher isn’t much different, but at least it’s not so transparent.

I don’t care anymore. If there’s an opportunity out there, I’m going to take a shot at it. I don’t care if it risks looking unprofessional to some people. The ABNA, self-publishing to Kindle, whatever–if it gives me a chance to make money from my fiction, I’m going to do it. I’m trying to build a career. That’s all I care about.

As a tangent, I checked out a couple threads about the ABNA over at Kindleboards. Several authors expressed doubts about it, outright questioning the value of Penguin’s $15,000 advance against the worth of their ebook rights. Here’s some quick math: if you sell 10 copies of your $0.99 book a day, 3650 in a year, you’ve made just over $1250 in royalties from Amazon.

How many indie authors are selling 3650 copies of a single novel every year? How many years do you expect this success to carry on through for this single title? It had better be at least 12. Factoring in some risk-assessment, I think you’d only turn down a $15,000 advance if you have strong reason to believe you can maintain that level of self-published sales for 25 years.

In some circles, self-epublishing is taking on a serious gold-rush mindset. But for every Amanda Hocking, there are 100,000 authors lucky to sell a single copy per week.

No doubt e-rights are becoming a huge deal, huger by the day. But $15,000 and a book published by a giant corporate house is a pretty great deal compared to what tens of thousands of self-published authors are going to end up earning through their ebooks. At the very least, it’s a high and concrete platform from which to promote your other works. You want to turn that down over fears the stone you’ve polished might turn out to be a diamond? To me, that sounds like a good way to stall out right where you are, to end up the same place ten years down the road as you are today.

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I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.
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