Big Change in Publishing

When you think of “Big Change in Publishing,” what comes to mind? E-books? i-Pad? Kindle? Amazon? Maybe the first thing you thought of, “It’s about time!” Or, you could be thinking, “Oh no! What’s wrong?”

Well, the traditional publishing houses are finally caving into self-publishing and conceding to the fact that they cannot compete. They have no choice but to join or be instinct.

Do I feel this is a good thing? Well, I’ll let you know what is going on and give you the facts, then we can decide together.

Author Solutions, who self-publishes about 15,000 titles a year, is joining with traditional publishing. That have partnered up with Harlequin, Hay House, Thomas Nelson, and B&H so far. That’s just in the last few months. By the end of the year, Author Solutions could be part of hundreds of traditional publisher’s.

Let me use Harlequin for an example on what is going to happen. Harlequin forms a self-publishing division, which is run by Author Solutions.

Let me stop right there.

Traditional publishers are forming self-publishing companies. You heard that right.

Now, Harlequin can take a close look at all self-published books to see which ones are selling. If any break out, they will sign the author in their traditional house.

The Good:

* Authors can now get a real look from traditional publishers.

* This may solve all submission problems from unsolicited authors, dissolve slush piles, and save traditional publishers thousands each quarter, while they earn money at the same time.

* Traditional publisher’s now become the “good guy.” They are saying, “We hear you authors and want to help.”

Be Careful:

* Authors still need to pay for publishing, marketing, and promoting. (In this system.)

* Author Solutions will make millions more off this. Traditional publishers are looking to save their companies and self-publishing seems to be the only way. If this is about money, then it cannot be about the authors and readers.

Keith Ogorek from Author Solutions said, “Right now we see what we’re doing is creating more opportunities for authors and more choices for readers.”

I agree. This creates opportunities for authors and puts more books in the market for readers to choose from. That is true. However, Keith forgot to mention the second part: No one in the publishing industry will read these books. Author Solutions will not look over 15,000 books a year to make sure they are marketable and the content is valid for readers.

Once again, the publishing industry is taking a dangerous step toward ruining the purification of books and what we read. Why are they doing this? To earn money and save their companies.

Okay, but let’s get back to the good, because I’m a person who believes that we cannot control the publishing industry, but authors can certainly take advantage of the industries decisions.

Harlequin and the traditional houses that partner with Author Solutions will hold contests for their self-published books. The winner will receive a publishing contract.

I think that is great! Big, big plus for the author. So investing in self-publishing is a positive thing for the author in this case. (If the author can beat out 5,000 others who self-published and are in this particular contest. I wonder how all those books will be read and given a proper chance?)

Authors that are marketing, selling, and building an audience, have a better chance to be signed by Harlequin. Again, that is a great thing!

Just remember, you self-published with Harlequin. No other publisher will be looking at you. If you paid to have your book self-published under Harlequin and they do not sign you, then you are stuck. Authors are taking a big risk with their work.

If you self-publish under Thomas Nelson or B&H, then you better have a Christian or religious theme in your book. If you are a horror author, then no one at Thomas Nelson will sign you. Genre of the publishing house still comes into play.

While Author Solutions and traditional houses are finding ways to make more money, authors should  not change. Here is what I mean:

* You still need to write a book with a wonderful story, plot, and characters, along with clean mechanics.

* You still need to build an audience.

* You still need to market, network, and keep your options open.

* You still need to read everyday.

* You still will have to invest your time/money into your career.

* If you rush your book out to be published, you will fail. It’s a fact that I will bet my career on right now.

It’s good that traditional publisher’s will do anything to save the industry right now. If e-books and self-publishing is the solution, then at least they are trying. I may not agree with their reasoning, but I do know their decisions are opening doors for authors. (No matter what I’ve said earlier in this blog, thousands of authors are hurrying to their computer or laptops, doing a quick read on their book, getting a check ready, and researching the companies I’ve mentioned so they can self-publish in hopes of being signed by the traditional publisher. Let the floodgates open!)

Only a handful of traditional publishers are doing this right now, but I expect by the end of the year, you will see hundreds. Heck, even Publishers Weekly is promoting Lulu. PW is the biggest traditional publisher supporter in the world. Lulu is one of the top self-publishers. Somehow, the two are now working together. (How long was I asleep last night???)

At a writing conference in New York, traditional publishers were told to, “Change or die.” That is a pretty bold statement.

And by the way…what are literary agents thinking about this? I would predict that all is good. Authors who are serious about their writing and their career, will always need an agent.

So traditional publishers would rather join with self-publishers, rather than change their business plan’s and submission process. I have to be honest…I never saw this coming.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

Manager: Melissa Link


Ron Knight

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  1. Marlayne Giron says:

    The follow on blog should deal with which companies are best for helping both traditional and self-published authors to promote books effectively. I wasted a lot of money on throw-away marketing until I found a good company with book promotions that did help to spread word of mouth on my book, The Victor!

  2. Ron Knight says:

    Very few publishers, traditional or self, help newer authors promote their work. I’m not saying I like that, just stating the industry facts. It will be up to authors for most of the marketing and promoting, which I remind authors daily. However, I’ll ask around to see if there are any publishers big on marketing new authors, but don’t hold your breath. ~ Ron Knight