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Is the self pub ebook boom sustainable?

20 April 2011

Passive Guy’s thoughts on indie writing are no secret, but he tries to make sure he keeps looking at both sides of the argument. The world of Big Publishing and its agents and authors is filled with a lot of smart people who haven’t all suddenly gone stupid.

Earlier today, I posted about David Hewson’s Twitter shock. I decided to check him out a little because I hadn’t heard of him before. He must be a big-time author because his About links don’t say anything about him, just who his agents are and where he’ll be appearing.

Like many traditionally-published authors, David thinks this self-publishing stuff will never last. By next year, it will all fade away. Note that David is certain every indie writer is just trying to use unconventional tactics to snag a contract with a big publisher.

For those prone to the vapors, I’ll issue an advance CONDESCENSION ALERT! If you feel an attack coming on, slowly back away from your computer, lie down and breath deeply until the symptoms pass.

Excerpts from David’s blog post:

What happens when the material runs out. Let’s be honest. A lot of the stuff going up there right now is old material. Backlist (some of mine there — why wouldn’t I?) Rejected manuscripts. Hastily-finished manuscripts seeking a new market. Nothing wrong with topping and tailing some old stuff and getting it into the system.

But that doesn’t take long. What happens when the cupboard is bare and you have to write everything from scratch? Will you still manage to summon up the energy a year from now if the money’s still just a trickle and the chances of a mainstream publishing contract seem no nearer?

Amanda Hocking. Is a great media story and totally atypical. What happened to Ms Hocking is unlikely to happen to any but a handful of people. Best to believe one of them will not be you. Oh, and Ms Hocking just signed a conventional pub deal too, which is very sensible of her in my view. Again… why wouldn’t you?

. . . .

Visibility. One of the ways authors get known is by appearing in public. Book stores are obviously out as are libraries. Which leaves literary events. Are self-pubbed writers going to get seats on the platform at festivals? One day I guess. But it’s a tough call. Self-pubbers may think their exclusion is down to snobbery. And maybe sometimes it is. But I’ve worked alongside festival organisers and I know how very difficult their job is. Imagine someone saying to them: let’s bring in self-pubbed authors. How on earth do you pick the ones allowed through the gate? And whoever you do pick won’t the others still be hacked off. I wouldn’t want to be the festival organiser dealing with that particular dilemma.

Link to the rest at davidhewson.com