Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Sign of the Publishopocalypse

Thomas Nelson jettisons editorial control for a new imprint, West Bow Press, which will be entirely packaged by "self-publisher" Author Solutions.

One more time: money flows towards the writer. And if you pay a company to publish your book, neither you nor they can be said to "self" publish anything.


Tim Maly said...

It fascinates me that books have this fear of self-publications when most other entertainment industries grant small creators special status. Indie movies, indie music, indie comics. But books? It's all "vanity press".

MORE money flows toward a good writer who jettison the middle man, makes the capital investment of printing themselves and is able to sell those.

Yes there are also a lot of crappy self-published writers, but that's what filtration is for. Publishers are one (very expensive) filter, but there are others. Reviews, blogs, fanbases.

Take a look at writers like Joey Comeau or groups like Topatoco for an example of what I mean.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Tim: There's nothing wrong with actually self-publishing. But the industry of "self-publishing" exists mostly to exploit wannabe writers. And, in fact, the concept of an industry of companies that sell self-publishing services is inherently ludicrous.

If an author wants to publish her book herself, she should. It probably won't go anywhere but her garage -- the distribution system doesn't work well for self-published books -- but it will waste less of her money and time than contracting with a company to "self-publish" her.

Ray said...

'Indie' movies, music, and comics, as commonly understood are published by companies that pay the creators, not the other way around, and are distributed professionally. 'Away We Go' doesn't get a massive multiplex release and advertising push, but it shows in real cinemas.

The equivalent to self-published books would be youtube-movies (or movies that can be seen only a particular website, for payment or tips), band-pressed tapes and CDs sold only in local record shops and at gigs, and comics that sell only at conventions and perhaps the local comics shop.

I can't think of any examples of the first, but I've seen plenty of self-produced comics and CDs. The comics are a hobby or a calling card, no-one expects them to get a wide distribution. The CDs are a way of making more money from gigs, and/or something to give to A&R people.

From what I've seen, the people producing them are more realistic about their functions and costs than most of the people paying to self-publish their books.

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