The Author Earnings reports have, finally, clarified at least the outlines of the “shadow industry” of self-publishers on Amazon. The self-publishing industry is real, and it’s large, and working within it is in every way a valid choice for writers to pursue as a career.
I’ll keep the list of links in my post below, but probably won’t update that post further. The one bit that’s stayed with me, though, was from Eoin Purcell’s Why Traditional Publishers Should Surrender to Self-Publishing. Purcell said:
Well the truth is, if there was a war between self publishing and publishing, it’s over and authors (who are the major self publishers and hence the foot-soldiers, commanders and field marshals of self publishing’s forces) have won it.
That’s a strong statement, and it mirrors my own take on the situation after watching the self-publishing industry for three years now. The authors have won. That’s excellent, and may it continue going forward. If the entire publishing industry becomes more author-centered, that can only be good.
I look forward to seeing what Hugh & Co. come up with once they scrape some data from Barnes and Noble and other places. Many thanks to Hugh and Data Guy for this fine bit of work.
Update: And right on cue, Author Earnings publishes the report on Barnes and Noble. Go read it!
Second Update: I think this section of a blog post by Randy Ingermanson is worth noting:
There will always be a few big winners and a large number who don’t earn very much. There is a “high head” and a “long tail.”
But the important point is that there is a “broad shoulder”—a set of writers who are not at the very top and yet are earning substantial money (thousands of dollars per year, or tens of thousands per year). For most of them, this is not enough to live on. But it’s enough to make their life better. That’s cool.
And it is, both cool and hopeful. I think that’s what Hugh has been trying to prove for a while now.