Passive Guy, the lawyer author of THE PASSIVE VOICE, takes on two articles, one in the Huffigton Post blaming indie publishers for the decline in quality reading matter and the damage to legitimate publishing, the other an article about the decline in readers of literature between 1982 and 2002.:

He says,

 

 

Indie publishing has reinvigorated American publishing and is rebuilding the publishing industry in a different, author-centric form. Big Publishing has devalued the author of the written word. In a thousand different ways, megapublishers disrespect authors, forgetting that books don’t come from editors and agents and vice-presidents and bribes to the New York Times to obtain favorable reviews.

Twenty-five years from now the creative destruction of legacy publishing we are witnessing today will be regarded as a major cultural turning point, a literary renaissance. We will celebrate countless brilliant books created by authors who would never have been published by the corporate cretins that slithered into control of the levers of Big Publishing.

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The thing about turning points is you need a few years to realize they happened. The introduction of the Kindle was one. The legitimacy of self-publishing is another.

Anyone care to drop their two cents about when that second one was? Or has it yet to happen?

We're probably at the threshold of the second. There are authors who make a living strictly from self-published books, though the vast majority had some kind of traditional platform that had established name recognition. As the number of people with e-readers increases and some more reliable methods emerge from the primordial soup of online promotion, we'll start to see authors make careers strictly through e-books. There's a critical mass that has to be reached before it can be called a turning point, but it's there.

What more reliable methods?????

I think we'd all like to know.

That's the point. The fly in everyone's ointment is promotion. No one knows what works. Right now there are no reliable methods, and we're not likely to get to the tipping point without them.

"Promotion" in that context meaning "promotion that doesn't cost money," right? I think we've been suckered into thinking it's just social media that will save the day. But if the economy is to be an online economy, paid advertising will produce better results.

That said, I sunk $75 into a facebook campaign to nowhere. Things might have changed since then, but it was such a cluster that facebook reimbursed some of my money. That's still a company that struggles to come up with an advertising model that works. Just look at the IPO fiasco.

One that gets it right, and looks to be worth the money, is Kindle Nation Daily. You could spend as much money as you'd like on it, but it seems to work. Here's the Google Doc with the returns on its campaigns (obtained legally, of course):

http://tinyurl.com/8uz34b3

Thanks for the link, Benjamin.  I had a look and saw what I expected:  big download increases for free or cut-rate titles.  Not much at all for normal prices.  You don't want that clientele.  They won't come back when you raise you price.

For Dana:  Oh heck.  I thought you knew.  :)

What works is writing a book that resonates with a large number of people. Promotion won't make anyone a bestseller, no matter how much he or she wants to believe it will.

What Jude says. I spend months writing novels that barely sell because everybody is writing the same thing and I don't have an established platform yet. However, I spent one afternoon writing a 32 page pamphlet about how to get free money from the government under a pen name. It's well documented and legit and it's number 30 in it's Amazon category and sells well. If there are no more gatekeepers, then you have to wander the streets of the bazaar and see where people are lining up to eat.

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