The book publishing industry has been turned on its head in recent years with the advent of easily accessible and economical choices which enables authors to self publish their works. Added to this has been the rapid increase in the popularity of e-books.
This is not to say that self publishing is the easy path to fame and fortune, as there are many hurdles, obstacles and traps that await the inexperienced. However, as an author it does open up an avenue that was unavailable a few years ago. For me, I knew I had three choices when I wanted to publish my first book.
I could submit my pitch and manuscript to any number of literary agents and publishers and hope that one may just possibly be interested enough to contact me. As any writer knows, this route needs a thick skin as rejections are frequent, and being totally ignored is even more frequent. Then, if you are successful in finding a publisher, your works are then fully controlled by them.
The second route available was vanity publishing. This is where you as an author pay for the publishing of your work, and of course accept the financial risks involved. All marketing and distribution is your responsibility as well, so it requires a substantial financial outlay.
Then lastly was self publishing. Commonly called POD (Print on demand) now. I was hesitant at first as I have many years experience in the printing industry and POD always had a quality downside. But in recent years technology has improved to the point where it is almost impossible to tell the difference between an offset printed or POD produced book.
In the end I chose self publishing because firstly it offered a quality product at a very reasonable per unit cost and did not require a large financial outlay up front. Secondly because of the distribution channels available, including e-book delivery. And thirdly because I retain my independence and control over my work. The down side is that I am responsible for all editing, proofing, design and marketing of my books.
Every author will make different choices, but at least now there are choices and this can only be good writers.
The one issue of concern on the horizon though is one of price. Are we going to see a repetition of what happened to the music industry? Free e-books are making their way into the mainstream market now via large publishers wishing to gain a foothold in the e-book market. While this is legitimate, I worry about copying and sharing of e-books, which we all know affected the music industry very badly.