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The Big Cheese Difference
For many years, the 'Big 5' publishers (Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan) have controlled the book industry. Despite other art forms becoming increasingly creator driven (e.g. through platforms like YouTube and Spotify), publishing has stayed dominated by these publishing moguls. These publishers have profit driven models (meaning they only want to publish books that will yield extremely high profits) and a lot of gatekeeping that keeps amazing books from production.
Despite the availability of new independent publishing platforms (Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital, IngramSpark) that make it easier than ever for writers to publish their own work, there are still a lot of barriers to author driven publications, namely, a continued stigma around the term 'self-published.'
Traditionally called 'vanity publishing,' self-publishing was often restricted to individuals who could fork over copious amounts of cash to have their books printed by small press publishers who were less concerned with quality than pocketing as many of the hefty, upfront charges for their packages as they could; this often meant that the quality of the books was lacking, causing a disappointing reader experience. Even today, when writers can publish for almost nothing, the industry is rife with companies offering to 'help' authors 'get their book in front of thousands of readers' for a 'small fee' that can be upwards of $10,000 (on the low end!).
But at Big Cheese Books, we see the writing on the wall. Our community model is built on the ideas suggested by Spencer Johnson in his book Who Moved My Cheese. We see that traditional publishing is flawed because of its gatekeeping practices and highly subjective nature, we anticipate that readers will benefit from a more independent market as long as authors keep quality and reader experience prioritized, and we're adapting by creating a community of likeminded readers and writers who want to be at the forefront of this industry shift.
Big Cheese Books is a free community created to help educate authors about creating quality products that will delight readers, while offering readers vetted, independently published book recommendations. We want to change the narrative around independent publishing; this means we're transparent about how we assess our books and don't accept money for reviews so that readers know they're getting recommendations based on quality, not because the author paid to have their book promoted.