Off late there has been a lot of discussion going around self-publishing and how it is becoming popular in India. The title refers to a query that came up on the WRIMO India group the other day.
So is self-publishing just about digital publishing or it goes beyond the virtual as well. The answer would be no, self-publishing has indeed crossed over to print as well. However, the scope has been limited.
Self-publishing as a concept actually grew from print, when some writers with enough resources who grew tired of the dominance of traditional publishers, went to a printer and got their books printed. They would then market these on their own, lugging them from one bookstore to another.
Digital publishing actually took self-publishing to an all new level. Ease of technology, motivated many authors, facing rejections from traditional sources to actually go ahead with self-publishing. The acceptability of self-publishing has grown so much that many authors now prefer to make it their first choice instead of traditional.
But self-publishing in print is still not that popular. Issues like marketing, sales, and distribution along with sheer logistics do prevail. Most of the players in this area focus on vanity publishing. Some even disguise vanity publishing as self-publishing and seek huge monies from authors.
Digital is and will remain the best avenue for authors going for self-publishing their books. It is futuristic in its approach, very convenient to use and the reach is immense. I have sold books in countries like Denmark and Australia via the digital mode, something which I don't think would have dared with the print format.
As for the money the author makes, digital is better here too. The logistics cost is quite less. You are not physically delivering the book to someone's place. It is a wireless technique. Makes it cost effective meaning savings for all parties involved. The author, the facilitator and the reader all save some.
In India, we are still to go a long way to recognize and appreciate the work of self-published authors. Digital also needs more penetration which will take time but gradually, things will shape up in a good way for authors and readers alike.