This was published in 2008, which in today’s publishing world was a small ice age ago.  The references are defunct and have been removed, but the questions raised are still good ones.  Swap “indie publishing” for “small presses”. –t.


Following up on The Writers’ Roundtable’s observation that approximately 80% of authors are published via small press publishers these days, I thought I’d add another interesting statistic.

Author Tree House posted about five self-published books that made it big.  I won’t spoil their post – go and have a look for yourself.  The site seems to be a useful resource for those of you looking for help with your marketing and PR strategies, too.

Don’t get me wrong:  It’s not my mission in life to convert all authors to the glories of POD and small press publishing.  Especially for popular fiction genres, New York publication is still a viable option, and usually the one we all dream about when we think of making a success of fiction writing.

If I have a mission at all, it’s to knock some sense into people who flatly refuse to even consider reading/writing/publishing/buying a book on-line, or a POD book, or an e-book.  If 80% of all fiction is being published by small presses, those readers and writers are cutting themselves off from the thick end of the fiction industry, where most of the cutting edge, interesting and new stories are to be found.

As an author, I’d be better off keeping my mouth shut, save myself the agony of banging my head against what usually feels like a cinderblock wall.  Why encourage competition with less open-minded authors?

But that’s not why I write this blog.

If you’re still resistant to the idea of selling your books to small press/POD publishers/ebook publishers (often publishers are all three things at once), then think about this:  Your chances of selling to New York are slim and getting slimmer.

Your chances of selling to a small publisher are getting better and better.

So is the income potential with small publishers – especially as your backlist never dies as long as you’re with that publisher.  (Remember Seth Godin’s rally-cry?)

Be honest at least with yourself.  Are you resisting exploring the publishing potential of anything but New York publishers because … well, it won’t count if you aren’t published by the big boys?

If you think, in your heart of hearts, that there’s a psychological resistance there because of long-held dreams and prejudices, then maybe you should sit down with a pen and paper and draw up a list of pros and cons specific to you and where you want to take your career.  If you’re looking for a place to start, there’s an informal list of pros and cons in the post where I break down the difference between the types of publishers available to fiction authors today; “Publishing terms, POD and the Amazon “Thing””.

Strategizing on how to advance your career begins with knowing the end goal — know what you really want out of it.  Not what you think you want.  Indulge in some clear thinking.  It’s worth the effort.

First appeared on Anchored Authors, September 25, 2008

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