Previously authors spent so much of their time trying to get a publisher and most were lucky to get rejections since, in many cases, there wasn’t even a response (letter right to the trash!) Now authors who decide to self-publish will need to spend much of their time finding their audience. The truth is they were going to have to do most of this on their own even with a publisher. I have had authors tell me they were told by agents to include their marketing plans to send to the publishers. The biggest challenge an author has today is not getting a publisher but finding a way to rise to the top of the avalanche of books being published. I am talking about all books since readers really don’t care who publishes a book – a good book is a good book. At indieBRAG our readers around the world only read self-published books, but you would be greatly mistaken if you think a reader would rather read a mediocre book by a traditional publisher over a good self-published one. The fact that more self-published authors are finding ways to rise to the top says that traditional publishers are going to have to find new ways to prove their worth. At this time, most of the services a publisher can offer are now readily available to self-published authors and they can still maintain control over their work and get higher royalties.
At a recent conference that I attended, the president of a traditional publishing company told self-published authors that if they sold over 2000 copies and had built up a following, they would be happy to consider taking them on – really? If an author is doing that well, who needs a publisher! I think reports such as Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings prove that self-published authors can now sit at the bargaining table and ask, “What can you do for me that I can’t do for myself?” It is time to stop groveling to traditional publishers and find ways to “partner” to the benefit of both author and publisher.