I was recently asked what I thought about the future of the publishing industry. Here is my response:
Historically, authors needed a publisher because it was the publisher who had access to a printer and the ability to take the financial risk required to outlay the upfront cost of a print run. In this new age of print on demand and ebooks, authors no longer need a publisher to get our literary works out into the world. That’s great! But as indie authors know, the challenge comes not only in creating a book but in finding an audience with which to share it. Today, traditional publishing houses still hold the monopoly on access to the large and powerful media outlets. The New York Times, for example, will not, by their own rules, review an independently published book. I’m sure they have this policy to stave off the massive wave of offerings that would flood their review department otherwise. Moreover, many book stores, large and small, only sell books that they receive from a certain small list of distributers who only sell books from a certain small group of publishing houses. So, today, the playing field is massively weighted against the indie author. And even those famously self published books like “The Martian” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” only reached their best-seller status once they were picked up by one of the large publishing houses and given the access and exposure that comes with traditional publishing.
But the playing field is slowly shifting. The indie world is figuring it out. More and more quality works are discovered outside of the closed circle of the traditional publishing world and indie authors everywhere are using social media to gain traction in the market. Many book bloggers today have only hundreds or maybe a few thousand followers as compared to the Millions of NYT readers. But every day that those reviewers offer honest and useful critiques and recommendations, their audiences steadily grow which in turn boosts book sales for indie authors. It is an exciting time to be a self-published author. And I think the future looks brighter and brighter.