This post, by M.A. Demers, originally appeared on The Global Indie Author on 12/19/11.
Following on the heels of my blog regarding Louis CK’s experiment with producing and selling his own video, the question arises as to whether this is possible for the indie author. “Disintermediation” is the new buzz word, and success stories such as CK’s suggest the only thing standing between the author and their audience is a blog and PayPal. But is it really? The allure of indie publishing is that it provides us with a way past the gatekeepers. But all gatekeepers? Or just the obvious ones?
The only true intermediary between an author and publishing success has and always will be money. If you had tens of thousands to spare you could start your own publishing company, publish your own book, have it printed at your expense, contract with a distributor, run numerous ads and buy reviews, and hire sales people. Hell, you could even hire someone to ghostwrite the actual book.
But most of us don’t have tens of thousands to spare; we had to go the traditional route and try to find a publisher to finance our efforts. Some authors were successful, the majority were not.
With indie publishing, many of those impediments have been removed. We now have direct-to-retail options like Kindle and PubIt!. We can leverage social media to garner some interest. Print-on-demand makes producing a print book financially viable for most of us. Those who are artistically talented can design their own books. The technologically able can bypass the expense of conversion services. But there still remains two final impediments to disintermediation: distribution and marketing.