The Wonderful World of Publishing, Options available to writers.
Researching the global acceptance of self publishing has been an interesting task, in this article I am not arguing against traditional publishing (the route I have personally taken) I have gathered information to help writers make informed decision when they are ready to publish. Every author has the right to make their own publishing decisions, for niche writers it is a market that will work well. I will also dispel the snobbery surrounding alternative methods of publication.
In light of advances in technology and changes in how we read books, there are plenty of options open to writers in the 21st Century, including e-publishing. Self-publishing used to be looked down on by ‘real writers’, nowadays there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing but depending on your writing goals it could be a successful route and be quicker and more financially rewarding than the traditional publishing route.
If you have reached the end of your editing and your manuscript is ready to submit, you may want to read this first. You have a choice. In the olden days (maybe a decade ago) self-publishing was seen as what you did after you pursued a publishing contract with the publishing houses and failed. Nowadays many authors are turning to short runs or e-publishing as an initial choice, there is a growing trend amongst readers to access material and resources this way and there are even annual book awards for self-published books. It has been known for self-published author to beat an author on a publishing house list to an award, beating other titles that had been traditionally published. Advances in technology also mean that self published books no longer look inferior to mainstream publications. Of course to be a best seller in that league you would need relentless marketing.
So are you considering self-publishing as a route to marketing your writing?
What it means
Self-publishing means taking personal responsibility for the management and production of your content. This means the publication of any book by the author, without involving an established publisher. You are responsible for the whole process which also means, you are in control. There are plenty of services and companies willing to take your money if you wish to outsource, cover designs, layout and formatting, proof-reading, price, distribution, marketing and PR. Even authors who choose to pay others to do some of the hard work can produce short runs for under £500.00.
Some Publishing houses have had to reduce the amount of books they list. In 2008, for the first time in history, more books were self-published than those published traditionally. In 2009, 76% of all books released were self-published, while publishing houses reduced the number of books they produced. Self-publishing used to be an expensive option. Preparing the book cost, purchases had to be bulk bought and you would need somewhere to store them. (Bastable, ‘The Telegraph’, May 2013)
New Technology has led to advancement and changes across the whole publishing field, including how authors can produce their own books. Let’s look at the variety of different publishing options open to you.
Print on demand technology allows the author to print books only once they are ordered through global distribution channels like Amazon.com, Online retailing and an increase of the number of people who shop online, dominant players like Amazon have enticed readers away from bookshops into an online environment. The popularity of ebook readers and tablets and the changes in the shopping habits of readers. Ebooks are a tempting option for the self-publishing writer as they don’t cost a lot to produce.
Money, Money, Money
Mark Bastable, an author who has had three books traditionally published and then turned to self-publishing wrote an article for ‘The Telegraph’, published last month (May 2013) promoting self-publishing. He states; “It can be lucrative, though. David Gaughran, author of the e-publishing manual Let’s Get Digital, calculates that nearly a third of Amazon’s topselling books are self-published. The writers of those books are collecting 70% of the purchase price, which is three times what they’d be given by a traditional publisher.”
It is NOT Vanity Publishing
Self-publishing is not ‘vanity publishing’, it is no longer seen as the last resort for the talentless. Quite the opposite, self-publishing is a proactive choice for any writer. Thanks to authors like Stephen King who decided to serialise his novel ‘The Plant’ online in 2000. (He reportedly made half a million dollars from the experiment.) Self-publishing is a flexible and viable option. Why else would writers repeat the process or recommend self-publishing to others?
If you still need convincing maybe this will help, a list of Self-Published Best Sellers!
Self-Published, Best Sellers
Laurence Sterne‘s Tristram Shandy (1759-67) was self-published.
Between the Acts is the final novel by Virginia Woolf which was self-published by her Hogarth Press.
Ezra Pound‘s A Lume Spento was sold by him for six pence each.
John Ruskin at the age of 11 sold a book of poetry he self-published with his father.
Other authors who self-published include Marcel Proust, Martin Luther, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jane Austen, and Derek Walcott.
Contemporary authors have also self-published. J. K. Rowling sold the e-book versions of the Harry Potter series directly from her website, Pottermore.
Will you join the revolution generation?