This week’s most intriguing news from the publishing world:
Okay, so why is this “intriguing”?
Because Wool wasn’t issued by a major publisher. Author Hugh Howey released it himself, as a series of cheap, self-published ebooks.
Howey is understandably giddy. “A few months ago,” he writes, “I worked part time in the university bookstore, dusting the shelves and tackling shoplifters to pay the bills.” But now? “Without a single dime spent in advertising, a short story I wrote and didn’t even work to promote climbed to the top of the Amazon charts. It drew the attention of Hollywood. It landed me an agent and half a dozen foreign book deals.”
Howey’s is the latest in a rapidly growing list of self-publishing success stories—stories that, I’m happy to say, include my own. Today, self-publishing has transcended its lowly “vanity press” roots. The emergence of ebooks, “print on demand” (POD) technology, and online book-selling has allowed many writers to jump off the “Query-Go-Round” of agents and publishers, yet still establish rewarding careers as “indie” authors.
The Ebook Revolution also has shaken the print-book industry to its core. Many traditional (aka “legacy”) publishers, literary agents, bookstores, distributors, and—yes—well-established, Big Name authors view ebook self-publishing the way a vampire views a wooden stake. Here are two summaries of the history of this turmoil; and there are predictions of even more traumatic disruption.
So, let’s assume you’re a writer contemplating publication. You’re agonizing over whether to follow the traditional publishing path, or whether to take the plunge and self-publish. Okay, maybe you’ve long dreamed of winning validation from the publishing establishment—of earning acceptance from a New York agent and a venerable publisher—of seeing your book stacked in pyramids on bookstore tables—of the NYT #1 spot, and awards, and a reality show, and, gosh, maybe the cover of the Rolling Stone…
How could self-publishing possibly compete with that?
Well, my fellow scribe: Here are ten huge advantages that self-publishing has over legacy publishing.