Last night I was pleased to see a comment show up on my post from August about Yog’s Law. In it, I theorized that Yog’s Law does still apply to self-published authors, but maybe not in the same way that some people who are anti-self-publishing use it. I’m just going to drop the whole comment in here, because that, and the blog post, sum up my feelings on the matter pretty perfectly.
Yes, Yog’s Law still applies to self-publishing, because self-publishing is a category of commercial publishing.
Sure, in self-publishing the publisher only has one author, but if the publisher can’t see his/her way clear to putting 15% of the cover price of each book sold into a separate bank account labeled “Author’s Money” (or “Retirement different hobby.
The money flow is still toward the author. That it’s only moving from one pocket to another in the same pair of pants is immaterial.
The individual, in his/her persona as publisher, should say “Would I do this/spend this if the author were Joe Schmoe, writer?” and the person, in her/his persona as author should, simultaneously, say “Would I sell my book to this guy if it were the Joe Schmoe Publishing Company?”
As you say, the Publisher and the Writer are two different people, and wear two different hats, even if they wear the same pair of shoes.
Writers who think about self-publishing should remember that, if they don’t want unhappy surprises.
The author of this comment is one of the most famous people to ever comment on this little blog, and that’s kinda cool. James D. Macdonald used to play around on a listserve back in the early days of the internets. Back in those days, he used the handle “Yog,” presumably taken from Yog-Sothoth, the Lurker at the Threshold from the Cthulu mythos.
He knows a little about Yog’s Law. He came up with it. So that was kinda cool. I’m guessing he’s got a Google Alert or something set up and just now found his way around to the post, but I appreciate him stopping in. Yog’s Law definitely does apply to self-publishing, even though as Mr. Macdonald says, it may just be moving money from one pants pocket to the next. But it doesn’t apply in the sense that writers shouldn’t sometimes lay out money to bring their books to market, because as I said in the post, sometimes we take off our writer hat and put on our publisher hat. And it was nice to have the creator of Yog’s Law stop by and agree with me.
There are a lot of potholes on the road to self-publishing success, and I’ve driven through plenty of them. But the road does eventually go somewhere, so know that there is a destination involved, not just more winding roads.