During 2015 I read and reviewed over 60 books for this blog. When I looked over what I read and how they were published, over half of the books were either self published (by an individual or through an author’s personal imprint – their own publishing arm) or published through small independent press organisations. Of the books I rated as four stars and over (all categories), two-thirds fell into the “indie” pool. (The lowest rated books were split evenly between indie and big commercial publishers – interesting in itself seeing how self-publishing is widely panned as low quality).
It is marvellous to see so many authors publishing their works using a non-traditional path, but equally sad that they are not getting a look-in with the Big 5 (or at least not yet). The big advantage of signing with a Big 5 traditional publisher is the access to marketing and distribution networks – basically the big publicity budget, know-how and contacts.
As a result of only being able to access small-scale marketing and distribution, many excellent works are going unsold and unread. For example, when I contacted an author of a particularly good book I read last year, to ask if she had print copies for sale (I would have bought five immediately to give to non-kindle users), she advised that she did not have the funds to do a print run (even a relatively cheap POD option through Createspace). Sad but true, and a tale I personally can relate to.
Still it is best to struggle on your own than fall into the trap of paying often in excess of ten thousand dollars to publish with a vanity press company (stories for another day – no I haven’t been suckered in, but I have been approached three times with dodgy deals in the last six months!),
So I guess the take home message here is not to ignore the indie press/self-published offerings. Give the 99 cent book a chance. Review them on Amazon/Good Reads/LibraryThing/site of choice, and most importantly, recommend the book to your friends.
Don’t give up and stick to the path!