Why Self-Publishing Works the Same as Everything Else

Self-publishing is not a magic trick that will make you a million dollars. I wish it was, but it's not.

I read an article from the Guardian this evening about the benefits of self-publishing via e-books and it got me thinking I should do a blog post about it. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the whole self-publishing route that so many authors have been pursuing lately. Despite a whole slew of success stories from the e-book world, literary jerk-offs still snub their noses at anyone who decides to go solo and put their work out on their own. These clowns say that if everyone can put out a book then the book market is going to be flooded with crap and somehow ruin everything that is great about reading. To this, I call “shenanigans!”

Think about it like this: when you buy a $10.00 pair of shoes from Payless you are doing so with the expectation that those shoes are not going to last you all that long. That’s why they’re cheap, right? But let’s say you go to Nordstrom and buy a $100.00 pair of shoes that crumple like tissue paper the first time you wear them. I guarantee you are going to be wicked ticked off because you expected them to last. You paid for them to last.

The book market is guided by the same sort of principle. When people buy a book they are doing so with the hope that the book will meet their expectations of what a book should be. If a book only costs a buck and it’s a decent enough read then they will be more inclined to buy another book like it, possibly even by the same author. However, if the book is trash then they will be less inclined to buy one like it again and thus the author will be less inclined to write one like it again, unless he or she is someone who enjoys failing. You keep this going for a while and you start to see who is doing well–the writers who are still selling books–and who is not–the writers who are going back to their day jobs. The great writers will rise to the top with or without a publishing house as long as they’re willing to work to get there.

So yeah, that’s what I think about that whole deal. But what do you think about it? I’m eager to know, especially if you disagree.

[image sourced here]


Dear Writer, Amazon Is Not Your Friend

I'm glad my wife bought me the regular Kindle, rather than the new Kindle Poison pictured above.

In lieu of a blog update on my novel’s progress (I spent too much time playing Star Wars pinball at the arcade down the street from my house) or an insight into the learning process that occurs in the course of writing (again, Star Wars pinball is to blame), I decided to show you all a link from a guest post by Cat Valente on Charles Stross’s blog. The post details her experience in the publishing industry and explains why she does not see Amazon as the messiah of publishing that so many people claim it is. Sure, she says that Amazon has forced the big publishing houses to rethink how they treat their writers, but Amazon is not the superhero that many people think it is. I mostly like the post because she touches on what so many seem to forget: Amazon, like all corporations, are bound by law to turn a profit. It doesn’t matter how friendly and hip companies like Amazon make themselves out to be, they still exist for the sole purpose of increasing shareholder wealth. That goal to increase shareholder wealth probably played a part in why they cut 5,000 independent titles from their Kindle store recently, and why they’ve opened their own publishing house. I could be wrong, but it’s something to think about.

That’s it for tonight. Be sure to check out Cat Valente’s website here. You can also follow me on twitter @ScottJClemons.

[image sourced from this lovely little blog]