Wednesday, March 7, 2012
There has been a lot of talk lately about a self-publishing "bubble." There was the Guardian article in January, a response by Melville House, and the idea has been percolating around the Internet ever since.
Having emerged from a decade of bubbles in our economy, it may be natural to see some parallels between the self-publishing revolution and a new gold rush. There were a few early people striking the mother lode, a rush of excitement, and now it's off to the races.
So is it a bubble? Is all the initial enthusiasm about self-publishing going to wear off? Is the bubble going to burst?
There's another parallel that comes to mind, and that's the blog bubble. A couple of years ago you weren't a living breathing human if you didn't have a blog. Everyone was blogging, everyone was commenting, blogging was the way people connected with each other and promoted their work. It was new and fun and exciting.
Now... not so much. There are definitely still people in the blogging game (as you well know since you're reading one right now), but blogging has seemingly peaked, replaced by activity on other social media.
Is the same thing going to happen with e-publishing? Will people put their book out there, struggle to build a following, and then have their attention diverted elsewhere?
What's Permanent About Writing
I say no. We're not in a bubble. This is not a temporary blip.
There are sooo many people who are writing books out there. There even more who want to write a book and believe they have a book in them. There are thousands upon thousands of unpublished manuscripts out there and even more in progress.
And it's not new. People have been writing books for years.
Blogging was a blip. Books are far more central to our culture and are far, far more glamorized than blogs. Lots of people want to grow up and be a famous author. Fewer want to be a famous blogger.
And the ease of entry into the self-publishing game is only getting smoother. Right now it's still somewhat challenging to make your book available in all channels, but those barriers are coming down. There is a massive supply of books in the pipeline.
Get used to the self-publishing boom. We're just getting started.
Art: Soap Bubbles by Jean Siméon Chardin