Sunday, June 26, 2011

First J. K. Rowling; Who's Next?

It's been a busy week, and I've not had time to post as much as I'd like.  (I did manage to submit a story to a top pro market, so the week hasn't been a total wash.)

One thing that did happen, which is still echoing, was the announcement by J. K. Rowling that she will be publishing the Harry Potter books herself through a new website.  She's able to do this because she retains the rights to the electronic editions.  (If you want to know more about this, start with this series of posts by Passive Guy at The Passive Voice.)

There's been a lot of talk (mostly from publishers and agents) about how Rowling is an outlier, that most writers won't be able to do this.  I'm not so sure.  This could very well change publishing permanently.  For the first time an author will control access and price, not a publisher, not a distributor, not a buyer for a major chain, not Amazon. 

While the ramifications of this development are still being debated, I thought I would throw out a question:

What other authors, fantasy in particular but other genres are open to consideration, could be the next to pull something like this off?  Which ones would you like to see next? 

From what I understand, it takes some financial resources to put together a deal like this.  Forget the interactive website for a minute and just think about books.  Who do you think is a big enough name to self publish their works and sell directly from their website only without going through an intermediary?  I'm not talking about a newbie who doesn't have the audience, but someone who is a brand name.  I'm also not talking about an author like J. A. Konrath, who sells through Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, etc.  I'm talking about the author being the only source for the book.

Stephen King and Tom Clancy come to mind.  George R. R. Martin is riding high right now with a successful adaption of A Game of Thrones on HBO and the upcoming release of A Dance with Dragons.  He could probably pull it off.

I realize that many of the top names may not own the electronic rights to their works or have other contractual restrictions.  Let's assume for the sake of this discussion that those things don't apply.  Also, Rowling's announcement says she wants her readers to be able to read he books on any platform.  So let's assume that the ereader isn't an issue.

Who is next?

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