I just came across a rather curious article on MediaShift, which “explains how traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, music and movies are changing with digital disruption.” And this post, once again, made its way right to the top position of Publishing Talk Daily, courtesy of Publishers Weekly.
Under the headline “5 Key Trends in Self-Publishing for 2014,” the article, by Carla King, “author, a publishing consultant, and founder of the Self-Publishing Boot Camp program,” purports to pinpoint “the news that I think mattered most to self-publishers in 2013 and will continue to shape the industry this year.” Only, to my mind, there’s a problem.
Because, see, those trends aren’t trends. They read more like product announcements. Maybe they are product announcements.
Trend #1, for instance? “Ingram Spark gives Amazon CreateSpace a Run for its Money.” And while King does go into detail on some of the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the two platforms, she doesn’t make it clear that, well, you don’t need to use any of these. I formatted my self-published work in MS Word. Did ebooks suddenly get more complicated during 2013? I don’t think so.
Trend #2? Ebook subscription services. King stacks up Scribd against Smashwords – “a great opportunity for self-publishers, and you should do it now, whether direct with Scribd or via Smashwords.” Or don’t.
Trend #3? “Joel Friedlander teamed up with author and technology aficionado Tracy R. Atkins to create templates in Microsoft Word that look just as good as books professionally designed in Adobe InDesign. Instead of paying $1,000 to $4,000 for a custom-designed interior book, you can now pay less than $40.” Good to have? Probably. Cheap? Certainly? Something you can do yourself and save $40? Could be. Likely to shape the entire self-publishing industry in 2014? Excuse me?
Trend #4? “Vook added POD distribution to their array of offerings, which makes them a one-stop-shop for self-publishers who need a bit of hand-holding and who only want to deal with one company.” Handy, that. I’m sure the 25 percent of top-selling self-publishers on Kindle were waiting for that news.
Trend #5? “Bowker embraces Web 2.0.” Umm … okey…
“These developments in 2013 are the five I believe are most significant for self-publishers,” concludes King. I’m tempted to believe something else. What do you believe, O Gentle Readers? Have 2013’s Christmas stockings hopped off the mantels and gone back to being sock puppets? How much more important is Bowker embracing Web 2.0 than the supposed slump in ebook sales? What is the quality of the journalism directed at self-publishing authors like these days? The lines will be open to take your views – right after the break with the roller-skating chicken.