The days of publishers being the grand gatekeepers for content creation are long gone. Now, anyone can write a book online and have it published in a nicely presented format, with quality print and binding and a colour cover. There is no need to worry about having some committee commission a nice cover. There is no need to worry about deadlines, or about giving the publisher options on your future titles. You retain control over the book you write, and can make sure that it is published exactly as you envisaged.
There has, historically, been a stigma associated with vanity publishers and print on demand publishers, but that is changing as the quality of the printing process improves, and now there are plenty of places you can go to write a book online that offer a professional level of service – including ISBN services, marketing, and access to the same supply chain as you wuld get with a regular publisher. To the average reader, there would be no difference between a book published with an online ‘open’ publisher and one that you submitted through an agent and published with more conventional channels.
Is the era of the traditional publisher dead? Perhaps not – after all, there are still a lot of things that traditional publishers can offer – including proofreading, fact checking and technical reviews, as well as the sanity check as to whether there really is demand for that kind of title. There is, however, a lot to say for the online POD publisher too. Not all niches are big enough to make it worth the while of a traditional publisher to invest in a book. If you have a title that is incredibly niche then it may make sense to work on it by yourself. Take, for example, a book about a highly specific style of karate, or a biography of an athlete in a sport that has only a few thousand practitioners in your country. Those things aren’t going to sell in big numbers but there will be people out there who would love to read the stories, and they would pay a premium for them. Why not share and preserve your knowledge for those who care?
It’s not just non-fiction writers who are turning to online publishers either. There are many fiction authors who are using self publishing to prove that there is an audience for their work, and poets and artists are building their portfolios in this way as well. The potential audience for creative works is bigger now than ever before, and this has created a discoverability nightmare for content creators. The right publisher and the right marketing advice can help a talented creator get their work in front of their audience, and help them to grow that audience and explore new ideas too.
There’s a widely held belief that everyone has one book inside of them waiting to get out. Why not work on yours, and see what inspiration strikes?