From Publishers Weekly:
Once again, events tailored to independent and self-published authors at the London Book Fair’s Author HQ were jam-packed, and among the London Book Fair’s most popular offerings. PW checks in with a leading indie service provider, Smashwords founder Mark Coker, about the state of self-publishing in 2015, and what the future holds.
So, to start, give us a sense of where you see the self-publishing market in 2015, and what you see going forward?
When I started Smashwords back in 2008, there was a tremendous stigma associated with self publishing. Self -published authors were seen as failed authors, and in a sense this was true because it was a print-centric world back then, and without the help of a publisher authors couldn’t get distribution into bookstores. But thanks to the rise of e-books, authors now have the chance to be judged by readers.
In 2015, self published authors are learning to think and act like professional publishers. They’re embracing best practices, and learning to use professional tools of the trade such as pre-orders, professional cover design and they’re hiring professional editors. And readers have responded positively. But, for self-published authors, for all authors, in fact, the easy days are over. There’s now a glut of high-quality low-cost e-books out there, and that glut will only increase as more authors up their game, and as more authors self-publish.
How do you see the impact of self-publishing being felt in the traditional publishing industry?
I think traditional publishing still doesn’t fully grok the impact self-publishing is going to have on their businesses. Self-publishing isn’t for every writer. Many writers would much rather outsource the publishing process to a publisher so they can focus on writing. But I think many authors are unsatisfied with things like publishers paying 25% net on e-books, and many are questioning the value-add of publishers.
The other week I interviewed a romance author, Jamie McGuire, who started out at Smashwords and Amazon in 2011, hit the New York Times bestseller list with Beautiful Disaster, and then sold her rights to Atria in a two-book deal. She loved her experience at Atria. She said they felt like family. But a year ago she decided to return to self publishing, because she couldn’t justify surrendering her e-book rights forever to a publisher. When authors who love publishers leave publishers, it’s a problem.
I think traditional publishing and self-publishing are complementary. Each can make the other stronger. But most traditional publishers still practice a culture of no, rejecting most of what comes in the door, and they still view this rejection as a core value-add. I think publishers can no longer take their power for granted, and need to recognize they are service providers to authors. And to better serve their clients, publishers will need develop a broader spectrum of services so they can say yes to more authors.
Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly