Last week, Michael Hyatt, CEO of prominent Christian publishing house Thomas Nelson, made an announcement on his blog with this post: Should You Consider Self-Publishing?
I encourage you to read the post in full. But to summarize, Thomas Nelson is starting up a self-publishing imprint called Westbow Press.
Now even if you aren’t writing for the Christian market, this is a significant development and should be paid attention to because it’s most likely telling of what’s ahead for the publishing industry at large.
Publishers are strapped for cash and looking for new ways to shore up their businesses. And soon they’re likely going to start looking for cash from the one motivated audience they know they do have—the thousands upon thousands of writers whose queries and manuscripts constantly fill up their inboxes.
I think this may well be just the first of many mainstream publishers who will turn to this business model as their profit margins erode. So publishers, instead of being gatekeepers, will begin actively recruiting writers as customers they can offer their editorial, design and marketing expertise to.
Now you can’t really blame publishers for taking the necessary means to keep their businesses afloat. But the unfortunate part of all this is that it’s going to take a sizable monetary investment for most writers to publish a book. The days of mainstream publishers paying advances and taking on all of the financial risk for publishing a book may be coming to a close.
I’d like your opinions on publishers looking for money in the slush pile. I’ll post a followup and some caveats on this topic tomorrow.