"Friday" Made Rebecca Black a Millionaire

It's no secret that the publishing industry is in disarray. The belief by publishers and many authors that there is one way and one way only to publish a book is dearly held--one sort-of-known author (the daughter of an extremely well-known one) recently lamented the rise of these "amateurs" and declared she could not possibly recognize them as actual, true, real authors. However, as Henry Baum points out, those who believe that the publishing industry is the only proper way to see a book emerge in public are ignoring a vital fact: "People will forgive problems for a cheap read." He refers to the self-published Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, currently #77 in the Kindle store, which boasts reviews like this one: "All in all, this book is great & totally worth the 99 cents. Enjoy!"

"We are living in an age where it doesn’t matter if you’re bad – you can still find an audience," Baum writes. "Certainly, there are self-published books that are abysmally terrible and unreadable, but don’t deny the possibility of virtually anything finding an audience. And if that’s the case, there’s really no reason for a gatekeeper."

We explored this last year with a published author who opted out of the system to self-publish her novel. Brenda Cullerton sold 700 copies in a week of The Craiglist Murders. Not long after her interview aired with us, she landed a publishing deal with a traditional house. [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/10631962[/vimeo]