Today’s guest post comes to us from Tom Dale, a writer over at sainsburysebooks.co.uk, who was kind enough to offer some insights on the current state of digital self-publishing. Read on!
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Do not despair; the digital age is here!
The digital age has changed the world. It has transformed the way we do almost everything, from the minute to the massive. There are valid arguments claiming that technology has enhanced our lives and those that say it has detracted from it. Personally I sit somewhere between these two camps, but on the whole I believe it has made life better and broadened possibilities for many people on the planet. The greatest achievement of the technological age, I would argue, is the enhancement of global interconnectedness. That may sound a little wordy but think about it for a second; in that second you thought about it millions of people communicated with millions more people.
This greater connectivity has one key benefit for authors the world over; self publishing can be done by anyone and distributed globally in an instant. Not only that but your content will sit alongside works which have had thousands of pounds thrown at them for publication, with no distinguishable difference. When Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, a tool for authors to self-publish their books to Amazon’s Kindle store, was launched alongside its famous e-reader, the Kindle, vast new possibilities were created for authors without the resources or support to get their work published. This format has been reproduced by many other eBook publishers such as Apples iBook or Barnes and Noble’s Nook publishing services.
Gordon Willoughby, Director of Kindle EU, has had to say of these platforms: “[It] enables ‘ordinary’ Kindle authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the literary world and we’re so excited to see it succeeding for both readers and authors.” Mr Willoughby’s words ring true in light of the thousands of success stories that have come out of eBook self publication.
Despite some controversy around Amazon’s publication service and rumours of excessive ‘delivery charges’ added onto Amazon’s fee for eBook sales, the KDP tool is an invaluable one for aspiring authors. If you are sitting on your first book – receiving rejection letters from traditional print publishers – do not be disheartened; it has been hailed as a cure for the depression of rejection from publishers. The tales of self-publishing success often tell of multiple rejections, only to receive multiple offers once a name was made on the eBook market.
There are a plethora of alternatives to Amazon’s KDP and I would suggest maximising your potential sales by exploring all these other avenues to ensure maximum reach. However, despite the controversy around the two royalty levels that Amazon offers, you should not exclude yourself from that market. Consider that people who own Kindles are unlikely to use other eBook purchasing services (although from I what I hear competitors such as Sainsburys’s eBooks are beginning to challenge this) and that just under half the e-reader market share is held by the Kindle, it would make no business sense to back out of such a vast market on principle or otherwise.
Kathryn Stockett, author of the bestselling novel The Help, who was famously rejected dozens of times before getting her work published, has been quoted telling fellow authors: “What if I had given up at 15? Or 40? Or even 60?” And how many did stop at 40, or 50, or 60? It takes an incredibly strong person to still believe in your work after so much rejection but it would seem that this rejection has no bearing on the merit of your work.
So, in short, this new age of self-publication bypasses the depressing, even soul-destroying, world in which the fickle choice of another affects your very existence as an author. The global connectivity that has been gifted to us by the digital age has brought with it other gifts. The ability to jump straight from author to published author in a matter of hours and to see one’s work sat on the shelves, albeit digital ones, of a global bookstore alongside the best bestsellers and the most successful storytellers work. It gifts new self-confidence to demoralised authors and a road to success to those who had never broached the barrier of the ominous publisher.
Long live digital!
Tom Erik Dale is a freelance journalist, writer, and lover of all things literary. He has long been an enthusiastic reader of both fiction and non-fiction, and is a keen believer in the digital reader revolution.
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