Is it just me or does seem that everyone is now self publishing? I can’t tell whether it's just because I self publish that I’m suddenly more aware of others taking the plunge, or whether over the last year there has been an increase? And what does it mean for writers and readers alike?
I’ve read numerous blogs over the last few months which proclaim that as self publishers we’re at the heart of a new frontier; an exciting time of power to the authors, as they start to take control back and be in charge of their own future.
But is it really like that? Are we doing it to be in charge, or are we doing it because we’ve been so knocked down by the traditional model of publishing that we feel this is our only option?
It’s no secret that I want a traditional publishing deal. I’ve spent many a day fantasising about seeing my book on a bookshop shelf, or being on a tain and spotting someone reading my book. I’m currently writing a book that I’ve wanted to write for sometime, the one that is the most commercial, with the best hook and hopefully the best writing I’ve ever done. It’s the one I was thinking of subbing around. Except now I’m not going to bother. When I finish, and it’s been professionally line and copy edited, it’s going straight to Amazon.
I can’t put my finger on why the sudden change has occured. I know that we’re all bored of Fifty Shades of Grey’s success, but I think that it's been an undeniable game changer. No matter what you actually think of the books (I’ve not read them), you can’t deny that they’ve shown the world just what a self published author can acheive.
And it’s not only E.L James. Amazon can boast a number of authors that have sold over 250,000 books. My debut novel is sat in the top ten chart for humour, a chart that is currently dominated by a writer called Nick Spalding. The Bookseller recently featured Spalding as the latest author from Amazon to have reached that sales figure. Wow. When you get to that figure, that’s when the agents and the publishers come to you.
Is self publishing going to be the new submissions process? Prove you’ve got what people want to to read? That you can build a fan base? That you now how to market yourself?
It is much nicer to have your books on Amazon and if you do well you might get an email in your inbox with amazing news, rather than the wrist slashing rejections that are so hard to pull yourself up from. Is this trend going to make it even harder to go down the traditional slush-pile agent route?
And what does it mean for readers? It’s wrong for us to tar everyone with the same brush that self published books are a lesser quality product. Many self published authors are learning from the mistakes of those that published before them (like me and the horrors I had with putting an unedited book on Amazon) But what do readers think of the lack of traditional publishing's validation? Do they notice and do they care?
I’d love to know what everyone else thinks of this brave new world. Is it the future of publishing? What do you think it means for the reader? Do you read self published books?