There still may be some questions about the potential impact of self-publishing, but if the 2012 Miami Book Fair is any indication, self-publishing has gained acceptance among readers and would-be authors. From a pre-fair feature article in the Miami Herald to an informative panel on self-publishing—a prominent theme for this year’s fairgoers was: how do I get published? And in a visible change from even just a year ago, the question is no longer whether self-publishing is a viable option, but rather how to do it—and do it well.
One of the nation’s premier literary events, now in its 29th year, the Miami Book Fair (November 11-18) featured hundreds of author events, including appearances by luminaries like Tom Wolfe, Junot Diaz, Sandra Cisneros, and Robert Caro. In all, the fair’s Festival of Authors hosted more than 350 authors for readings and panel discussions, including fiction and nonfiction of all genres, Latin American and Spanish authors, authors of children’s books, and once again, comics and graphic novelists were also featured. A consumer event rather than a trade show, during the fair’s weekend “Street Fair” more than 250 publishers and booksellers exhibited and sold books, mingled with readers in the Florida sun, and a slate of panel discussions and program covered a range of topics and trends, including the growth of erotica in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, and of course, self-publishing.
In a session at the close of the fair, hosted by the Copyright Clearance Center and moderated by CCC’s Christopher Kenneally, a panel of some of the top players in the self-publishing business told offered a mix of encouragement and practical advice on how to self-publish. The panel included Smashwords’ founder and CEO Mark Coker; author and marketing consultant M.J. Rose; Jenny Pedroza, who originally published Fifty Shades of Grey; and Matt Cavnar, v-p of Business Development at Vook.
Look for more from the panel in a December feature in PW Select. But suffice it to say, the self-publishing movement is surging, and Coker told fairgoers he was confident that self-publishing will continue to grow—and, one day, even come to dominate. “Authors now have the opportunity to publish low-cost e-books at prices as low as free, or .99 cents, or $2.99, and they can reach the bestseller lists,” Coker said. “And this is all happening just now—a year ago this was hardly happening at all.”