Over the past decade, there has been a self-publishing movement. Increasingly, people are ditching the traditional approach of publishing content and selling it directly to consumers with the help of sites like Amazon, YouTube and Smashwords.
While there are those that champion the movement, it isn’t always the case. There is strong resistance from numerous communities against the self-publishing industry. But why is that? What could they possibly have to gain from not allowing creative artists to publish their work?
The Difference Between Books, Films And Music
The first thing I should mention is that I am not just talking about the book industry, although this is where a lot of the negative press is directed. Both the music and film industry can have self-published content. Although in the latter two, the content is often published as indie and well received.
So, what is the difference? Very little apart from the way that audiences can perceive the difference.
Indie films and music are considered ‘cool’ because they go against the trend and because there is a lot of quality available in these industries. Indie music has a similar consumer perception. The Artic Monkeys are ranked as one of the best indie artists and started out with their own label.
It is important though to note that most of these film and music successes have strong distribution channels and excellent ways to display the quality of the work to large audiences in one go. Books don’t have this option. Readings aren’t well attended and the major distribution channel is through libraries and books shops; both of whom can be reluctant to buy indie books.
Perception In Quality
Another issue with self-published books is that there is a perception of poorer quality between traditional and self-published books. This isn’t surprising, unlike with indie music and films there has been less quality control with the few distribution channels there have been. In the early days, Amazon and Smashwords didn’t check the quality of work.
There have been steps taken to change this, but not to the extent that the film industry and others have.
Then again, the film industry isn’t immune to poor quality films. The Last Airbender and Battlefield Earth are considered two of the worst films in the past twenty years – yet both had powerful production companies supporting them.
Changing The Self-Publishing Perception
To change perception, self-publishing authors need to consider how they write, edit, and publish their content. They also need to think of how they can educate audiences to the possibility of the quality available.
The publishing industry isn’t immune to making bad decisions. Harry Potter was rejected by numerous publishers before being accepted by a smaller publisher. And some of the big publishers do make mistakes; in 2016, Entertainment Weekly reported on some of the bad publications. The Huffington Post also state that 2016 had some bad reads.
Reviews are an important weapon in the indie author’s arsenal, but that alone won’t succeed. Instead, indie authors need to meet their readers and create mini events with other authors and other self-publishing industries. For instance, what is the harm of hosting a romance weekend with local filmmakers?
Authors need to make sure the quality of their writing is high. Quality editing and book covers can make all the difference.
Be The Self-Published Author You Can Be
Self-publishing is a trend that isn’t going to go away. However, audiences are more receptive to indie films and music than authors. To overcome this, writers need to ensure they are providing the best quality in their books and getting involved in the community and not hiding from it.
Are you a writer? Is the community behind or against you?
Let us know in the comments below.