This Week in the Blogs: November 30 – December 6, 2009

by Joel Friedlander on December 6, 2009 · 1 comment

The talk this week has continued the discussion of “traditional” publishers entering the world of subsidy (some would say “vanity”) publishing. With Thomas Nelson and Harlequin Books each establishing new subsidiaries to make the publishing process available to anyone who chooses to pay for their services, it seems to me the ground is shifting under us.

At the very least, by establishing and institutionalizing a two-level publishing system—divided between the “we pay you” authors and the “you pay us” self-publishers—publishers may well create a model that will continue to spread throughout the business.

Let’s say Nelson’s Wingbow Press and Harlequin’s DellArte Press are successful at capturing a lot of dollars that would otherwise go to Lulu.com or other providers. It’s not that hard to imagine every other publisher jumping into the action. Why should they let all those lovely profits just pass them by?

The Landscape Will Change


Soon there could be a landscape of “vanity” imprints mirroring every major player in the book business. As aspiring self-publishers look around, would they be more likely to publish with Lulu.com, or with the self-publishing arm of, let’s say, Doubleday? Couldn’t Doubleday’s self-publishing arm (Tripleday?) capitalize on the Doubleday name to command premium prices from self-publishers?

I was thinking of a term we could use to refer to this phenomenon, and came up with Vanipub, but it sounded to medicinal. How about Pubsidy Publishing? The union of publishers and the subsidy publishing model.

In any event, here are the blogs that inspired the most interest this week. Enjoy.

Around the Blogs

April Hamilton on Indie Author
Et Tu, Indie Author?
“Maven of self-pub I may be, but even I realize self-pub is just one option among several for getting one’s work to a readership. Though I honestly believe it’s the most practical option for most debut authors in today’s chilly trade publishing environment, self-pub is just a means to an end—and the end is the thing that matters.”

Mark Barrett on Ditchwalk
The New Money Flow
“If you’re a writer you have to do more and know more about your own business than ever before. You have to be good at watching your pennies, good at making deals, and good at judging the character of the people you do business with. You’re also going to need good advisers, good publishing contacts and good support groups to deal with the unending parade of offers, scams, services and cutting-edge technological developments that will appear and disappear in the next decade.”

Henry Baum on 3:AM Magazine
Countering the Myth: Why Self-Publishing Works
“All you need to know about self-publishing is this: it gives people an avenue to publish who might have had the door shut in their face otherwise. And if there’s even the possibility that a book is worth attention, then self-publishing has enduring value.”

Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware Blog
Blurred Distinctions: Vanity Publishing vs Self-Publishing
“There’s been a lot of effort, in the discussion over DellArte (and, to a much lesser extent, West Bow), to establish an unambiguous dividing line between ‘self-publishing’ and ‘vanity publishing.’”

Mick Rooney on POD, Self-Publishing and Independent Publishing
End the Publishing Terminology or be Damned
“I think it is time we dropped this debate, dropped the labels we some quickly assign to every description of book publishing, and focused on what is important – the book and the reader.”

Henry Baum on Self Publishing Review
Once Again: Vanity Publishing Doesn’t Matter
“The way that a book was published doesn’t matter at all. All that matters is the book… the book is the book, regardless of how it’s been printed.”

Switching Gears, EBooks in 2010

JAKonrath on A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing
JA Konrath’s 2010 eBook Predictions
“JA Konrath’s 2010 Ebook Predictions—My guesses for the upcoming year…”

And for something a bit different …

David Thorne on 27bslash6
Please Design a Logo for Me. With Pie Charts. For Free..
“I quite like Simon, he is like the school teacher that would pull you aside after class and list, for an hour, every bad aspect of your personality and why you will never get anywhere while you nod and pretend to listen while thinking about how tight Sally Watts jeans were that day.”

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