Is This the Future of Publishing?


Fifty Shades of Grey and it's sequels

Yesterday Sydney Morning Herald ran a story about a book that started online, went to an e-book, and is now a published book ready to hit Australian bookshelves in April/May this year.

For me this brought up a few interesting things. The first being with the internet, and the ability for people to make a splash who are unknown, the world has changed. We saw it recently with Kony 2012, it was a big part of Lady Gaga’s rise to fame and it made Rebecca Black a household name. With the internet, anyone can say or do anything at all and can be an overnight sensation.

This may be the first of many, but it’s turned the publishing world upside down. No longer are you competing for a much sought after book deal, but you can build your fan base first and instead of having to anticipating how many people would read it, you can prove it!

The other thing is raised for me was the link between a bit of a trashy read and the rise of e-books.

We all have guilty secrets. We all enjoy a bit of fluff to read, something that we might be ashamed of. It might be erotic fiction, or it might just be that we really want to read Lockie Leonard, a book aimed at early teens, and don’t want to be judged as a 50 year old lawyer for it. Maybe you really like Twilight, or Sophie Kinsella (I do! Well, Sophie Kinsella, not Twilight). With the rise of the e-book we no longer have to worry about the giant “Mills and Boon” label giving us away, or a sea of pastel book covers and red apples. We can read anything we want and no one will be any the wiser.

It also means buying a book without setting foot in a store. Without a package being delivered or anyone having a peek at the book lying on the side of your desk. We can now completely conceal what we are reading.

So it’s no surprise people are taking the opportunity to read some erotic fiction, now, is it?

Honestly I think Fifty Shades of Grey is a fantastic success story. Thanks to the internet a tiny start up by a couple of women in Hornsby, NSW managed to contact one of the biggest publishing companies in the world, Random House, and secure a deal to print 750,000 copies.

Similar to the music industry’s revolution and the self-publicising of such artists as Amanda Palmer, the e-book revolution is doing away with traditional avenues. Gone are the days of trying in vain to have your book published, with the internet and the invention of e-books you can do it yourself!

Makes you feel a bit more empowered, doesn’t it? It certainly gives me hope.


What do you think? Do you think the invention of e-books has changed the way we look at publishing? Do you think the internet has made it easier to be famous?

Photo 1 (featured) found on EarlyWord. Photo 2 found on Tres Sugar. You can buy Fifty Shades of Grey on Amazon here.

  • Rose Russo

    The internet has absolutely made it easier to be famous – but at what cost?

    I think Amanda Palmer’s book is an amazing success story – I enjoy erotic fiction so looking forward to reading it!

    • John James

      I think you mean Amanda Hayward 😉

      Amanda Palmer is the singer-song writer who sacked her music publisher and now self publishes all her music..

      • Rose Russo

        Yes that’s what I meant! Thanks JJ :)

  • John James

    I think the problem with stories like this is that it won’t happen to everyone…you still need the product and talent to be a success…self-publishing isn’t going to be the path to success for everyone…but a lot of people are going to think so…

    I want to write a book this year…I think I still want to go down the traditional route of finding an agent/publisher, working with an editor and then publishing a book in the traditional way…I think I need the support that a book-publisher gives an author…I need someone to tell me to change parts of the book that don’t work…I need someone to help publicise the book…I don’t have the skills to do this by myself..

    Maybe 10 years from now after I have published a few books (hopefully)…maybe then I’ll feel confident enough to self-publish…

    • Tamsin Howse

      It can be a harder road to self-publish a book.

      But when it comes to music, it sometimes seems to be easier. A YouTube video can easily win you a record deal and is far more likely to go viral.

  • Anthony Ferrét

    Dear, T!

    Firstly; thank you so much for your post! It was a pleasure to read!

    Reading through your post, I felt a real affiliation with what you were saying! You are absolutely right! The use of the internet has become the new way of getting your “foot in the door”, or that “big break” in the industry. The reason why I felt it so much, is because it speaks almost an exact story of MANY a music artist/s and bands I know of, that have risen to fame due to either the masses of people watching and listening to their stuff online, becoming a “viral sensations” or being noticed by record executives!

    Back in the day, to get a music executives to listen to your demos, you generally had to mail them to all the labels, which would go to administration first, and then get listened to by the A&R’s, sorting through all the thousands of demos mailed in. Then, if they find something that they like, or think has potential, gets forwarded on to the executives! This is a long line of process, and most demos wouldn’t make it past the A&R’s. The other way of making a name for yourself was getting out there any playing EVERY gig you could possibly get your hands on! Playing the “pub scene” can be a long, hard process, and can take years to even start to slowly build up a reputation, and following!

    So by having the internet at our complete disposal, with such amazing networking, and music sites as Myspace, Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter, YouTube, etc… you are freely ably to post your material, and basically show it to the world! This means of “personal publishing” has in a way, removed, or bypassed the need to go to the record executive, and those long processes to get someone to hear your works! You can write a song the night before, record it, upload it, and it’s there for the whole world to see! The whole world? Wow!!!

    As quote by the beautiful Tamsin Howse; “Makes you feel a bit more empowered, doesn’t it? It certainly gives me hope.”

    And, duly stated! It does me, also! In my line of work, in this time and era, I rely heavily on the use of networking, and media sharing sites, to promote, and show my artist’s work, the material of artists I have worked with, and even my own work! It has become a stable part of my process! And, you said it perfectly; it really does make you feel more empowered! Because, in truth, you are! The whole world can witness your art form, whatever it may be, right there on their computer! Wow!!!

    God Bless.