Do I, as the editorial director for a traditional print publisher, encourage and support self-publishing–even self-ebook publishing? Yes. I do. Here’s why.
First, just as I encourage people to read most anything (magazines, blogs, newspapers, websites, books, journals and more), I think it is good for people to write most anything (articles, fiction, nonfiction, letters). Reading stimulates the mind and writing clarifies thought. Writing and reading are foundational to a good society–not only for entertainment but to transfer information and wisdom from one generation to another. So self-publishing? Of course.
Second, there are far more books people want to write than traditional publishers can absorb. The explosion of self-publishing in the last decade has put an exclamation point on that.
Third, successful self-publishing can lead to successful traditional publishing. Consider the case of Amanda Hocking. Fifty literary agents turned down her paranormal romance manuscripts. So she self-published an ebook. She writes fast (finishing a book in about a month) and her ebooks caught on, and now she is $2 million richer. As a result, not surprisingly, a traditional print publisher is now releasing her Trylle series.
Why go to a traditional print publisher when she was doing so fantastically well on her own? Amanda said she did it for a couple reasons: “E-books are taking up more of the market, but it’s still somewhere between, like, 10 and 30 percent of the market. But also, I was kind of overwhelmed with the amount of work that I had to do that wasn’t writing a book. I was writing more when I worked a day job than when I was writing full time because of how much time I devote to the whole publishing part.”
I have friends who are self-publishing biography/memoir. And they are doing the right thing–for now. There may come a time, though, when they need the help of a traditional publisher. If so, I may be able to help them with that too.