The power to decide what books get published and sell belonged to publishing houses for years. The knowledge and business experience of a publisher created this monopoly, by his ability to get the right book in the hands of the reader.
Somebody else controlled money and promotions and this was all right for you, the writer.
Being the writer meant that all you needed to do was write. You delivered the final draft of a book and an entire team of professionals took care of editing, marketing, sells. Once the proposal got chosen by an agent or a publishing house, the gates to success were open. They moved slow but safe, making the right choices while blind to the exponentially increasing number of readers and inconsiderate to the needs of the new writers.
Now, all that nice system is part of a huge beautiful fast-moving mess of a new publishing industry.
It’s still in place and it’s still working well. But the monopoly is broken. The indie publishing industry and the traditional publishing industry are ecosystems that share three main components:
- Book creation
- Book production
- Power to sell
It isn’t the opportunity to self-publish that changed the status quo. You still need a good editor and a cover designer to create a good product, a good book. You still need the professionals in the publishing industry. Your final draft isn’t by far a real book.
The monopoly of the publishing houses wasn’t broken by the opportunity to self-publish, but because their power to sell got taken from them.
Internet and social media did this.
You can sell your own books now.
Build your readers base; interact with online and local communities; create your own advertising campaign. You will work harder, invest your own money, and learn a new profession (social media manager). Most of all you need to be in direct contact with your readers (email newsletter subscription, blog). They give you the power to sell.
It requires work to build trust and credibility, gaining new skills and being genuine. You need to build a relationship before you sell a good book.
You have the world at your fingertips. Literally.