Tag Archives: self-publishing

The evolution of the author/publisher relationship

I was over at Electric Alphabet the other day and was interested in Kate Eltham’s examination of the question posed by Mark Coker in his article for The Huffington Post, do authors still need publishers?

Coker argues that an author (he uses names like Stephen King and JK Rowling) with a dedicated fanbase could get a much better return from the marketplace by self-publishing. And while there are few poets (if any) who boast fanbases with the size and sustainability of King or Rowling, this also rings true in the poetry world. But as Kate points out:

the author that can make a self-publishing project successful is the author who is an entrepreneur, a small business manager, a savvy marketer and a tireless communicator.

No easy feat…

But this is something that poets worldwide have known for sometime and many are now fulfilling all of these roles quite successfully. As Seth Godin suggests in the article Tribe Building 101, increased communication between author and reader through blogs, online forums, and in person, encourages greater transparency and will help to consolidate your fanbase.

Blogging has opened up a new world for me and the countless other poets who regularly post their words each day. It is a way of reaching out to other writers and readers. It facilitates collaboration. It helps build community. And for me, it is a way of discipling myself to write. I feel like a novice in the blogging field, but already it has opened up many new avenues for my work. Combined with regular submissions to journals (online and print), regular readings (open mic and features), organising events, attending events and in general lending support to the development of the greater poetry community, I feel I am finally laying a platform to build on. All this has been ten years in the making and it has all been worth it. I plan to release my next book independently in 2010 and am feeling confident about the process.

That is not to say I am anti-publisher. Nothing could be further from the truth… I am one half of the team that runs Small Change Press and have recently been working on the Brisbane New Voices project. Indeed, I believe publishers have an important role to play, bringing new voices to a wider public, but it has to be said that independent publishers also require their authors to be creating their own platform through blogging, reading, submitting to journals etc… Being published, so to speak, does not mean that you can sit back and watch the sales roll in. In today’s writing/reading world, the entrepreneurial skills of marketing and communication need to be embraced by all.

It is clear that the relationship between author and publisher has changed forever. Some would argue for better, others for worse. What I am most interested in is how authors and publishers can survive and thrive (together or alone) in the future. All thoughts welcome…

 

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The Future of the Bookstore

For me, bookstores (particularly second hand) are like sitting at the tree on Chirstmas morning… there is so much waiting to be unwrapped. I regularly lose myself for hours on end – cover gazing, page flipping, reading, contemplating and of course buying. For me, the experience of walking into a store and discovering a book will always be far more rewarding than the online experience, but so much of what I am seeking these days can only be found online. But all that may be changing…

Check out this article on The Northshire Bookstore in Vermont who have installed ‘a hulking jumble of machinery’ known as the Espresso Book Machine; an example of the print-on-demand technology able to serve up millions of titles to the eager customer.

Yep, it’s like a jukebox for books! And while I am not sure whether bookstores are the best place to have such machines, imagine the possibilities – Airports, Train Stations, Hotels… all those places where time just seems to drag and the books on offer in newsagents etc… just don’t cut it.

This machine certainly has potential. Imagine if there was one at your local shopping centre… it may actually make doing the groceries more bearable.

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Self-publishing & Literary Value

I was recently over at the Overland blog and found some really interesting discussion taking place in response to the ‘open letter from Salt publishing’. It was interesting that as part of this discussion, the topic of self-publishing was raised and it’s worth debated.

The self-publishing debate is one that has been raging for many years …

So, here’s a couple of links that I have unearthed that provide some interesting reading on the topic of self-publishing.

First up an article from The Washington Times – Self-publishing finds commercial niche in digital age

And this article from the Self-Publishing Review – What is Literary Value?

The question, ‘What is literary value’, is something that I would love people to respond to, as I think it is a question that needs more open discussion.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts …

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