Adrian Zackheim is the publisher of Portfolio, Penguin’s business book imprint, as well as Sentinel, its dedicated conservative imprint. We assume that it’s because many self-published authors tend to consider themselves businesspeople that Mr. Zackheim has now put out a blog post to tell them why it might not be worth it, from one businessman to another. He writes:
Despite the hype, the fundamental rules of publishing have not really changed very much. Now, as before, the greatest challenge facing a new writer is to find readers, not to finish and print a book. If anything, self-publishing has made the shelves, both virtual and physical, even more crowded. The obstacles to being noticed are even more forbidding, not less. In a world where anyone can upload a Word doc and call it a book, it’s more valuable than ever to have experts curate the works that are really worthy of a reader’s attention.
It might only strengthen his argument to mention that two of the self-published writers he cites as examples (namely J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler) both of them vocal proponents of self-publishing, have now signed contracts to be published by Amazon Publishing. And since Mr. Zackheim brings up the question of advances, Mr. Eisler told us back in May that he got a decent one from Amazon.