Web Seminar Debates How Self-Publishing Will Lose Its Stigma

This post, by Lynn Andriani, originally appeared on Publishers Weekly on 2/23/11.

Thanks to the well-publicized success of authors like J.A. Konrath, Amanda Hocking, and Seth Godin, the stigma surrounding self-publishing is fading fast. Still, it’s far from gone, and a web seminar sponsored by PW and Digital Book World yesterday titled The Evolution of Self-Publishing covered the reasons for self-publishing’s stigma, how and why it’s losing that stigma, and what the industry and individual authors need to do in order to help self-publishing move even further into the mainstream.

But first, about those aforementioned bestsellers? Panelist and author Jason Pinter expressed his frustration at always hearing the same few names repeated as examples of how lucrative self-publishing can be. “What annoys me is that the same names are always used: Godin, Konrath, Hocking, The Shack,” he said. “There’s a sense of people latching on to a couple of individuals who’ve found success and then those people get a lot of publicity. Then it’s, ‘They can do it; I can!’ There is a bit of a fallacy there; it’s not always the case.”

Though there are, of course, many reasons most self-published books don’t sell well. One of the main reasons mentioned by the panelists? Marketing. “It’s one of the hardest things to do,” Pinter said. “Authors really need to look at what their goals are and how they’re going to realistically achieve them.” Carolyn Pittis, svp, global author services at HarperCollins, agreed: “Marketing is the issue of our time. Book marketing is the biggest challenge that anyone in the book business is facing today, purely because there’s so much noise and so much content getting created and so many potential distractions.” Marketing often determines a book’s commercial success—or failure, said Phil Sexton, publisher and community leader at Writer’s Digest. “It’s about what the intent of the author is. How much they’re going to back [their book], whether or not they’re going to try and sell it.”

Read the rest of the post on Publishers Weekly.