SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Oberon Zell has announced that he will be closing the Academy of Arcana by the end of November. “After two years in Santa Cruz, it’s just not really working out here. There’s not enough money coming in to pay the rent and bills; plus we’ve had major thefts, and problems with street people and drugs,” Zell wrote. The lease runs out Nov.
Over the past ten years there has been a significant increase in the number of writers who are self-publishing. The days of literary agents and big publishing houses may be numbered. Actual statistics are hard to come by due to the multiple modes of production. However, several big papers have attempted some estimations. In 2011 the New York Daily News reported that 43% of all paperbacks were self-published, with overall publishing up 287% from 2006. The Wall Street Journal reported that self-published books were up by 160% over the same period. Amazon’s publishing arm, Create Space, told the New York Times that “its books increased by 80% from 2009-2010” alone.
Self-publishing is reasonably affordable and easily available from the “comfort of your own home.” It promises higher returns on your investment and stardom for authors with no name, following, or agent to call their own. For many undiscovered writers who fail to attract the attention of the New York-based big six publishing houses or other smaller companies, the self-publishing option is the only option. While readers may still associate the self-published book with the untalented or self-aggrandizing writer, times are changing. Self-publishing has now become a very viable option for even the most accomplished and prolific of authors. This mode of production puts the power back into the artist’s hands. Last week I interviewed one such author – John Matthews. John is an accomplished historian, folklorist, and author. Over the past 30 years he has written over 90 books on Arthurian mythology as well as a volume of poetry and many short stories. His children’s book, Pirates, reached the number one slot on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2006.