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Jim Kukral

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The J.K. Rowling's Effect - Traditional Publishing Takes Another Blow to the Head

Posted: 04/26/2012 6:31 pm

First J.K. Rowling made the jump from traditional publishing to self-publishing. Now, look out, other big-name authors are seeing the light and dipping their toes into great big ocean and seeing how the water feels.

Case in point: long-time successful author Jackie Collins has decided to "test the waters" of self-publishing. Why shouldn't she? She's a smart business person. It's obvious that the publishing industry is changing and every author, known or not-known, big or small, should explore the options available to them.

The reason that authors like Jackie Collins are even considering this is because of what I'd like to call the J.K. Rowling Effect. Essentially, because J.K. had led the way, and proven that it can be done, other authors are following suit. In David Gaughran's excellent piece about JK's move, he said, "She's going to make another billion."

Exactly. Because she's cutting out the middleman and leveraging her own platform. Don't you think that other authors are going to take notice?

In her blog post on the topic here, Jackie explains why she's decided to make her next book an indie book.

Her thoughts on the publishing industry:

I've been a published author for many years, and I've had the good fortune to work with several great publishers, and I've seen MANY changes in the publishing industry.


From new printing techniques, to new advertising mediums, to direct-to-fan digital publishing, the industry has always been evolving. And it will continue to do so.

At the end of the day, it's about finding the best way to get your content (Hollywood and relationship fiction in my case) into the hands of your fans who are clamoring for it.

Translation: The guys I've been working with aren't cutting it anymore. They've been paying me way too little for my work and while I'm going to keep them around, maybe, I'm going to see what I can do on my own.

Her thoughts on ebooks...

Let me say up front that I will personally always love physical books. I love how a new book feels in your hands. I love turning the pages one-by-one as you curl up in a chair and engross yourself in the story.


But I also know that to stay successful, you've always got to be thinking two steps ahead of the game. And by all counts, the book industry is going the way of the CD industry. Almost nobody buys CDs anymore; we get our music fix on iTunes.

And more and more people are opting for eBooks over paper. For example, with Goddess of Vengeance, I think we sold an equal amount of hard covers and eBooks.

And in England, they just bought the digital rights to all my books and Lethal Seduction immediately jumped to #2 on the bestseller's list. That's a book that's 10 years old! I was quite impressed with that.

Translation: Print books are almost over in the way they used to be. The industry has changed and I'm sure as heck going to ride the new wave and not be bogged down by the old ways.

Her thoughts on dealing with publishers (gatekeepers):

I've always been involved in the business side of my career. Even in the very beginning, I realized I had to double-check the things my publishers were doing. (After all, no one cares more about your career than you do.)

Translation: I paid my publisher all that money for what? I got a tiny percentage of sales of MY work and they got all that for what?

On whether she would do it differently:

If I were starting out in the business today, I don't think I would change anything. But, I was extremely lucky because my first book, The World is Full of Married Men, was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to, and became an instant bestseller.


Today, if a publisher isn't interested, you have options. You can sign up with Amazon KDP or Barnes & Noble Pubit or Lulu or SmashWords or CreateSpace or a host of other helpful sites. Google it.

Translation: I got lucky at first. But today, you don't have to try and get lucky, you have options. So go and take them and see what you can do. I'm sure as heck going to.

So which big author will be next? Your votes in the comments.

 
 
 

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