While this does require a significant devotion of time, for me it was worth it to follow Joe's progression from traditionally published thriller author to self-published powerhouse. It's also really tempting to look at his success and think, Yeah I could do that.
It wasn't until December of 2010 that he came right out and said that if you're an author you should self-publish, in a blog post appropriately entitled You Should Self-Publish, but it's important to note that at this time, he was selling 1,000 ebooks a day. Pretty compelling evidence.
But Joe had the advantage of coming from the traditional publishing world. He had literary 'street cred', in the form of acceptance by established agents and publishing houses. Can someone who has never been published by traditional publishers duplicate his success?
Well, yeah. Amanda Hocking and John Locke both have.
Which shows that at least in theory, traditional publishers aren't needed. Besides, what is it exactly that a traditional publishing house does for an author? In my mind it's primarily the following three things:
- Marketing and promotion
- Editing and cover design
At some point while I was reading Joe's blog it occurred to me that my friends and I can do all of these things ourselves. I'm a computational biochemist by trade, but I've edited a lot of scientific papers (and written a few of my own as well). Steve is a doctor, but also an excellent artist. Chris is a pilot in the Air Force, but he just got his MBA and is in the process of starting his own business. McKay is an engineer, but also an excellent programmer. Jason is a lawyer, and one time when we were like thirteen I hit him with a toilet brush.
And of course my friends are all busy with their own lives and families, which means at present this is merely going to be a hobby for the most part, but if we can successfully help Sander Crane and R.H. Craft get their stories to readers, who knows what might happen in the future...