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Publishing | Independent Author

There is a myth among those whose business is reliant upon the traditional book industry. It is so pervasive some of the best resources and associations for writers are wholly against the DYI publishing business.

The myth is that those who publish on demand are so desperate to see their work in print they will do anything just for a book to hold. Perhaps they’ve been rejected one too many times, or fear the industry too greatly to even try. Authors who choose to skip out on the agent -> traditional publisher route are sad, sad souls who are being taken advantage of.

Bollocks.

The age of the independent writer is dawning. As much as the naysayers insist only those who couldn’t hack the system are drawn to the idea of publishing on demand; new, competent authors are beginning to believe there is another way of making a living.

It is true, there are vultures in the business of taking your money for little reward. If I were to be unkind the same can be said of some traditional establishments dependent upon the works of artists yet inclined to mistreat their authors.

Just as there are decent agents and reputable publishing houses there are publish on demand companies which do not exploit the dreams of writers, rather they give them door number two.

The mainstream tends to argue that there are too many poorly written works for POD to be considered legitimate publishing. Having worked in a bookstore I would argue we have plenty of really, truly dreadful books that made it through the system unscathed. The playing field is much more even than anyone suspects.

What we can agree on is that no one knows where all of this is going. How do the diamonds stand out? Without gatekeepers who can promise the book is at least competently written? How can readers be assured someone has at least glanced at the book, and yes, it is readable? And how can readers trust that the reviewer knows what he’s talking about?

To use a very old cliché, what separates the wheat from the chuff?

Well methods are slowly bubbling to the surface. Websites that offer reviews. Contests from well known companies like the Writer's Digest. And of course the sheer volume of sales. Amazon's CreateSpace has blown the market wide open and they showcase successful self-published authors. If you really make it you might just get a mention in the papers.

I don’t think the large publishers are going away. The recording industry is a testament to that. But they will need to adapt to a world moving much faster than your average turn around on a completed novel. How is an interesting question we have yet to see.


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