Thursday, January 15, 2015

Missed the Golden Age?

I'm starting to get the feeling that I missed the golden age of self-publishing.

I mean, I ended up going with a couple of publishers, but I was very close to doing it myself at one point, and figured that eventually I'd be putting out books by myself.

In my store, I've often been involved in trends that go through a sort of arc, the beginning of which I call the Golden Age.  This is when no one believes the trend will be successful, but if you've gotten in early you see a constant rise in demand.  You reap the benefits.

Then everyone jumps in, and the Golden Age is over.

But there is a lot of chatter by self-published authors who were doing well a couple of years ago that their sales have plummeted.

Looks to me like there is two reasons.

1.) A glut.  More and more books are coming out.  More and more of them have nice covers and are decently edited.  It is becoming harder and harder to stand out, to be discovered.

2.) Amazon is giving books away free.  Or rather, for a modest subscription service price.

Meanwhile, the big boys on both sides are still arguing.  On one hand, you have Jame Patterson and his ilk, who are defending the Big 5 publishers.  On the other hand, you have Hugh Howey and his ilk, who are proponents of self-publishing.

Thing is, both of these guys (and their ilk) are the extreme exceptions and in no way represent the average author in either camp.

I chose to go through smaller publishers, even though I could have grossed more income per book by myself, for several reasons.  They do all the work.  They have access to better covers, editing, and support services.  They do much of the promotion.  And the credibility of being paid in advance, which gave me the confidence to hawk my own books.

But I had always wondered if I'd made the right decision.

Now I'm pretty sure I did.  Not because I saw Amazon's subscription service coming or because I saw the glut (or rather, there was already a glut when I started, but self-publishing still seemed to be doing well) but because I'm still more a traditionalist.  I wanted to concentrate on writing.

As it turned out, I still am the one mostly responsible for whether I have reviews, or whether I have initial sales.

I'm am still glad I made the small publisher decision (not to mention, I glad they decided on me!) because it appears to me that they aren't included in the subscription service and because having a publisher gives me a slightly higher profile than if I was self-published.  A slightly higher profile in a glut is probably what I need.

The Golden Age was going to end sooner or later, so might as well adjust as best I can.

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