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Penguin Random House swoops on Ehrlin's bestseller

7 September 2015

The speed with which Penguin Random House has moved to do a world English language deal for Ehrlin's bestselling picture book, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, is an indication of how much the big publishers are now relying on self-publishers to produce saleable books. Once the author has established a market, it's easy to see why the publishers want to jump on board. The less easy question to answer is why the author would go for it.

The attraction of the support that Penguin Random House (PRH) can bring to the deal is clear. Perhaps the editorial services are not the point, although the book is to have a fresh cover design. What must be really attractive to the author is the publisher's sales and marketing machines and how much PRH's international reach can take the book to new audiences.

The publishers have presumably paid a substantial advance, which it's not difficult for them to do, given the fact that the book has already proved that it's a bestseller. But for the author this is pretty much bound to be a worse deal financially. Leaving the advance on one side, the royalty rate will in no way compare to the amount per book which Ehrlin would have been earning from his own edition.

But maybe that's not the point. The author will know that his book will be better published and will have a wider reach. Most authors in this situation would take the same decision, sometimes because they want editorial support as well. But not all. Self-published or Indie authors have more choices these days, providing that they can make their books into bestsellers.