Is Self-Publishing Coming of Age in the Digital World?

Erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey began life as a humble, self-published ebook, unable to satisfy the tastes of traditional publishers. Within a few years it had achieved domination on a global scale, spawning a series that has sold more than 125 million copies.

E. L. James’s personal story has become a tantalizing fantasy for aspiring authors. But one that technology and social media are making increasingly realizable.
“There was a time when self-publishing was equated with vanity,” explains John Bond, co-founder of Whitefox, one of several new companies helping “amateur” authors publish professionally on platforms like Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Apple’s iBook Store or Kobo.

“Because of the digital revolution, democratization has happened. It’s almost as if the writer has become his own entrepreneur around the publication process.”
Mission to Mars?

In their competition to get noticed, self-publishers are proving willing to take risks. Andy Weir's The Martian eventually went on to become a Hollywood blockbuster. But the story was originally published chapter by chapter on the author's blog for free.

This turned out to be great exposure and it became a huge hit as an audiobook, e-book and physical book.

"There was an adversarial attitude between mainstream publishing houses and self publishers a few years ago," says Mr Bond, "but I think that's changed dramatically."

He attributes this to traditional publishers' new-found admiration for the self publishers' social media skills, which have helped them find new readers without the benefit of expensive marketing campaigns . . .

Read the full article by BBC's Dougal Shore here.

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