In that time, there’s been an amazing amount of activity, with people claiming left and right that self-publishing has arrived along with amazing overnight success stories – the kind that used to be few and far between. And, weirdly, this hasn’t left me feeling elated, but actually like I’m losing something. Best analogy is being into a band before they got famous and then feeling left out. This change for self-publishing is inevitable: as self-publishing becomes more and more viable, it will also become more and more corporatized. Already that is what’s happening – the great success stories in self-publishing really aren’t that much different than the success stories in traditional publishing. That is, commercial fiction sells better.
While I’m glad that JA Konrath has found success, his MO seems to be to emphasize his business acumen more than the value of his writing. As if to say: I’m a success because I sold a lot of books, not because I’m expressing something that hasn’t been expressed before. And really: this is no different than traditional publishing. It’s emphasizing how much a book has sold more than the content of that book. That’s why I fled traditional publishing in the first place – how much can you sell? This isn’t progress. But, as I said, this is also inevitable.
Frankly, this kind of talk creeps me out. Since when is it OK to kiss and tell your bank account? He’s doing it to prove a point, and it’s worked for him, but there’s honestly something unseemly about boasting how much money you’re making.
As the year went on, Joe’s ebooks, and ebooks all over, began to sell in greater and greater numbers. Joe went from making $1000 a month, to $3000, then $6000, then $16,000.
Joe realized he could make more money without the Gatekeeper. He could write the books he wanted to, and he could publish them when they were finished, rather than having to wait a year for the Gatekeeper to publish them.
He didn’t have to rely on the Gatekeeper getting him reviews, or buying coop space in bookstores, or sending him on tour, or offering discounts. He didn’t have to compete for shelf space with the bestselling authors the Gatekeeper pushed.
For the first time ever, Joe had control.
I’m very happy to give the finger to the gatekeeper – but, somehow, “I can make more money than you” isn’t totally inspiring. The implications of what he’s doing are immense – on balance it’s a positive development, but it also seems to be emphasizing the wrong thing: financial control, rather than creative control.
So I’ve felt sort of alienated from self-publishing. In that time, I’ve also created a site devoted to music (my other love) – Studio Multitracks – that’s gotten pretty successful pretty quickly. I’ve always bifurcated between music and fiction, and lately music has been winning. Anyway, that’s my story and why Self-Publishing Review has been more or less dormant. But I absolutely don’t want this site to fade away – it’s too good a community and self-publishing is growing too fast. So I’m handing over the reins to Todd Keisling, who will be assisting in some of the editorial work. Stay tuned for an interview with him about his book (which rules) and what he hopes to do with the site.
So…wanted to explain myself. And please don’t think this site is coming to an end.