Monday, May 18, 2009

The latest do-it-yourself

The New York Times yesterday had an interesting article about self-publishing with yet another twist: authors upload their works in PDF format to the Scribd Web site.
Scribd is a document-sharing site on the order of YouTube. Authors would keep 80 percent of the profits, based on a sale price set by the author.
The PDFs would be compatible with mobile readers, soon to include iPhones.
Amazon’s already doing this with CreateSpace.
As a reader, I’d be leery of any published story that bypassed the vetting process. No editor reads the work before it’s published – the author simply posts it. Worse, no editor works with the author to improve the work. A critical step, and one that could mean the difference between a blah story and a really good one.
Then, there’s the whole piracy issue. Few epresses have little recourse against piracy other than warning a site to stop distributing work. Authors lose a great deal of money by illegal sharing. If Scribd doesn't have a means to protect the PDFs, then you might as well post it on your blog for free, and make money through advertising.
Yes, many famous authors started out self-publishing. If I wanted to self-publish, I’d go with Publish America and see it in print. But frankly, I’d rather not brand my work with their name. While the author needs to make a profit to sustain their efforts, these publishers are in it simply for the money – not to publish great stories.
I’d be interested to hear what others think.

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