I’ve read a number of posts and articles that insist trade publishers are “frightened” or “worried” about the boon in self-publishing because it will dilute our ability to get great books. As one who does this for a living, I couldn’t disagree more. For one thing, there will always be writers who desire trade publishing for the advantages it offers – of which there are many.
Authors, like bellybuttons, are different, and for that reason, there will never be a shortage of excellent books for trade publishers. There are big advantages of trade publishing that few can attain by self-publishing. Conversely, there are big possibilities for the self-publisher, provided they know how to market and promote their heads off.
That said, I’m of a mind that change is good because it gets the blood circulating and the brain firing up ways to remain relevant. And this is where I really appreciate the self publishers because many of them are publishing genres or storylines that trade publishers have avoided due to a perceived (or proven) lack of audience.
There have been plenty times when I loved a story but worried there wasn’t a big enough audience for the subject matter. However, if I saw that particular storyline getting lots of attention, I would have more confidence to to accept those types of stories. I see this as the counterpunch to the complaint we often hear about how publishers keep a thumb on what books are published.
That complaint always struck me as illogical. What’s in it for publishers to keep an artificial lid on what they publish? We’re in this biz to make money, so if the public begins screaming for storylines about margarita-guzzling beagles who sleep on editors’ desks instead of working, then they’ll darn well put their energies into finding those kinds of books.
The problem is that publishing is expensive, so we need to go with what we know sells, and this makes it harder to consider stories outside the norm. But self publishing has solved that problem, and it becomes easier for us to take readers’ literary temperature to see how tastes are changing, which allows us to evolve as well.
If you have a book that falls outside the box of what trade publishers normally accept, maybe DIY is your best bet. However, if you’re gonna do it right (write?), then learn all you need to know about promotion, marketing, finding an audience…and for goodness sake, buy a copy or e-book of The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box.