Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Online Publishing for Up and Coming Authors

In the new wave of e-books and self-publishing, authors are encouraged to not only hone their written word, but also begin to develop their publicity and marketing skills. Online publishing. Self-publishing. The new phenomenon doesn't seem like a trend - it's likely that it's here to stay. "A professional writer is a very small business of one person," said children's author Hazel Edwards (There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake). "A solo trader in literary ideas. Those who are not buinsesslike are unlikely to survive."

Edwards, like many new children, YA, and adult authors, has skipped print publication altogether for the last few years and instead taken advantage of the new opportunities available online. By self-publishing, Edwards is responsible for maintaining her product and marketing it all on her own. But instead of the traditional 10 percent royalties an author receives through a publisher, Edwards earns closer to 35 percent of all royalties and sales.

"Authors can't earn a full-time wage from publishers' advances and royalties or fees from public speaking or freelance writing engagements," the Sydney Morning Herald recently stated. It is frustrating for non-celebrity authors who aren't household names, and often hard to make much of a profit. Self-publishing just might be the way to go. Take online publishing guru, Amanda Hocking.

After searching in vain for a publisher to take her fantasy YA novels, Hocking decided in March 2010 to just publish the books online as e-books. By May, sales were skyrocketing. B January of this year, she sold more than 450,000 copies of her books. While online publishing wasn't the only way to get her books into readers' hands, it definitely did the trick

"I can't really say that I would have been more successful if I'd gone with a traditional publisher," Hocking told USA Today in a recent interview. "But I know this is really working well for me." The online route isn't necessarily the only way to go forever, however. Even after all the success of the last year and a half, Hocking still recently signed with a print publisher because "her readers couldn't find her on bookstore shelves."

So publishing is a mixed bag right now. Some authors will continue to pursue Scholastic, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, while others will try their own hand at Amazon publishing in the recent future. One thing is certain: writers certainly have more options and agency than ever before - they just need to taken advantage of the opportunities available.

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