Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Point for Indie Publishing

As I near the point where I must decide whether to try the traditional publishing route of query letters and agent pitches one more time, or venture into the growing world of indie publishing (primarily self-publishing for e-readers), I am focused on the ongoing debate between these two sides -- a debate that's starting to look more like the fight between the French and the English at the Battle of Agincourt. 

With what appears to be the looming liquidation of Borders, author Joe Konrath continues his compelling arguments in favor of indie publishing in his post One More Nail in the Coffin. Konrath has been at the forefront of this debate on the side of self-publishing, and I find his arguments to be some of the most persuasive. I'm going to miss Borders, but its demise is yet another sign the world is changing. Almost everyone I know has an e-reader and many of them prefer e-books to hard covers or paperbacks. 

Any student of history knows that technology can have profound effects. The invention of the printing press made the bookmaking process used by medieval monks obsolete. Will the Kindle, Nook and iPad do the same for the traditional publishing model?

                                  The debate's starting to look like the Battle of Agincourt!


Richard Campbell said...

While I prefer ebooks to hardcover or paperbacks, the major item that traditional publishing has over self-publishing is quality control.

There are a lot of items on Amazon that I don't want even at $0.99, because they haven't passed through even the basic filters listed here:

As one example, I offer you a book that sat around in slushpiles for at least 10 years before being self-published: "Hitler in Oz."

Joseph Finley said...

Thanks for the comment. I think that's a good point for readers. With so many folks self-publishing, the reader will inevitably have to work harder to separate the wheat from the chaff. Hopefully, Amazon ratings, reviews from people you trust, and a glimpse at free pages or chapters can help make the decision a little easier. I feel I can generally tell whether a book is to my liking by the first chapter. Not always, but most of the time.

For authors, I think the issue is whether, with less shelf space at brick and mortar book sellers after Borders liquidates, there will be realistic options outside of self-publishing. Joe Konrath believes the midlist authors will fare badly in the wake of Borders' demise. The bestselling authors, of course, will be fine. But as Konrath points out, there's a lot of luck involved in becoming one of those.

Still, comments like yours add to the debate. I'm new to the Kindle, so I foresee a blog post down the road about the best strategies to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Also, the links were great!

Joseph Finley said...

Jane Friedman posted the following blog about the fate of bookstores after Border's demise. It links to four other articles on the topic. All are interesting reads.