More big-name authors are joining the ranks of “personal” publishers. Hence, I’m going to make a prediction. In part it’s due to the success John Locke and a few others like him have had at becoming their own publishers. My belief is that we’ll soon see more big-name authors going the entire process on their own. As I see it, the Big 5 publishers have created much of the problem for themselves.
It’s important to understand the current “meaning” of the Big 5, and specifically how they got this way. All of the legacy imprints are now controlled by a parent company that looks only at profitability. If bottom-line dollars weren’t the case, why in the world would Random House and Penguin, via Pearson, align themselves with Author Solutions (a relationship that was quickly dissolved)? It’s requires constant due diligence to keep track of who’s who. The machinations are pointed out in this David Gaughran article. As Mr. Gaughran discusses, the idea by the publishers is to keep unwary writers from knowing where their money is going. I promise this is not some crazy assertion.
I’m going to reiterate my prediction that more and more big-name writers will be starting their own publishing companies for their personal materials. Nobody did this to the publishers but themselves, and it is sad because the quality of books will suffer in the long run, which is another topic for another time, as the submissions editors at the major houses are the reason the bar is set so high for entry. And without these brilliant people who care about literature, Literature as a genre wouldn’t exist. I believe that writers need the major royalty publishers more than ever–just not as they are currently structured.