This year one of our authors rang concerned that announcement of the release her new book in social media was criticised by quite a few people.
They said self-publishing was ‘selling out’, And ‘my literary agent and I are still in negotiations with Picador’. The sanctimony increased with ‘my editor has pleaded with me to pitch the book to her agent friend in New York, she said “its got to be one of the best books of the last decade” ‘.
The thing is this: not one of these critics had ever been published in any form, all attended ‘expert’ writing groups, all were well advanced into their seventies, having written on average 5 manuscripts over the last 10 years.
I have little doubt unpublished they will remain.
I’ve been in publishing for almost 30 years and have managed the production of over 1,000 titles. All of these were self-published. All of these were brought to market by authors with a burning drive to reach the eyes of readers.
Guttenberg – a political exile – built the first modern printing press to self-publish The Bible and political pamphlets. Similarly a few years later Claxton published works for the monarchy – this was in-house self-publishing. Schoffer self-published his The Book of Psalms.
In these cases whoever owned the printing press was also the author and publisher.
No hierarchical publishing industry structure there.
Every writer wants their creative work to be read. High levels of literacy, the freedom (in many countries) to voice ideas – even controversial ideas, technology e.g. print on demand and online distribution systems has democratized publishing. And that’s got to be a good thing.
No more big publishing companies, whose only goal seems to be returning value to shareholders – totally controlling the interests of content creators.