If you were a NYT bestselling author, what would it take for you to walk away from a $500K, two-book deal from a major publisher?

I am sure by now you are reading tweets, FB posts, and blogs about how author Barry Eisler did just that. Until today, this author has not even crossed my radar, however, I will be watching how this writer fares over the next couple of years.My guess, he will do just fine.

He and Joe Konrath talk about Eisler's decision to take this drastic step. You can catch up to them on A Newbie's Guide TO Publishing with links to many other sites about this subject.

What would you do if you found  yourself in Eisler's position?

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Oh, that's interesting.  Barry Eisler writes thrillers somewhat like Lee Child's.  I listened to both of them on a Bouchercon forum once.  He's charming, funny, good-looking, open to doing a lot of personal promotion, and writes a pretty good book.


I wish him the best.

I've just added him to my reading list, starting with his latest The Lost Coast, a short story he is selling for $2.99 (ouch). A man who has put this much on the line is worth reading--at least once or twice.
Hope you like his writing.  He's a man's writer, I think.  I recall secret agent stuff with a lot of action, much of it set in Asian countries. One of his protagonists is Asian-American.
It seems this year my reading is all over the board--including guy stuff. Thanks.

Well, if anybody still had doubts about the e-book revolution (me), this news changes everything. 


I can't imagine turning down $500,000.

A half mil? Pfff, I'll spend that at a Twins game later this year.


In all seriousness, no. The only time I would walk away from $500,000 is if it held a gun to my head.

And the same day the NY Times reports a very successful self-publisher with a series on auction in the seven figures:




Nice to have options. Good negotiating tool, that.

The key thing to consider here is not that he is walking away from a half a million dollars but that he is re taining the bulk of the profits off his work and keeping control over the distribution of his book. Also, if he is right, he will see that half mil in his pocket faster than through a traditional pubisher and will keep it out there and make big money off it for a longer period of time. With his already established following seems like a smart business decision.

It would depend entirely on my relationship with the publisher and how much of the $500k I would realistically see and how much of it hinged on ridiculous incentives with little or no promotion.


I still see the traditional route as a tremendous foundation if you want to go on and self publish, simply because it lends credibility. I hate to say it but I have read an awful lot of utter dross by self publishers. Whilst I am prepared that there are many out there who are deserving but remain overlooked by the publishers, that number is massively surpassed by people who cannot even grasp the basics and whose prose is awash with nonsense like 'piercing blue eyes' and 'sent a shiver down my spine.'


That is the equivalent of the X-Factor/American Idol awful audition and it is worrying because it detracts from the rest of the market. 
Well, predictably a 500,000 advance would mean heavy promotion by the publishing house.  They protect their investments.  The other stuff is not so predictable, though it stands to reason that such authors are treated with more respect than the others.


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