David Mamet, the award-winning American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director, has said goodbye to the traditional publishing model with his latest book, a combination of a novella and two short stories about war, and has chosen to self-publish instead.
Mamet is a formidable force in literature, playwriting, and screenwriting, so this is big news. As a playwright, Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1984) and “Speed-the-Plow” (1988). As a screenwriter, he received Oscar nominations for “The Verdict”(1982) and “Wag the Dog” (1997). (Source: Wikipedia) He has also written numerous books and written and directed many movies familiar to us all.
It’s not that print-on-demand production is better or less expensive. It’s that it offers freedom — freedom to market the way Mamet wants and freedom to earn substantially more than through the traditional royalties-based model.
The New York Times report doesn’t indicate whether Mamet will be using POD, but it’s certain that after the period of the highest volume sales has passed, he will . . . just like tens of thousands of other authors and publishers.
Self-publishing and POD have been around a long time, but the word that came to mind when I read the report was legitimacy. A few authors have used self-publishing to rocket themselves to bestselling fame, but to date, most self-published authors are either using the model to feed their own highly targeted customer bases (corporations, nonprofits, ministries) or for their own personal use.
For someone like David Mamet to choose the self-publishing route, and consequently long-term POD, adds significant legitimacy to this approach and takes another cut at the knees of the traditional book publishing model.