Some personal thoughts on (self) publishing

“Indie authors are the Stewards of Publishing’s Future”, thank you Mark for that awesome sentence! And congratulations for the incredible work you guys are doing at Smashwords

I work in the publishing industry. I love the Selfpublishing revolution. I love the indie authors. I admire Smashwords and I really like everything around the Amazon Kindle ecosystem.

Amazon Kindle changed the publishing industry forever. For the better. Whereas Smashwords is the most successful multi-channel self publishing platform nowadays. It distributes almost 300.000 self publishing ebooks on many ebook stores, and allows over 80.000 authors to publish their digital operas. Awesome.

But I think Amazon has a problem with indie authors: they want to be independent, and Amazon appears as the big brother to them. This cannot be avoided. The new publishing landscape puts the authors at the centre of the scene, and I think they will find a way to be independent also on the “retail side”, as they did on the “publisher side”.

Maybe someone will invent a kind of new distributed self publishing platform over the BitCoin infrastructure, or something like that. A kind of platform that allows the authors to be independent from any proprietary software, platform and device. Crazy idea, weird perspective, but it sounds cool to me.

I think also Smashwords is suggesting the wrong direction to the independent authors, because it is focusing to much on the ebook subscription services. Spotify works with music but won’t work for books. Listening is different than Reading. To be honest Spotify isn’t working neither for independent musician, so what are the chances it will work for independent authors? Zero.

Even if Smashwords (or one of its competitor like, Bookbaby, Draft2Digital, …) is not able to envision and provide the right tools for the authors to do the next big step, it’d provide at least the basic tools to promote the full authors’ independence from the distributor/retailer/platform.

I think it should provide an open format file with the metadata of the published ebooks. With the sales history as well. And so on. It should provide an open API.

Among all the 2014 publishing predictions, many experts and influencers have talked about self publishing and independent authors, but none of them have talked about the need for the authors to have a business activity that should be independent from the software vendor they rely on.


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