New York Times religion columnist Mark Oppenheimer says five things got him to self-publish his Dan Savage biography:
1. I finished a glossy magazine article with a lot of good stuff left over.
2. Despite the fact that space on the web is free, despite the fact the web should liberate newspapers and magazines to do truly long-form stuff, there is still no reliable way to get a 12,000-word (or, increasingly, a 5,000-word) piece to the masses.
3. Creative control.
5. I had a good editor already.
Oppenheimer says his publishing project cost him about $500 up front, and he’ll get almost 90 cents on the dollar from sales — much more than if he had only used Amazon to peddle the book. (Oh, and that “good editor” he mentions? That’s his wife.)
How’s it selling after a couple of days? I asked. “My web guy is in Frankfort, so we’ll have metrics when he gets back. Fingers crossed…”