Self-Publishing Quandry

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Here's a thought for discussion:

We've seen, over and over and over, writers put forth the mantra that it's not the idea, it's the execution that matters. So, putting that together with the idea that self-publishing might be on the upswing (with ebooks), let me ask you this:

What do you think the effect will be on trends?

Assume that the marketplace settles into a happy medium, with commercial publishers operating as they have been, but with another branch of successful "straight to ebook" self-publishers who have their own fans waiting to gobble up books as fast as they can hit upload. (What I think is the likely outcome to this "shift", but that's beside the point.)

Okay, now assume that a debut author nets a major deal (it's rare, but it happens *waves to Teherah*), and Publisher's Marketplace goes on to list the "specifics" --

First time author Newly Published, in a 3-book deal to Major House.
REALLY AWESOME SERIES is a fresh take on ... blah, blah, blah. It was pitched as Twilight meets Glee, but with garden gnomes.

So, all the writers out there who choose to write to trends start penning stories about singing, sparkly garden gnomes. Other publishers are looking for similar material to put out at the same time, yadda, yadda, yadda... 18 months later the shelves are full of pointy-hat-wearing gnomes singing and pining for human girls they want to eat for dinner.

However, two months after the PM announcement, someone with a decent fan following on Kindle, who happens to have very fast fingers uploads their own "Twilight meets Glee, but with garden gnomes" novel.

It's not plagiarism, because it's their book. It's not even unusual, given that writers tend to chase trends, but what impact do you think it'll have at the end of that 18 months, when the hardbound gnome book hits shelves and those who've been chomping through ebooks are tired of gnomes?

Do you think the two systems will have their own trends, independent of each other or what?

** discuss **

2 Chiming In:

Nicole MacDonald said...

Those who flick out books in a month do only appeal to certain readers.. Kind of like the 'Sweet Valley High' obsession I had as a tween. Enjoyable cr@p that I now laugh at *grin* I think we have to realise that there is no competition because in the long run e-books are eternal. What doesn't hit big today could more than likely do it tomorrow :)
The Arrival, Book 1 of the BirthRight Trilogy available now

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

This is actually something I discussed with my husband yesterday. He aid, "Have you thought about self-publishing to a Kindle or something?" His reasoning is that if you can prove success with a digital download, even a free or $.99 one, then you are that much ahead of an author who goes strictly the agented route. I don't know if it will be a buzz kill to have trends circumvented. After all, how long has the Vampire thing been going on? I think it really will come down to the same thing. Write well. Sure I could put a book a month out on a reader, but will it be quality work that people want to read?

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