POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing or Be Damned

In the coming few hours POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing will reach an historic and humble milestone – 100,000 unique visitors to the website. In reality, there has been many more visitors through the doors over the past three and a bit years, but I only began traffic analysis on the site in early 2008, so best to stick with the measurable figures. Back in the early months of the site, I really only ever intended this online adventure to record my own research, opinion and experience of writing and publishing. Little did I know what lay ahead.
Soon into the online life of POD, Self-Publishing & Independent, I felt it necessary to port over my own author ramblings to another site – simply because this site became more than I ever imagined it to be when I first started out. There has been several transitions and remodeling of the site, but at its heart, the site has always been a home and resource for authors considering self-publishing and looking at alternative ways to break into book publishing outside of the norms of approaching the big six publishers or seeking representation through a literary agent.
When I started out researching publishers and the publishing world, many years before I ever considered launching this site, I always had in my head what a good publisher was, and what a good writer should be. Little did I know back then (1980’s) how much both aspirations, ideas and how the models of publishing would merge in the future. And yet, in many ways, one thing has been constant since the mid 1980’s – change. The newsprint media were experiencing massive change forced by better offset print technology and public demand for diverse and immediate content delivered to their fingertips – all driven by chaotic economics. It seems, in that respect, nothing has changed – bar the fact that as we move though vast blocks of words, day by day, instead of wetting our index finger, we simply pause and click to move on.
Maybe I’ve just been around too long, and that the change we are seeing now is simply cyclical. If I have learned anything, it is to have as wide a view as possible about books and the publishing industry. In fact, my greater experience tells me that is true of the retail and consumer sector in general having spent so many years in that sector.
When Johannes Gutenberg devised the first true print press machine in 1440, it was heralded as both a revolution and a renaissance for the spoken word. The mass arrival of the Internet in the late1980’s was equally revolutionary – perhaps even more so. We just didn’t see its impact then quite as we see it now. I remember in the mid 1980’s buying my first desktop PC and my parents asking me what I got it for. ‘I dunno, I haven’t figured out really what I’m going to do with it, but I know it’s important I have it so I can find out what I can do with it.’ Maybe that’s what Johannes told the first person who laid eyes on his print press. Sometimes we hold something in the palm of our hands and don’t know quite what to do next, but we know we are lucky, have something of great value and innovation, and just need time to explore its potential without being taken over by fear of what it might do.
In the first year of POD, Self-Publishing & Independent I began writing a series of long articles, using the quote or alternative of it – Publish or Be Damned – originally a quote attributed to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, when the courtesan Harriette Wilson threatened to publish her memoirs and his letters. I tweaked the quote as Publish or Be Damned, in deference to the plight of self-published authors, frustrated with the difficulties of being published, and the fact that ultimately if they did not persevere and follow their calling, the worse damning voice would be their own and not their detractors. I suppose it was the clarion call of frustrated authors saying; ‘to hell with it, I’m going to do it.’
I’ve taken my flak of unfair criticism here on the site, that I am a supporter or advocate of self-publishing. Anyone who has cared to peruse these pages or who have been clients of mine know that is not the case. I made the argument of where I stand on self-publishing and the publishing industry in my article Publishing: Advocate or Be Damned. I’ll not repeat it here. I’m happy simply to say that no matter what I or others say about the complexity and difficulties that face self-published authors, more now than ever, that authors are still going to decide to self-publish. I’d just like to give them the best possible chance they can of success; by thoroughly reviewing print and publishing services and shining a light on the publishing industry as it develops and changes.
Over the three years I have thought about dropping the ‘POD’ reference in the site’s title; I have thought about  dropping the ‘self-publishing’; I’ve even though about dropping the ‘Independent’ from the title. Ultimately, they are all in reality desperate misnomers for what will be a printed and published book – whatever success and accreditation it will achieve. Here, we celebrate publishing, innovation and change wherever it comes from in the publishing world.
So, in short, for all of you who have hung in there from the start, joined along the way, thank you for you input and support. If I can nail down the 100,000 visitor to the site in the coming hours with my analysis reports, and you can validate your identity, I’ll happily sent you a free copy of ‘To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish‘ wherever in the world you are.
POD, Self-Publishing & Independent Publishing also has a Facebook page which you can follow for even more information on the publishing world, hour by hour, here.         
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