The success stories emerging from the world of self-publishing, particularly self-publishing on Amazon, continue unabated. This despite the best efforts of traditional publishing sock puppets to try to label self-publishers as angry losers with unrealistic dreams who should fall back in line to support the old print establishment.
But the truth is most of the emerging writers in self-publishing aren't angry, they just like writing. They have no grudge against traditional publishing, they just want to take advantage of new creative opportunities. More importantly, they are smart people with lots of options, who could do a lot of other things with their lives, but happen to have the right mix of writing talent and business savvy to succeed with this new media platform.
A case in point is A. G. Riddle, a smart young guy who started his first tech company in college and worked for ten years in internet startups. Only three years ago, he decided to focus his business creatively on writing, not sure if it would end up being a hobby or a profession. He began a series of sci-fi novels, the Atlantis Gene series. He sold half a million copies in his first year and the movie rights to the series have just been purchased by CBS Films.
ATLANTIS TRILOGY TO GET MOVIE TREATMENT
Now, there's no guarantee the books will get produced, even though they seem to be a terrific idea. And there's no guarantee that Riddle's next novels will be as successful as his first three. But it's a pretty amazing beginning to a writing career. It's clearly not going to be a hobby for him.
It's also important to understand that before Amazon made self-publishing a viable alternative to traditional publishing, this wasn't a guy who was sitting around in cafes smoking cigarettes and complaining that he got another rejection from an book agent. Nor was he a mid-list writer who had got burned by traditional publishers and was seeking revenge by self-publishing. When he started writing, he did it more for fun than to get rich. Yet, as a person with a wide range of tech business experience, he probably wasn't baffled on how to creative a good looking cover for his book, or unwilling to pay an editor to proof read it. In interviews, he comes across as a modest nice guy who is just trying to learn his craft. Exactly the kind of writer that fans can get behind and support.
Nor is he not the only emerging writer finding success in self-publishing.
The proxies for traditional publishing are doing everything they can to distract from these frequent success stories by trying to falsely label self-publishers as writers who failed to make it in the print world, or unemployed drifters who can't get a real job and self-publish because they think its easy money. The reality is very different. Self-publishers are people of every possible stripe. But the successful ones are usually people that could be successful in many industries, but have a love for writing and a desire to be creative. Increasingly, self-publishers are going to be people who have little background or interest in traditional publishing, because traditional publishing abandoned it's primary focus on supporting writers some time ago. It is more interested in controlling market share and moving paper around.
The other meme being floated is that all these self-publishers will eventually crawl into the embrace of the big 5 publishing companies who will be able to scoop the cream off the top and maintain their market share. That seems unlikely, unless the big 5 change their entire business model, particularly their unfriendly writing deals. Rising writers like Riddle have little incentive to rush to sign over all their rights to be controlled by a poorly managed legacy print industry.
But who knows? Riddle's website, somewhat incongruously, states that he is "seeking representation." So far, it doesn't seem like he needs it.