Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Bandwagon Jumping

First Thomas Nelson and now Harlequin. A short time ago, Thomas Nelson announced that they are venturing into the self-publishing market. Now, Harlequin has announced that they will do the same. What’s the difference? Thomas Nelson will be putting out Christian books and Harlequin will be putting out Romance books. To tell you the truth, this whole thing is confusing me. In both cases the companies are duplicating services that are already available from other companies. The only real advantage I can see with publishing a book through the self-publishing wing of Thomas Nelson or Harlequin over publishing the book through Amazon’s CreateSpace (which will soon encompass BookSurge) is that Thomas Nelson can focus their marketing efforts toward a Christian market and Harlequin can focus there efforts toward romance readers. I imagine that Harlequin is better equipped for that than Thomas Nelson, but we still have to wonder how willing they are going to be to push books that they rejected for traditional publication when they are having enough trouble pushing the others.

And here’s my confusion about Harlequin’s self-publishing. If you submit your manuscript to Harlequin and they accept it, you’ll get an editor, but your book will be printed on the same old newsprint paper they’ve been using for year. If they reject your manuscript and you pay for the self-publishing, you won’t get much editing, but because of the technology required to do POD, your physical book will be printed on high quality paper that exceeds that of their traditionally published books. I’m not sure that’s a good business decision.

But then, I’m not sure I like this to begin with. If this were the movie industry, this would be about like a movie studio selling camcorders. There’s money to be made, but most of the people who will purchase the product are about like the grandmother who just wants a DVD with her grandkids on it. There won’t be many success stories. If publishers are going to get involved with this thing, I would like to see them focus more on the amateur publisher rather than the self-publishing author. It think we would see more success stories if they did.

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