Is 'Self-publish' No Longer a Dirty Word? Author Solutions Inc. CEO Kevin Weiss explains why some major publishers now are embracing this model.
While the term "self-publishing" still may carry a stigma for many in the book industry, the ranks of major publishers embracing the concept are on the rise, and Bloomington, Ind.-based Author Solutions Inc. (ASI) is a part of that turning tide.
In October, ASI—which provides self-publishing services to authors and publishers, and is the parent company of self-publishing imprints AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing and Xlibris—partnered with religious publisher Thomas Nelson to create a self-publishing arm, WestBow Press. The following month, ASI announced a similar partnership with romance publisher Harlequin to create Dellarte Press.
According to Author Solutions CEO Kevin Weiss, ASI and its brands have helped more than 85,000 authors publish nearly 120,000 titles over the past 13 years. In 2008 alone, it helped bring more than 21,000 new book titles to the market.
Weiss says innovative partnerships like the ones with Thomas Nelson and Harlequin are just the change the book publishing business model needs. He recently spoke with Book Business Extra about ASI's strategy and how it can benefit publishers.
Book Business Extra: What are the mechanics behind Author Solutions' partnerships with publishers like Thomas Nelson and Harlequin?
Kevin Weiss: … We've believed for quite a while that the self-publishing services model that we have, as a company, is not something that necessarily needs to be ours alone. ... And so, last year, we started to talk about the growth in our business and what we were seeing as an explosion in the marketplace. … Where could we help others drive the marketplace? We looked at what was going on in traditional publishing and how it was ... changing. ... We said, "Traditional publishers really are in a position to be able to offer a variety of things in the marketplace. But they don't know how to do what we do." We had a hunch that there was this model whereby traditional publishers would create their own self-publishing imprint, and they'd have the opportunity to watch [authors] who are inside that imprint and determine which ones they were ready to pull out and offer a contract to traditionally publish. We put this model together, and we started to call on publishers … . That's how it came about. … It's just more of a "How can we participate in the ever-changing landscape that's currently called publishing?"