The Debate of Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing is One We May Not Need
At eBookAuthor.com we provide a lot of information for authors who want to self-publish an eBook. That doesn’t mean that we do not help and assist authors going via the traditional publisher route. In fact, our goal is to help all writers and authors regardless of which path they take to publishing an eBook. So, the debate of self-publishing verses traditional publishing can often take on a ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mentality when really we are all authors and the path we choose or are presented with to get published becomes a personal decision. It no longer determines the success of an eBook.
This debate always appears every now and then and becomes a conversation of interest for many parties. I must say that the chatter and debate has lost a lot of steam in recent years as the reality for eBooks being a ‘real and viable reading option’ has silenced the traditionalists. Tim Waterstone recently tried to ignite the debate by commenting on how eBooks were dying off and books were making a resurgence. Some in the industry considered this a biased view from a man who puts his name to over 200 book stores across the UK and wants to protect his business. I would say that the triple figure digit gains in eBook sales experienced early on are representative of any new product or trend. eBooks are still continuing to experience growth at significant levels especially as new markets open up such as India and Brazil.
So, rather than adding fuel to the fire, this post identifies some generally agreed upon views.
eBooks are Just Another Reading Option.
eBooks are not here to replace print books. eBooks are just another format for readers to enjoy ‘books’ in a digital format that presents the reader with numerous benefits from:
• Instant download and access to the eBook
• Being able to store thousands of eBooks on a tablet or reading device
• Enjoying the ‘anonymity’ of reading certain genres and no-one else knowing (e.g. Fifty Shades of Grey’
…..and many more!
The growth of eBooks may have cut into the volume of books being sold hence the ‘world is collapsing’ mentality towards books and book stores. Both can live in peace and harmony without taking sides.
Amazon is Often Loved and Also Hated
When I first started writing, publishing and selling eBooks back in 2004 very few people knew what an eBook was. What launched eBooks into the stratosphere was when Amazon came on board and told the world about their Kindle.
Authors love Amazon because they provide a platform to self-publish an eBook through their KDP program. Amazon provides a platform for all authors to sell their eBooks to a global audience. Amazon is also hated by some because they are so powerful and control the eBook world. They are often seen as the ones who are putting the small independent book stores out of business. At the moment if you want to succeed as an author you need to respect Amazon and stop fighting them. Use them to your advantage. Keep them on-side.
eBooks and Digital Publishing Have Opened the Way for Self-publishing
In decades past if you wanted to become a published author you were at the mercy of the big publishers. You had to beg to have someone read your manuscript or take notice. Now self-publishing has turned the tables on publishers and authors are now in control because they have many options.
Genres Dominate eBook Sales for Self-Published Authors
Reports from a number outlets as well as best-seller lists tell us that the categories of Erotica, Romance, Mystery, Thriller and Science Fiction have the most self-published eBooks. This is representative of recent ‘massive’ hits such as the ‘Fifty Shades’ series, ‘Hunger Games’ series and recently the ‘Divergent’ series.
Both Self-Published and Traditionally Published Authors Make the Best-seller Lists
Every day we hear of a self-published author that is making a huge amount of money from their eBooks or movie deals. It is this news that drives self-published authors to realise that anyone can become a best-selling author. The reality is that not everyone will. And most authors will make very little money at all. We are in agreement though that success stories now come from both self-published and traditionally published authors.
Lack of Transparency Remains an On-going Issue
The big publishers and the major online retailers keep their data and information close to their chest. They do not want to share what they know as they use this information to help sell more eBooks. In many ways this is understandable as it can give them a distinct advantage over competitors. The lack of data on author earnings and customer buying information is why the ‘Author Earning’s website and posts by Hugh Howey have caused such a stir and divided many in the industry. As a published author I would love to gain access to this data. Not just to satisfy curiosity but it would only provide more information that I could use to improve my sales and marketing campaigns.
Amazon has just recently taken a small step in the right direction by providing authors with more information on sales and customers through their new Sales Dashboard. This provides up-to-date reporting of paid, borrowed and free orders as they are placed in Kindle stores worldwide. Hopefully more data will be made available.