It’s great to receive so much feedback on this topic. If you’ll notice, Writing on the Wildside is a blog created to stir up controversy, as are the novels it features. I’ll concentrate on one comment made by a responder. I agree with the comment to an extent. But the increase of self-publishing worldwide is going to magnify the woes of traditional publishers, agents, and the authors themselves.
Comment: “. . . when self-produced records were all the rage. Anyone with a crayon to design a cover, and recording equipment could crank out a “selfie”. The music industry has survived despite this glut. I have faith that the publishing industry will as well. Quality will always outlast the dreck.”
I agree that the music industry is doing fine and the publishing industry will as well. However, the same scams and come-ons that plague us now, plagued that industry when they were struggling. Artists in the know could produce a quality ‘selfie’ for about $3,500. However, except for the rare few, they were lucky to break even. Scams led the uneducated into spending upward of $20,000 for the same results.
I cringe at what the publishing industry is doing today. Example: Penguin bought several self-publishing brands including: iUniverse, AuthorHouse, and Xlibris. Interested only in the bottom line, they now pull revenue in from both sides. Have you looked at the cost of those publishing packages? Many agents are now offering to help self-publishers. Rather than listening to my ranting, read the article I’m listing here. http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/lazy-literary-agents-in-self-publishing-money-grab-via-argo-navis/
The availability of easy self-publishing tools caused this reaction by the traditional publishing industry and allowed thousands of hungry wolves to leap out of the woods, offering self-publishing services that when you add up the price takes away any advantage the uneducated have. going the self-publishing route in the first place.
My solution: Learn to do as much of the work yourself. I publish with Create Space for my paperbacks. I’m a Kindle Direct author for my eBooks. I use Audible for my audiobooks. Why? Because their processes are simple. Their instructions are clear. The cost is under a $100, combining all three publishing avenues. In addition, I pay $150 for book cover designs through a private design firm. I pay for copyrights. I design my own marketing material with Vista Print. Combing all these costs, I pay less to produce a paperback, eBook, and audiobook, than the packages provided by the Penguin affiliates. I tried Smashwords, which is a great avenue for some. Not as productive for me.
Keep the discussions going. Eventually, the traditional publishers will change and adapt methods that are more user-friendly to authors.
Next time, I’ll talk about another write-in response about readers finding and judging our books on their own merits. See you then.