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Next part is the advance. My super simplistic explanation of an advance is simply getting paid some of your royalties, in a chunk, upfront. Stay with me here. So, they take into account various factors that help them estimate the number of copies your book will sell. Well, as I said, the advance is like the publisher paying you some of those royalties ahead of time, at the beginning of the process, to get you started.

Make sense? I had absolutely no idea. When I received the offer, the royalty rate fell within the range I had expected. The advance was slightly more than I had expected. What about the numbers? Was it worth it? So many more questions arose.

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My mind was swirling. There are aspiring authors everywhere for whom a book offer would be a dream come true. I felt very humbled and very honored. At the same time, I battled pride, foolishly believed this somehow bumped me up to a new level. A huge part of me said I would be crazy to let the opportunity go. Would I ever have the opportunity again? Let me be clear. I LOVE that publishers are seeking out bloggers very smart move and that bloggers are going for it!

Yes, this was an exceptional opportunity. Right now? Wacky, flip-flopping emotions aside, there were very valid reasons to pursue it. Tell Your Time is about time management. Bottom line? It was hard to justify adding seven times the content just to make it fit into a traditional-sized book. The reason I was able to sell as many ebooks as I have right out of the gate is because there are hundreds of people my affiliates helping me spread the word.

I am overwhelmingly grateful.

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Accepting this book offer would mean cutting off my affiliates. I simply did not feel right about ditching them because a big publisher came knocking. While the advance and the royalty rate were lovely, I was making a whole lot more per book selling them on my own. At the time I was only projecting, now I know for sure. As I mentioned, traditional publishing takes a very long time.

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  8. Good or bad, in the age of characters and instant everything, a year or more is an eternity. These days, a lot can happen in weeks or months, let alone a year.

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    But things are different now. How do I get through this? When will it get back to normal? This is actually a chance of a lifetime. How do we reinvent what we do? I had to wonder, while I waited for my book to roll off the presses, what opportunities would pass me by? Would my ideas still be fresh over a year later? I would have to stop my own sales. How much would be lost? Would I lose marketing momentum?

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    • Publication.

    I would have to put other projects on hold while I hammered out a full-length manuscript. What would I miss? A common misperception among new authors is that the publishing company will handle the bulk of the marketing. In the old world…authors created the product and relied on their publishing company to market it. But that world is dead. It provides something for them to leverage. A first-time author rarely gets help from the publisher.

    Harry Potter gets promoted. So did Freakonomics. But out of the 75, titles published last year in the US alone [], I figure were effectively promoted by the publishers. This leaves a pretty big gap. Then I would have to start from scratch, by myself especially if I had alienated my affiliates by then. It seemed like a pretty big step backward.

    more on this story

    But I do think the traditional publishing process, as we know it, will. Times are changing; it simply cannot keep up. The world is going digital. We see it everywhere—digital TV, email, cameras, phones, music, shopping online and the list goes on. In fact, they already are. I like it and I put a lot of time and energy into it. But honestly, there are probably thousands of manuscripts sitting on desks or computers right now maybe even yours that would have an equal or better shot.

    Because I have a platform blog, social media presence, etc. In fact, I think it will be more and more unusual for authors not to have blogs. Because most bloggers have a following.

    A platform is gold in the book industry. Why do you think famous people have always gotten great book deals? Because they have platforms. Think about it. So much of book selling is marketing.

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    The writing is the easy part. Spreading the word about a book so people know it exists and will therefore buy it, is the hard part. An author with an established following like from their blog makes the marketing part a whole lot easier.

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    If you were relying on word-of-mouth marketing, shelf space which is always scarce and the occasional media snippet, how long do you think it took for hundreds of people to hear about that book? Guess what? In a day. What if I wrote about the book leading up to the release? And after the release? And then I posted about giveaways and got my other blogging friends to post about it.

    And I tweeted about it. And they tweeted about it.

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    And I talked about it on Facebook and, and, and…. You might as well start now. Let me issue a word of caution. A blog or social media presence is not a magic bullet. A lot of work. And then even more work. And the work will continue. A blog is a great way to build your platform. Hone your writing skills in the process.

    Others are singing the same song…and some are turning down a lot more than I did think half a million dollars.