I have to confess that even as a supposed savant of self-publishing, I hadn’t heard of Barbara Freethy, though she “is the author of 40 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction,” and “was recently named Amazon KDP’s bestselling author of all time by Amazon,” according to the original press release. However, it appears that Ingram Publishing Services rate her achievement as a self-published author so highly that they now are willing to showcase her as an instance of what may be a new phenomenon: The celebrity self-published author/service provider signing.
“Ingram Content Group Inc. today announced that #1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Freethy has selected Ingram Publisher Services to deliver her e-books in print form to readers worldwide through Hyde Street Press, Ms. Freethy’s new independent publishing company,” the release declared. Freethy added:
I believe in the value of both digital and physical books, and I’m very excited to be able to please my print fans around the world using the comprehensive distribution services and worldwide reach of Ingram. Through our collaborative efforts, digital books from my collection will be available in print, many for the very first time. Together, we are going to make history, bringing my indie best-selling digital books to the print world in a big way.
Now I have no doubt that a name like Freethy’s is the kind of endorsement that Ingram may be looking for – at least in the self-publishing community. But I also see very little of the buccaneering free-spirited elan that many self-published authors went into the game for. Perhaps that’s always been a dream or a cheap question of image rather than the true spirit and self-improvement of a diligent working writer. But Freethy’s own-brand self-publishing company already sounds like an independent publishing group in its own right. The alternative to Big Media is looking less alternative by the moment.
“With more than 4.8 million e-books sold worldwide, Hyde Street Press will take advantage of Ingram’s full-service publishing, distribution and inventory management services, including Ingram’s print-on-demand worldwide network, to quickly fulfill demand for print copies,” states the release. Can you imagine a distribution company in Old Media signing directly with a celebrity creative figure in such a fashion? That’s the business end of self-publishing: Take the business unto yourself, and you also take the businesslike attitude on board as well. And already we’re into corporate boilerplate releases and all the stereotyped repertoire of established business communication. Smells like serious business – not so sure about the Free Spirit.