- Agents and publishers are getting more and more risk-averse; reluctant to take on new authors unless they are 100% certain of an early financial return.
- Print-on-demand books these days are relatively cheap, and of a quality indiscernible from a traditionally-published book.
- E-readers are set to become popular. Though Amazon is coy about revealing figures, estimates suggest they sold half a million in a year; compare that to the 378,000 iPods sold in its first year.
- Publishers charge an absurdly high rate for e-book downloads.
I'm scenting a change in the wind. Good writers I know, fed up with rave rejections, are beginning to talk about self-publishing and e-publishing as a possibility they might consider, in spite of the fearsome task of marketing this would involve.
Yesterday Ray Rhamey, well-known for his blog Flogging the Quill, announced that he is to self-publish his novel The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles, because he fears the current vampire craze will have expired before he finds a publisher.
And not for the first time, I'm thinking that it will only take one novel, that happens to be self-published, to be mega-successful, and the face of publishing will change forever.
(A final thought - publishers love celebrity novels, which come with buyers ready-made. Who will be the first canny celebrity, I wonder, to twig that he doesn't need an agent or a publisher, but can hire an editor, self-publish and keep all the profits for himself?)