A lot of buzz these days about two subjects:
- Amanda Hocking's self publishing success is an outlier
- Gatekeepers (traditional publishers) are needed to keep the market from flooding with junk.
As to #1 - I agree...but...that's not to say that self-publishing is not a viable path to success. There are many people making more money self-published then they would with traditional: Joe Konrath, H.P. Mallory, John Locke, Amazda Hocking, David Dalglish, B.V. Larson, J.R. Rain, Michael J. Sullivan, Victorine Lieskie, Nancy Cartwright. The bottom line, if you write a good book and use techniques (even the dreaded and hated $0.99) you CAN make a very good living wage with self-publishing.
Yes, I put Michael there. I fully believe he'll make less money with his big-six deal - but that's not why we're going that route - we'd rather sacrifice some $$'s in our pocket for a wider audience through bookstores, libraries, and more foreign rights deals.
John Locke is hot on Amazda's heels (and maybe even passed her). His Saving Rachel has been #1 now for awhile and he had #1 and #2 for a bit. He has written 7 books in the top 50 (and 3 of the top 10!)
- #1 Saving Rachel
- #5 Wish List
- #10 Lethal People
- #19 A Girl Like You
- #29 Lethal Experiment
- #35 Now & Then
- #47 Follow the Stone
So while Amazda is an Outlier - we now have to add John there which shows that repeating the pattern...writing a lot of VERY good books at low prices can succeed.
As to Gatekeepers...part of the problem with traditional publishing is they just don't have the bandwidth to release as many good books as there are. Many great ones have fallen to the wayside not because they were not "worthy" but because there were only so many slots to fill and decisions were made to do A rather than B.
The great thing about self-publishing is books that could never get traditionally published now are finding audiences. When I say "never get traditionally published" I don't mean - they weren't good enough. I mean that the chances were just too slim - and in some cases the material was not "mainstream enough".
For those that know, I have a small press called Ridan Publishing. And our second biggest seller (soon to be #1 with Michael's departure) is Nathan Lowell who has written an absolute fabulous series of scifi books about ordinary people living in the "Deep Dark". His Quarter Share and Half Share sell thousands of books each month but the chances of him being picked up by a big-six is probably pretty slim -- not because they are not good -- I ... and many others .... love them - it is because ... to be frank...not much happens. There's no interstellar wars, political maneuvering, or aliens bent on the destruction of mankind. They tell an ordinary tale, not unlike most that we live day to day and yet Nathan does it in a way that compels us to read the next one. We feel for his characters and want to see what happens next. If submitted to a big-six I think the response would be - seriously...but nothing happens. My response is a lot happens and I'm proud to have brought these books to an audience that they would not have had if only the gatekeepers controlled the reading possibilities.
I guess what I'm saying here...is that being non big-six is starting to remove some of its "stink" of unworthiness. This is opening opportunities for both writers and readers. And that...is a good thing.