Monday, March 13, 2017

What The Self-Publishing Market Has Done To The Publishing Industry

This last weekend, I spent a lot of time reading submissions. I know I have mentioned this in the past, but I had an overwhelming amount of submissions that were far from the genres that I represent. Along the same lines, there were a lot of those submissions that no publisher out there would ever represent. In this second case, it is not because the publishing world is not open to new and unique projects, but it was the fact that these stories were something no one would every buy due to the content. Since starting the industry, I have seen more and more of these projects, and, in all honesty,
the number has risen even faster with the rise of the self-publishing options out there.

Now, before I go any further, let me say that I do not have a problem with self-publishing as a marketing tool. There are times when an author will have a project that is unique, or that it falls outside of what he or she would normally write with their own publisher and self-publishing is the way to go. I write poetry and frankly, that is one of the best approaches for that genre.

But here is where the self-publishing model goes awry. Authors are using self-publishing, either through routes such as Kindle publishing, or even creating their own publishing title, but not really thinking about market research or the quality of the final product. Sure, they may spend time "editing" their stories. Sure, they may pay huge sums of money for a book doctor to edit the project. But knowing the market just does not seem to be part of the equation.

You might be asking, how does this have an effect of traditional publishers or traditional agents? The answer is simple. Many of these authors, who either start out wanting to take the traditional route, or those who started out with the self-publishing route and then want to move to traditional, are learning a lot of bad habits and simply not learning about the business. These authors really seem to lack much of the basic knowledge of market research, knowing their own genre, or even how the entire publishing industry works. For you see, with self-publishing, it is a simple process of: 1) write a books; and 2) upload the book. At that, you are suddenly a published author.

As an agent, I am also seeing numerous authors (I generally range from 30%-50% of the submissions I read) where the person sends projects that are not what I acquire, and still, they try to justify that their project is the exception to the rule. For some reason, I will drop everything I am doing and pick up their collection. Just this last weekend, I had someone who wanted to submit a coffee table book of erotic pictures of couples having sex. Ummmm, A) Not what I represent; and B) are you really going to leave this out on a coffee table?

Look, I don't care what approach you want to take when it comes to publishing, but you need to understand that this is a business. Just because you wrote a series of words on a page and it looks somewhat like a book does not mean it needs to be published. Just because you put those words together does not mean you don't need to learn what the industry is about and how you go about working in the industry as a true professional.

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