Books by Melissa Bowersock

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Self-Publishing Goes Mainstream

Those of us who have discovered the joys of self-publishing could probably talk about it all day and the nay-sayers would never agree that it’s an idea whose time has come. Luckily for us, more “validating” sources are jumping on the bandwagon, and the issues of legitimacy are shrinking more every day.

Even the Big 6 have finally realized that self-pubbing is a viable option, and they are moving quickly to get their fingers in the pie. You can bet your bippie that they are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, anxious to help newbie writers and low-listers escape from their dungeons of obscurity, but because it has become a money-maker. They are finally realizing what we all knew long ago—that readers don’t really give a rat’s patootie who publishes a book. Think about it: when was the last time you wrestled with a book purchase, turned it to the back or the publication page to find out who had published it, and made your decision based on that? Anyone? Ever?

Didn’t think so.

So anyway, the Big 6 are now moving into the realm of the unwashed. In November of 2011, Penguin announced its addition of BookCountry, its self-publishing subsidiary.

Book Country provides users with three self-publishing packages: $99 for a user-formatted e-book; $299 for a user-formatted print and e-book; and $549 for a professionally formatted print and e-book. Those who select the $549 option can choose from six styles created by Penguin’s in-house designers. Each style corresponds to a certain book genre: “The Sensation” for sci-fi/fantasy titles, for example, or “The Riddler” for mysteries and thrillers. Users can make up to 15 free formatting changes before the book is published.”

Likewise, a blog entry from November 2012 documented Simon & Schuster’s announcement of its new self-publishing arm, Archway.

"Through Archway Publishing, Simon & Schuster is pleased to be part of the rapidly expanding self-publishing segment of our industry," said Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. "Self-publishing has become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers, including Simon & Schuster. We're excited that we'll be able to help more authors find their own path to publication and at the same time create a more direct connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to traditional publishing." (Emphasis mine)

Obviously this is not new news, but the point is that it’s trending. Self-publishing is no longer the red-haired stepchild that lives under the stairs. She’s standing up, dusting herself off, putting on her dancing shoes. She’s already got her ticket to the ball, and has plenty of dance partners to choose from. Hugh Howey, author of the indie hit Wool, has broken through the barriers in a stunning way. His book, originally self-published, is now being translated into 19 languages and Ridley Scott is slated to do the movie adaptation. Not too shabby.

Also not too shabby is the Self-Publishing Book Expo. This year marks the 5th anniversary of the book expo, slated to run in New York in November. It promises to be a cornucopia of panels, seminars, exhibitors and presenters. Sounds like the perfect place to rub shoulders with other unfettered, risk-taking, brave indie writers.

Whose time has come.