Publishers are taking advantage of this new marketplace where authors are more entrepreneurial, but more and more authors who are self-published are becoming publishers in their own right. This is a huge change for publishing in general.
Also, because some of these author-publishers are beginning to see remarkable success, big media are now regarding them as worthy of attention. (Most self-published authors, even successful ones, fly under the radar of the major national media that care to report on publishing.) More important, the author as publisher might be better positioned to find emerging authors.
Meredith Wild, a self-published author who has become a publisher, decided to capitalize on the success of her erotic fiction (she was earning as much as $500,000 a month with her books) to start her own publishing house so that she could distribute her work in bookstores, which usually don’t stock self-published titles. She started Waterhouse Books, because “nobody takes you seriously as an independent author,” she said in a New York Times profile. “I felt I was being discriminated against as an indie.” (Not to mention that newspapers such as the Times have long discriminated against self-published authors.)
But, as the Times article says, thanks to Wild’s publishing venture, other authors might enter the ranks of the self-published who get published “traditionally”:
Last year, Ms. Wild began quietly acquiring works by other self-published romance writers, including Helen Hardt and Audrey Carlan, and publishing their books under her Waterhouse imprint. The press will release at least nine novels this year, including two in Ms. Wild’s current series. She’s become a kind of value investor in erotic prose, pinpointing undervalued writers and backing their brands.
Some of the Waterhouse titles have gone on to sell extremely well and have appeared on national bestseller lists. As the Times notes, Wild’s success shows that “independent authors are catching up to publishers in the sophistication of their marketing and the scope of their ambitions.”
This is great news for the self-published author who’s also bent on becoming an entrepreneur. Wild doesn’t do it herself – her husband helps, she’s got a small staff now and she’s used editors to help her polish her prose. But she’s an author who is helping not only herself but other authors.
We’ll explore this topic of the entrepreneurial author in the next few posts.
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