Just a few years ago, if a person tried to self-publish his or her work, the general reaction from most people would outwardly be, “Oh! Good for you! Congratulations!” Inwardly, however, those people would think two words: “vanity press.” Vanity, of course, is derogatory. The general assumption was that you had been turned down by “legitimate” publishers but refused to admit your work wasn’t up to par. At great cost to yourself and to stroke your own ego, you turned to self-publishing.
Today, however, the publishing industry has undergone drastic changes in regard to self-publishing. There are three major reasons it is easier today to not only get your work out there, but also have it get noticed and perhaps even make some money.
1. Easier to Get Noticed by Traditional Houses: Alan Rinzer works for both a major publishing house and provides private editing services to freelance writers. Rinzer says that literary agents are now beginning to seriously consider self-published works, especially “younger and up-and-coming literary agents.”
2. Ease of Technology: You don’t have to know complicated computer languages or programs anymore to publish your work electronically. Companies like Issuu, BookBrewer, and Monocle make self-publishing, if not effortless, do-able by the almost anyone with computer experience.
3. Proliferation of Social Networking: Trip Adler, CEO and co-founder of Scribd says that it is “much easier to share what you are reading if you are already reading on an Internet-connected device with your whole social graph right there. Over the next year, you’ll see a lot more books, short stories, poems, and other written material recommended to you by your friends and through your likes and interests.” There are forums like BookGlutton, “which lets readers and reading groups converse inside a book via a widget.” Be smart about your promotion and form relationships with bloggers and have them promote you, as I am doing right now for a fellow author.
Like bands who once never would have been heard before the (seemingly) abrupt and complete reorganization of the music industry, the publishing industry is experiencing a similar restructuring. Power to the writer! Power to the reader!