Wednesday, July 1, 2020

For this month's IWSG I'm answering a question about the future of publishing.

For once, time seems to be not moving as fast as I used to think it did. Thanks, Covid-19. But even if it does seem slower now, the first Wednesday of every month still rolls around. It's now July 1st, and it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Here's the purpose of that blogfest: to share and encourage other writers by providing a safe place to discuss our insecurities. That being said, many of us choose to answer the monthly question that our co-hosts come up with. If this is something that interests you, please head on over to this place and sign up.

July 1st question: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

Based on what I've observed Michael J. Sullivan doing with his Kickstarters, I predict that traditional authors (he was one of these) will go hybrid. Meaning that they will publish some of a series with the Big Six, and the remainder of a series by going self-publishing. The reason? Money. Michael J. Sullivan has probably made half a million dollars in the last year doing the self-publishing thing, and I think that's really damn good. I also don't think it will slack off. I think he's probably established himself enough, and he's got enough of a following, that this will be his income in perpetuity. 

I also think that self-publishing is going to be where people are making the most beautiful print books. I'm talking all the works with the fancy paper and the gorgeous artwork and the things that previously seemed untenable without a big publishing house. The reason? Photoshop is making it super easy to create stunning covers and places like Lulu are offering publishing options wherein a final product is indistinguishable from a professionally done manuscript. Additionally, the price is going to keep falling on being able to do this as artists are a dime a dozen online and the price of producing print has become super affordable.

Anyway, those are the changes that I think are coming down the pipe. I can't wait to read some of yours. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Elizabeth S. Craig is one of those hybrid authors doing well. Has an agent and a good contract with Random but had to tell her agent she is making more with her self-published books now.

  2. It's been true for a while that you can make more self publishing if you have a platform. It's us little people who don't make much from it.

  3. Thanks for sharing your insights about potential changes in the industry, Michael. I think you are correct and I hope you are correct, as self-publishing seems to be the only option for most of us. After a year and a half of pursuing agents and publishers, I'm looking to dive into it all myself not too. I doubt I'll ever make money, though, but if I get my "investments" (for editors, artists, and marketing) back, I'll be a happy camper. :-)

  4. Liesbet: I'd give kickstarter a try. After what I've seen Michael J. Sullivan do with it, I'm convinced that other authors trying to self publish should try and duplicate what Michael has done. He's incredible.

  5. Thanks for the suggestion, Michael. I should check out this Michael J. Sullivan guy if I have a moment (certainly not today as a co-host :-)). My issue is that I hate to ask people money for something that hasn't been finished yet. It's like working on credit and if you'd know me, you'd know that I HATE the idea of debt... But, I'm always open to new opportunities and suggestions!

  6. I understand the appeal of going hybrid, but I've never heard of publishing half a series with a traditional publisher and then the rest of it through self-publishing. Many publishers claim rights to sequels and series. So, if someone wants to do this, they may have to submit the next book to the publisher, wait for an offer, and then reject that offer in order to self-publish that story.

    1. I'm actually not sure how Michael J. Sullivan does it, but his (I think) first two books in The Legends of the First Empire series were traditionally published. And then after that it was all Kickstarters, one right after another. He is the fastest writer I've ever seen because these books are thick and he offers them within a month of the last kickstarter officially ending. And he's got people who write musical scores for his books, he's got bags with these fantastic decals on them that represent scenes in his books, he's got t-shirts with iron-on logos, and of course the hardcover books (which I always get in early on). I've never seen a Kickstarter of his make less than $100,000 in like probably a single day of being live. And the production values of the hardcover books is absolutely flooring. Better than I've ever got from picking up a book at Barnes and Noble.

  7. There are authors right now who are making a decent living doing the self pub thing through ebooks and such. Of course, many of them are putting out new books frequently. And it took them some time to build a following. But it's doable.

  8. Remember, Sullivan writes all the books in a series before publishing the first one. So he can crank them out, publishing wise. But he really does write awful fast. When that's all you have to do with your day, it has to be easier. I find it wierd that he has kickstarters still though. I haven't bought any of the hard books, just the audio books. They really help me survive long hours in a car.