Today best-selling author and long-time marketing and publishing industry expert Seth Godin announced he will never again traditionally publish a book. That’s a bold statement coming from a man who created 120 books as a book packager and who has published 12 best sellers. To the publishing industry, this may be a scary message for such a powerful man to send out to his blog readers, who listen and take note.
His words made me more seriously consider a question I’ve been considering for some time already: Is it time to throw in the traditional publishing towel?How many other aspiring authors and traditionally published authors asked themselves the same question?
While I have played around with the idea of self-publishing for years, and I have produced a few e-books (simply as PDFs but not in a format that makes them available for e-readers) and a few short booklets, I have not gone the full independent publishing route. I call myself a traditional publishing hold out. I have an agent; she continues to peddle my books for me in the form of nonfiction book proposals.
However, over the years I have accumulated more partial manuscripts– books I’ve started and not finished–as I’ve waited for agents to peddle them. And in the meantime I’ve lost my passion to write them. It makes me wonder if I’ve missed the boat with some of these books as I’ve waited for my ship to come in.
Let me say, I have not just waited on the dock in the meantime. I have been building platform, and that is necessary no matter how you publish your book. Any writer, whether self-published or traditionally published, needs to take time to build an author’s platform to sell books.
That said, these days you can publish a book have it available for every e-reader as well as for print on demand and it costs just a few hundred dollars–or less. I was reading in Newsweek recently about how the stigma on self-publishing has vanished. In particular this has become true now that e-books have increased the demand for more books. Even well-know authors–like Godin–are choosing to take control of the publishing process.
Seth Godin’s blog post convinces me that all writers–new and established–should be considering independent publishing of some sort. Plus, if we, as writers and authors, don’t jump on the independent publishing and e-reader ship as it leaves port, we may be left behind and later be found buried on shore in our unpublished (or partially written) manuscripts. I, for one, don’t want that to happen.
No. Instead, I want to get up each morning feeling the need and desire–and passion–to write the books I’ve conceived and which I believe have a chance of success. I don’t want to wait for permission to write and publish them so others can read them–especially when I know my readers want these books. I want to write them. I want to make them available.
How about you?
Now, if a traditional publisher wants to help me, fine. I don’t know that I’d go as far as Seth at this point; I’m not a bestselling author (yet). I won’t turn away a contract. If no one offers me one, I’m okay with going it alone at this point. I would counsel my clients to consider both options as well. I have always done so in the past, but I do so with more enthusiasm for self-publishing now than ever before.