I follow Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers' Marketplace blog, which recently posted about triple-digit growth in self-publishing since 2007.
Check out the full article here.
Two initial thoughts crossed my mind as I saw the statistics.
Cleary, more people are breaking away from traditional publishing options and doing it themselves. (Interestingly, CreateSpace claimed the top spot for self-published print media at 58,412 titles in 2011.)
I found these statistics encouraging. More and more, I am becoming a fan of people brave enough to break away from “the way we’ve always done things” into being more independent and personally responsible for pursuing their dreams. Traditional publishing houses have made themselves virtually inaccessible to upstarting authors, using screening services to find book proposals they find interesting.
Granted, these services, such as Christian Manuscript Submissions and the Writer’s Edge, can be helpful in providing advice and exposure to aspiring authors (and a select few do have their books discovered through these services). Before self-publishing my first book, I submitted a proposal to Writer’s Edge and did not find the exercise a waste of my time.
However, that’s not my point. My point is that statistics like these show people have discovered that they can get published on their own – instead of waiting and hoping that the traditional publishing community will take notice of their work.
I believe competition is healthy and necessary in any field. It helps screen out the poor performers and forces thought-leaders to work harder to stand out from the crowd.
Therein also lies the challenge of self-publishing. You may have something brilliant to say, but how do you differentiate yourself when hundreds, if not thousands, of people are shouting to get noticed?
I don’t pretend to have the answer to that question, but I think Chris Guillebeau (The Art of Non-Conformity) is right when he says that you must first clearly identify your cause and your intended audience – and then give them a reason to care and a reward for caring.
How we accomplish that is for each one of us to decide.