The Uprising in Book Publishing


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What happens when authors lose faith in Big Publishers? This presentation explores the coming revolution in book publishing, and examines the impact of what will happen when authors ask the simple question, "what can a publisher do for me that I can't already do for myself?"

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  • What is going down in the Middle East is a good indication of that. Authors Unite. Break the chains of the corporate distribution networks. At least, somebody please buy my book. Smashwords offers 50% off the list price during 'Smashwords Read an Ebook Week' promotion, taking place March 6-12. Click:
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  • Life is changing, The old rules are no longer the working paradigm.
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  • Authors of the World Unite! Help bring about the “Authors’ Revolution.” Break the oppressive control of arrogant publishers! Just paste this link into your browser for the completed CLIP: It is also available on Smashwords at this link:
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The Uprising in Book Publishing

  2. Warning: This presentation tackles the Egyptian Revolution, politics, religion, money, dinosaurs, ebooks, paranormal romance and the future of book publishing, so if the amalgamation of such disparate topics strikes you as blasphemous, click here for a video of cute happy bunnies . The 15,000 authors and publishers who use Smashwords to publish and distribute over 36,000 ebooks stand to benefit from the events now unfolding in publishing. If they benefit, I benefit because Smashwords is an ebook distributor. Therefore, my opinions are biased. I have enormous respect for professional publishers and the passionate people who work in the field. The business of BIG PUBLISHING may be broken, but the people in publishing are not. Publishing is not dead. These good people are hard at work this very moment rewriting the next chapter of book publishing for the benefit of all humanity.
  3. An uprising is in the words
  4. Catalysts of the Egyptian Revolution <ul><li>Lack of economic opportunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic divide between haves and have nots </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oppression of creative freedom, lack of democratic participation </li></ul><ul><li>Mismanagement, corruption, inefficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Agents of change (ordinary people, empowered by simple yet powerful ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>Questions that sparked the uprising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this regime serving my interests? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this regime hurting me? </li></ul></ul>
  5. Is Big Publishing next?
  6. The Old World of Big Publishing <ul><li>Authors bowed subservient before the publishing gods, seeking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>blessing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>acceptance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>validation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>afterlife (a “published author” on your epitaph) </li></ul></ul>
  7. Publishers controlled passage to the hereafter <ul><li>Highway to Heaven </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The book deal opened the pearly gates to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The respect </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The printing press </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The distribution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The royalties </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The readers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The fame </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The realization of all writerly dreams </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. Is the allure of Big Publishing a mirage?
  9. Reality is setting in for authors <ul><li>More difficult than ever for talented writers to land an agent or book deal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advances are declining </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishers want authors with established platforms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most authors don’t earn out </li></ul><ul><li>Most print books forced out of print before they’ve had a chance to reach readers </li></ul><ul><li>Authors expected to shoulder most post-publication marketing on their own dime </li></ul><ul><li>Lost rights </li></ul><ul><li>Brick and mortar retail distribution disappearing </li></ul><ul><li>Publishers value books through myopic prism of perceived commercial potential (publisher death panels) </li></ul>
  10. Drivers for the Overthrow of Big Publishing <ul><li>Lack of economic opportunity for authors </li></ul><ul><li>Economic divide between haves and have nots ( Snooki got a book deal, did you? ) </li></ul><ul><li>Oppression of creative freedom ( you suck and don’t deserve to publish until publishers tell you otherwise ) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of democratic participation ( authors watch from sidelines, readers spoon fed more Snooki ) </li></ul><ul><li>Mismanagement, corruption, inefficiency ( you’re easily exploitable when you have no other option, publishers know writers will write for free ) </li></ul><ul><li>Agents of change ( smart literary agents are now opening the eyes of big authors to alternate possibilities ) </li></ul><ul><li>When myths unravel, simple questions can spark a revolution </li></ul>
  11. The two questions that will spark an author uprising against Big Publishing
  12. Q1 What can my publisher do for me that I can’t do myself?
  13. Publishing Power Shifts to Authors <ul><li>Authors become self-publishers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>printing press goes virtual, free to all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>distribution democratized, esp. for ebooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>direct access to readers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rapid publishing & time to market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>publish in hours or days (indie) vs. 12-18 months (trad.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indie ebook economics favor indies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>60-70% royalties on list price (indie), vs 5 - 17% (trad.) </li></ul></ul>
  14. Q2 (the most dangerous) Will a traditional publisher make me less successful?
  15. Can a Big Publisher Harm an Author’s Career? <ul><li>Chasing hits, the lemming method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishers acquire today what was hot yesterday and then release it 12-18 months from tomorrow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indie ebooks reach worldwide distribution in hours or days </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Poor author economics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditionally published authors earn royalty of 5-17% list price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indie ebook authors earn 60-70% royalty on list price </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Big publishers over-price and under-distribute author works, limiting readership </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Indie ebook authors price low, expand total available market, and still earn greater profits per unit sold (60-70% royalty) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At 60% royalty, an indie author earns $ 1.80 on a $ 2.99 ebook. To earn same amount from a traditionally pub’d ebook, the book would have to be priced at $ 10.30 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archaic geographic rights limitations and DRM restrict availability and discoverability </li></ul></ul>
  16. What happens when authors – the creators of books – lose faith in BIG PUBLISHING? God is dead. — Nietzsche
  17. The Accidental Revolutionary – Amanda Hocking * <ul><li>Rejected by the major publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Self-published her books as ebooks </li></ul><ul><li>After years of work, blockbuster success (on track to sell 1 million+ copies) </li></ul><ul><li>THE CLINCHER: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Her success might not have been possible with a trad. publisher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional publishing practices create friction that prevents books from reaching readers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hocking released great ebooks priced at $.99 to $2.99 (can publishers compete here with front list authors?) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hocking controls her rights, the world is her oyster and she’s only getting started </li></ul></ul></ul>* Smashwords distributes Amanda Hocking to Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and B&N (partial)
  18. Hocking is not alone. Thousands of indie authors have joined the revolution <ul><li>50 indie authors to watch (a partial list!) </li></ul>Sherwood Smith Brian S. Pratt Ann Somerville Shiloh Walker Ilona Andrews M. R. Mathias PL Nunn Selena Kitt Bella Andre Dan Poynter Cody Willard Tracy Falbe Ruth Ann Nordin Tina Folsom Lynn Flewelling Jack Gregory Alexis Harrington Shayne Parkinson Gerald M. Weinberg Randolph Lalonde Norman Savage David Derrico JA Konrath Rebecca Forster Eva Gordon Dennis Batchelder Michael Sullivan Ginger Starr Mark Berent Bill Clem Carl East Dan McGirt Felicity Heaton Derek Ciccone Zoe Winters Boris Tzaprenko Lucinda Brant Rupert Colley Michael McCollum Nicky Charles Wesley Allison Sylvia Day RJ Silver Norah Wilson L.L. Bartlett Philippa Balantine David Dalglish Pat Ryan Janice Daugharty 15,000+ more at
  19. Thanks for considering the future
  20. Learn more about indie ebook publishing <ul><li>Free Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Smashwords Style Guide (how to create, publish and distribute an ebook) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book, 25+ ideas that cost nothing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Seven Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices for publishing, distributing and selling an ebook) </li></ul></ul>
  21. Connect <ul><li>How to publish, distribute or partner with us - </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter – </li></ul><ul><li>Blog – </li></ul><ul><li>Huffington Post – </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn – </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook – </li></ul><ul><li>My SW page - </li></ul><ul><li>Smashwords FAQ: </li></ul><ul><li>Email – Reach Mark Coker at first initial second initial at </li></ul>