After self-publishing six books in a crime series, Kerry Wilkinson has just signed a 14-book deal with an established publisher. But he does not rule out going solo again. Why?
According to Kerry, “Self-publishing gave me the freedom of being able to act quickly. I could fiddle with prices, change descriptions, link my own files, and so on. I am a bit of a tinkerer with my listings and try lots of little tweaks to see how they might affect a day’s sales.”
And that seems to be the Leitmotif of most authors who choose to self-publish.
What is Self-Publishing?
As is implied, self-publishing (or private printing) is the publication of a book or other media by the author, without the involvement of a publisher. The author is in control of entire creative and marketing process that book publishing requires. This includes formats, design (cover/interior), distribution, pricing, sales and marketing. The authors have a choice between doing it all themselves or outsourcing the process to companies that offer these services.
Fastest growing sector in publishing industry
Self-publishing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the publishing industry as the following data shows.
- In 2008, more books were self-published than those published through a publisher. This was a first in the history of the publishing industry.
- In 2009, 76% of all books released in the market were self-published.
Advantages of Self Publishing
#1 Control and Responsibility
As a self-published author, you are in complete control of the management and production of your work. This also ensures that the finished copies, the copyright and all subsidiary rights belong to you. As also all money received from book sales.
#2 Easy Entry into the Market
This is especially important for first-time authors who may be continually rejected by a traditional publishing house. Traditional publishing companies often prefer books by established authors rather than take a risk with new ones. In fact, JK Rowling’s new crime novel (written using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) was rejected by numerous publishers before it finally saw the light of day!
#3 Books for niche market
Most publishing houses are only interested in capturing the mass market and rarely accept a work intended for a small audience. But new technology, now available in the publishing industry, offers the option of printing high-quality books as needed. This is an economically viable option for self-published books and the author can avoid the traditional print run of hundreds or thousands of books.
#4 Ease of self-publication
Recent technological advances in the field of publishing have greatly eased the path to self-publishing for authors. While technology has enabled the self-publisher to produce a quality product, online retailing has improved access to the market for him.
#5 Rise of the E-book
Technology and access now allows creation of E-books with no up-front or per-book costs, which makes E-book publishing extremely popular with self-publishers. In addition, e-book readers and tablet computers have improved readability and portability of e-books, making them popular among the reading audiences too. According to figures, approximately one in five books now sold is e-books, which collectively accounts for $3 billion, a fifth of all trade publishing revenue.
With growing popularity and an increase in the market share, especially in the digital world, self-publishing might well be the future of the publishing industry.