My Kindle recently drew my attention to an author I hadn't read or heard of before. I downloaded a sample of a book and before I was finished reading the sample,
I'd bought the entire series. It's a brilliant YA contemporary series by a very talented author named Tammara Webber:
Between the Lines
(Book #1) Paperback
Where You Are
(Book #2) Paperback
Good for You
(Book #3) Paperback
When I sat down with Tammara's books, we weren't solving all the world's problems, or confronting all the world's evils. But we were looking at life through a very unique perspective -- and learning, and growing. These books are (in my opinion) what YA is all about - a little bit of What I Wish My Life Was Like, and a lot of Real.
It's the most fun I've had reading books in a long
time. I groaned when I reached the end because THERE WERE NO MORE BOOKS. I was officially in love with her hero (anti-hero, of sorts) and just plain fanatical about the author herself.
(NOTE: I might
have geeked out just a little and tweeted the writer incessantly for a week, during which she may
have started legal proceedings to make sure I never showed up at her house, but I couldn't possibly confirm, nor deny...)
In any case, when I was finished the books and in that awful limbo of wanting more, but having no more material to devour, I skipped to the front of the books to find out who published them.
That would be, Tammara Webber.
This, my friends, is self-publishing at it's best:
When my internal editor didn't notice, and my internal story-swallower didn't have to argue with him. For me, as a reader, these books are GREAT. And while they might not float everyone's boat, there's no need for me to say "Great...for a self-published book..." because they're just plain GREAT.
Even better, the author herself makes no apologies, and pulls no punches about the realities of self-publishing. She's got a great set of indie-writing FAQ's
to address the most common questions and requests. There's truth in them-thar lines, thar is.
So what's my point? My point is, when a story catches the reader's attention, they don't spend time poring over the opening pages for rights assignments or copyright attributions. They just read, and enjoy, and wish there was more.
(MORE PLEASE, TAMMARA. *Cough*)
It's authors and books like this that show me how the balance of power is changing.
Having owned a Kindle Fire for five months now, and seeing how it's changed my reading / book shopping habits without me noticing,
I've formed a new opinion on the publishing industry:
The traditional model of promoting and selling books still works for customers who don't have easy-use, high-content e-readers.
But I think we all know the proportion of readers who don't own e-readers is rapidly shrinking. And I suspect in ten years it will be virtually nil. So... for those readers who don't have or like e-readers, the traditional model is still working.
There's a rapidly growing, distinctly personal market for e-books that the publishers can't control. The e-reader is smart: It looks at what you bought and tells you about other books like those. It looks at what you bought and tells you what other people
who bought that liked. And it doesn't distinguish by publisher or agent. The only thing that pulls a book to the top of the recommendations pile, is purchases.
Do you know what that means?
It means the agents and publishers aren't the gatekeepers anymore.
For digital readers, the real gatekeepers are the readers
. (Finally!) Because no matter where or how a book came into print, if people keep buying it, Amazon (or Barnes and Noble, or whoever) keep recommending it.
The bigger the digital proportion of readers, the less powerful the traditional publishing model will be.
Now, don't get me wrong: Traditional publishers still turn out great books from great writers. They'll get the word of mouth recommendations, which equal sales, which equal e-reader recommendations too. But the playing field is evening up.
And I, for one, am a convert. Thank you, Amazon, for telling me I might like Tammara Webber's books. YOU WERE RIGHT.
Your Turn: Do you think readers have the power yet? Or are there still barriers? How long do you think it will be before e-readers are the standard for purchasing and reading books?