Industry Reactions to Jackie Collins’ Self-Publishing Experiment

By Maryann Yin Comment

GalleyCat contributor Jeff Rivera interviewed bestselling novelist Jackie Collins for’s So What Do You Do? feature.

Collins revealed her plans to self-publish an updated version of her 1979 novel, The Bitch, as an eBook. Collins (pictured, via) will continue working with her traditional publisher for other books.

Follow this link to read the whole interview. Here’s an excerpt: “If it ends up doing very well, I will continue to self-publish books probably because I’ve got a series of short stories that have never been published. And I’ve always said to my publisher, ‘I’d like to do a book of short stories.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, short stories don’t sell.’ And dealing with publishers, it might be fun just to deal with myself. I always say, ‘If you have faith in something, do it yourself.'”

Several members of the industry shared reactions to Collins’ interview, including Stephanie Plum mystery series author Janet Evanovich, Dzanc Books founder/publisher Steve Gillis, Westwind Communications president Scott Lorenz and Johnson Literary Agency, Inc. literary agent Caren Estesen.

Janet Evanovich“I don’t know how people find time to do all these things. I can barely keep up with my writing schedule much less self-publish an eBook.  And actually Random House is doing a good job.”

Steve Gillis: “As a publisher and a writer, I see eBooks as no different than print books in terms of how they are best presented to the public.  A legitimate writer still wants – and indeed in most instances needs for a myriad of reasons – a real established publisher to handle their work. There mere fact that it is in some ways easier to produce and distribute an eBook one’s self rather than the cost and logistical complications of a print book in no way negates the importance of having one’s work vetted, accepted, edited and handled by a real publisher. Flooding the market with self-published works simply because its easy to slap an eBook out there in the long run only diminishes the value of all works and the significance of being truly able to call one’s self published.”

Scott Lorenz: “Most writers would love to have a publisher promote their work, it’s been the business model of choice for decades. However now in the digital age writers have the option to publish themselves and eliminate the middleman i.e. agents, traditional publishers etc. Since distribution of the books is being handled by AMAZON, Smashwords and others it allows a direct connection from writer to reader. But, most authors are not marketers or promoters and those tasks do take time and expertise. So even though the middleman can be eliminated not all writers want them eliminated as they do provide valuable services. As Amanda Hocking (an e-author phenom) stated, she was happy to get the $2 million book deal from St. Martin Press so she could focus on writing.”

Caren Estesen: “After I read that Ms. Collins was going to re-publish The Bitch in eBook format, I was excited. There are so many great books I remember reading as a teenager (and sometimes sneaking in as a pre-teen) by her and by others like VC Andrews, Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins that I’d love to see in ebook format. I like that Ms. Collins is taking charge of her publishing career in bringing in new readers and making her books accessible to fans who already know her books. I think eBooks are the new mass market paperbacks. They should be affordable and accessible so that readers can get them whenever they want.”