That headline might seem relatively commonplace, but this is a pretty amazing development – maybe even more amazing than Amanda Hocking’s success. The news (emphasis added):
Self-published author John Locke has signed a deal with a traditional publisher. The print editions of John Locke Books will be sold and distributed by Simon & Schuster, the company announced Monday.
Locke was the first — and so far, only — self-published author to sell a million Kindle ebooks. He writes thrillers starring the character Donovan Creed, and has published a popular how-to book, “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!”
It appears from Simon & Schuster’s announcement that Locke will retain control over his ebook publishing, while print editions of his books will be sold and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
This is the biggest self-publishing/traditional publishing hybrid yet – aside from JK Rowling’s Pottermore, where’s she’s self-releasing the ebooks via a mainstream partnership. This is totally different, in that Locke started as a self-publisher, and doesn’t have to lose any of his independence. Simon & Schuster were willing to give up the huge amount of money they could potentially get from his ebook rights to sell some print copies. In effect, they’re saying we can’t do it any better than he’s doing it himself.
I’ve always admired the arrangement Beck has had – he’s released major label records, while still retaining the independence to put out small-label records. This is very much a model that publishers should adopt, and the Locke deal is setting the template.