The Future of Publishing

Every day seems to bring new alternatives to traditional big publishing. The number of small presses keeps growing. Amazon has expanded its empire to become a publishing house.

Even your agent can be your publisher these days.

Crazy, right? And then there’s self-publishing. It used to be a dirty word that made you look like an amateur if you were crazy enough to mention it around people in the know. These days, it’s coming up in more conversations, and even authors who have had relative success with traditional publishing houses in the past are finding greater financial success by self-publishing their newer works.

So what does it mean when publishing houses like Harlequin start offering self-publishing services? Does your book get more respect if Amazon publishes it for you instead of Lulu? And what about agents jumping in as e-publishers? Yes, things are heating up!

Here are three recent articles from Publisher’s Weekly on recent developments for authors and alternative publishing options. What’s your take on the future of publishing?

Agents Weigh the Growth of Alternative Publishing Options
This article talks about J.A. Konrath’s publishing deal with Amazon and the new publishing arm of Waxman Literary, Diversion Books. Now your agent can be your e-publisher as well…hmmm…

Midlist Author Tries Hybrid Self-Publishing
When I read this article, it didn’t seem like “hybrid self-publishing” to me. When you consider the fact that even if you’re published by Random House, you’re still going to have to shoulder a lot of the publicity yourself, this doesn’t seem like such a bad option.

Barnes & Noble to Offer Digital Self-Publishing
I guess Amazon must be making money from authors self-publishing on the Kindle if B&N has decided to enter the market as well…

15 thoughts on “The Future of Publishing

  1. My agent and I talked about self-pubbing with reference to my NF books – and I am still very happy I have gone the traditional route. I am not saying I will never self pub…but I like the things a pub house has to offer still.

  2. Thoughtful post! I'm seeing this trend as well, where legitimate authors are seeing it as a way to take back control. JA Konrath has started a revolution I think. Thanks for these links.

  3. I don't know! What is going to happen? I still wish for the traditional route, yet who knows if that will happen? Or if it's really that good?
    Thanks for the great links. Going to read them now…

  4. I don't know what to think about self publishing. I think it depends on how much money an author has to put into it – not including marketing. Most self pubbed kidlit I see has poor cover art and bad editing. But I haven't seen many, so I'm no expert.

  5. Thank you for this post! As you know, I'm going to self-publish my novella, and I'm pretty nervous to do so, but it is exciting as well.

    The thing with already established authors self-publishing is that of course they get great sales AND get the book exactly the way they want it because they are already established. I won't have that edge, sadly, but my goal in self-publishing my book isn't to make money. I have my own reasons for self-publishing it, and it's comforting to know that I'm CHOOSING to self-publish, not FALLING BACK on it because I couldn't get it traditionally published. That's a big difference, I think.

    I'm going to go read those articles, thank you!

  6. I blogged about the difference between true self-publishing and subsidy publishing on Tuesday, because there IS a big difference.
    The internet is changing the industry. EBooks are changing the industry. True self-publishers and small presses thrive because they can adapt faster than the big boys.

  7. Christine: How interesting that your agent approached the subject! Things are changing all around I think.

    KarenG: JA Konrath likes to shake things up, no doubt! It'll be interesting to see where it all leads.

    Lydia: I'm still going for the traditional route as well, but I think it's interesting to keep an eye on what's working for other people too.

    Laura: Money is important to factor in as well. But I'm starting to see some self-pubbed works that have better covers than certain publishers are known for. Again, money (and graphic design talent!) make a huge difference there.

    Michelle: You have the talent to make a stunning cover for your novella. And I'll be one of the people buying a copy 🙂

    Mary: I read your post. Great minds think alike 🙂

    Jessica: There certainly are more options to publishing these days.

    Diane: I think you're right that subsidy publishing has added to the confusion about self-publishing. But with traditional publishers jumping into the fray, it seems as though the lines between publishers and self-publishers are getting blurrier every day.

  8. I don't think it's frowned upon like it used to be but it still is a far cry from traditional methods. To each his own. I am really intruiged with what JA Konrath did!

  9. I've personally never read anything self-published that I thought was good. It seems like people don't have other people edit their work, and the whole thing seems ego-driven. Sorry! That's just been my experience.

    Regardless of what happens, I think we'll still need some sort of filter–imagine trying to pick a book out of the millions that are available! I think things may shift out a bit, but we'll still need good editors and agents for quality control.


  10. I agree with SF, I think that we need gatekeepers to filter through all those manuscripts. Personally I read a lot of traditionally published books that I don't enjoy, I can't imagine what the landscape would look like without agents and editors. I'm guessing we'd get stuck reading a lot of stuff that probably shouldn't have been published in the first place. That said, I've read and LOVED books that were published by smaller presses and never got the marketing/PR that they deserved, so I'm sure there are some manuscripts slipping through the cracks.

    This is such an interesting discussion!

  11. I'm getting published the traditional way, and that's how I've always wanted it. I think my manuscript will shine thanks to my agent and editor's input. I think it's essential to work with a team of experienced, knowledgeable people.

  12. T.Anne: JA Konrath is a rebel! I think he's trying to spark a revolution 🙂

    SF: I've actually never read a self-published book, but I have read books by authors who were discovered after self-publishing (Bruce Hale & Christopher Paolini to name just two) so I know there are gems out there!

    LiLa: I couldn't agree more!

    Medeia: I agree that working with a team helps make your book the best it can be.

    Beth: Me too!!

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