Evan Hughes wrote an interesting article for Wired.com, “Book Publishers Scramble to Rewrite Their Future”. In this he explores the impact digital book form and self-publishing has had in recent years and how the future of publishing is now forever changed in a quick and dramatic fashion.
Using Hugh Howey (the self-published author of “Wool”) as an example, Evan points out that Howey made a decent profit from his books and acquired quite a loyal fan following. Making $12,000 a month is nothing to sneeze at. But it wasn’t until he decided to work through Nelson Literary Agency that his sales jumped to $130,000 a month with a profit coming in from also selling the movie rights. By holding out and having the luxury to be picky, Howey managed to come out on top.
The article brings to light an interesting aspect of the publishing world, an angle that we as new students of this industry may not have realized. It states that new authors have much to gain by working with publishers; certainly this was the case with Mr. Howey. But what happens when the big names, those authors that write the best-selling-mega-multimillion-everybody-has-to-have-it books start to self publish? They have the celebrity, the fan base, the reach to do that and cut out the middlemen. Publishing houses gamble on every book they sign on. The hits cover the flops and hopefully generate some profit. Losing a big name/best seller would mean fewer chances to take on the little guys.
The publishing world has been shaken up by the rapid popularity of digital books, and not necessarily in a bad way. Though the complete disappearance of paper books is not likely, digital books are accounting for a large amount of sales and there are many benefits to them. So jump on board! The industry is evolving and we must pick it up and run with it before someone else makes the decisions for us.
For the original article click here.