What future is there for small and self publishers?
Looking at the present situation of ridiculously cheap novels in circulation and, I might add they are well made paperbacks with good covers, it seems to me that small and self publishers are going to find it exceedingly difficult to get a foot in the door when it comes to selling books. With books by top authors — some of them with two stories — costing three for a fiver, an unknown cannot possibly compete with either traditional or POD books. The cost of printing small batches is just one thing. Discounts and shipping costs mean tiny profits, if any. And that is IF books can be sold. Established publishers can afford to invest thousands getting an author known but they are unlikely to take on new authors unless they look very promising indeed. Pulping thousands of unsold books is bad for business.
Of course authors can do much to get known themselves but few make the big time. Good editing and attractive covers can help but the book world is still full of hopefuls trying to sell books that may be very good but will never make the ‘known author’ gold standard! It has to be an exceptional book for a reader to pay the same as he can buy up to six books for. Another add-on cost for books are those that are printed or published abroad.
It could be that as eBooks become more popular, the self-publisher and small publisher will both get better sales with profits per book to equal (or almost equal?) those of large publishers. Of course there is nothing to equal the feel of that first book in your hand. And that giddy feeling when someone actually says ‘please will you sign my book?’ What a thrill and yet a feeling of wonder too, when people actually want to read what you have written, and even more so when they tell you how much they have enjoyed the book. At that moment does it really matter that your book is not reaching best seller status?
It is rather lovely when people tell you that they enjoyed your book so much that they have passed it on to friends who also passed it on to friends and family. Not good for sales but at least it is READ and giving people pleasure. Isn’t that the purpose of every book?