Monday, June 13, 2011

eBooks: Could You Be the Next Self-Published Star?

Ki Mae Heussner, writing in ABC, asks if eBooks will allow you to be "Next Self-Published Star?". Self-publishing is a relatively new phenomenon where authors are by-passing traditional publishers in favour of going it alone. If you want your book to make a lot of money and reach a wide audience, then a publisher will be a necessity.

There are many options to go the self-publishing route. Blog2Print allows bloggers to create an eBook from their blog posts. You can try it out on-line, but it is not quite a WYSIWYG editor. Should I ever feel the urge, I might do it - but as long as my blog is on-line there is no real reason to do this. 

Amazon Kindle.
For writers who want to get their books published without going through a publisher, self-publishing is a great way to go. How many books are there written that have never made it to print? Or have been rejected by editors? eBooks allow us to write, publish, and sell, our own books. For many authors, simply writing is enough - they may not target huge sales. It's not necessary to have the prospect of large volume to get published. Amazon is already promoting self-publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing which is a self-publishing tool that lets you upload and format your books for sale in the Kindle Store.

In Academia, self-publishing raises some issues. In an environment where publishing your work is sometimes necessary to keep your job - the snobbery of peer review will drop a barrier between a writer and publication. No matter how good your book is, it will not be acceptable to many as a real publication. However, I feel that many academics could do things like publish their own lecture notes, or lab experiments, or tutorial exercises. I know some lecturers who in the past printed out their notes and sold them to their students! An eBook is really the same thing? Might even make some money.

With the inevitable rise in digital sales in books - book stores will go the way of record shops. Perhaps even become extinct. Publishing is about to undergo a huge revolution.

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