The term “self-publishing” may have outlived its usefulness, according to Jon Fine, director of author and publishing relations at Amazon, speaking at the Publishing for Digital Minds conference this week in London.
When asked at a recent past conference what “self-publishing” looked like in ten years, Fine, who is intimately involved in that business at Amazon, said that it probably won’t be called that anymore. In the future, authors will publish in a number of ways.
“If you’re an author in ten years, you’re going to have an array of options,” said Fine. “What we’ve done is provide the tools that make it possible to take a story and make it available to hundreds of millions of people around the world…and do it in multiple formats.”
Best-selling hybrid author Hugh Howey shared the stage with Fine. Howey could be an author from Fine’s future. He has self-published ebooks and audiobooks, traditionally published print books and translations, and has no definite plans in the future as to how he will publish his next title.
“Do you want to be a small business owner or work for a corporation?” asked Howey, referring to the difference between self-publishing, where authors are also entrepreneurs (the former) and traditional publishing, adding, “and there are advantages and disadvantages for both.”
In a typical example of the flexibility afforded authors today, Orna Ross, a hybrid author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, who was also on the conference panel mentioned that she is publishing nine short books this year, about one every month, “and that’s not something a publisher would ever do.”
According to Fine, the next challenge facing authors, publishers and distributors like Amazon is how readers will discover the right books for them.
“We’ve created this tsunami of content,” said Fine. “It’s a high class problem to have too many stories. We, as tech companies, publishers, authors, service providers, have to find ways to help stories find the right audience. This discoverability problem is the next big challenge.”