Barry Eisler explains why he's passing up a $500,000 book contract to self-publish:
[I]f I'm right about all this, and I'm pretty sure I am, I should be able to beat the contract about halfway through the fourth year.
... To develop some data to go with the theory, in February I self-published a short story, The Lost Coast, featuring one of my series characters, a very nasty piece of work named Larison. I priced it at $2.99, which is a premium price for a short story, just to see how my writing would do in the new environment and even with the handicap of a relatively high price. It's been selling steadily and is currently at #1,088 on the Kindle list (and #13 and #17 on Amazon's short stories bestseller lists, which is good because the top twenty come up in the first page view). It definitely got a boost from the online discussion that followed my announcement, but even before all that it was on track to earn me about $30,000 in a year through Amazon, B&N, and Smashwordsnot bad at all for a short story.
Here's hoping more follow his lead. It's time to break the corrupt, inept, woefully inefficient book publishing industry. Eisler's personal blog is here.