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Self-published authors increasingly in control of their rights

Posted by Tom Chalmers on February 16, 2015 at 11:15 AM

In the publishing industry the world revolves around numbers, especially when it comes to sales. Last summer, data from Neilson Book suggested that self-published books' share of the UK market grew by 79 per cent in 2013, with 18 million self-published books bought by UK readers, worth in the regions £59 million.

Despite these impressive figures it’s evident that self-published books still account for only a tiny proportion of the overall market. On a plus note this percentage is on the rise. With sales numbers still firmly in mind it was encouraging to see a recent report that self-published author Sheila Rodgers has sold a million copies of her e-book Only the Innocent and its two sequels. Writing under the pen name of Rachel Abbott, she sold her books through Amazon Kindle after previously being rejected by a number of literary agents.

An interesting point to note on this particular story is that despite having a deal with an American publisher for her first two books, she decided to part ways when the publisher wanted world English rights for the third book as she thought she could sell enough independently.

It’s great to see someone of such stature acknowledging the importance of the rights they hold to their work and having the foresight to appreciate the full value attached to them. Of course this is an example of a self-published author with an established readership but that doesn’t mean to say that authors with fewer sales should be thinking any less about exerting greater control over their rights to ensure that they are maximising all potential sales and revenue streams. In essence, applying the same principles as those demonstrated by a traditional publisher.

The parallels between the self-published and traditionally published marketplaces are closing fast. The quality of writing is one element which appeared to be one of the larger gulfs in previous times, although this also appears to be narrowing. We are now seeing more emphasis on strong characters and exciting book series from this author community and with this being a growing perception of the kind of works being produced. And with larger readership numbers comes an even greater need to ascertain more control, especially concerning an often previously ignored component in the writing journey - rights and licensing.


Categories: Looks Who's Self-Publishing, Lessons Learned and Tips from Authors, Marketing & Promotion

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