Friday, December 2, 2011
Journalist and author, Edan Lepucki, mentions her reluctance to become “Amazon’s bitch” ... I just love that expression!
Mathew Ingram, a senior writer with GigaOM, writes a cool article with many informative links (including Edan Lepucki with a nice list of reasons why a writer might decide NOT to self-publish):
What purpose do book publishers serve?
We’ve written a lot about the disruption in the book-publishing industry over the past year or so, with Amazon not only creating a huge market for authors to self-publish on the Kindle — thereby avoiding traditional publishers altogether — but also signing writers to its own imprint, and cutting the Big Six publishing houses out of the picture. But it should be noted that working with a publisher can have its benefits as well as its disadvantages, and writer Edan Lepucki has put together a nice list of reasons why someone (including her) might decide not to self-publish. If publishers have any weapons against Amazon, they are on this list.
Lepucki, who writes for a magazine called The Millions and is also an author, says while she sees the benefits of self-publishing — the freedom from a traditional book contract, the ability to control the way the book is marketed, that self-publishers typically keep a larger share of the proceeds, and so on — she has decided not to self-publish her first book. In an earlier essay, Lepucki wrote about how she had given up trying to market her work to publishers, but despite a number of authors describing how easy self-publishing is, she says she has decided to pursue a traditional book deal (others have come to different conclusions: despite some misgivings, Marc Herman says he decided to publish his journalism about the Middle East as a Kindle Single instead of as a traditional book).
Publishers can help a book rise above the noise
One of the reasons the author says she has come to this conclusion is that, while many people seem to see the publishing industry as dead in the water, she still believes there are good publishers out there, that they serve a purpose and that their recommendation of a book has value. As she puts it:
I trust publishers. They don’t always get it right, but more often than not, they do. As I said in the piece that started me off on this whole investigation: “I want a reputable publishing house standing behind my book; I want them to tell you it’s good so that I don’t have to.”
This gets at one of the issues that keeps coming up every time I write about self-publishing, and how Amazon’s Kindle and other tools allow a writer to reach readers without having to go through a publisher. These posts often get comments that could be paraphrased as: “But then the world will be full of terrible writing, and how will we find the good stuff?” And certainly one of the primary functions a good editor or publisher can provide is to filter through content and select the best (of course, that also means that much potentially valuable writing is not chosen).
Read and learn more
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