A good article from author Paul Carr about the dangerous thought process behind self-publishing. In the self-publishing vs going through a publisher route for print books, I’m a firm believer that authors should use publishers, especially if you already have a contract with them. Too many people shell out too much of their own money to vanity presses just so they can see their book in print.
Here’s a very telling excerpt from Carr’s article:
There’s a second – arguably even more important – benefit to the professional-publisher-as-filter principle: authors of professionally published books instantly have more credibility when it comes to securing lucrative speaking engagements, journalism gigs and a whole host of other money-spinners for which knowledgable talking heads command top dollar. Compare the number of professionally published authors you see opining in print and on television (or on stage) with the number of ebook-only authors you find in the same locations. Exactly. In a world where we’re being constantly told that piracy will kill sales and that authors, musicians and the rest will have to rely on live gigs – these bookings become even more critical.
Which brings me neatly to the marketing argument: that most professionally published books are woefully under-marketed by publishers, who seem obsessed with throwing millions of dollars at billboard advertising for a small number of superstars, while everyone else is left to organise their own book tour, or plug their titles on their Facebook fan pages. Authors – particularly those with pre-existing fanbases – can now cut out the publisher altogether, market their titles directly online and enjoy all the financial spoils.
I think I touched on this awhile back, here and linked to Dan Hoyt’s article here, but when people mention piracy and literature the first thing that comes to mind is Pliny the Younger wading through an army of stern librarians swinging the Sword of Uncertainty, cleaving his foes before him in his fury.