E-Reading

To Build A Digital Canon: Who Are The Great Self-ePublished Authors?

Maybe it’s my innate optimism. It could be my faith in the inexhaustible creativity of mankind. Or maybe my brain is just feeling a bit fuzzy after another Vitamin D deprived Scottish winter. Whatever its origin, an exciting thought struck me the other day, which in turn has inspired a treasure hunt. Join me, if you will.

First, let me set the scene. [Cue deep, movie trailer voice.] In 2008, books crossed a Rubicon. In that year, more books made their way to market via self-publishing than traditional publishing houses. Since then e-readers of all stripes have accelerated this shift in power. In 2009, 76% of all books were self-published.

The received wisdom is that this Promethean burst of activity unleashed a wave of literary sewage. Publishing has become effectively deregulated. The market is awash with sub-prime, substandard novels.

But wait – and here comes my exciting thought. There must be a great author self-epublishing. Statistics say so. The numbers are too large for there not to be a self-epublishing Atwood, Steinbeck, Franzen or McEwan out there. Admittedly I’m using the same logic that dictates there must be life on other planets given the size of the universe, but go with me on this one. Indiana Jones sought the Holy Grail on less.

This hopeful idea came from a hopeless place. Over the weekend I read the ever-reliable Ewan Morrison’s article on the self-epublishing bubble. Effectively, he is a publishing Noah, foretelling the imminent collapse of self-epublishing and its corrosive effect on more traditional methods. It makes chilling reading for anyone who writes, publishes or reads. If he’s right, and literature is headed for a dousing, it’s time to start unearthing these self-epublishing heroes before it is too late. We need to get them on the ark.

This is where you come in, dear reader. In all your reading adventures have you come across any genuinely exciting authors who only self-epublish? The likes of Amanda Hocking are well known, but who else is out there? Now is your chance to celebrate, champion and share them.

It’s either that or we all hold our breath (and books) and wait for the flood to wash away the treasure.