Why Forgo $500,000.00 Book Advance?

27 Oct


Snippet of an Interview with Barry Eisler

Why did you decide to forgo the $500,000.00 advance you were offered to strike out on your own and publish independently?

The first reason is the digital split. A legacy publisher offers authors 17.5% of the retail price of a digital title, while a self-published author keeps 70%.

The second reason, though I supposed it’s really so separate from the first, is control over pricing and timing. The current business imperative of legacy publishing is to preserve the position of paper and retard the growth of digital.

Legacy publishers try to accomplish this objective by charging too much for paper books and by slaving the digital release to the paper. I believe my sweet spot per-unit price  is around five dollars, and legacy publishers won’t price new digital titles that low – in fact, they went to war with Amazon over Amazon’s $9.99 price point, which they judged too low.

I also want to release the digital version as soon as it’s ready and the paper version afterward because a paper book takes longer to get to market, and legacy publishers insist on holding back the digital version until the paper version is ready.

Anyway, in short, my second reason was that my philosophy on price and timing is antithetical to the price and timing philosophy of legacy publishers, and theirs to mine.

A third reason, by the way, was control over packaging decisions. I’ve lost too many sales to lazy, ill-conceived covers, and prefer to be in charge of such matters.

Read the whole interview at




Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: