My favourite line in my good colleague Philip Jones’ early look at traditionally publishing authors’ responses to the ongoing survey was just that:
When asked about the possibility of self-publishing, only a minority of authors were excited at the prospect, with the majority (75%), either neutral or horrified at the thought of taking control.
#AuthorSay is the hashtag associated with the “Do You Love Your Publisher?” survey of traditionally publishing authors mounted by UK-based author Harry Bingham and US-based publishing analystJane Friedman.
Whatever we learn about how much authors may or may not love their publishers, it seems a good bet that they’re fond of this survey.
. . . .
Some early glimpses, courtesy of Jones, of input from traditionally publishing writers completing the survey:
- 75 percent: “either neutral or horrified at the thought of taking control’ by self-publishing
- 33 percent: published by a Big Five publisher
- 20 percent: published by a “large trade publisher”
- A majority of early respondents: “had published six or more titles”
- 50 percent: “had self-published at least one title”
- 25 percent: “reported that they had ‘seriously considered’ self-publishing
- 80 percent: “happy with their cover design”
- 70 percent: “happy with the copyediting received”
- 39 percent: “said they would move” to another publisher “if a similar house came along with the same deal”
- 31 percent: indicated that they would stay with their current publisher if that similar deal were offered by another
- 45 percent: said they would stay with their current agents if offered a chance to move to another
. . . .
After years of embittered, counter-productive divisions in the author corps, there seem to be signs of hostilities easing. Perhaps the angrier authors see less threat in the “other pathway to publishing” from their own, now that the two modes have coexisted for a time. Or maybe the screamers have just worn themselves out — along with those of us who had to listen to them.
One thing we know is that we’ve never heard as much from the traditionally publishing side of the author camp as we have from the insurgency, the self-publishing sector.
Link to the rest at FutureBook and thanks to Rebecca for the tip.
PG will note that surveys involving self-selected participants are useful for generating raw material for online stories, but are not reflective of the population as a whole. We’ve talked about the Digital Book World survey of “self-published” authors before which, among other things, counts the “self-publishing” income of people who have never sold a book.
People who (a) find out about an online survey and (b) take the time to answer a survey may or (more likely) may not have the same experiences or opinions as the much larger group who who don’t fall into the (a) or (b) groups.
Excel makes it easy to generate lots and lots of percentages, but it doesn’t mean they represent reality.
To be clear, PG has no animus toward any of those who are conducting or promoting the survey. And a headline in his inbox did cause him to click through and read the article, so the survey did help generate a reader for the story.
However, in the largely innumerate world of traditional publishing (see Bookscan and AAP sales figures), PG is certain that some will take these numbers as more than story fodder. He expects to see all sorts of stories about how happy 75.4% of all tradpub authors are.