Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Vanity – or common sense?

A friend of mine emailed me a story over the weekend – which detailed a new Kindle ereader scheme that would offer authors an online platform for their work in exchange for a 30 percent share of the profits. All a writer had to do was send in a completed manuscript, set the price – and voila – they would be in business…

I immediately sent him a note back – a regretful one, I might add – stating that to my knowledge this type of self-publishing was classed as ‘vanity’ by the conventional publishing industry, and was therefore the kiss of death to any author hoping to make a name for themselves.

But then I got to thinking…

Could this actually be the perfect opportunity to establish a profile that would ultimately attract a publisher or agent? Okay, the odds of it would be fairly small, but consider this: US singer Mike Posner made his name by uploading his music to MySpace… something that didn’t stop a music company engaging his services when his popularity became apparent.

I thought this would be a great topic for discussion – so am looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I’d love to hear from anyone who has gone down, or is considering, this route. 

Best regards, 


  1. I think it all just depends on the author's goals. it works for Jon Konrath but won't work for me because I am not prepared to put in all that time and money.Besides publishing that way will erase all the revisions agents and editors make you do in order to get the best quality out of your work

  2. Good point. It's not a huge amount of work to produce a good cover, but marketing the book correctly would require a lot of work. Setting the price point could be tricky too. On the editorial front, I came across an interesting blog entry on this topic with useful comments. Click here to access... I think this certainly underlines the point about the revisions you would get through conventional publishing.

    Nothing seems to suggest that any conventional publisher would be put off by an author going down this route, however, which I have to say surprised me...

  3. I have to say I have no opinion on this. I feel like too much of a newbie to even venture into this territory, and probably for that reason I would never use a vanity publisher: I don't have the confidence/vanity to pull it off :)

    But covers? I have loads of opinions on cover art, loads of opinions I should not share or ever voice. I dislike so much of it that I feel like a Hater so I am gonna keep my trap shut(for once)! We'll just put that down to my art history fixation. One day, I will get my masters in Art History -- female artists mid-19 to mid-20th century! Just ... not for a while, alas.

  4. My feeling is that authors with established readerships can make it work, esp if they're writing non-fiction or fiction with a techie readership base eg sci fi, thrillers.

    But for most people epublishing is exactly the same as print self publishing - or even mainstream publishing: How do you let people know about your book? And then get them to buy it?

  5. Thanks for your input, Sarah. Frankly, I had no time for ebooks until recently – when I downloaded a book to my iPhone out of sheer desperation. Within a few pages I was hooked on the story and had completely forgotten about the method of delivery. As you point out, marketing would still be a challenge - and of course, with an ebook, you don't even have the advantage of someone seeing the cover while sitting on a train... I know a book title and cover has aroused my curiosity on numerous occasions.