Yet another interesting event has taken place in this ever-changing world of publishing. In the past week, million-plus ebook selling indie author John Locke has signed an agreement with Simon & Schuster to put out the print versions of his Donovan Creed series (and possibly others). This is the same publisher that also has a partnership with ebook sensation Amanda Hocking. What's going on over at S&S?
This deal is very interesting, to say the least. For comparison, a traditional publishing contract would deal with virtually all aspects of a book: the pricing, the versions (hardback, paperback, ebook, etc.), where to distribute (U.S. only, North America, World, etc.), and so on. Amanda Hocking's deal is mostly similar to this deal, as she is having S&S take over the heavy lifting of a small set of her successful books. Locke's deal, on the other hand, is really a major departure from the traditional publishing model.
Possibly the biggest part of the deal is the fact that S&S is going to be starting a whole new imprint, John Locke Books, to release the Donovan Creed books under. Talk about negotiation skills! This imprint will only release the print versions of his books - the ebook rights Locke himself retained, and will presumably continue to sell. Pricing of his ebooks may or may not remain where they have been, but that's his call, since he kept those rights. His books are anticipated to start going on sale in February of 2012.
What seems to be the biggest question, and probably the most important, especially for S&S, is: what will the print versions be priced at? Some thoughts out there are that they will need to be as cheap as possible in order to have chance at competing with the ebook versions, which presently sell for $.99 each (U.S. currency). I'm wondering if S&S hasn't decided that it will treat the print version as a separate entity, wholly different and distinct from the ebook version, and therefore will price them as they usually price paperbacks. Either way, this is a unique deal that will be watched closely in the coming months, by publishers, traditionally published authors, and indie/self-published authors alike.
I know I'd like to fend off deals like this with a stick, so I best get writing. And you should too!