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John Locke Goes Traditional

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.

  • http://www.jameswlewis.com James W. Lewis

    Wow, this is definitely setting a precedent! I couldn’t imagine an author wanting to give up ebook $$$ if they’re doing just fine without a major publisher. Looks like the “big dogs” are finally getting some common sense!

  • http://amarquette333.wordpress.com Ann Marquette

    CONGRATULATIONS John Locke. Awesome :-)

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/emilyhillwriter/ Emily Hill

    So, correct me if I’m wrong…Locke’s printed versions will show up some 12 – 18 months after he, himself, has leveraged his eBook royalties on the same content. Any worth-their-salt investigative reporter will want to know (a) who’s John attorney; and (b) who’s John’s agent.

    Where’s my abacus…he sells 1mil of some title and clears $600,000 – $750,000 (presuming $.99) on his eBook version and after S&S publishes the same content in soft cover some time later he picks up probably another >$1 million taking advantage of Legacy Publisher distribution and marketing bang.

    The developments in this landscape are more fun to watch than Napster was.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/ronfritsch/ Ron Fritsch

    I agree with you, Emily. Watching the collapse of the old order is always fun.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/redsky/ Danielle Bruckert

    It helps dispel the myth that traditional publishers won’t look at self published books – I mean, of course they will! You’ve just gotta sell a lot of books first ;-) Once you’ve proven you can sell your own book, you can give away a large chunk of royalties for someone else to do the same thing on a hopefully larger scale.

    • http://www.avharrison-publishing.com Emily Hill

      Oh My Gosh! Danielle! I want to know you! You are sooo spot on! Brava for that statement. Personally, it works for me to sell in the hundreds in historical fiction than sell-out and go through the BS of agent-kissing. The IndieAuthors who are’getting it right’ as far as I’m concerned are matching good writing style to popular genre like…Zoe Winters, for one.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/redsky/ Danielle Bruckert

    I think you’d like this post Emily: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/08/end-is-nigh.html
    The agent is Jane Dystel according to the blog.
    I think the important lesson is knowing when you are on the right side of the bargaining, i.e you don’t need their deal, and then simply asking for what you want. (I’ve also skipped the traditional route for now since I despise ass-kissing).

  • susan james

    Good for him, helps all of us everywhere. I’m using http://www.thedigitalin.com to get as succesful as he is!