Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Suspicions Confirmed. $4.99, Please.

Here’s a startling revelation from the brains over at the Taleist.com blog:

Not everyone who is self-publishing ebooks is making gobs of money. Or any money at all.

Here’s another startling revelation from the brains over at the Taleist.com blog:

Authors who seek professional services from editing to illustrations to formatting are doing better than run-of-the-mill schlubs doing everything on their own from a closet.

Of course, there’s a lot more detail in “Not A Gold Rush,” a report Taleist compiled from just over 1,000 responses to a 61-question survey they sent out to self-published authors. But you have to pay $4.99 to Amazon.com for that detail. Go figure that these folks want to make money laffing it up over the folks who aren’t.

Of course, that’s a cynical take on the subject from a schlub who, thusfar, has refused to pay a penny for any of the ebooks he’s read (of course, I also buy used physical books for pennies on the dollar from thrift stores, so you can see I’m not going to be a great income source for any author). But still, you’d think Taleist.com could throw us a freakin’ bone.

Bone thrown courtesy Taleist.com Self-Publishing Survey

I guess my irritation over the whole thing is that the survey, even in its mightily-condensed form or as reported through British media outlets is a simple blinding flash of the obvious for anyone who has even an inkling of what this self-publishing ebook phenomenon is like. It’s nothing that the likes of Nathan Bransford or David Gaughran have already said. Sure, it’s got the heft of a 1,000-respondent survey behind it adding a little extra weight to the anecdotes, but then again Bransford and Gaugarin go beyond the anecdotes as well.

Am I bitter that I can’t read the entirety of their report for free? A little. But likely less bitter than I would be if I’d paid the $4.99 in order to read what I anticipate is already monnaie courant in the self-publishing community.

Saying the same thing just in a a different way: The backbone of writing.

Anyone with only a rudimentary knowledge of the book publishing industry in general knows that the vast majority of published authors out there aren’t making a living on their writing alone, nor that the top earners are pulling in the vast majority of the cash. There’s no reason self-published ebooks should be any different.

There is still that democratizing, self-liberating portion of self-publishing that even if it doesn’t bring cash, at least it brings satisfaction, per the authors (telling the Guardian, certainly not us, for free):

But money isn't always the primary goal for self-published writers, they discovered, with only 5% considering themselves “unsuccessful.” The respondents were also still keen to continue self-publishing: nearly half plan to release more titles this year than they did last, and 24% have a whopping five or more works due for publication this year. This means, said Cornford and Lewis, that the 695 respondents who told them about their future publishing plans will be releasing about 48 new books between them for each week in 2012.
I’ve read some of the self-published dreck out there. I’ll likely publish some self-published dreck this summer. But what’s fun is that now, thanks to this technology, we can do it. I have no illusions that I’ll make any money publishing this way. That is not my intent. It just might be theirs.

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