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.
14 thoughts on “Understanding Self Publishing”
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There has been a lot of negativity aimed at self publishing and indies in recent days, mainly by those connected with the so-called establishment publishing houses and by some on the fringe. Its high time they all took a step back and accepted that the market is a big place with room for everybody. :)
Jack, they might be getting a little desperate. They’re calling down artillery on their own positions…
The only victim here is the reputation of the craft itself.
They ‘I’m a pro and you’re not’ crowd is making us look like a pack of back-biting idiots.
Which is why I said there is room within the market place for all of us Andrew :)
Absolutely. The question is – Will they tone it down and see that there’s room for all of us?
Let’s hope they can stop the sniping and just get along.
Great article, Derek. There is indeed a lot of resentment from the establishment these days. There always is, when it is threatened by new and fresh forces, by powerful new voices.
I look at it as a transitional period. Any time there’s major change, some people will be threatened. The only choice is: adapt or die. Some are adapting, and they will be the ones who can best show the others that self-publishing is just another option, and one worth trying.
Another fine post Derek.
It’s fun getting around the gatekeepers, the traditional publishers.
Although they became very elite and exclusive because of the limited number of paper books that a finite number of publishers could physically process(find, edit, cover, etc) per year.
The internet and devices like laptops, tablet and smartphones, has brought about a revolution of communication that is not yet fully tapped.
At the moment people all over the world have discovered this new toy, this ability to connect with the rest of the world, not only through short messages like emails and tweets, but also by writing their very own book and e publishing.
I think the flood of e-books will calm down.
Dedicated writers will continue to write while the rest of the world has had their fill and goes on to some new toy.
But they’ll still have e-books to read.
E-books aren’t inferior or second class. They’re progress.
The freedom of expression aspect is what makes me like self-publishing a lot. Great post, and thanks a lot for sharing.
I certainly hope to see more of the successful ebooks published as paperbacks in due course as I sincerely hope there will be a market for real books for a few more generations.
I always publish a paperback version of my novels Lindy Lou. Obviously, they sell only a few copies compared to ebook sales now, but I think it’s important to leave a little more than just foot prints in the sand. (Or a file on a Kindle!) If for no other reason at all, it will offer a chance for my grandchildren to read my words after I’m long gone. That’s good enough reason for me.
Funny, Derek, as I am sitting here holding my paperback copy of Vandalism Of Words, on the first page you say “this book is only available in electronic formats…” ~Anne
Oh, I really should change that, shouldn’t I Anne! But it’s printed on paper, so I can’t now!!! lol :)
It was originally only meant to be published as an ebook, just for a bit of fun. But after a few months I had a lot people asking for it in paperback, so I changed my mind.
A funny little story about what a book can do that an ebook can’t. One of my blog readers told me they saw someone reading the paperback version of Vandalism on the subway in Delhi. So it was well worth the effort, just to hear about that one reader.
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