Over the last 10 years, the growth in independently and self-published books has grown enormously. In fact between 2014 – 2016 the Big 5 traditional publishers accounted for less than a quarter of Ebook purchases on Amazon, while indies closed in on 45%. Which when you think about it, means we’re making a massive impact on the market.
The biggest issue is of course, the way indie and self-publishing is still viewed. Despite fantastic growth there’s still a “sneering” factor that presumes it’s “vanity publishing” and therefore no good. Also there is a great deal of misconception when it comes to “partnership” or “hybrid” publishing. In this scenario the author may contribute to some of the publishing costs in return for a far higher rate of royalty and retaining ownership of their copyright – two things the trad guys don’t like to offer but many do still quietly get involved in.
The thing that causes me the most offence however, is the idea that because a book hasn’t come from a large publishing house, it won’t meet the same standards. This is total poppycock! I’d go as far to say that because we have more invested, our standards are higher! I wouldn’t allow a book to be published under my imprint without it having gone through professional proofreading, editing and formatting checks, so that when it hits the shelves it’s the best quality it can be. Will there be the odd mistake? Of course, it happens, but for anyone lucky enough to have one of the first 100 printed Harry Potter books they’ll tell you that’s not always a bad thing! It happens to every publishing house, until the robots take over that is…
Unfortunately the same can’t be said when it comes to self-publishing and here’s where it get’s messy – literally. Anyone can publish a book, Amazon with their Create Space platform have made it that way, which is a fabulous idea, just one that’s been left unattended for far too long. As a result there is an inordinate amount of dross parading as literature with nothing to stop it continuing.
This causes the continued sneering I mentioned earlier and the resulting lack of shelf space and belief in indie publishers. The two (self and indie) are not the same and should not be confused – ever. That’s not to say that there aren’t some brilliant self-published books, especially from authors who have turned their backs on the trad publishers and made their own way. Of course their path is helped by having been through the system and that gives an understanding of what makes a book readable, that it’s more than just a good story.
Until we indies rise up a little higher (and it won’t be long) we’ll keep fighting the battle to be heard and seen, shelf space may be limited but it’s ours for the taking!
If you’d like to know more about publishing or are considering writing a book, then I’m always happy to have a chat, simply contact me.