Publishing Cartel

Why Trade Publishers Become Absolute


International Bestselling Author, Speaker, Creator of The Bestseller Academy, Kallen Diggs recently listed all the reasons why traditional publishing is becoming dinosauric in his fabulous article The Inevitable Death of Traditional Book Publishers and in detail at his blog: 
Reaching the Finish Line.

Trade Publishers: Why Enter the Vanity Publishing Sector?
The first reason might be to “eliminate the competition” and to control self-publishing authors – and secondly to make lots of money out of them, however not with book sales, but rather with production and “marketing” fees.  Publishers don’t have to pay advances anymore, and the book productions costs are fully, even over-paid, by the author.  If there are any book sales, the publisher cashes in again.

During the last five years many of these “Big Five” Trade Publishers were opening dozens of Vanity Publishing Imprints, offering wannabe “published” authors low royalties and grabbing the author’s publishing rights.  They are sticking out the carrot for writers to be “published” by any of the Big Five – famously Penguin, who used notorious’ Author Solution’s imprints.  But at the end of the day, these trade publishers are one more company to take advantage of author’s property rights even though they are mostly not exercising the film, TV (“book-to-screen” services) or foreign rights.  “Just in case” a book is discovered by Hollywood, so they can cash in again …

If Authors Signed up With:
AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse,Trafford Publishing, Palibrio, and Booktango, they fell into the trap of Author Solutions, once owned by Penguin and in the meantime sold. According to Wikipedia: “AuthorSolutions also maintains partnerships with traditional book publishers Simon & Schuster (Archway Publishing), Thomas Nelson (WestBow Press), Hay House (Balboa Press), Guideposts (Inspiring Voices); as well as with Writer’s Digest (Abbott Press).

Authors hoping to self-publish were misled by the “self-publishing” companies, offering a range of services and charging large sums of money to publish those new books.
Self publishing is the business of charging authors to have their books published.  Author Solutions and its subsidiaries are some of the biggest, and Author Solutions’ growth during this time reflected this trend” … which is now somewhat down I might add, thanks to the bad press they received over the last couple of years.

But that’s not all: Harper Collins also entered the author-exploding “business” with their imprint Harper Legend, and Hachette banded with Perseus, which owns ten imprints alone.  So, there is no shortage on traps for writers who want to be “published”.
The term “self-publishing company” is an oxymoron anyway: Either someone self-publishes independently or not.  Read also a former blog post we wrote: How to Identify a Reputable Publisher.
Desperate Trade Publishers?
Is the publishing industry so desperate that they need to set up self-publish imprints?  “Major publishers are going to have to compete with the 70 percent earnings offered by Amazon’s KDP, margins are going to get squeezed and they will have to compete with indies on price, which means getting squeezed on the price side too.  As middlemen, their role is not only going to get smaller as self-published authors bypass them—their profit margins are going to shrink as readers and authors demand better prices and pay” explains bestelling author Hugh Howey in an interview.
More Confidence Please!
And for authors: why do they think they wouldn’t be able to produce and market their own books?  Finding an editor, formatter / lay outer and cover designer is really easy – and compared to the fees of “self-publishing” companies – it will cost much less.  The biggest advantage to go “totally indie” are the much higher earnings (often eight to ten times more), and that authors are independent and true SELF-PUBLISHERS.
Credibility for and the quality of self-published books is raising from year to year.  Maybe one day we look down to trade publishers in disgust… Find a lot of valuable tips for your book production in the next blog article here on SavvyBookWriters.

Kallen Diggs who compared the earnings of self—publishers to those of “published” authors will be an eye-opener.  Take his advice: “Learn the art of sales. After all, that is what ultimately matters in the end. Focus on selling more books.”  And I am adding : “If you love writing that much, sell more books to be able to write full-time.



Interesting Publishing Predictions for 2014



J. A. Konrath did it again: outlook to this years’ publishing future – as he sees it. He explains what works and what not – and what could be done better. Here an excerpt from his predictions:

  • “Paper book sales will no longer be significant enough to sustain the nation’s largest bookstore chain, maybe stores closing.”
  • “Libraries will buy e-books directly from authors.”
  • “Indie bookstores will need to start selling self-pubbed books, or perish. If indie bookstores deal directly with self-pubbed authors, and print their own copies to sell in their stores, they can build inventory and cut out the share normally taken by publishers.”
  • “Big 5 mergers and layoffs and bankruptcies. As the publishing cartel loses its quasi-monopoly on paper distribution, there will be no way to support its infrastructure.”
  • “The publishing biz has become a tech biz. You don’t win at tech by playing catch-up. You win by innovating.”

J. A. Konrath’s prediction:
“Visibility will become harder. As more e-books get published, and virtual shelf space expands, it is going to become harder to get exposure. Self-pubbed authors who don’t focus on their current, core readership will see sales diminish. The future will be about actively cultivating a readership. So far we’ve been lucky. With KDP Select Free Days, authors have been able to get visible without reconnecting with longtime readers. There have always been enough new readers to sustain sales.

Maintaining a fan base is going to become increasingly more important.
That means having an up-to-date website, making it easy to sign up for your newsletter, staying active in social media, and regenerating your brand with new titles and continued promotions.

Change is hard. It’s also inevitable.
The best thing you can do right now, as a writer, is look to the future and try to find your place in that future. That might mean you’ll need to forget the past. It also might mean you’ll have to learn to accept, and forgive.”

“It isn’t a stretch to believe tens of millions of self-published e-books are being sold annually. We don’t need Vanity publishers / called: self-publishing services. We don’t need to pay Kirkus or PW for reviews. We don’t need writing organizations (MWA, Authors Guild) who don’t look out for our interests.”  And he continues to explain what we need.  Read the whole, interesting post on J.A. Konrath’s blog.



If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $159 for three months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help:
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Tagged: Big 5, Future of Publishing, Indie Book Stores, J.A. Konrath, Paper Book Sales, Publishing Cartel, publishing predictions

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