he tsunami that toppled and transformed the music business is capsizing the traditional book publishing industry. Each day more people buy Kindle readers or similar tablet devices. Apple is launching a new iPad. You can buy and read books on your smartphone. Printed books aren’t going away, but sales of e-books are increasing rapidly.
If you write short stories, novellas and novels, you have more choices and control, too. Twenty years ago when I began writing and selling short fiction, genre and “literary” writers aspired to sell a novel to an established New York City publisher, bask in a decent marketing campaign, connect with readers, and sell a series of lucrative books.
Today the major print publishers are pulling back, spending less on writers and marketing, and trying to decide how to market e-books. There’s a lot of uncertainty. Agents are fleeing the business as it contracts. Large booksellers are filing for bankruptcy protection.
I keep reading about writers who have decided that they can earn more by working with independent publishers – or in some cases, by publishing and marketing their own books. And we're not talking about the seamy world of vanity publishing. Many of these writers have worked with or are working with print publishers, but they're publishing additional titles or their backlist themselves. And it appears that they earn a lot more net income than by selling novels to the traditional NYC publishers. As more experienced writers go this route, a small cottage industry of copy-editors, book designers and cover artists are selling their services. So if you’re a talented writer and you have editing skill, and you hire someone to create professional and compelling cover art, it’s possible to bypass an agent, editor and publisher (and the sales and marketing department) and self-publish a book that with work and determination could easily earn more in royalties than a traditional hardback or paperback original.
No guarantees, but it is being done. Read this blog and others; the revolution has already begun….