Self-publishing…say that word ten years ago and it conjured up images of amateur, wanna-be authors hawking their middling wares through vanity paperbacks at the local bookstore. Just some nobody trying to achieve even the faintest hint of success through the most difficult and expensive way possible. Their books aren’t very good, because if they were good, then they’d be published through one of the publishing houses.
Now? Now things are different. The world of self-publishing has been broken wide open. Self-publishers are no longer limited to readers within shouting distance, now they can reach readers around the world through e-book formats and paperback services like Create Space that sell directly through the internet. There’s no huge upfront cost, there’s no massive commitment of time spent promoting the book in person. Anyone with a book and the will can now self-publish.
There are downsides. It means that the self-publishing pool becomes diluted by all the people who write down a few words and think they’re the next Shakespeare. That can be a turn off to potential readers, who would rather not wade through the pile looking for the few books worth reading. What this does is raise the importance of sites that bring readers and writers together, sites like LibraryThing. These sites allow the free sharing of views, opinions, and reviews, giving the self-publishing set the opportunity to discuss and share their work and gain a few readers in the process.
The direct connection of artist with fans, at any time and from anywhere in the world, is such a thrilling idea. It takes away the faceless middleman, the publishing house, allowing feedback and information to move effortlessly between those two groups. The writer now has greater power, to write what he or she wants to write (and what the fans want), rather than to be beholden to a corporation and what THEY want. Ten years ago that power could not have existed, certainly it couldn’t have thrived the way I see it beginning to now.
I see great things for the world of self-publishing in the next five to ten years and I’m very excited about the idea of wading even deeper into that pool over the next few months.