Are Publishers Controlling Online Communities Just to Gain Access to Writers and Authors?

Are Publishers Controlling Online Communities Just to Gain Access to Writers and Authors?

Are online communities just a new way for big publishers to get unpublished writers to come to them? Is it their way of unearthing new talent? Amazon owns Goodreads. Penguin owns Book Country. Harper Collins owns Authonomy. And many more communities are owned by big publishers.

One publisher promotes a ‘self-publishing’ service through its genre-fiction online community. This community promotes that unpublished writers now have the opportunity to post their work online and receive feedback.

But is this really what self-publishing is? Well many self-published authors would clearly state that is not self-publishing but a large publisher just creating a ‘pathway’ to gain access to new writers and authors and using the term ‘self-publishing’ to attract that audience. Previously, writers and authors would struggle to get the attention of the publishers.

Now the role has reversed and publishers are desperately creating new avenues to welcome unpublished writers with the hope of catching the next EL James or Amanda Hocking.

So what are some example costs for these ‘self-published’ authors using these services offered via these online communities? First let’s look at the royalties. Royalties can range from 30% to 70% depending on the price of the eBook. They also offer packages for services from $99 and upwards. Some packages run past the $1,000 mark.

I believe that it is a move towards accepting the ‘power change’ where authors now have the control and flexibility unlike years gone by. Publishers do need to continue to make money and as a result are investing in the services they provide. So are these publishers moving towards becoming a vanity publisher?

Are they becoming a service provider and is this where they see their future revenue coming from? Hopefully these publishers are just taking the first required step to evolve and address the generational shift in ‘self-publishing’ that has turned the publishing world upside down. Many authors require assistance with various stages of the ‘self-publishing’ process and this often incurs a fee.

But that fee should not also mean you receive lower royalties and hand over your rights.

As a true ‘self-published’ author you need to understand all of the options available to you before committing large sums of money. This is where our Author Academy strives to ’empower’ you with this knowledge so you can make more informed decisions.

I believe the true definition of a self-published author is one that receives higher royalties than what is often on offer such as 30%; maintains editorial and creative control over their work; does not pay high fees for services they can perform themselves; does not sign-away the rights to their work; and understands that there are eBook distributors such as Smashwords who can distribute their eBooks to the major publishers for them.

And if a self-published author wants more control they can self-publish their eBook direct through Amazon’s KDP publishing program.

Writer, author and reader communities have many benefits. From creating an author profile to connecting with fellow authors and most importantly your target audience.

But please, do your research before handing over your hard-earned money for services. I highly recommend paying for services such as sourcing a professional editor or eBook cover designer or any other service you believe will enhance your eBook and give it a greater chance of becoming a success.

The key point I am making is that you do not have to hand over your rights or accept low royalties in return for these services. There are many independent service providers who charge a fee per service and in no way want a slice of your eBook sales. If they do, run for the door!

As a self-published author it is important to have some goals when joining an online community. For me, it is about engaging your target audience and building a relationship with them. It is about networking and connecting with fellow authors. It is discovering new and exciting talent.