Have you heard a thing called micropublishing?

I have done some research on entrepreneurial journalism on the web and came across this really heated phenomenon called micropublishing, in other words, self publishing. Basically after you write something, instead of waiting for response of big publishers (or any publishers), you publish it yourself. It reaches thousands of readers immediately.

An experienced self publisher in Britian Thom Chambers explains micropublishing in one sentences plus seven key points: A micropublishing house is simply a traditional publishing house shrunk to down to a one-person operation. A micropublisher is the person who runs it.

1. A publishing house distributes to bookstores. Your micropublishing house can sell books through its own website, through an online bookstore like Amazon, or both.

2. A publishing house needs writers. Your micropublishing house only needs one writer: you.

3. A publishing house aims for a large audience. Your micropublishing house finds a small, specific niche audience and aims to delight those happy few.

4. A publishing house publishes a large number of titles. Your micropublishing house publishes a small number – perhaps only one.

5. A publishing house has huge print costs. Your micropublishing house makes digital publications or print-on-demand titles only.

6. A publishing house runs big promotion campaigns. Your micropublishing house talks to fans who’ve given you permission to talk to them.

7. A publishing house has a huge staff and expensive offices. Your micropublishing house can be run by just you and a computer, from anywhere in the world.

Thom Chambers now publishes two digital magazines himself: The Micropublisher, an online magazine showing how to make a living with words; and In Treehouse, an online magazine that inspires a unique businesses model freedom business: freedom to work on projects that matter to you, to your own schedule, from anywhere in the world (don’t we all love a job like that?). The Micropublisher is a fee-based magazine while In Treehouse is free to everyone. Chambers now has about 2000 subscriptions.

If this has not been impressive, Irish writer David Gaughran, has boldly claimed in his self published ebook “Lets Get Digital: How to Self Publish and Why You Should”: print is doomed, ebook is the future. Why? Do this math:

Print publishing = production + advertising + storage + transportation + marketing + overheads + staff.

Digital self publishing = production

Amazon at May 2011 announced that they are selling more ebooks than all print categories combined. With more people switch to the ebook, this leads to lower printing runs, increased printing cost, increased book prices, which encourage more people to switch to ebooks, which leads to lower bookstore sales of books which leads to … you get the idea.

Gaughran also in his ebook offered some interesting insights on how much writer makes per copy sold on this two different platforms. He claims a $25 hardback book leaves the writer just 57cents more per copy sold than a $2.99 self published ebook on Amazon. Any paperback book will not make a return to the writer as much as $2.99 self-published ebook does. The retailer, the publisher, the agents cut out the bigger parts in the pie in print publishing, while self publishing ebook leaves only retailer and the writer in the play.

I found the whole idea of writing something and publish yourself exhilarating and empowering. It is a good opportunity for anybody with an interest in writing. I might do something about it. What about you?

Sources: Adam Westbrook: online video & entrepreneurial journalism & Lets Get Digital



  1. I think this is the next mass media revolution caused by technology improvement after the invention of paper and printing. In the paperless age, books were only available to privileged class, but when printing technology became proliferated, reading a book and knowledge dissemination became possible for the mass. And then when internet came along, I guess the right to publish a book will change as well. Well done! Keep up the good work!

    1. I agree Mingyue. I certainly read more things on internet than on paper (in fact, i hardly read anything on paper). Thank you for the comment.

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