If you know anything at all about book publishing you'll know that getting a mainstream book publisher to even look at you is virtually unheard of. If you want them to actually read your book that's another matter entirely.
So it's not surprising that so many people are looking towards self publishing as a viable way to get into print. And thanks to the Internet - coupled with the wonderful existence of Print On Demand technology - you don't even have to risk hundreds or even thousands of dollars of your own money any more either.
It's becoming more common for first time authors not to consider approaching mainstream publishers at all. The wealth of opportunities available to them online now is such that they can join a website (for free), upload their book using the software and systems provided (also usually for free) and be selling electronic copies of their books just hours after they first signed up.
Anyone who points out that the authors have to give a certain proportion of the proceeds from each book to the website that is hosting it obviously hasn't encountered the royalty structure of any major publishing house lately. The princely sums offered there will rarely scrape into double figures, which makes the 65% or so that authors get from many sites online to be quite a heady profit by comparison.
It used to be the case that online publishing opportunities only made it possible for authors to sell their books in e-book format or traditional paperback or hardback format from their own website. But now many of the biggest websites offer a service where you can get your own copies listed on Amazon. These kinds of services do incur a fee of course, but for those people looking for a viable alternative to the long drawn out process of attracting the attention of a traditional publisher it's a much better bet to lead to recognition and sales. It almost seems as if the online version of getting your book published is... well, just as good, if not better, than the old way.
So will the traditional publishers find it too difficult to compete with these services? Could we ever imagine a future where the bricks and mortar publishers are no more and everything is done online?
If it does happen it will be a long way off yet. The majority of people who flock to the online publishing opportunities are those who wouldn't stand a chance with a regular publisher. Perhaps when the celebrity chefs and other well known names start bypassing the traditional publishing route and head straight for the internet as well we will start to see a real change happening.
Until then the rise of online publishers looks set to continue. The key is whether the traditional publishers will do anything to make themselves more competitive in that market. As we've seen with other businesses who haven't grasped the power of the online marketplace, there is a tendency for them to get left in the dust as other people who can see the potential go for it with both hands.
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