Friday, March 03, 2017

Writing: Is There A Shift Toward Self-Publication?

Have you noticed more authors whom you follow self-publishing their work? And have you wondered why this shift?

Authors may choose self-publication for a number of reasons. Some of them don't wish to give up a significant portion of the monetary return for their efforts in return for a publisher taking over all the responsibilities that go with publication of a novel. Some of them who would like publishers to give them a contract can't get one because the genre in which they write no longer sells...and publishing houses are a for-profit business. And that's where the industry is right now.

In case you haven't noticed, a number of publishers have chosen to discontinue their fiction lines over the past year or two. When a well-known publishing house did this a couple of years ago, life seemed to move forward for most people. It was like the comic definition of shame vs. catastrophe: When an earthquake ravages a foreign land, we think "What a shame." When we get a splinter in our finger and can't get it out, that's a catastrophe. This change in publishing might have caused a bit of concern, but it wasn't a catastrophe...except for the writers affected by the change (and their readers).

That movement away from published Christian fiction has gained a lot of traction, and it's time to ask you, the readers, this question: Does it make any difference to you whether the novel you read comes from an established publishing company or is self-published? There might have been a time when some self-published work was filled with typos and covers were less than optimum. But in the past year, writers have begun to employ professional editors and designers. They've learned to pay attention to proof-reading. Does it show? Can you even tell nowadays when a book is self-published? And do you care?

Leave your opinions in the comments section. I'm anxious to read them. And, by the way, I've self-published a novella, Doctor's Dilemma, which releases a week from Monday. If you have a Kindle, you can get it for a pre-publication price of 99 cents.

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Elise Griffith said...

Some books through publishers now have more typos than used to be the case. To answer the bigger question, no, it doesn't matter to me if a book is self-published or traditionally published. Most of the self-published books I've read were at or above quality of publisher's books (specifically in paperback). I know one writer who was previously a regular, contracted novelist for a small house and is now self-publishing. Not because she was dropped, but because it seemed (to her) the only promotion for her books fell on her... cyber tours, guest blog posts, FB, Twitter, online give-a-ways, etc. and the publisher pushed her for a book every 3-4 months. She's having equal or greater success re. sales on her own.

Richard Mabry said...

Elise, I have to agree with your friend that promotions ultimately depend on the author. Publishers can pay a company to help with publicity, but that can also be done by individual indie authors. As I've heard said many times, the author is the person most interested in the book's selling.
Thanks for your comment.

Paula said...

I don't usually care if an author has a publisher or is self published. I evaluate by the author I recognize although sometimes if I see a book on the sale table at the library, I will look to see who the publisher is if I'm not familiar with the author--- I look for Christian labels. But if I like the author it is completely on his merits and not the publishing house.

Richard Mabry said...

Thank you, Paula. Your response matches what I've found out recently. I appreciate your comment.

Patricia Bradley said...

I was out of pocket last week and didn't see this post. It makes no difference to me who publishes a book, just the content. And I hate to see Christian publishing get out of fiction. With Christian fiction, I didn't have to worry about bad language or sex being in a book. You never know with general fiction.