Part 2: Changing my mind about self-publishing Cont’ further

iUniverse and the publishing path of the novel A Perfect Blindness

Perhaps most importantly for changing minds: some authors actually started making money publishing their own books. A few made very good money, as in six figures good.

Following this money, agents and acquisitions editors at publishing houses started taking advantage of the many sites offering sales rankings, reader ratings and reviews, using them to prescreen self-published books for ones that show promise. This led some self-published authors to land agents who then got traditional publishing deals. Thus, self-publishing became an alternate route onto a Traditional Publishing Path while it worked on becoming a legitimate route on its own.

These changes have all combined to shift the public’s attitude towards self-published works, which in turn has driven more sales, leading to more respect and higher profiles, and thus more sales: an upward spiral, lifting all titles. Yet while what it means for a book to be self-published, or for an author to self-publish continues this metamorphosis, the stigma of “why couldn’t it, couldn’t s/he, get a ‘real’ publisher?” still clings to these books and their authors like bits of skin incompletely sloughed off.

Paradoxically, the very opening of the gates to publishing that lead to the rising quality of self-published books bears most of the responsibility for this incomplete transformation. Certainly, the opening of access to the means of production, distribution and sales—once the exclusive domain of traditional publishers—has given rise to many good books that might have never gotten past the gatekeepers of yore; it has also let flow the dross and mediocrity that would have previously been screened out—by cost or those same gatekeepers; not that Traditional Publishing didn’t pump out quantities of poor quality books for profits: Penny Dreadfuls anyone?

Further, this torrent of new books coming at readers, critics, bloggers and booksellers makes sorting the gems from the junk, even with on-line reviews, ratings and rankings a task that swamps even the most dedicated bibliophile: there are so very many possibly good books with lots of stars and thumbs up, so many opinions from so many influencers, some so very specialized: how can a self-publisher wave a flag that stands taller than the others in this ever more crowed market?

By swiping a page from the Traditional Publishing Path.

Next post: Signaling

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