Recently I wrote here about Synthodeon, LLC and MIDIProbe - my first effort to enter the self-publishing world if iTunes and iPhone apps. I also wrote about the CD I produced (see the "Fall to Earth" ad at the right of this blog).
But my efforts are just a drop in the bucket in terms of self publishing.
The entire set of "publishing industries" - literary, music, and so on - is going through an interesting process: the elimination of the middle man.
I just recently read about "On the Island" - a successful self-published novel (see this). But there are many others in literature and music.
So why is this happening?
I think to a large degree technology has changed the economics of taste.
Before self publishing was possible (its been available with demand print for some time) there was a significant cost to produce and market books. No one wanted to spend a million dollars promoting a book which would only sell a thousand copies - no matter how good it was.
So publishing houses developed that made gambles on what would sell - not what was good, not what people even necessarily would like - but what would sell or could be sold. The rights were bought, the investment made in production and marketing - and out pops a best seller.
The only problem with this is that while people might buy this best seller it might not be the "best" a "best seller" could be. Maybe the publisher doesn't think what readers would find really interesting is "not ready" for commercial sale - so they don't buy it.
But today that's different. I can upload a file to Amazon for free and maybe people will buy it - music, art, literature - not just commercial products.
I can buy Google adwords for a hundred dollars and let people know. I can pay a professional proof reader to fix up my work or a professional reviewer to review it. And suddenly I have a product.
Now I have read a good number of $0.99 Amazon Kindle books over the last year. They have their flaws but I'd say that of thirty or so I have bought I have only abandon maybe two or three.
So that's a ten percent failure rate - at $0.99. I don't think that the failure rate is much better spending $8.95 USD at
So about $60.00 (some cost $2.99, a few $12.99 and some are free) versus about $400.00 USD.
At Amazon at least reader reviews are the most helpful - Amazon will recommend books but you can't tell much from just that.
Reviewers at Amazon do a good job I think.
And to a large degree in the modern world, at least, they act like a publisher - and all for free.
Quite honestly I don't see how publishing as we know it today will survive.