Has Digital and Self Publishing Devalued Authorship?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka


By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story, we discuss publishing’s place at SXSW interactive festival in Austin this past weekend. One of the things that emerged in various discussions was that the very definition of “author” is changing. It is no longer merely used to describe a solitary writer working away in a room for hours on end. Today, it means the leader of a “tribe,” someone with their own community which they may have developed through their writing, blogging, Tweeting, et al. What’s more, technology has put the would-be “author” on equal footing with publishers: the cost of publishing — online or even in print — is free and/or accessible to most.

One question that was raised on Twitter during a publishing panel was this: If you self-publish a book and nobody reads it can you still call yourself an “author?”

So, to rephrase the question a little: Has digital and self publishing devalued the very concept of authorship?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.