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The Self-Publishing Tipping Point

I found my way from Dean Wesley Smith’s twitter feed to L. M. May’s posts on learned helplessness and Barry Eisler going indie. I read Barry Eisler’s long two part dialogue with Joe Konrath about self-publishing. Dean has since posted some more self-publishing advice.

By chance I also found a very short post by David Friedman about how little need for the publishing industry remains after the advent of ebooks—a reprise of a three-year-old post whose time has now come. Also by chance, I just got my first royalty payment for Paramourtal last week, and my mother(!) got a Kindle at the same time.

It all added up for me to a tipping point for self-publishing. It’s no longer the crazy aunt of publishing options; now it’s the best practice (to pick a painful phrase from the wealth of jargon I’ve been hearing at the BioIT World conference in Boston this week). I no longer picture myself submitting short stories and (future) novels to sink in the slush swamps of traditional publishers on the side while I keep my day job; instead I see myself publishing my own books and (possibly) making decent money at it. I find my new vision of the future much more inspiring—thus my resolve to get back on the wagon.

That’s a lot to read into one PayPal payment and a few blog posts, but it’s more a matter of intuition than of deduction. Where else can the industry go at this point?

An update via Dean: CNNMoney reports on the tipping point at B&N, including the words “tipping point” and the prediction that “ebooks will dominate sales within the next 24 months.”