Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 Self-publishing Summit (A positive blog entry for once)

Let’s face it, I’m a realist, glass is as empty as it really is, sort of guy.

This tends to make some of my random blog entries sound rather pessimistic.

I was interested to read Dan Hollloway’s entry on his experience at the 2013 Self-publishing Summit. Of course one reason I liked it is that it seems the self-publishing “industry” (if it can be called that) is saying some of the same things that many of us have been saying for awhile.

Dan highlights:

1. The absolute priority of craft.

This is something that many have espoused a number of times. Focus on writing and writing well. The reminder was, even at the self-publishing summit, that this a long haul. A reminder that ebooks live forever, so make sure everything you put out there is the best it can be.

2. The importance of direct engagement and live performance.

This was a surprise to me. There was a positive attitude that readings were getting better. Not surprising was that the venue is outside of the bookstore. Also, mixed media (music and readings) were mentioned. Given that I don’t see any readings with any attendance at most bookstores, I found this surprising, but the point made that bookstores are missing out and other venues are letting readers in was interesting.

3. The importance of niche.

This has been said before. If you are a generalist, it becomes hard to take advantage of building an audience slowly over time.

4. A subdued approach to social media.

Ah yes, the subject of prior blog entries here. The same things were stressed. DON’T SELL via social media. Inform. Entertain. Don’t Sell.

And finally, a surprise: a general positivity about changes in the publishing industry.

This last bit was a surprise and I would love to see some data on this. Publishers are returning to a model (so it is said) where they actually give authors more than one book to succeed? That has been my argument for small publishers, but this seems to hint that larger ones are doing the same. If so GREAT. Still, I would love to see some evidence of this.

Alongside of this, and I agree, is that publishers take more risks than most authors know. You just never hear about all the failures.

My take away from this is that self-publishing is really starting to become a real and accepted aspect of the publishing industry as a whole and is starting to mature. This is positive news for most self-published authors as it means that more doors will continue to open up—if you are a good author who sticks with it and keeps improving.

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