Monday, December 18, 2006

Kitty Kelley and self-publishing

Delightful news that Kitty Kelley is now turning her popular iconoclasm on Oprah Winfrey. As a dear pal of Kitty - who like any true gossip knows when to keep her trap shut - I can vouch for the fact that she does not announce these ventures until she's done a fair proportion of the research already.

Grumpyoldbookman picks up on a very interesting angle. Kitty had tremendous problems finding a publisher: doubtless the prospect of tackling America's most beloved daughter didn't appeal - especially as she runs one of the US' most influential book clubs. Grumpy predicts that one day a major "brand" like Kitty will simply publish herself: once you've established your name on the public fame-map all you need is a packager, distributor and PRs to flog the product. Who needs Random House or HarperCollins to decide how to fuck up your book?

A good example of this in the UK is the prolific Dr Vernon Coleman. He publishes his own stuff through his Publishing House in Devon. He's written 114 books and sold 2 million copies. His company's mission statement includes this:

Despite their huge marketing departments [large publishing houses] are often out of touch with people's needs. If we published as many `turkeys' as they do we'd be out of business. The big [publishing] conglomerates need to cooperate with the establishment because they are part of the establishment. We stand outside the establishment. They don't like us much at all. They often do their best to shut us down.

So don't knock the Lulus and iUniverses. These are the future of publishing: enablers of self-publishing. When even the likes of Kitty Kelley find it hard to find a publisher, Dr Coleman's point is proven.

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