I read an article yesterday entitled “The Self-ePublishing Bubble” on The Guardian. Ewan Morrison writes that according to basic economics, the ePublishing bubble is indeed a “bubble” like the housing “bubble” and the internet “bubble” and will soon burst so we can all stop being silly and realize that traditional publishing is tried and true inevitable conclusion.
I’m sorry. I’m not buying it. I think the article is very well written, but there are some serious flaws with this argument:
1. The Glass Ceiling is Broken – As much as the traditional publishers want to hope, they are no longer the gatekeepers of literary merit. The e-publishing industry has created a world where the people indeed decide who they like and read who they like. I would like to point out that there have been several authors “discovered” through e-publishing, and it is not just some fluke or strange happenstance. This is not a phenomena that will go away with time. More and more writers every day are e-publishing and this is creating a very diverse and multi-dimensional market.
2. The Self-ePublishing Market is Not a Bubble – There is really not enough financial investment for the industry to be called a bubble. No one is going to lose their home if they don’t sell a bunch of e-books. It’s free in most cases for authors to publish through Amazon, Nook, and other sources. Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort, but even if you don’t sell a single book at least you gave it the effort with no harm done financially. Everyone criticized YouTube when it first hit the internet and said things like who would want to watch random videos of people they didn’t know. I guess Justin Bieber is laughing at them now… or is that us laughing at him… I don’t know.
3. Traditional Publishing Will Not Be the Only Format – The article posits that in the future after this “bubble” bursts that we will return to our senses and restore the glass ceiling. This is preposterous. This medium of e-publishing can only grow and blossom. Even though there are thousands upon thousands of bad novels hitting the internet as we speak, there are a handful of them that are truly inspiring, thought provoking, and well written. These will win out and the authors of them will benefit. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing when digitized on blogs and social networks.
4. Just Because You’re Nobody Doesn’t Mean You’re Nobody – Music fans will remember that The Beatles failed their first audition. (Good thing they snagged Ringo). If you don’t succeed, maybe your next novel will be a hit. There are numerous failures from Melville to King to Amanda Hawking to encourage you when you don’t sell an e-book. Just keep at it, watch the market, write what sells, and go to every conference and workshop you can to improve yourself.
5. It Will All Come Out In the Wash – I think the future of e-publishing is yet to be seen. We have only had a year to witness the boom of the industry. Who knows what will happen in the future. I mean, the world is supposed to end in December, right? Right. I have decided to buckle up, hold on, and ride along on the wave that is self-expression, free speech, and a renaissance of words.