The Attack of Digital Publishing Models

I was just shocked when I read that J.K. Rowling is going to use e-book self-publishing moving forward. This speaks volumes about how writers can leverage their slot on the publishing totem!

News of this amazing turnabout came to me via a quick post from a writer friend on Facebook. I looked up the news on Google and found a juicy article from The Atlantic (J.K. Rowling’s New Pottermore Site Will Change Digital Publishing) that helped me catch up to speed.

So why is this change so momentous? Well, a resurgence in women writer’s interest in writing in recent years could be partly attributed to the more visible successes of other women authors–much like Rowling, or Suzanne Collins. It can’t be denied that, after seeing the incredible, global success that Rowling experienced–from her now 13-year old Harry Potter series of books–there’s quite a bit of enthusiasm behind writing again, within many different spheres.

Finding out that even Rowling, with gazillions of sales under her belt, was not satisfied with the publishing process, well, spoke quite loudly about the conditions, copyrights, and contract burdens writers have to put up with in the professional publishing world.

According to the article in The Atlantic, Rowling teamed up with a gaming company, and e-publishing platform, and Sony to create an alternate universe on her new site, Pottermore. The e-books, and potentially audio books are to go live this October. Yes, you read that right. The e-Books won’t be published on Amazon, nor on the iBook store.

Rowling taped a video recording saying: “The digital generation will be able to enjoy a safe, unique online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books.” It actually sounds a bit fun, like a virtual, literary theme park of sorts.

Of course, what sets Rowling up for a more-than-likely success–and also sets her apart from millions of other writers–are two main aspects: 1) the books are incredibly and eternally famous, and 2) whenever she says something, people listen.

I believe that’s what they call leverage? Good for her. However, the article goes on to say that Rowling’s British (Bloomsbury) and US (Scholastic) publishers will still get a slice of the pie. Contracts are very stretchy and publishers know how to cover their bases!

I’m sure she also had some very wise people look over her contracts when she originally signed up with her publisher. Else she would not enjoy as much latitude now.

Learn More: Digital Self-Publishing

A helpful follow-up article by Wired UK (Digital Book Publishing Models To The Rescue) outlines the digital publishing avenues that writers can avail of for themselves today. The discussion is a broad-stroke overview of Kindle/iBooks, Unbound, and agents-as-publishers.

Since this area is a booming, there is much to learn yet about best practices and legal aspects. With so much change over a relatively small time-span, it’s definitely an area to keep reading up about as so many new developments continuously arise.


2 responses to “The Attack of Digital Publishing Models

  1. Yes, quite interesting. Many authors are unhappy about the process.

  2. Thank you for posting the newsbyte on FB! I’m a little curious to see which other famous authors may want to go the independent/self-publishing route. It’s an exciting concept. Publishers could do with this wake-up call to relax their hold on writers a little.

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