I’ve been writing this column for three years – blimey – where does the time go? In those three years the publishing game has changed dramatically. I don’t think there have ever been as many options for aspiring authors as there are now. It’s far from the doom and gloom reports, which say that the publishing industry is dead; in fact, I think there has never been a better time to be an aspiring author.
I wrote a column about a year ago focussing on ebook only publishers vs self-publishing. Then, I argued that you would undoubtedly do better on your own, that you would make more money and be in better control than you would with a small indie ebook publisher. Yet, even since I wrote that, the game has changed. Major publishers have entered into the arena and there are now lots of options for ebook only: Carina (Harlequin), Harper Impulse (HarperCollins), Choc Lit Lite (Choc Lit). Even our very own Novelicious has a digital women's fiction imprint. If you look at the book rankings of these publishers on Amazon, you’ll see that their authors are often high up in the charts.
The landscape of self-publishing has also changed dramatically too. Before Kindle Direct Publishing, self-publishing was seen very much as vanity publishing and was looked down upon. Yet now, it’s almost respected. I’ve lost count of the number of authors who have picked up publishing contracts after self-publishing: Kirsty Greenwood, Nick Spalding, Jon Rance, Mel Sherratt, and even me.
The loss of stigma when it comes to self-publishing has also led, in my opinion, to the number of aspiring authors going solo. Fed up with endless rejection, from both agents and publishers, writers have taken matters into their own hands and self-published. This means that there’s continuously more competition on Amazon as well as more people promoting their books in the book community blogosphere. I can only think that this makes it harder to ensure your book stands out and sells to readers. With this in mind, whereas I was once quite anti ebook only publishers, I now think that if you sign with the right company, all the help they give you with editing, cover design and marketing makes it well worth it.
There are still those aspiring authors who want to see their books in actual print and are holding out for the moment. After holding my very own book in my hands a couple of weeks ago, I really understand this – there is nothing like that magical feeling. Yet I strongly believe that you don’t hinder your chances of getting that eventually if you choose to either self-publish or go with an ebook only publisher. Working with a well respected ebook only publisher (one that is selective with its submissions) will give you good experience of working with professional editors and marketers, which will, in turn, offer an excellent insight into the industry. And seeing your book delivered to your kindle and racing up the Amazon charts can give you a huge thrill.
I think I’m optimistic for the future of publishing. I know there will always be doom and gloom forecasts about the industry, but for me, I think there have never been so many options for aspiring authors to be in control of their own future. What do you think?