The saying goes (at least I say it) that as soon as a trend makes the cover of Time, it’s over. Well, self-publishing didn’t make the cover, but Time did give the topic a six-page article, highlighting a few writers who say they’ve made hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars self-publishing ebooks. Here’s just a few of my takeaways from the piece by Andrew Rice:
- Self-publishing is a great outlet if you can’t get the attention of a traditional publisher. Thousands are doing it. And yes, it’s possible to even make some money.
- The article is about the success of self-published ebook fiction–not nonfiction and not self-published print books. Ebook fiction is where the action is, for sure. Nonfiction is a ways behind in the popular market.
- “Amazon takes no share of
the risk; 70% of zero sales equals zero profit,”as the article says. Time also profiles authors who may put out $2000 to get their ebook edited and a cover designed and maybe some marketing help, and who then make $200. Traditional publishers cover all those costs and often give an advance, which the author keeps regardless of sales. And for authors who do it themselves, self-publishing ebooks can turn into a forty-to-seventy-hours/week job–which may or may not pay off.
- “For all the indie movement’s aspirational rhetoric, the chances of succeeding at self-publishing are just as daunting as the odds of being discovered in the slush pile. If anything, the chances of publishing that rare blockbuster grow more remote every day as more stories flood into the market, competing for a finite amount of reader attention.”
So I support self-publishing. Authors just need to make a list of the pluses and minuses, the risks and rewards of the options available, and do what’s best for them.