Monday, September 6, 2010

A possible benefit of indie publishing

I was thinking this morning that one of the big benefits of indie publishing may be that it might help prevent authors avoid getting mixed up with dubious publishers. There have always been iffy start-up pubs with no clear business model, or disguised self-pubs that drain authors of their money, and authors who couldn't make a sale elsewhere tended to turn to them, so they could call themselves "published." An author who's determined to get his or her work out there is going to find a way-- and historically, some of those ways have been really bad for the authors. I'd like to think that nowadays, those authors might turn to self-publishing on Amazon instead.

Of course, if the authors aren't of publishable quality, that's not necessarily a good thing for indie publishing in general, but I'd argue it's better for the authors. I'd rather see new authors put up a bad book on Amazon, learn from the experience, and be able to edit it or even take it down, then see them trapped with a bad publisher (and all the attendant bad experiences) for years. We've all read horror stories about the anguish of having your work held hostage by a lousy publisher. At least with indie publishing, you control your own work.

The downside is that I imagine that as indie publishing takes off, it will be harder for new small publishers to get established. But I still imagine that ones that really offer substantial services to their authors (solid editing, good covers) will manage to gain a foothold in the market.

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