The current print on demand self publishing industry was built on vast numbers of hopeful people betting on the common dream of becoming a best-selling author; and some of the self publishing companies that fueled this notion skyrocketed from nowhere to being counted among the largest publishers on the planet. Ok, some of these authors were more grounded in reality, but there’s little doubt a great many were fantasizing about grabbing the brass ring.
A year ago, just about any self publishing services company website you visited was actively pitching the “dream” of becoming a published author. Hinting that perhaps you had a shot at “best seller” status and tailoring their marketing to that message. But take a look at the industry leaders now and you’ll find the emphasis they place on their offerings has changed to the more practical aspects in publishing such as distribution, design, royalty-agreements, and marketing.
The huge numbers of “first-timers” that fueled the initial growth of these companies is dwindling as the market begins to mature and the hype fades. Not too long ago, one such company proudly announced on their website they’d just paid out their “millionth dollar” in author royalties, while on the same page touting that more than ten thousand authors had published with them. Oops–some people did the math and cracks in the facade began to appear.
So is the industry dying? Not by a long shot, but it’s my guess that the landscape is in for a pruning in the near future. On a positive note, there are people making lots of money in self publishing other than the publishing companies themselves. I call them “Author-Entrepreneurs”. This, in my definition, is someone who builds a small (in some instances, not so small) business around their book or books as the case may be, and actually educates themselves on the industry and works it as a business enterprise.
If I had to choose an example to share with you, I’d first point you to Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen’s story http://www.chickensoup.com/AboutUs.html for inspiration, and then to Seth Godin http://www.sethgodin.com for ideas on where to put your perspiration. Few people can hit me over the head with great business insight like Seth Godin, and he’s just done it again with his new business primer called “The Bootstrappers Bible”.
Posted by: Karrie on Feb 05, 05