A storm in the publishing teacup

The land of literature is a fairy land to those who view it at a distance, but, like all other landscapes, the charm fades on a nearer approach, and the thorns and briars become visible – Washington Irvine

About a week ago now I posted a blog which talked, in part, about the fact that the UK doesn’t get weather. We now have a storm being forecast, hurricane-strength winds across the whole south of the country. I take full responsibility for having tweaked fate’s nose.

In the time since that post, I’ve also become aware of another storm in the UK. One that involves the world of publishing – to be precise independent authors and Kobo.

The details of what has gone on have been discussed at length on a number of other blogs with the short version appearing to be that, in the UK, Kobo has delisted every independently published book from their catalogue.  Varying degrees of action have been taken in other countries.

This appears to have been partly in response to concerns about the ‘adult’ content of some self-published works but some pretty hard-core books by traditionally published authors are still freely available to buy. At the same time, children’s books, cookbooks, self-development books etc. have all been pulled if self/indie-published. As I understand it, these books will be made available again once they have been checked for content by assessors.

This has left many authors pretty furious; there are some rather ingenious plans being mooted to turn the tables on Kobo and their business model. And, I can sympathise with those who may have watched a major source of distribution, publicity and, presumably, income disappear.

At a time when some commentators are saying that traditional publishing is dead because self-publishing is the way forward, it’s been interesting to see just how little power/control the average indie author actually seems to have.

I think it also demonstrates that it’s never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. In publishing as much as any other area of life, look at all of your options. A great source for background discussion and advice on the whole traditional/independent debate – in general, he doesn’t get into specifics for individual people – is Chuck Wendig’s site, Terribleminds.com. Be warned, the discussion gets quite heated sometimes.

As a general rule though, decide what’s right for you and for the particular project you’re working on. Mix and match traditional and self-published if you want to and are able. Protect yourself and your work as far as you can.

In other news, I can’t believe I’m already at the end of the second week of my blogging challenge – if we don’t lose power, I’ll be back to start the third week tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m watching both storms as they develop.

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