Self-publishing is on the rise. Brick-and-mortar stores are going out of business. Amazon and ebooks are becoming more popular. Already-established authors are having trouble getting novels published the traditional way and are searching for new options. So what does all this mean for us up-and-coming writers?
Because of the advancements in technology, authors can choose where and how to publish their manuscript. And since it can take years to get published through a traditional house, it’s easier to go the self-publishing route. You become responsible for your own marketing, editing, and product — maybe with the help of some advisers.
Journalist and fiction writer Beth Brophy decided to self-publish her latest novel, Reunion. “I’ve had to put aside my long-held belief that releasing work without the external validating stamp of a major house was an embarrassment,” said Brophy. “I’ve learned that — especially for a control freak — the ability to release work I’m proud of and to do everything I can to promote my book is empowering.”
But younger writers have the privilege of growing up during a time where we’ve become well-acquainted with our options long before adulthood. When we started grade school, ebooks were still in their early stages, only being declared the “future of reading” in 1999. We didn’t hunt for books online or read excerpts off a screen — most of us didn’t have our own computers yet. Instead, we put a pillow on the couch, laid back, and started on page one.
By the time high school came around, we looked to Sparknotes for help when we didn’t understand something and found chapters online in the library before class. Some of us got Kindles or ebook readers and showed them off. But now, in college, we carry laptops and tablets around and have online versions of textbooks (which don’t weigh down our bags as much). And the best part? We understand anything and everything about both sides of the table, giving us a foot in the electronic world of publishing right off the bat.
We’ve seen (what appears to us as) the gradual transition from print to electronic and the impact it’s making around the world, good and bad. And because of that, we’ve seen what types of audiences look for which types of book. With a little more research, we’ll have the perfect pickings of how and where to publish our future manuscripts, all thanks to the industry’s growth alongside our own.