Ebook Authors Continue To See Self-Publishing Stigma Disappear
from the no-more-barriers dept
Take this recent story from CNN, which details how Amazon coincided their release of several new e-readers and tablets with a press bit showing how 27 of the top 100 Amazon eBooks are Kindle Direct Publishing books. Considering the outlook on self-publishing before e-publishing came to be somewhat commonplace, numbers like this are significant.
"Most of my months are six-figure months," said Hugh Howey, a 37-year-old Florida author whose "Wool" series of digital books was highlighted by Amazon. "It's more than I ever hoped to make in a year."The article goes on to note how some of these now-successful self-published authors are the same people that could have given up after receiving a dozen rejection slips for their books from agents and publishers. Perhaps more to the point, twenty years ago these authors would have been forced to give up on those books, because the publishing companies were the gatekeepers and publishing books only worked economically because of the kind of scale those publishers could command. Digital printing alleviated some of the need for that scale and allowed for self-publishing, except that then a combination of publishers and brick-and-mortar bookstores acted as the next barrier for self-published authors, such that few in the public could even find a way to buy these books.
The company says some authors, including Theresa Ragen, who appeared in a promotional video during the Amazon event, have sold hundreds of thousands of books.
With the rise of the eBook, the only remaining barriers are the ability to get noticed and the ablility to write a compelling book.
"Fact is that authors no longer need a publisher," Bernard Starr wrote at The Huffington Post. "And more and more writers are awakening to the realization that if you are not a high-profile author who can command large sales, a traditional publisher will do little for you beyond editing and printing your book."Experiences like Howey's are important to highlight, because the inevitable response from detractors of eBook self-publishing will be to point out that it is only a small percentage of self-published authors that are making significant money. Even the CNN article says as much. My response is simple: so what? Did the old system, under which publishers and bookstores acted as gatekeepers, not have similar results, with only a fraction of authors making significant money from their books? And what of all the authors and books who would never be heard under that system? What of the manuscripts that would lay dusty and alone in the drawer?
For Howey, author of the "Wool" series, the direct-publishing platform has opened up a life he never imagined was possible -- one where he is paid to write full-time.
That is the true benefit of self-publishing in the digital age. As the barriers come down and sales go up, the stigma of self-publishing will be buried under all the dollars previously un-published authors are collecting. This despite their playing in a digital realm that would be open to piracy, if people simply refused to support authors. But that isn't happening. Sales are on the rise, and culture is rising with them.