What do you know about self-publishing?
Self-publishing has come in for its fair share of bashing over the last year or so by those who seem to either fear it, misunderstand it, or simply have their selfish grievances about new writers playing in their sandpit.
Most of the articles and posts I have read that deride self-publishing, and even worse, conduct bitter attacks against the validity, capability or worthiness of self-published authors, are in my mind written by those who have failed to grasp what the future holds. Additionally, that this future is here now, and will not be going away.
The most basic point missed by many is that the number of people who are reading is increasing rapidly. Steve Jobs famously said in 2008 that no one reads anymore. The advent of the e-reader and particularly Kindle has turned that belief completely on its head. Young readers, in particular, have been brought back to reading by ebooks.
The convenience and ease of use has encouraged those who read a little to read a lot more. The interest in writing and self-publishing as a pass time or even a small side business has increased and those who now want to write, read a lot more as they learn how to improve their skills. In truth, ebooks and self-publishing have brought a whole new readership that hasn’t replaced the number of people who read books in the past – it has added enormously to the number of people who now read regularly.
There are few negatives to fear from self-publishing for those with an open mind and a willingness to accept change. Sure, there are more books being published, but there are more readers. And yes, some ebooks are far from being perfect. But buying a book to read has always been decided upon by readers by looking at the cover, reading the back blurb and thumbing through a few pages to see if it’s worth buying. So nothing has changed and this process remains true with ebook purchases. So those books that are sub-standard won’t pass this test and hence won’t sell. Those that do, will.
One aspect that has changed though is that the old ‘querying’ process to a list of literary agents is rapidly approaching a thing of the past. Why bother with months or years trying to get a book published the old fashioned way when self-publishing has become the ‘fast track’ to a publishing contract? All an author needs to do is write a damn fine book and have it sell like hot cakes and agents and publishers will come running to the door.
Not so easy? Sure, but getting to the top as an author never has been. So really, what has changed?
One thing has changed. The freedom of expression it has granted every writer who wishes to use it. That is what self-publishing has changed, and that is what annoys the hell out of those who thought they held the keys to this privilege.