by John F. Harnish
Today, more and more authors have their work published. Authored content will be more in
demand by the public in various versions and formats, from digitally printed paper books to e-books displayed electronically on e-paper with e-ink, spoken books downloaded as digital audios, and gigabytes of text cast upon the endless reaches of the World Wide Web ready to downloaded onto a variety of handheld devices.
The dawn of the digital age has provided aspiring authors with a multitude of publishing methods unavailable just a decade ago. An ever-increasing number of writers have stopped chasing after acceptance by commercial, mainstream publishers in favor of harvesting.
The commercialized benefits available from author originated publishing. Cost-effective digital publishing has made publishing a book affordable for almost everyone. In the middle of the last century, letterpress printing was pushed away by the ease of print production make-ready and speed of more cost-effective offset printing; now, the flexibility of digital content is out producing the offset printing process.
Over six centuries ago, moveable type kissed ink onto paper, bringing printed written words to the masses; today, the Digital Age brings individuals global accessibility to the massive resources of authored content. The giant step forward that both the letterpress and offset printing processes made possible is dwarfed by the quantum leap the World Wide Web provides for the distribution of digital content on trillions of topics.
Authors are becoming proactive in promoting their work to the public, more gratifying efforts than hyping their book pitches to a select few with the waning hope of selling into a sweetheart publishing deal. The turmoil from mergers and downsizing by the publishing giants has reduced the sweetness and limited available commercial publishing opportunities for aspiring authors.
Content is omnipotent and the author is the creator of written content. Mind-flows spark concepts that are nebulous nothings until the conceived ideas are wordsmithed into an expressive, comprehensible written form. Increasingly, authors maintain creative control of
their work by retaining all rights, only granting specific permission to publish and distribute their books while they hold on to the ability to sell distribution rights when interest develops. The manner of publishing matters not because the quality of the content rules and professionally produced and well edited content sells.
Exposure opportunities will increase as a higher percentage of all authors become more in demand to speak at public events – in person and via the internet – and make media appearances as experts on the topics of their books. Authors who master book promotion and
marketing techniques will continue to sell more books than those do-nothing-more authors who just wrote it and do nevermore to promote their efforts.
As publishing advances shrink and brick-and-mortar bookstore sales dwindle, there comes a realization that the author controlling the publication of their digitized book has greater potential for financial success with a book that never goes out of print. The advantages of author-originated publishing, with monthly royalties paid on every book sold, provide earning potential far beyond traditional royalty advances. A motivated author authorizing the publication of his or her work – as opposed to selling the rights – will continue to discover lucrative results from their ongoing efforts.
The flow of the mighty Amazon has usurped the gatekeepers of book distribution by selling any book in print with an ISBN directly to the end consumer – often at a discount and promptly delivered to the customer’s door. In minutes, Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book reader wirelessly downloads any of the more than 500,000 eBooks available from the Kindle online store. Like authors benefited from books printed using moveable type, now authors are profiting from Amazon’s 24/7 ability to move vast numbers of books – many are on niche topics or are appealing fiction by aspiring novelists telling compelling stories – from their endless inventory to customers around the world.
Amazon extended the reach of the author’s digitized words far beyond the tilted playing field of bygone publishing games. The Digital Age is revolutionizing book distribution with powerful search engines instantly retrieving information about any topic and by every author for anyone with access to a computer to retrieve and read.
Never in the history of humankind has such a massive wealth of authored information been so readily available upon request to individuals around the world. Celebrate authors by reading a book, writing a review, posting the review on the Internet, and sending a note of appreciation to the author – you’ll most likely hear back from the grateful author.
Photo courtesy of nkzs.