I think it’s great, really!
Of course, for like every publisher on the planet, I feel it as a threat to our existence: self-publish means publishing without a publisher.
Are we going to continue to live if the world doesn’t need us?
Why I think it is great
In the past, when you wanted to put something into writing, you had to go to a printer or a publisher and ask him if he would agree to invest time and money to print it and make it available to the public.
In the more recent years, the only way was still to find an agent and/or submit a manuscript to publishers who were overwhelmed by propositions and therefore having great difficulties to reply.
Enter internet 2.0
And entered the ‘easy to produce’ websites, and the blogs, and the social media. Access to infinite audiences has been offered to everyone. Of course, self-publishing books and ebooks have been offered by startups and the giant between the startups, Amazon.
Within a few clicks, every writer can have his book published without the filter of an editor or a publisher.
That’s where you discover that it is nothing. Been published is nothing because the only thing that a book needs is to be read.
I just had lunch with two authors today and they complained:
Most of the publishers today ask us to have a social media platform but I hate to do that. If I spend my days promoting, when do you think I will find time to do my work which is writing.
It’s a real challenge for the publishing business. We can still sell millions of books but it is getting more difficult every year because people go less into book stores and buy online. They also trust less the traditional media and we live in the rise of Facebook, Amazon, Google, Instagram, etc.
The old model is still relevant but we need to update.
Are we good at it? Probably not as good as we need to be and some of us will not learn, or too late. But I do believe there is a job for the one who wants to make this little miracle happen, the miracle of having someone taking a book in his hands, open it and read it.
It’s not about tools
Today, the author has access to almost all the tools and if he has the cash, he can hire the best editors, the best designers, marketers… The only thing he doesn’t have is the ability to hire judgment.
The perfect example is the book cover. Where the self-published author commission a design, he will try to do something that reflects the book. It is a very bad idea because what we need is not to make a perfect description of the book, is to make a cover that invites to read the book.
We live in a wonderful time, never in history, it has been easier to produce books but never it has been so difficult to get the reader’s attention.
Let that pokemon go dear reader!