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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Self-Publishing is the Future by Khurshid Alam

Vanity Publishing versus Self-Publishing
Vanity publishing has been around us from a very long time and the publishing industry has rated it as a drab cliché. Books published by vanity publishers are bared from entering in most of the literary prizes and awards.

Self-Publishing ostensibly had the same beginning and it was not far from now that it was regarded as a sad people's last resort. But there is a big difference between both vanity publishing and self-publishing. Vanity publishers are frenzied money making mongers, they demand money before they pick up your manuscripts, do not care what material your manuscript offers including poor or no editorial work and lackluster post publishing sales promotions etc. etc. etc.

Self-publishing is different in more than one respect. That's why it is gradually gaining recognition. Self-publishing draws the same parallel as distance education mode has. Once distance education was regarded as education of no worth but soon gained recognition and is now a very sought after medium among the academia and almost every third professional may be found feathered with a degree or diploma gained through distance education mode.

Post the Internet era, self-publishing through digitization has razed the intermediary boundary of distributors and has the potentiality to permeate into the remotest markets where the books need not be sent physically, or open book stores with large investment, or face any inherent copyright issues. All hindrances razed down!

To go digital is easier and faster. If you have your document ready, create an account with a digital publisher, upload the file and your book goes wild on sale worldwide in a few hours.

Self-Publishing authors can meet the demand of the readers who want the books at a reasonably low cost and everywhere they are on the go. The price factor in digital publishing is controlled by the authors, they can even offer their books for free.

Thanks to Amazon and others' amazing services to the aspiring writers. Digital publishing is coupled with the offer of POD (print-on-demand) with many self-publishing companies which makes the market of book more attractive and cost effective for everyone – publishers, authors, and readers. 

Publishing and its Future
From "the dawn of e-books" in 2010 amid mixed reactions, digital publishing registered a steady growth through 2011 and 2012 which means it has grounded its foothold and is poised to high growth in 2013 and ahead.

According to a report on sales growth worldwide in print and e-formats published by Association of American Publishers, 3.4 million eBook units were sold in 2011, which is a growth up 303.3% from 2010 and will continue to fast growth in future. Factors for significant growth are manifold.

More and more traditional publishers are converting their books in hard copies into soft copies and making them available in digital formats. Along with the books that appear solely in digital formats, the e-book repository is getting voluminous day by day. This has brought the self-published authors at parallel with those authors who are published with traditional publishers. A gain of self-esteem.

New markets are opening up to digital publishing fast like Asia and Middle East. China, Japan, and India have already taken the leads.

Hand-held Devices Growing
According to Mary Meeker’s report "Internet Trends" about 2.4 billion people or in other words one-third of the world population is integrated with mobile network. Also, 1.1 billion consumers are using smartphones which help the users access the internet on the phones. Added to the already wide use of smartphones, tablets and e-books reading devices integrated with SIM, is widening the possibility of online shopping on such devices. Kindle (Amazon), Kobo (Rakuten), and Reader (Sony), and tablet computers such as iPad (Apple), Nexus 7 (Google) are witnessing high sales in the US markets for reading of e-books.

Self-publishing Authors Check
Self-publishing is largely an affair of the authors so they need to learn certain skills in addition to writing a book. When manuscripts get rejected with a couple of traditional publishers think your manuscript may need revamp. I mean developmental editing in many cases. Get your manuscripts edited by some good editors, sometime by more than one editor.

Hand-held Devices Growing
According to Mary Meeker's report "Internet Trends" about 2.4 billion people or in other words one-third of the world population is integrated with mobile network. Also, 1.1 billion consumers are using smartphones which help the users access the internet on the phones. Added to the already wide use of smartphones, tablets and e-books reading devices integrated with SIM, is widening the possibility of online shopping on such devices. Kindle (Amazon), Kobo (Rakuten), and Reader (Sony), and tablet computers such as iPad (Apple), Nexus. Get your book reviewed, whether you self-publish your book or it is published with a traditional publisher. Do not make it the head ache of the publishers only. Because hundreds of books are published daily, you should not be lost in the crowd. Publicize your book in various ways available to you. Create a website of your own, or at least a blog which comes for free. Post some of the writings, excerpts and create a group of writers.  

Khurshid Alam
Editor-in-Chief
Contemporary Literary Review India
October 2013

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