The Self-Publishing Revolution

I heard the other day that 81% of people say they want to write a book. However, from the same source, apparently only 1% actually do. There are myriad unexpected difficulties that aspiring authors stumble across, from lack of time to writer’s block, but I think what stops writers in their tracks most often is the publishing process. Sending manuscripts away, receiving rejection letters, trying as best you can to sell your idea to publishing houses that receive countless wannabe-books everyday…it’s a difficult business and if you don’t believe me, just take a look at J.K. Rowling’s journey. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone quite quickly become a global phenomenon but not without a substantial fight from Rowling to get it published in the first place. Best-seller potential or not, publishing is not a walk in the park.

Things are changing, however. The technological revolution has taken the world by storm as companies, unparalleled in their enormity, compete for your business with constant product innovation. Thus we are bequeathed with things we never thought we needed but now couldn’t possibly live without: iPads, tablets, smart phones, Kindles, laptops and iPods along with numerous other thingamajigs and doodads. We live in an age when everything is available online and if its not, then its value is almost questionable. If a company doesn’t have a website, it doesn’t exist. If you’re still stapling flyers to telegraph poles to get your message out there then you have officially been left behind. As I drive into Brisbane city, I always pass this building, and I think it says it all:

Orange Digital

This same virtual principle now applies to the literary industry, as much as I’ve tried to crusade against the phasing out of tangible, touchable books. My one-woman cries for literary justice have been drowned out by the incessant whirring and beeping of new gadgets springing to life. However, although my heart tells me that nothing can parallel the look, feel and smell of a real book, I am determined to not be left behind. I have therefore arrived at the doorstep of the eBook world. 

EBooks number themselves in the millions now and due to their low prices and weightlessness (if you have a Kindle, you can take your entire library with you onto an aeroplane), are streaking ahead in the literary popularity contest. Easily downloaded onto any of your smart devices, eBooks are also instantly accessible, directly feeding you information with only milliseconds of delay. Yes, eBooks are apparently magical.

Fortunately, the perks of the eBook revolution extend far beyond the reader’s convenience. Aspiring writers now have a new avenue through which to distribute their work: the digital avenue. Gone are the days when the writer’s only route was through an official publishing agency. Gone too are the days when self-publishing involved trying to navigate the confusing print and distribution process. If you have a complete body of text that you feel is worthy of a readership, you can digitally bind it within seconds, upload it onto either Amazon or your own website and be selling your eBook in a matter of minutes. Easy as that (or so they say).

So, the question I pose to the blogosphere is this: why doesn’t everyone write an eBook if it’s so easy? Is it because they don’t believe they can, they have no desire to, they don’t have an idea for the content, they’re intimidated by the technology side of things or simply because they’re unaware of this opportunity? Surely the eBook revolution is a means to increase that 1% statistic?

I know that I personally have a desire to write and publish an eBook. I am a writer at heart but have always been intimidated by the business side of the literary industry. Now however, that is no longer a stumbling block. So why I haven’t I uploaded a best-seller to the web yet? Well, that’s another thing I wanted to speak to you all about. Given my complete and total incompetence regarding plot development, I think my forte is non-fiction, both creative and formal. My mind has been browsing through the wide world of possible topics and I have narrowed it down with the advice: “write what you know”. If I were to write an eBook with the intention of delivering genuinely helpful and accurate information, I would write about one of the following: health, vegetarianism and veganism, the English language (report writing, research techniques, essay writing etc.) or possibly even drama. My question to you, dearest readers, as a little bit of market research, is this:

Within these broad topics, what do you want to know? If you were to purchase an eBook, what would you like it to include? What questions would you like it to address? 

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