Author and publishing watchdog James D. MacDonald has in times gone by proclaimed that ”Money should flow toward the author,” better known as Yog’s Law. In today’s day and age this law holds true if, and only if, an author is traditionally published. Once an author reaches a predetermined limit of rejection letters, following the submission of their manuscript, a value determination needs to be made. Should the manuscript be re-written? Or, if the author still believes in the manuscript and its marketability, they may decide to turn to non-traditional publishing sources. This is the cross-road where “Yog’s Law” terminates; at least temporarily. To wit:
“Self-publishing is the part of the map where the author hires the editor, hires the cover artist, the typesetter, the proofreader, contracts the printer, buys the ISBN, arrangesdistribution, promotion, marketing, and carries out every other aspect of publishing. What you need to recall is that while the author is the publisher, “publisher” and “author” are separate roles. One of the classic mistakes I see with self-published authors is that they don’t put “paying the author” in their business plan as an expense. The money still needs to move from one pocket to another. Those pockets may be in the same pair of pants, but that movement must be in the business plan, and it has to happen.” (Emphasis Added)
The difference here is very similar to a sports analogy. The author tried out for the major league and was cut. Once the decision is made to go to non-traditional sources (check your ego) you’re a minor league player and you’re in a “pay-to-play” environment. Inherent in this personal choice are risks, investments of financial resources and investments of personal resources . . . mostly time. It is the attention to detail on these investments that result in the success or failure of an author’s book. Most importantly, it is the key difference between the traditional and non-traditional published author. The author’s responsibilities weigh heavily on actively securing a return on their investment, goals and objectives. Then, and only then, will money “flow toward the author.” This route is certainly not a bar, assuming that an author has produced a well-written and marketable book, for later success as an author in the traditional market. Many authors have successfully made the leap from the minor league to the major league having first gone the non-traditional route. Under this scenario, “Yog’s law” may have some validity.
“If you can’t afford to put 10-15% of the cover price of every copy sold into a separate savings account, you can’t afford to self-publish.”