Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On self-publishing --

I received some issues of Romantic Times last Friday and I happily flipped through the newer issues. It surprised me to see that RT had added a new section in their review pages devoted entirely to self-published works.

Self-publishing has been around for a long time -- in the past, self-published works are works that couldn't find a publisher. They usually had very limited releases (limited usually to friends or family or a community).

Lately, it seems to become a more accepted practice even for seasoned writers. The reasons for doing so are varied --

One of my favorite authors, Courtney Milan has opted to go the self-publishing route -- she was unhappy with the terms of her contract with Harlequin and is venturing out on her own. She published a novella in e-book form and it was well-received by her readers.

I recently discovered that Cheryl Holt, another author that I follow, was dropped by her publisher and she, too, has decided to self-publish her newer works. She has published 2 e-books: Knight of Seductionand Nicholas.

From what I've seen, this rising trend indicates the following:
1. E-books are becoming the medium of choice for readers -- the reason may be eco-related or simply practical (one can carry a thousand books in an ebook reader). More authors are opting to publish in e-format because of greater sales. (I think this is a good step -- cheaper for authors to get published and readers can get books at a more reasonable rate and more quickly.)

2. Publishing houses are not offering competitive rates to writers. I think that publishers have to reassess their current business practices and try to match what Amazon and other similar businesses are offering writers.

3. The publishing industry might be suffering from losses from poor book sales. (Am not sure this applies to the romance novel genre, though -- from what I've seen, the genre is a growing industry and reports book sales in the billions of dollars per year ...)

I have some concerns, though --
My biggest worry about self-publishing is the lack of editing of some books -- writers might be in a hurry to release a book that the quality of the story would suffer.

I'm also worried about the quality of the stories (though, so far, the self-published works of the authors I follow have been very, very good) --

I'm trying to think about who gains the most from this new development -- I think authors are definitely getting more opportunities to release their works and I hope they are enjoying greater profit for their works.

As a reader, I get to experience stories that would never have seen print (through traditional publishing) --

I think technology has really opened the doors for writers and readers. I hope this continues going in a positive direction.

The next question then would be: ebooks? or paper? ^_^


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