I subscribe to Jane Friedman’s wonderful blog, Being human at electric speed: Exploring what it means to be a writer in the digital age, which also features, on Thursdays, an industry recap by journalist Porter Anderson called “Writing on the Ether.” I don’t know how Anderson pulls this off on a weekly basis, but it’s really the best, most interesting writing about what’s happening now in my industry. (So I was pretty excited, I must say, to be named, pictured, quoted, and linked in this week’s Ether.*)
But it’s Jane’s most recent blog post to which I want to call your attention. It’s about the recent purchase of a print-on-demand (POD) publisher (often used by self-publishers) by one of the Big Six publishers (who are, for the record, Hachette Book Group USA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House, and Simon & Schuster).
Some writers have reacted to the news by saying, “This means self-publishing is the future!”
This is a misunderstanding of Author Solutions on a variety of levels, as well as what Pearson might have to gain from acquiring them. Two-thirds of Author Solutions’ revenue comes from selling services to authors—not from selling books.
Saying that this is the future is kind of like saying: “Authors paying hundreds and thousands of dollars to publish a book that never sells more than 100 copies is the future! Yay!” …
So Pearson may be looking to grow related paid services to writers that aren’t about POD. (This could include editorial, design, marketing, and promotion services, which ASI also provides.) …
That would mean: Self-publishing isn’t exactly the future here.
If you are a writer—whether or not you’ve considered self-publishing—you should read this article, and then read it again. Carefully.
*All in all, it’s been a very good week here in the swanky second-floor office in the pink house with the blue door: two of “my” authors were announced as finalists for Carol Awards, one of my blog posts was noted by the author I was featuring, and another post was featured, as noted, on Writing on the Ether. I take my joy where I can find it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”