The publishing industry has adapted well to the increased author demand for self-publishing, a once scorned model in which the author pays to have copies of his book printed, then is solely responsible for marketing and selling those copies.
Self-publishing companies such as Amazon.com’s CreateSpace, Author Solutions, and Writer’s Digest magazine’s new self-publishing imprint, Abbott Press, have developed a full-scale platform for authors, whose package offerings can include graphic designers to create the cover and interior, editors who not only proofread for grammar but will actually work with the author on writing style suggestions, and marketing packages so the writer isn’t going it alone in book sales.
“The line is starting to blur between traditional publishing and self-publishing,” says Caleb VanDeman, publishing specialist with Abbott Press. “More authors are turning to self-publishing to retain control over their work and to earn as much in royalties as they can.”
The newfound respect for self-publishing has translated into a two-way street for authors. Recently, young adult paranormal author Amanda Hocking made headlines throughout the publishing industry after her nine digitally and self-published YA titles sold over one million copies, which resulted in a four-book print deal with St. Martin’s Press. On the other hand, some traditionally published authors, such as J. A. Conrad, have decided to step back somewhat from the traditional route in order to keep more artistic control through self-publishing.
Young adult science fiction author L.M. Preston (@LM_Preston), author of Explorer-X Alpha, The Pack, and Bandit, sold all three of her print titles through a small publishing company, Phenomenal One Press, but still credits a lot of sales of all three of her titles to e-publishing.
“All of [Phenomenal One’s] books are available in e-book formats…E-books are inexpensive to produce and coupled with POD technologies can be a great entry in the market for indie authors or presses.”
But the next trend in self-publishing for authors is to bypass paper altogether and self-publish strictly in e-reader formats. While this may seem to be the easiest and most cost effective route for authors, there are still obstacles to overcome, especially when trying to format a text for marketing and compatibility within the different e-readers and their parent companies. A book uploaded to the iStore will not necessarily be in the format needed for Nook, for example. Different user-friendly software titles, such as Calibre, are helping authors meet the formatting requirements.
The self-publishing presses have evolved to bring the same author control and support to authors who don’t wish to invest in print editions of their work. Authors can still work with a staff of experts to bring their manuscripts to market strictly for e-readers, while enjoying the same design concept and editorial input that is available to print authors, both traditional and self-published.