End-of-Year Talk About Self-Publishing

POSTED ON Dec 29, 2010

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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People are talking, ebooks are selling, print books are still here, but the pace of change seems to be picking up.

Here are some things you could hear around the web in the past few days.

Publishers say they are keenly aware that the ground is shifting, but most don’t see the situation as dire.
Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times

Art of McSweeny’s: A Heartwarming Work of Staggering Genius: In case anyone is still wondering whether books are still on life support, this book should put those claims to rest.
Jennifer Kennard, Letterology

The Gatekeeper is still controlling the industry. Still looking for new writers, offering them 17.5% ebook royalties while he takes 52.5%. Still treating authors badly, while claiming they should be grateful. Still playing by the old rules, even though there are now new ones. Still trying to stay relevant in a changing industry and a dying business model.
Joe Konrath, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

It seems that the objection to self-publishing by the cadre of modern-day inquisitors had less to do with truth and more to do with ideology-how to control how book buyers chose to spend their dollars and how to keep authors from going independent and wrecking the status quo.
Brian Scott, Book Publishing News

Whatever stigma vanity publishing may have had has diminished substantially for both readers and authors,” notes Russ Grandinetti, v-p of Kindle Content, who is also involved with CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing arm.
Jim Milliot and Michael Coffey, Publishers Weekly PW Select

Like many famous authors, a growing numbers of professors are “revolting against book and journal pricing” by self-publishing their work or creating custom course packets that can then be copied at a low rate.
Catlin Tucker, Examiner.com

There’s a much bigger wild card sitting out there that impacts what’s happening: e-books. Publishing’s business model is transforming as more people switch to e-reading devices or tablets, and it will likely take years before you start to see firm or expected standards—i.e., “normalcy.”
Jane Friedman, Writer Unboxed

Along with other executives, (Brent) Sampson says that if the self-publishing industry is to continue to expand, author education must be a top priority. . . Author education will be a “major thrust” for Author Solutions in 2011, (CEO) Weiss says.
Jim Milliot and Michael Coffey, Publishers Weekly PW Select

If an author has the choice of two distribution models, one that costs nothing and has no gatekeeper and the other has lots of gatekeepers and costs a lot of money, a lot of people will go with the free one.
Seth Godin, quoted in Los Angeles Times

This past year has seen tremendous growth and innovation in self-publishing, with books moving to mobile platforms, into apps, expanding with content from other media, and being re-thought in fundamental ways.

At the same time, the publishing industry itself is undergoing massive fundamental change. Systems—like book distribution—that have been in place for many years are coming under continued pressure. The number of points at which content is being generated, curated, published and distributed has exploded.

I wonder what 2011 will bring for self-publishing, and for the wider world of book publishing in general. All thoughts welcome.

Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by Kathryn Rotondo, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kathryn_rotondo/2258367736

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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