When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, it made some people really take notice, especially Traditional Publishers. The book, and the author, received a lot of criticism from the literary world, but the most important thing about the book, the main thing that everyone should have paid attention to: The READERS. The popularity of the book spoke louder in volume than any of the critics. And, quite frankly, it should.
The article, Fifty Shades of Grey: the series that tied publishing up in knots, touches on how Fifty Shades of Grey not only turned things around for self-publishing and caused quite a stir with Traditional Publishing, the article also addressed the most important factor in selling books - The Reader.
“The Fifty Shades phenomenon has shown the entire industry that huge amounts of readers just want a really good story and they are not that fussed about how it is presented to them,” said Scott Pack, a former head buyer for Waterstones and publisher for Harper Collins, who now runs the Aardvark Bureau imprint.
I see this question in writing forums and writing groups all the time, "Would you rather be a so-so writer, like, E.L. James of Fifty Shades of Grey and make money, or be a literary genius and only make a few cents?" Why do we have to choose? Not al of us are going to be E.L. James or Stephen King. Not all of us are going to Hemingway. But we can be ourselves and write, follow our passion, and if others take pleasure in reading what we wrote and we make a few bucks along the way–That is Fantastic.
Self-publishing has opened doors to all kinds of writers and would-be writers. Some do it just for the pleasure of writing, some attempt (and some succeed) to make money at it. What is important to you? Do you just want to write and share it with some friends and family? Or, do you hope to make a few bucks, even become the next big sensation? Either way, just write. The Self-publishing world is open for both.
Who’s Working For Authors?
The battle between Amazon and the Publishing industry continues to heat up. Thanks to the exploding self-publishing Indie market, there is plenty of conflict in this story. Only this isn’t fiction - it’s real.
Navigating through the myriad of publishing choices available for authors today can be complicated and confusing. For the first time in history, with the help of new innovations and more accessibility, there are a variety of options for new and experienced writers. But, with some of those options, comes a price. If an author doesn’t take the time to understand their options or research them they might pay the price later.
Everyone wants a piece of the Indie publishing pie; Amazon, publishers, small presses, vanity presses, ebooks and even bookstores. Yet, in this scenario, who is working for the authors? The only real answer to this is - the author. Authors must be more diligent then ever to protect themselves and their work.
This blog post is the result of the Amazon vs Publishers and bookstores battle. During my research for a book client, I couldn’t locate any evidence of who was really working for the authors? For example, a certain bookstore, which is now offering self-publishing services, was convincing my client, and other writers, to be anti-Amazon. They would tell them that they should use their program with Ingram, a nationwide book distributor.
Yet, I felt that they weren’t telling their clients the entire story. The information the bookstore provided was limited and one-sided. I couldn’t get a clear picture of what was really being offered? Nor, could I understand what the benefits were for the author? What the authors would hear is use them and Ingram and your book will be in bookstores. Only, they left out some really important information: just because you use Ingram doesn’t mean that your book will be picked up by bookstores. In fact, probably just the opposite.
And, where did Amazon fit into this equation? Were the books going to be available on Amazon? It was a bit confusing since they were anti-Amazon. After all, Amazon sells the majority of books and ebooks all over the world.
Regardless of how any of us feel about Amazon, they are a necessary tool for today’s Indie authors. My goal was to make sure that my client had full advantage of all avenues that would help her book be successful, this included Amazon. It should be about how could we make them, the author, successful, not who is the bad guy in this story.
I, for one, am grateful to Amazon. Because of Amazon and the Kindle, there are more readers today than ever before. Amazon and Createspace have opened up doors and opportunities that were never available before. Not just for writers, but also for readers.
They have allowed writers to explore and expand. They put no limit on creativity.
As an author, I am more willing to go with a publisher who can solve my problems and makes it easy for me. One who understands the importance of writers, as well as readers.
I think bookstores and publishers shouldn’t focus on anti-Amazon campaigns. This won’t gain them market share. Instead, they should take note of what Amazon is doing right and focus on that. Amazon makes it easy for writers. They don’t limit writers. Authors should have the options to diversify their work; to self-publish on the sites that make it easy for readers and writers to connect.
As an author, it should be all about your bottom line, not theirs. Do what is best for you. All of these options should be working for you, not the other way around. After all, it is your writing that is making them money.
The Author in all of us
There is a story inside. One that needs out and to be read by others. It's there and now it's time for it to flow from author to the reader. Join us as we celebrate Indie authors.