Warning: this is a rant post. I rarely indulge in rants, but today I feel that it is totally necessary. Here are my personal thoughts on why the residual stigma of independent/self publishing needs to end. It’s a new day people.
Back in the olden days of publishing ( a whole ten years ago) independent publishing was often considered a last resort by most writers. Self publishing was a sort of consolation prize. Authors tirelessly queried agents and/or major publishing houses, and if they weren’t one of the chosen few, they either published through a vanity press or self publishing resource. The upside was that they got their work published! The downside was that more often than not, said work was not up to industry standards. And so began the stigma of self published books. Readers are discerning, and back in the day, they quickly learned that purchasing a self published book was risky. At the time, self published might as well have been synonymous with low quality.
Well, I’m here to proclaim that it’s time for the stigma to stop! Independent publishing has evolved at a rapid pace. It is now the preferred form of publishing for many authors; even those that have previously published through one of the big five publishing houses. Many writers are no longer putting out sub par work, thanks in large part to the gigantic network of freelance editors, cover designers, and formatters. Lot’s of self published books can easily sit on the shelf next traditionally published books, and compete at the same level.
Thanks to the e-book revolution, independent writers are now able to reach a broad base of potential readers with little monetary investment. Previously, independent writers had to take a gamble on ordering and paying for X amount of books in the hopes of selling the majority of them. Now, an independent writer with a solid marketing plan can easily sell thousands of books. Independently published authors also avoid getting locked into disadvantageous publishing contracts. There’s no stress over meeting the demands of a contract and earning beyond their advance in order to see additional profit.
Self-published authors are so freaking phenomenal that they’re often courted by major publishing houses. That’s right. The much sought after big dogs of publishing are known to reach out to a successfully independently published author because they recognize the writer’s talent and readership. That’s a game changer y’all. Could there actually come a day when major publishing houses only consider working with authors that have previously self published? Along with a query letter and synopsis, will publishing houses also require an independently published author’s sales report? You might think I’m reaching, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it happened in the next five years or so. Remember that you heard it here first!
The Bottom Line
Independent publishers are mavericks. They’re the cowboys of our literary wild west; the intellectual gangsters of the publishing underworld. They’re entrepreneurs, risk takers and optimists. They’re writers that like having options and complete creative control. But most of all, they’re awesome. Anyone who thinks otherwise should probably go take a long walk off a short pier.
What’s your take on self-published books these days?