This morning I came across an article by Phil Emore, who appears to have a great deal understanding and exposure to the publishing world. His article really made me think about the self-publishing industry, its effects on both readers and writers, and its benefits along with its pitfalls.
Essentially, his article highlighted the fact that self publishing has transformed from somewhat of a novelty to a big industry. He also touched on some benefits of self-publishing, along with some of its downfalls. He largely pointed out that the explosion of self-publishing has led to a plethora of books being made available to readers and how this makes it easier and harder to find a good book to read at the same time.
In most respects, I agree with all his concepts. I think that it is certainly easier to find something that speaks to a wide variety of audiences with the rise of self-published books. If you have an interest about something, no matter how obscure, I can guarantee you will find at least one book out there about it. Each and every reader has a different personality and interests so it’s really great to see the variety of authors is starting to mirror that diversity.
Despite all the awesome facts and arguments he presents, I just can’t get myself to say that there is such a thing as a useless self-published book. It’s no secret that there are many poorly written self-published books out there that would never have a chance to be picked up by a major publishing company. Everyone knows that and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Every book that is published contributes to the publishing industry and each and every book has a part in keeping it vibrantly alive. Each book that goes through the self-publish process is also contributing to a whole other budding industry at the same time. Each self-published book supports online retailers as they continue to push forward in a challenging publishing economy. Each self-published book contributes to the variety of books made available to readers. They can often inspire “cults” of readers to flock to very niche genres, creating a loyal readership you can’t find many other places. In some cases, they also serve as the ground work for future master pieces. Nothing that gets thrown into the self-publishing fray is a waste.
I am also a firm believer that if you feel strongly enough about something to spend time to write it down on paper and if you truly feel its power in your heart than who is to say you shouldn’t make it available for the world to see? Especially when we have the tools so readily available to us. I am certainly no expert on what every single person in the entire world will think of it, I don’t think anyone is. You never know what might stick.
However, I do think that the most important point that was brought up is liability in regards to copyright infringements. I could not encourage self-published authors enough to check their books for these issues before publishing. There really is no “safeguard” for a self-published author other than themselves when it comes to prevention of copyright infringements, whether it be inadvertent or intentional. I would hate to see an author go through a lawsuit over something so basic and that could be prevented.
As long as you have faith in the work you put out and you properly conduct all your research, there is no self-published book that shouldn’t be written and shared. Keep on publishing. Write on.