Self-Publishing Revolution: Still in the Early Stages

February 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Where are we in the self-publishing revolution? Despite the exponential growth of self-published books over the past 2-3 years, I believe we’re still in the early stages of the revolution.

As evidence I cite the 2002 survey that reported that 80% of people surveyed say they have a book in them and the fact that out of a dozen people who attended a presentation I gave on self-publishing today half are working on books or thinking of doing so including one person who has self-published three novels and another person who has been traditionally published.

Given that the baby boomer age cohort has just begun to retire and the fact that they are THE most literate group of retirees in human history, don’t be surprised if the volume of self-published books continues to grow by leaps and bounds for another decade and don’t be surprised if the audience grows with them.

In the early stage of social revolutions driven by technology, early adopters jump on board long before the infrastructure to support them has been put in place. In terms of self-publishing we’ve seen in the past year parts of that infrastructure being built to try catch up with the demand. By infrastructure I mean options for self-publishing writers that replace what traditional publishers offer — including a variety of editorial and marketing services designed to aid the person who is thinking about writing a book all the way to serving the traditionally published author who is turning to self-publishing but needs and can afford highly sophisticated services they can purchase a la carte.

That infrastructure including workshops, critique sites, contests, etc., will help the second generation of self-publishers move from wishful thinking to putting fingers to keyboards.

What about the problems self-published authors encounter?

If you lurk in author discussion forms on Goodreads, linked-in, Kindle Direct, etc., you’ll read about how to generate reviews, how to find and build an audience, how to decide how long your book should be, how to write a good title, what makes a good cover, etc. I’ve benefitted from spending time in these discussion sites not only for what I’ve learned but also because I found an outstanding critique partner that way.

Discussions also point out where self-publishing still comes up short — including the problem of getting placed in bookstores, purchased by libraries, and being reviewed by the mainstream media. I expect all those problems will be solved as a result of continued growth in the volume and quality of self-publishing and when some innovator comes up with a solution that the rest of us wish we had been smart enough to see.

So keep your self-belts buckled. The revolution has just begun.

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