This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Monday, January 24, 2011

E-Pub or Print, Self-Pub or Traditional--It Still Boils Down to Platform

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Lots of speculation is going around regarding how digital publication will affect the publishing industry as a whole. Some authors who have been waiting years to be noticed by a literary agent or an acquiring editor now have some hope that the waiting could be over. With digital publishing, they can have their novels uploaded for sale on e-reading devices such as Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and other sites for a minimal cost. The pros and cons of self-publishing are still being weighed by industry professionals and defended by those seeking other alternatives.

Digital publishing has now been out long enough for a few test runs to have some results. In fact, three authors can now boast over a million e-book sales on Amazon. Other well-known authors are making their out of print books  available on e-readers and are now making money from books they had thought would never make another dime.

One such example would be Author Lee Goldberg's guest post on Joe Konrath's blog . A year ago he put his entire backlist of nine books on the Amazon Kindle. A year later, sales increased to as many as 3,100 books per month. With Amazon's increase in the royalty rate from 35% to 70% for books $2.99 and up, he has the potential of earning as much as $6,600. 

Goldberg admits that he is in a different position than new, unpublished, unknown authors. He has been published for years and has several books out in print. Goldberg has established a platform of readers that a new author wouldn't necessarily have yet. 

It always boils down to--platform. So many unpublished authors with excellent talent are rejected by publishers because they lack a platform of potential readers, which transforms into sales. 

What are your thoughts regarding self-publication versus traditional or e-pub versus print? Does platform make a difference either way?


"If you build it, they will come" doesn't work for websites, blogs or anything else online. An author still has to bring readers to their writing, or (better)take it to them. There's just so much noise online that it's hard for one voice to be heard. Those with platforms and readerships have a huge advantage here at the advent of a disruptive technology (that changes the way we read).

Janalyn, I agree and so many people build their websites and blogs only to abandon them. Building a platform of readers is an ongoing process. It will always be part of the business plan--even though the process of execution may change and evolve with technology.