The publishing world is in serious crisis and the brick and mortar bookstores are in trouble. Many publishing companies have either closed their doors or have changed their business strategy. For example, Dorchester Publishing dropped its traditional print publishing business in favor of an e-book/print-on-demand model.
With advent of the eBook reader and the astronomical growth in popularity of eBooks many authors, including best selling writers are bypassing publishers to sell digital editions of books directly to readers through companies like Amazon, where readers can purchase and download an eBook in a minute from anywhere in the world.
Today, it’s all about authors taking control where they no longer need to scrub their books in such a way that its intended message is removed or they have had to make changes that actually upsets their fan base. These situations are just two of several reasons for the significant defection for the book industry with writers ditching publishers to sell future works directly to their fans.
How often over the years have you heard of aspiring writers lamenting that they can’t find anyone willing to publish their book. I purchased a terrific genealogy how-to a few years ago self-published by the author because he was informed that his book wouldn’t generate enough commercial interest. Oops!
One of the many concerns about the current publishing market is that the process often takes 12 months or more to get a new title into the hands of readers. How many times have you finished a good book in a series and bemoaned the fact that you’d have to wait a year for the next one with the knowledge that the author has probably completed the manuscript on the next book.
Electronic publishing is an area where new writers who have substantive material have a real opportunity to reach a whole new public sector who don’t like to lug books and magazines around, now rely on handheld devices (Nook, iPad, Motorola Droid, or LG Vortex) to access to information.
Family historians and genealogists take heart, publishing your own eBook could open the door to your work being published that proved to be difficult with traditional publishing or couldn’t afford the costs involved in self-publishing hardcopy books. You can write the book and upload it to the Internet and reap the rewards. Wait! Not so fast.
Let’s be realistic here, many manuscripts should never see the light of day and authors need to be cognizant that it might not be a good idea to just upload a book without some self-policing. Authors should think about hiring a copy editor and a graphics artist to help produce a book cover that will attract buyers.
This move by authors is of great concern to publishers and there’s bound to be a lot of “hunchy dunchy” going on. “Random House wrote to agents informing them of its belief that it holds exclusive rights to digital editions of the “vast majority” of its backlist titles, even those acquired before electronic rights were specifically included in contracts. That letter enraged authors, and the Authors Guild issued a statement saying that “publishers acquire only the rights that they bargain for; authors retain rights they have not expressly granted to publishers. E-book rights, under older book contracts, were retained by the authors.””
Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal interview with well-known author Seth Godin written by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
And, a link to an article in the guardian.com.uk on the subject of authors bypassing publishing houses, which features several authors.
Here too is a link to thriller author J.A. Konrath’s blog. You’ll find a lot of how-to information and advice on this blog. “There’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published”.