When Penny Marshall signed a contract for $800,000 with Amazon Publishing and actor James Franco jumped on board, a shudder went through the New York publishing houses. Amazon is famous for cutting out the middleman when it comes to book stores, but now they are on a tear to eliminate the big publishing houses as well. Many a self-published author has found their way to Amazon which is taking on all genres.
Amazon Crossing (for translated books), 47 North (science fiction, fantasy, horror), Montlake (romance), Thomas & Mercer (mysteries) and Encore (out-of-print books). These two new genres are being added, Day One (short stories for debut writers) Little A (literary fiction).
With Create Space anyone can be a published author. This Amazon writing/publishing tool can give you the chance to market your books on Amazon, which will be available to millions of people. With the price of PR/Marketing these days, most authors cannot afford to publish and spread the word about their books. This tool from Amazon gives the author the means to do so.
Most authors, mainstream published, cannot afford to keep up with what is required to market their books, including the cost of going to the yearly conventions, media, book tours and the cost of maintenance for web sites. All of these costs must be absorbed by the author as the publishing houses cannot afford to give these perks to every Tom, Dick and Harry who are signed under contract. Only the top best-selling authors enjoy some of these perks because of millions of dollars a year in sales.
Most of the middle sales authors are now relying on what they term as “Street Teams.” These teams consist of rabid fans who use their own tools and know-how to market their favorite authors books. Either via social media or getting out on the street on a local level to sell books. These authors have no recourse as the costs are huge for travel these days. If you don’t have a bank account stashed or a spouse with deep pockets you won’t have any PR for your books out there. No books = no sales = no income to write more books. No sales = no forthcoming contracts from the publisher for more books.
For an upcoming or debut author, these tools from Amazon can be a Godsend. You can literally have access to all kinds of Kindle readers. With Amazon separating the genres with specific headings, a reader may tap into their favorite genre without having to go through one long tedious list. Email notices go out to Kindle readers daily, notifying that reader what’s new in their favorite genre via Amazon’s tracking.
I’m sure from the authors point of view Amazon’s tracking is heaven on earth, for some Amazon account readers-not so much. On any given day I receive at least two email notices on my favorite genres. It can get to be a bit much with spam and my usual notices in my inbox as well.
Will this help burgeoning authors coming into the publishing world? Yes of course. Will this be a death knell for the large publishing houses? Well, there are pros and cons to everything in life, and you generally have to take the good with the bad, that’s why the good is so good. I am sure some of the smaller publishing houses will eventually close their doors. The larger houses? I predict yes, but not for some time yet.