Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Rise of Self Publishing - Guest Post with S.R. Johannes

The Rise of Self Publishing

In 2013, over 500,000 books were self-published. This was way over 100% more than in 2012. And this number is expected to multiply again in 2014.

Some reasons self-publishing continues to grow:

1. Traditional Publishing is changing every day. It takes longer to get published and longer to get a book out through the traditional route. The process is an old one.Now, traditional publishe rs aren't looking for debut authors as much. They are turning toward book packaging, ghost writers, and using the authors they have worked with in the past or those with a track record. It's harder to break in now than 5 years ago.
Downside - Traditional publishers own print distribution whereas self-publishers can't compete.

2. Authors want more control over their books/careers. With self publishing, authors can write a book, edit it, get it ready, publish it, and own the whole process (good or bad). In an industry that doesn't allow much control, this is appealing - and fun!

Downside - For a while quality suffered, I think that is changing but it is still an issue overall. I also think the lower quality books diminishes the value of good writing and good books.

3. Marketing dollars are scarce. 80% of marketing dollars go to 20% of authors. Many traditional authors have to write their own jacket copy, do their own swag, call libraries and schools for visits and other marketing. So authors are questioning what the traditional publisher can add. Self pubbers do all their own marketing anyway.

Downside - Self publishers have to focus more on online marketing. They can't afford traditional marketing channels.

4. Readers don't know publisher names - Readers don't care where a book  comes from as long as its good and affordable. Now it is much easier to reach a reader through online channels. It used to only be possible through retail stores or catalogs.

Downside - The number of books is growing every year which makes it hard to stand out in a saturated market.

5. Ebook pricing - Traditional ebooks are still priced too high. Self pubbing is growing because most self pubbers have inexpensive ebooks. However, self-pubbers don't sell many print copies anyway. If traditional publishers ever lower the price - they could negatively impact the self-pubbing market.

No matter what is going on in the publishing industry, both sides are changing and evolving. I still believe we will all find a way to coexist at some point - to both thrive - as long as both side continue to be open to change. The industry needs brick and mortar stores, we need ebooks, and we always need good books - no matter how these get to the reader.

Reading will always be in style.

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