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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why is self-publishing so popular now?

Years ago, all writers were publishers, applying a chunk of charcoal to cave walls, a chisel to stone or a quill to parchment. In the 21st century, once again, many writers are becoming publishers.

Self-publishing has become a powerful, popular and often misleading buzzword. Self-publishing is buzzing and booming for several reasons:

(1) Advances in technology and falling costs have helped to remove middlemen between creative people and their audiences, and to equalize distribution. Tiny companies—even one-person companies—can have the image and impact of giant corporations.
  • Musicians and singers bypass record companies by making CDs to sell at concerts and by putting recordings online for downloading by fans. 
  • Bloggers reach readers without needing newspapers or magazines to publish their words. 
  • Videographers can reach a huge audience on YouTube. 
  • Thousands of people, businesses and organizations pub­­lish e-zines, websites, catalogs and newsletters with little or no professional assistance. 
  • Politicians and business leaders can reach voters and customers with email, blogs and websites—without having to depend on reporters to interpret and distribute their news.
(2) Specialization and “micro-ization” have revolutionized many areas of commerce.
  • Giant movie theaters have been divided into multiplexes which show many movies to smaller audiences.
  • Department stores are disappearing as boutiques and specialty shops are opening.
  • Major beer brands face increasing competition from microbreweries.
  • Giant AM and FM radio stations are losing listeners to ti­­ny Internet radio stations and satellite radio channels which “narrowcast” to a fragmented audience.
  • The traditional “Big Three” TV networks are losing viewers to cable channels and webcasts. 
  • Many people now prefer food that’s grown or produced nearby, rather than by a distant corporate giant.

(3) Online booksellers, particularly Amazon.com, make millions of books easily and economically available to millions of readers, worldwide.

(4) Electronic ebooks are much less expensive to produce and distribute than books printed on paper.

Combine  ➀ through ➃ and the early 21st century is a great time to be a self-publishing author.

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