Is Kindle Direct Publishing a good thing
What is the first thing you think of when someone mentions the Kindle? Me, I think of Amazon’s first generation electronic reader (e-reader), and then I quickly run through the newer models. Amazon changed more than just how books were read with their Kindle platform; they changed how books are brought to the reader. Prior to the Kindle, more specifically Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), authors would have to present their creations to an established publishing company. These companies are out to make money, so they would look through the hundreds, if not thousands, of manuscripts they received, trying to find what they considered to be valuable. For anyone thinking that people will always get discovered in this fashion, just remember The Beetles Decca Audition. Perhaps the most famous band in the world, was told that “guitar groups are on the way out” and “The Beatles have no future in show business” (copied form the Wikipedia page previously linked).
As with any human decision, it can be wrong, very wrong, as seen from above. The nice thing that KDP gives authors is an easy way to publish their own work, without the oversight of a publishing house. Now I understand why publishing houses are reticent to take a chance on new authors. It costs an exorbitant amount of money to publish a book. And so they have to carefully predict whether or not the book will be a money maker. If they think the answer is “no” then they will not publish the book. Thus, a potentially good author is never found. This approach stands in stark contrast to KDP, where anyone can publish anything he wants. The author in question could be established or he could be breaking into the industry while holding down his day job. The playing field has been nicely leveled. Well, mostly leveled. The big names are still the big names, but now anyone has the chance to become the next big name. The one major drawback to this model is that without the publishing house the author has to do more than just write his story. Without the publishing house the author is his own editor, publicist, graphic designer, etc…
Now with this flood of independent authors there will be a flood of lower quality books — it just happens. As an example there are not teams of editors pouring over the texts making sure each one is pristine. There is also little in the way of publicity, though with social media like Facebook and Twitter this gap is diminishing by degrees. So while the consumer now has to wade through a mess of unwanted excess, he has a good chance of discovering something new and exciting. This is a fantastic time to be a storyteller. And this is a fantastic time to take a chance, with all the tools that are available to budding young authors.