As an indie author, if you weren’t convinced up till now self-publishing was a legitimate path of endeavor, perhaps the acknowledgement of an internationally recognized book event will change your mind. On the heels of the New York Comic Con welcoming self-publishers for the first time this year, the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 has also opened its gates.
Pressing all the way back to Gutenberg. . .
The fair organized by a subsidiary company of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association has a tradition that spans over 500 years. In fact, it traces its historical roots back to Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the first printing press with movable type.
Up till the end of the 17th century, it was the most important book fair in Europe. However, as a consequence of political and cultural developments, it was eclipsed by the Leipzig Book Fair during the Enlightenment era. Then, after World War II, when the fair resumed in 1949 at the St. Paul's Church, it once again regained its preeminent reputation globally.
So from an indie author’s perspective, joining the 150,000+ attendees from over 100 countries could be considered literally and figuratively ‘quite a coup!’ And with a record-breaking 4000+ events to choose from, it was the perfect conclave to rub elbows with the best of the best, hailing from both the traditional and indie worlds.
It’s only Fair. . .
With self-publishing on the rise globally, it’s seemed only fair and fitting that this event be inclusive of all types of authors. Fair director Juergen Boos (no, that’s his real name, not a typo) was accurate in his assessment of the self-publishing boom when he noted, “I think it is the best thing that could have happened.”
"A lot of people want to write, and now they have the ability to find readers. And for publishers, this is a great place to find new talent, a great way to do market research, and a great way to see what people really want to publish,” says Boos.
Popular fan fiction by indie authors was given a big boost by E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. Looking ahead, he said the fair would devote increasing attention to this sector in the coming years. "I think this is a huge opportunity.”
It’s our Choice. . .
On October 11, Publishing Perspective's editor-in-chief, Ed Nawotka opened his session with discussion about the general trends in self-publishing.
He acknowledged that for many self-publishing authors, they don't have a choice, as they are unable to find a publishing deal. But for more and more authors who have
had traditional deals, there is a "blending" of the two markets, where authors might self-publish short works, or unpublished early works on their own.
According to Nawotka, however the decision is reached, self-publishing is having an impact on the publishing market, including pricing. Self-publishing has created what he called a market for "good enough" books, which, he said, was not meant to diminish self-published works.
When you spend $2.99 on a book you have lower expectations than if you spend $22.99 on a book," he noted. But for many readers, a $2.99 book, especially in some genres, may good enough to get the job done.
Mark your Calendars. . .
For those who missed this year’s festivities, you might want to start planning for Frankfurt Book Fair 2015, scheduled for October 14-18. Early bird discounts are available until November 30, 2014 and for first-timers, you might want to consider the “Newcomer Package” which in addition to your registration fees includes a fully fitted 8sqm stand for the trade show portion of the event.
Readers & Writers: I look forward to your feedback, comments and critiques, and please use BookWorks.com as your resource to learn more about preparing, publishing and promoting self-published books. My blogs appear bi-weekly on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month.