Sunday, September 15, 2013

Look How Far Self-Publishing Has Come

In an increasingly digital age, the mystery writing community has noticed a marked decrease in the amount of print space reviewers are giving books these days. A number of Canadian newspapers have substantially cut back their review sections, although some are maintaining a strong electronic presence.

As anyone in the self-publishing business knows, acquiring reviews is still challenging, however it’s better than it used to be. When I first published Taxed to Death in 1995, willing reviewers were few and far between, yet there were plenty of independent bookstores around to help sell my book. By the time Fatal Encryption came out in 2008, 95% of the independent stores were gone, however, an abundance of bloggers and online reviewers agreed to review my book. Still, getting the book reviewed by a major publication was nearly impossible.

Imagine my delight when I read in The Atlantic Wire this week that Publishers’ Weekly is expanding their self-published review section from a bi-monthly to monthly event (before that it was quarterly). Addressing the self-publishing explosion, PW’s co-editorial director Jim Milliot says, “It’s really become a part of publishing—that’s the bottom line. It’s certainly not stigmatized in any way.”

Holy cow! Publishers’ Weekly is saying that self-publishing is no longer stigmatized? I never thought I’d hear those words. But it shows you how far the self-published industry has come on some levels. I say on some levels because the article also discusses the Fifty Shades of Gray phenomenon, quoting another source who says that Fifty Shades is the future of publishing, but that one shouldn’t mistake form for substance.

We could debate forever the spectrum of quality among self-published books, but that would take too far long here. In fact, I’ll leave that to the  PW reviewers. I’m just glad to see mainstream reviewers acknowledge that self-publishing is not only here to stay but deserves more space on their pages.


Misha Gerrick said...

Yep. We're writing in exciting times. ^_^

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Indeed we are! Thanks for your comment, Misha!!