Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Our Man is just about to spend more of his sleeping time churning out a chapter for his forthcoming novel (good idea - write in the same state as your readers will be - ed) and he just had a thought. Two actually.

1. He is sick of seeing the Yomiuri at the top of this blog.
2. The same economics that make ebooks viable also make a new kind of journalism viable.

Why tie yourself to a newspaper, free blog or book publisher and follow their dictats (and take a tiny 5% royalty or poxy one-off payment, if you are lucky) when you could publish an ebook or pamphlet on Amazon for $2.99 and keep 70% of the royalties.

OK, the big boys control the publicity, but not for much longer, methinks. Besides, you just need to write your story (say 10,000 words or a collection of 10 1,000-word articles say) and you could and should make more than the pittance you could get from news blogs and so on.

But the sales will be tiny.

At first. But build your audience.

And you keep the rights. And your work stays online, on sale for ever.

It's just up to you to write damn good journalism. Lord knows, we need it more than ever.

Just saying.


Janne Morén said...

Of course, you'd be floating in a deep pool of spam books, with very few potential readers even willing to start looking through that particularly fetid swamp.

Self-publishing and just in time printing is probably a good way to get the thing out to readers and get the money back to you. But without an editor your work won't be the quality it would otherwise be. And you'll have to do all the work of publicity and promotion yourself, with the added problem of trying to sell something with a rather negative perception.

Our Man in Abiko said...

90 percent of everything is crap (just look at this blog for example), but the non-turds will shine.

Yes, you need an editor, but the technology doesn't preclude that. In fact, it makes it easier than ever before to link writers with editors in a virtual newsroom of your own making, in your own time.

Negative perceptions - like of blogging and social media you mean? Things will change as the self-pubbers get better or the crap ones give up.

Thing is, you don't need to have a viral breakout hit to make it viable. Steady sales of 100 or so would be enough to make it worth pursuing as a second career that could blossom.

As always, it's the quality of what you have to say that will make or break you methinks,

Ebooks are not the future, they are here now. Making a living at writing is always a big ask, ebooks don't change that, they just add a level of independence absent from the work-for-the-mogul model of journalism.

Martin J Frid said...

Tiny sales - not necessarily. There is a book out called "The Long Tail" that deals with this. The more interesting and obscure your topic is, the better chance you have of reaching a lot of people with the new methods. And you would not have had them as your audience in the old economy.