How Self Publishing Is Becoming the American Idol of the Literary Community
If you haven't yet taken notice, self publishing is quickly becoming to the writing world what American Idol is to the singing world.
What does that mean? Take a look:
Singer with talent = puts oneself on public stage = evaluation by fans and people in the biz = possible contract and stardom, if fortunate
Writer with talent = produces book on own for public platform = evaluation by fans and people in biz = possible contract and stardom, if fortunate
How exactly does this work?
In our desire to get our book out there without receiving numerous rejections and waiting years for an agent or publisher to see its value, we’ve been gifted with a new platform for independent publishing opportunities, very different from the vanity publishing of the past. This, of course, does not mean tossing a manuscript into book form—votes from readers this tactic will not garner, as we’ve seen from the countless poorly edited and designed self-published books out there that have systematically given the venue a bad rap.
But for those who know that a book of any value demands investment—financially, editorially, creatively, and technically—and have brought it to the marketplace with the level of impeccability it deserves and the public commands, its being self-published is not even a factor. In fact, with the quality POD we're seeing now, most people would never know the difference between that book and one from a big house. Add to that thoughtful production value a sound marketing plan and you have the recipe for a potential bestseller.
So how does American Idol relate to this scenario?
Just as the entertainment business has created a hit television show on which a potpourri of vulnerable singers stand on a public stage for assessment by others, so too have online booksellers created a stage for the writing community. Publishers have gotten smart about independently publishing authors. Why rely on sifting through the interminable slush pile for new talent when Amazon can tell them exactly what’s selling? They see a book in the top ten, look at the publisher name, and if it’s not one of the big six, one of its subsidiaries, or a small house, you bet they’re going to investigate who’s behind it. If it’s the author, a door is now open.
Think about it: Big publishers don’t like taking chances on new writers, especially now; a book has to truly stand out to grab attention and be seen with potential sales value. But what if the author has taken on all of the risk? What if he or she has invested all of the money for editing, layout, and design, then built an audience and marketed the book successfully? With a captive readership already established and some nice ranking on Amazon, the risk of representing the author is practically nil. If you think publishers aren’t paying close attention to this and courting the ones who are sitting on nice sales numbers, think again. When writers have done all the hard work and proven their worth to readers, the scene is set for publishers to sweep in with contract offers to grab a piece of the pie.
But is it always beneficial to the author?
Stay tuned for part two of this article for my take on this interesting turn of events. In the meantime, I'd love to hear if you've been courted by a publishing house after self-publishing your book. I'd also be grateful if you'd share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn … or pass it on to a friend who would benefit. :-)
Sending love and best wishes on your publishing journey …
Write from the heart,
Stacey Aaronson is a professional Book Doctor who takes self-publishing authors by the hand and transforms their manuscript into the book they've dreamed of—from impeccable editing and proofreading to engaging, audience-targeted cover and professional interior design—rivaling or exceeding a traditional house publication. www.thebookdoctorisin.com