The world of self-publishing is all grown up. Once seen as the last resort for authors who couldn’t get a book deal, self-publishing is now a booming industry where writers enjoy more control of their work.
In fact, it’s never been easier to get published. More than 200,000 titles were self-published in 2011 in either digital or print form, an increase of almost 60 percent, according to Bowker.
Big time publishers are certainly taking note. In July, Penguin acquired Author Solutions, a self-publishing industry leader formed in 2007 that has attracted more than 150,000 authors. The cost? Just a cool $116 million.
“We at Penguin have been looking at the growth of the self-publishing industry for the last three years at least,” said Penguin’s chief executive John Makinson in a conference call with reporters. “It has become a very much more professional area of publishing activity.”
The sector has become a great source of talent and content producing its own bestsellers like Lisa Genova, who self-pubbed her first book Still Alice on iUniverse and after a few big reviews signed with Simon and Schuster or Amanda Hocking, who sold more than a million copies of her romance novels, averaging about 9,000 book sales each day.
More self-published authors are also finding their books on the New York Times ebook bestseller list. This month, seven self-published books made the top ten list.
“I think readers are more focused on a good story that they can enjoy instead of where the book was published,” said R.L. Mathewson in a Guardian article. Her romance novel Playing for Keeps was ranked 16th on the list.
“Thanks to the internet they can research books before committing time and money on them,” she continued. “Flashy advertisements really don’t mean anything to most avid readers. They care more about reviews, ratings and recommendations than they do about ads telling them what to read.”
Penguin’s new acquisition allows the company access to this crop of ambitious authors and demonstrates that the industry is paying bigger attention to new voices. As the gap between amateurs and seasoned writers closes in, the possibilities increase for those with great ideas and talent. Could your book become the next bestseller? You’ll never know unless you write it.