Those of us who write books can all see it clearly: the world of publishing is in a state of flux. Independent authors are popping up ever more frequently, and there are numerous reasons for it. Why? Because writers want to maintain control over their own projects. Because writers want to immerse themselves into all aspects of the publishing process, from conception of story to editing to designing the cover to marketing and promoting their novels themselves. And, because writers write as a hobby, something they do on the side and not as their sole livelihood; perhaps they don’t want the hassle of everything that can come with traditional publishing.
There are many reasons independent authors choose to be independent.
As of October 9, 2013, in the United States alone, data by ProQuest and Bawker reported that the number of self-published titles jumped 59% from 2011, with up to 391,000 self-published titles released.
E-books comprised 40% of the market in 2012, and continue to gain on print, though print saw a rise of 33%.
Many self-published authors like myself find the process of seeking a traditional publisher as an obstacle to getting our stories out there. We write, therefore, we want someone to read what we write. We need an audience, even if the audience is smaller.
Those of us who are independently/self-published authors see ourselves as “managers” of the entire project, and become vested in our work. Sometimes, we need help with parts, and we turn to friends or colleagues to assist with aspects we might not know too much about. In my own case, I had friends edit my book. I also had my friend shoot the cover of Beneath the Mimosa Tree, my first book. Additionally, she photographed me for my author head shot for the novel as well. Likewise, I will have her do the same with Baseball Girl, the novel I will soon release.
When your sole income does not come from the sale of books, it is easy to have fun with self-publishing. It’s a great side hobby where you can put all your talents to work. As someone who worked in public relations and publishing for years, I wrote all my own press releases and media alerts; I’ve contacted book stores to see if they are interested in selling my book; I’ve booked my own book talks; I’ve entered indie author contests and placed; and I’ve even coached other people as to how to do it. It’s really quite fun, and something I’ve never been afraid of doing. Why? Because I love it.
Many self-published authors get picked up by big publishing houses, so even if you publish something yourself, if you still desire that “larger” audience, you can certainly continue to try.
The numbers are pretty staggering, though. The world of publishing has changed, continues to change, and I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.