The world of book publishing has changed dramatically since 2000 when Stephen King made his internet novella, The Plant, available on his website for $1 per download.
''My friends,'' he wrote on the site, ''we have the chance to become Big Publishing's worst nightmare.''
Literary agent Mort Janklow responded to a reporter, ''That's a fellow sitting up in Maine having fun, but it's not a way to run a business.''
A dozen years ago anyone who didn’t publish traditionally was dismissed as resorting to a vanity press, but that was beginning to change.
Still, as Smashwords founder Mark Coker observed on the Smashwords Blog, “Five years ago, back in the dark ages of publishing, self-publishing was seen as the option of last resort. It was seen as the last refuge for failed authors. Publishers controlled the printing press, the access to distribution, and the knowledge to professionally publish, which made authors entirely dependent upon publishing gatekeepers.“
“Today,” says Coker, “these three elements of professional publishing are fully democratized.” So, as we begin 2013, best-selling author Guy Kawasaki, in his book APE: How to Publish a Book, advises, “The advantages of self-publishing far outweigh the disadvantages for most authors.”
New York Times best-selling authors like thriller writer Barry Eisler who NPR Books reported had walked away from a half-million dollar deal with St. Martin’s Press, have embraced self-publishing.
Even traditional publishing houses have started to take the if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em philosophy with regard to self-publishing. Pearson’s Penguin Division purchased the multi-headed self-publishing author services company Author Solutions. Simon and Schuster then partnered with Penguin and Author Solutions to create Archway Publishing, an imprint for self-publishing authors. Harlequin Romances launched the Harlequin Horizons line for self-publishers.
USA Today reported that Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster, said, “Self-publishing has become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers.”
These are more than straws in the wind they are evidence that in 2013 an author who has a book to publish should consider self-publishing as his first choice.