Self-publishing finds commercial niche in digital age

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/22/self-publishing-finds-c...


Some cherry-picked quotes:

On Tuesday, the bibliographic information company Bowker released statistics showing that last year, for the first time, more books were released by on-demand publishers than by traditional ones.

Traditional publishers released fewer books in 2008 than in 2007 — 275,232 new books, a drop of 3.2 percent. However, on-demand publishers, the route many writers take to self-publish, released an astounding 132 percent more — 285,394 in 2008.



The writer and actor — best known as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" — has self-published all but one of his books, which include the memoir "Just a Geek." Mr. Wheaton, who made a new name for himself as one of the earliest bloggers, researched the industry after deciding to publish eight years ago. "What I saw repeated was the truism that books sell as well as their authors promote them," he says, "whether you're publishing yourself and receiving the lion's share of the profits or published by a big publisher and receiving a tiny portion of them."


Melinda Roberts last month got what she calls "the holy grail" for authors — an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Her book? The self-published "Mommy Confidential." ...Now that she's been on "Oprah," though, she has agents calling her. "One woman said, 'If you want to write anything else at all, call me,' " she reports.


"Penguin and its subsidiary imprints all have self-published books in their catalogs past and present," says Viking and Plume President and Publisher Clare Ferraro, who discovered the book when hearing the author's "incredibly affecting" talk at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference. "There isn't a belief here that self-publishing is stigmatized." (Bold added by me)

EDIT: The Bowker Article mentioned in the article: here

And the full Bowker Report: PDF

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Comment by I. J. Parker on May 23, 2009 at 8:20am
Yes, and the big wins go to celebrities and a handful of writers.
Comment by John McFetridge on May 23, 2009 at 8:10am
Here's one more quote from the article:

In other words, an artist can make a living selling his or her niche product to a small but devoted group of people.

And, here's a guy who went from being published by Harpercollins to self-publishing;

http://nomediakings.org/

So far most writers (or musicians or filmmakers) who self-publish and find those 1000 devoted fans use that as a way to get picked up by a traditional publisher. Though we're startingto see that change.

It does look like if you wanted to treat writing as a small business and do everything yourself it would be possible to make a living at it.

some people, of course, still treat writing like a lottery and are only interested in the big win.

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