It’s interesting how the tone of these articles has changed in such a short time. In stories about self-publishing that I read as recently as this year, a typical highlight was how few copies each individual title sold—about 100 to 150, according to this New York Times article from August. Meanwhile, this article from today’s Globe and Mail highlights the proliferation of self-published titles and how traditional publishers are trying to get in on the action precisely because that’s where the action is. And, apparently, the money.
Certainly, the stigma surrounding “vanity publishing” seems to be fading. (Who even calls it that anymore, anyway?) Because it’s not really about vanity, in many cases. And it’s going to create a lot of business for more than just writers.
Librarians. The thing that occurs to me is that the explosion of titles published every year is going to make it harder for readers to sift through that haystack to find the books they really want to read. I’d imagine librarians’ jobs are going to get a lot harder as a result, but that means they’ll remain as essential as they’ve always been.
Editors, designers, artists, and marketers. It’s also going to be a challenge for each one of those writers to get their book noticed. The things that help their book stand out in the crowd—professional editing, design, cover art, and marketing/promotion—are costs they will have to shoulder. At the same time, that presents opportunities for editors, designers, artists, and marketers to grow their own business.
I’m by no means an expert, and this is all just off the top of my head. Do you think more and more of the publishing business will gravitate toward the pay-as-you-go model? And, since an acquaintance asked me recently whether I had any experience in self-publishing, I’ll pass along the question. What’s been your experience with self-publishing?