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Self-publishing market

Self-publishing is not a recent phenomenon, but the development of the digital book market in the early 2000s enabled this method of publishing, as it is particularly well suited to this type of publication, to experience strong growth. Technological advances and the democratization of digital tools have also facilitated the process of producing printed works and made it possible to reduce costs, thus making self-publishing more accessible.

Between 2006 and 2012, the number of self-published titles available on the American market would have tripled according to a study carried out by Bowker. Sales of self-published books have also increased by 422% since 2010 according to this same study. In the United States and in publishing in the main Anglo-Saxon countries, the January 2018 Authors Earnings report assesses the share of self-publishing on digital download platforms at 35% of units, and 20% of value . The method of obtaining this data is criticized by some, welcomed by others.

Recognition of the literary community

Although prejudices against self-publishing are still present, perceptions of this new mode of publication are changing. Indeed, since its rapid rise in popularity in the mid-2000s, self-publishing has gained some recognition from the book industry.

Literary fairs now regularly offer a section dedicated to self-publishing. In 2012, the London Book Fair created such a space for the first time and offered different workshops with the aim of supporting self-published authors in their activities. In addition, some literary prizes now include self-published works in their selection.

Evolution from self-published author to published author

It happens more and more often that authors carry out simultaneously an activity of self-published author and author published by a publishing house (on a publisher’s own account), or even that they change status, making self-publishing a breeding ground for discovering talent for so-called traditional publishing. Many authors have been published or re-published by publishers. When this happens, self-publishing acts as a sort of safeguard, since it allows publishers to choose works that have already been tested by readers’ appreciation without having to assume the significant risk of a first novel.

In the English-speaking community, E.L. James remains the most famous case. The author first published the text that would become the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy on various fanfiction sites, then on her own website before launching the digital book in 2011. The publishing house Vintage Books subsequently bought the rights in 2012.

(Includes texts from Wikipedia translated and adapted by Nicolae Sfetcu)

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