Why didn’t the paradigm shift notify me?

paradigm shift


So, I spent half the day Friday and all day Saturday at a writers conference.

The attendees ranged from twenty-somethings to eighty-somethings, maybe weighted toward the high end of the spectrum.

As a general proposition, I think it is safe to say that they were unaware of the revolution in digital publishing.

That may seem like a strange observation to those of you who labor in the digital fields day in and day out.

But, it’s the truth.

Many writers do not understand that a paradigm shift has occurred in the publishing business, and they didn’t get the memo.

It is only when I circulate among writers who don’t live and breathe the new publishing reality that I realize the nuts and bolts information everyone writing books today needs to know to be informed.

I’m talking the basics here, folks.

Let’s knock them down a few at a time.

KDP logo

1. What is Kindle Direct Publishing (“KDP”)?

KDP is Amazon’s direct publishing platform that allows authors, or small presses, or large presses to upload books for sale on Amazon in the Kindle store. It’s as simple as that.  Google the site and you can read how it works.


Scrivener logo

2. How do I format my book as an eBook?

I never go to a writers conference without having someone ask me this question.

My response is always the same. Acquire Scrivener and learn how to use it.  Scrivener is a proprietary writing software produced by Literature and Latte.  It costs about $50 (USD) and is available in Mac or Windows versions. The program takes a few hours to learn, but once a writer masters the basics, she will never go back to her prior writing default program.  One of the features of Scrivener is a “compile” program that will take the text of the book and prepare it in industry standard eBook formats.  It’s a “what goes in is what comes out” sort of program, so the author will have to do the hard work of honing the manuscript so it is ready for prime time and will need to have her cover art in hand.  If those things are in place, Scrivener will generate a book  file that displays beautifully on any ereader.



3.  What is Create Space?

Create Space is Amazon’s print on demand program.  If an author wants print books, she can create them on Create Space.  Amazon sells these books as they are ordered, and the author can purchase copies for herself if she wants to haul them to speaking engagements, etc.  The author will pay about $3-4 dollars per book to order them, and Create Space produces a very high quality product.

4.  Isn’t self-publishing only something losers do?

Wake up and smell the coffee.

First, self-publishing is one thing, Indie publishing another.  Self-publishing means the author does everything.  He writes, edits and does the cover art for his book.  Indie publishing means the author is not traditionally published by one of the four or five large houses, but he has a production team that helps him edit and design the book and prepare the cover art.

An Indie book is as good or better than any traditionally published book in its genre. Readers already know this.  Only authors are behind the curve.

acx logo

5.  How do I have my book made into an audiobook?

Go to Audiobook Creation Exchange (“ACX”) and check out the requirements.

You will be amazed to learn what Amazon has created to assist authors to produce audiobook versions of their Amazon books.

The cool part of the ACX program is that an author can create the audiobook file with no upfront costs.

Free is another way of putting that.

If there are other things you’d like to know about the new paradigm, just drop me a note in the comments and I will tell you what I have learned about it.




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  • Both sides are listening only to those who preach to the choir – and we have dueling choirs – only they’re too far apart (different chuches? this metaphor is getting heavy) to hear each other.

    I CAN’T read most editor or agent columns any more. Physically, I can’t. As soon as I read words about ‘writing a query’ or ‘the submission process,’ my brain rebels and refuses the jumps. I think of the time lags and the loss of control – and I balk. This is the result of educating myself about the non-traditional processes by reading self- and indie-publishing blogs.

    I KNOW how to do everything from editing to formatting to cover design, well enough to have placeholders, well enough to hire professionals when I need them. How? From reading – it isn’t the proverbial rocket surgery. It is all mysterious until you have your own version of Scrivener – and it produces an ebook when you click the right boxes, or until you find a blog that tells you how to create a cover in PowerPoint – and realize you can generate something quite decent with a modicum of effort, with tools you already have – and it can be better than 90% of what’s out there.

    While at the same time I support and encourage my good friend and writing partner who insists on a mentor at one of the big writing organizations, and is actively looking for an agent to represent her. She is stuck on ‘validation by traditional publishing,’ and REFUSES to look at anything else. She is my friend – I love her. I give her what SHE needs.

    The world has split. And we are shouting at each other from opposite sides of the Grand Canyon. The next five years are going to be quite a spectacle.

  • Caleb Pirtle

    When paradigms shift, I’m totally ignorant of the fact, Stephen. I depend on you to tell me what the upheaval is all about.

  • jack43

    This is why I prefer automatics in all things: pistols, transmissions, and paradigms. All I have to do is keep on writing, build my brand, and wait for readers to shift my way. Sooner or later they will if I’m any good. If I’m not a good storyteller, shifting gears or paradigms will just be a waste of time.

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