Dear BAIPA Friends,
My new book on self-publishing is now out. After doing 16 books with traditional publishers, why did I switch to doing four books “independently” published or “indie,” and why do I now recommend this path for most authors?
The title of the book is: An Author’s Perspective on Independent Publishing: Why Self-Publishing May Be Your Best Option. The alternative title for the book might have been: My First 12 Years in BAIPA: What I Learned. At this time the acronym BAIPA is not yet universally known on this earth, so I chose the more conventional title.
The book is both my personal author’s journey in my gradual transition from traditional to indie publishing, and a practical how-to guide for authors who may wish to follow a parallel indie path.
My book covers the logical subjects that developed in my own practices, and need to be addressed by all indie authors, as the table of contents suggests:
- How Traditional Publishing Worked (and Sometimes Still Works)
- Why Independent Publishing, Also Known As Self-Publishing, Arose
- Why Independent Publishing Today and Tomorrow May Be Your Most Viable Option
- Your Print-on-Demand Book
- Your E-Book Distribution
- Your Book Content as a Website/Blog, Funded Partly by Advertising
- Your Social Media Outreach
- Your Book Marketing Strategy
- Your Need for Quality Design in Independent Publishing
- Your Book’s Possible Specialized Adaptations, such as an Audiobook, Chinese Translation, and App
In my assessment of the current market, self-publishing is now an ascending practice and will continuing to thrive. More and more authors are pursuing the independent publishing dream. Technology developments make “indie” publishing more plausible with each passing year, and increasing market access for indie authors continues to erode the domain that traditional publishers once ruled exclusively.
Modern authors, restless with their traditional publishing options and experiences, may find some comfort in the self-publishing trajectory described in my book. Personally, I’ve had a very positive experience with my traditional publishing partnerships in the past. It’s just that with all the new opportunities, indie seems much more appealing.
Authors may also find my book useful as they think through the forms that their current and future books might take. While a printed book and an e-book might be obvious options, what about a book-as-a-website or a book as an audiobook?
Authors impatient for (sometimes) lethargic traditional publishers to exploit their books may also find some inspiration in my book. If I had stayed with traditional publishers, it is unlikely that I would now have a book available in Chinese in China. The entrepreneurial author can do a better job than traditional publishers in exploring the new markets.
Authors are also, however, alerted in my book to the new responsibilities that they assume in the publishing process, which are the burdens to design and to market the book. These new tasks are manageable, partly due to the technology advances in book-creation software and to the Social Media outreach that all authors need to master, whether indie or traditional. If an author needs to create the market for any and every book through a Social Media presence, why not just go the extra step and “own” the book?
Chapter 9 on Design in the book celebrates by name, recommendation and contact info, many of the BAIPA member practitioners and past speakers who contributed their services to my book, including editing, cover and interior design and marketing.
The revolution now occurring in independent publishing has its parallels in many other aspects of our lives. New Internet technology makes person-to-person exchanges and buying/selling opportunities more viable with each passing year. I can now buy a room in a house on a trip through Airbnb and bypass the Hyatt or Hilton, if I desire that. In fact, Airbnb has more billion-dollar value in the stock market now than both the Hyatt and Hilton combined, even though Airbnb has never invested a single dollar in a hotel. The individual “hoteliers” of Airbnb love it. I can now travel around San Francisco with Uber and bypass Yellow Cab, if I wish. When I talk to Uber drivers, they seem to be happy with the direct exchange. Maybe authors and readers are at the outset of a similar long-term relationship, enhanced by technology advancing person-to-person indie publishing options.
The future of BAIPA and indie publishing is secure, though in constant need of volunteer energy. BAIPA will continue to be a leading source in our area for information and insight on the indie revolution. This is largely due to three factors: BAIPA members are vigorous practitioners, with many insights to share; BAIPA Board leaders and volunteers will guide us forward; and we are living in the Bay Area, which is the worldwide leader in innovation on these matters.
In writing this book, my dream is that authors and readers will find each other, fall in love, and embrace, possibly in cyberspace. Readers will receive the content they desire, possibly at a lower cost. Authors will earn sustaining income, possibly in a more transparent manner with fewer middlemen. The future of this relationship could be a utopia, not a dystopia.
I will continue to dream,
For more information, or to purchase the book on Amazon, visit SelfPublishingbyLeeFoster. It will also soon be on my Amazon Lee Foster Author Page, and will eventually be in Ingram for bookstores and libraries.