New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani, respected in the industry as one of the toughest book critics, has selected a self-published title as one of her top-ten best of 2012, as pointed out by Publishers Lunch new editor Sarah Weinman on Twitter.
The book is The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever by Alan Sepinwall. Unlike the other titles on Kakutani’s list, where she mentions each of the imprints that published the book, there is no publisher or imprint mentioned for Sepinwall’s book.
The inclusion of a self-published title in an end-of-year best-of list for such a well-respected critic just goes to show how far indie authors have come in just a few years. Before the rise of services like Smashwords, Lulu and Author Solutions, it was derisively called “vanity publishing” and written off as what authors who couldn’t cut it did once they were rejected by traditional publishers.
Today, hit best-sellers like Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series (now published by Penguin) and Hugh Howey’s Wool* (self-published ebook edition in the U.S. and to be published in paperback by Simon & Schuster) are being brought to market by the authors. Established and traditionally published authors like Barbara Freethy are trying their hand and seeing success in self-publishing. And readers, more of whom are discovering and buying ebooks online and on their devices, are buying the titles in great numbers, likely oblivious to who published it in the first place.
Unlike some of the other self-published sensations, Sepinwall is already an established writer with a hit blog, What’s Alan Watching?
The ebook edition of the book went on sale on Nov. 8 and by Nov. 10 it was already in the Amazon Kindle top 100, according to data from eBook MarketView, a book data firm in New York which also powers the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller List. It hit a high of No. 17 on Dec. 5.
* See Howey and his agent speak at Digital Book World about his success and why he did his deal with Simon & Schuster.