Why the world’s best-selling self-pub author says trad deals are bullshit

HM Ward is one the best-selling authors in the world today, with over four million books sold in the last three years, and she’s done it all herself, not only self-publishing her own books but also designing the covers.

So when she wades in to the self-publishing versus traditional publishing debate, you can be assured she has been there and got the t-shirt – and wade in, she does.

She starts by saying that the things people will tell you you’re passing up if you don’t sign on the traditional line are bullshit and she takes it from there.

Holly Ward talks about authors who get seemingly lucrative multi-book deals which are cancelled after the first book, with the money cut off.

Echoing one of my main points in self-publishing, she says (and the caps are hers): PRINT IS DEAD. There’s no money in print.

Moving on to the issue of editors, Ward says not having an editor is no loss because you’re assuming they know better than you and anyway they’re part of a dying breed because they don’t want to change.

When it comes to “marketing and publicity experts with contacts”, Ward says the experts are few and far between. If the market has shifted to primarily selling intangible goods and you have a panel of people who rock at selling paper, then you have a serious problem.

She says: “The experts aren’t there. They’ll put you on a mailing list with 2K subscribers that’s WAY past its heyday, and then tell you to buy a bookbub ad (on your dime).

“Authors are expected to market themselves, traditionally published or Indie. If you fail, even after being picked up by one of the big boys, it’s your fault. It’s never their fault.”

In fact, Ward says the big publishers are looking at the indies when they research serials or check the market to see what unexpected stuff is going on.

She definitely walks the talk, saying: “I’ve had the big 5 come to me (after refusing over $1.5 million in contracts) to ask me to blurb their book. I’m 100% Indie and pretty much told them they have no idea how to do anything when I turned them down. They still came asking. You are in good company, and we tend to be more forthright and supportive.”

The informative, entertaining and motivating diatribe can be read in full on HM Ward’s website.