Everyone has ideas, everyone communicates. So with the rise and accessibility of self-publishing, is it a surprise that 90% of Americans want to write a book? The stat was revealed at one of the biggest international publishing conferences, Book Expo America, a few weeks ago by Jane McGonigal, author and game designer. When this was live tweeted reactions were mixed from positive to those who thought the market was flooded already. So how have we reached the point when so many people want to write a book.
The rise of self-publishing
As recently as 10 years ago, only the few managed to become published authors. First, of course, they had to write a good manuscript. Then they had to get an agent (which was not easy as agents still report getting hundreds of manuscripts a week and they can only take on a fraction). Then the agent had to pitch that work to an editor. Then an editor had to pitch the title to her editorial department. Then, if they all liked it enough, they would pitch it to the sales, marketing and finance departments. Then, bingo, you were published. Only it was a long process and most authors didn’t make it all the way through.
Today, however sites like Amazon have made it incredibly easy for anyone with some text or pictures to put a book (of varying quality) together quickly. If you really don’t care about quality, you can get to market in a matter of minutes. However, the authors that do best are the ones that take the time to have their book edited and proofread, get a professional designer to work on the cover, ensure that the reader gets a smooth reading experience (no glitches or badly formatted pages). The authors that do this properly and carefully will inevitably rise to the top. Those that do not will fall silently into the deep pit of Amazon where they will wait a very long time for a single sale.
The rise of authorship – authors are taking over!
People are now writing more in their daily lives. Social media – particularly Facebook and Twitter – have given us a new generation of people who write and publish every single day, actually every single hour in some cases. We are getting used to sharing our thoughts with the world, however trivial, on a daily basis. So it’s not such a leap to think about publishing a whole book, when you may have already “published” thousands of words on social media.
A few years ago, Seed Magazine conducted a fascinating study into the increase of authorship over time. They looked at book authorship in the previous centuries (and today) along with social and digital media.
“Since 1400, book authorship has grown nearly tenfold in each century. Currently, authorship, including books and new media, is growing nearly tenfold each year. That’s 100 times faster. Authors, once a select minority, will soon be a majority.”
This growth in authorship coincides with an even more staggering growth of online activity. The latest data shows that 211 million pieces of online content are created every minute, including 277,000 tweets on Twitter, 2,460,000 shares on Facebook and 4 million Google searches.
Whilst some feel overwhelmed by the amount of new content created each day, this is a really exciting statistic (yes, it’s OK to get excited by stats sometimes). Think of all the ideas, opinions, thoughts, philosophies and stories that used to be trapped in writers’ heads without an audience, now authors can self-publish with ease.
If you feel ready to make the leap from social media author to book/eBook author, then find out what you need to be thinking about in our free self-publishing guide.