As Amazon released news of yet another string of easily accessible eReaders/tablets last week, the signs of a changing world were displayed again. I’ve already mentioned in this post that eBooks are now outselling printed books, and Amazon mentioned last week that 27 of the Top 100 were published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This means that they were self-published.
Hugh Howey’s statement at the top is the main reason why self-publishing is now turning authors on rather than off. The figures speak for themselves and in any industry when a sea-change this large happens, the rulers of the old world eventually bend and transform to the new.
Self-publishing was always seen as vanity publishing in the past and the marks of these shackles can still be detected but are fading fast. It used to exist for those rich enough to show off that they’d had a book published, but now the shift has meant that you can actually sell more books by this route. As Bernard Starr (Psychologist) states, “traditional publishing has thus become, in many instances, the vanity choice.”
The simple fact now is that if you don’t receive a $100,000 advance from a publisher then you will not receive any backing, promotion, or support, and instead will have to build your own platform using social media etc. This is just self-publishing without the freedom and the royalties. If first-time writers continue to send their manuscripts off to traditional publishers and agents then surely this can only be for the perceived status of having a publishers stamp on their book. Vanity?
There is no reason anymore to sit on a manuscript for fifteen years because it was never picked up, all writers must get it out there and engage with their readers, and then start writing the next one. If it’s good enough and sells well, it will generate interest from traditional publishers anyway who will then greet it with a very different reception than if it had come to them cold.
The only downside to self-publishing is when you hear the earnings for the average writer each year. $10,000/year with half earning less than $500. However I’d like to think that given the issues in quality and the absence of any filter in the market, most of these will be terrible writers that don’t deserve to sell any books.
I don’t know about you but the market trend is exciting me and motivating me to finish my first two books just to get them out there. I want people to read them and that should be the point of publishing not who publishes it and how.
How does it make you feel?