The Writer at a Crossroads

When I started writing about ten years ago, I had two goals (other than to create stories that readers enjoyed):  I wanted to be published by a major New York House and I wanted to be a New York Times best seller. I have achieved one of those goals since my last two novels have been published by St. Martin’s Press (Alas, I haven’t made the Times list yet, but that will come.)

Unfortunately, I discovered that being published by a major publisher really was good for my ego and not much else.  I got a modest advance and some fine editing, but the publisher did nothing to promote my books.  The promotional expenses came out of my own pocket.

Enter Amazon and Kindle.  The publishing world has been flipped on its head by Jeff Bezos.  My two St. Martin’s books are still on Amazon.  Unfortunately, my royalty on one is $1.25 and $1.50 on the other. St. Martin’s keeps the rest. Plus, they are priced at a level that discourages many readers.  If I went with Kindle, I could get seventy percent of the list price.  I made the hard choice that so many authors are considering.  When The insanity Plea is published on May 13, 2014, it will be direct through Kindle.  I’ve priced it at $5.95, which is on the higher end of the self-published price range these days (but if it turns out to be too high, I can drop the price).  My royalty at that price will be around $4.00, nearly triple what I get from St. Martin’s for novels that are priced much higher. 
So, I’ve crossed that bridge to the world of self- publishing.  I’ll still spend my own money to promote the book, but at least I know that I don’t have to share the profits.  Am I now a self-publisher for life?  We’ll see how this one does and maybe my next.  By then I should have sufficiently tested the waters to make a log-term decision. 

Larry D. Thompson is a veteran trial lawyer and has drawn on decades of experience in the courtroom to produce riveting legal thrillers. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Thompson founded the Houston trial firm where he still serves as managing partner. The proud father of three grown children, he lives and works in Texas but spends his summers in Colorado, where he crafts his novels and hikes the mountains surrounding Vail. His greatest inspiration came from Thomas Thompson, his brother, who wrote many best-selling true-crime books and novels. 


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. I think more readers need to hear from authors like yourself about the overall publishing process.


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