In late June, the Shatzkin Files worked up an interesting comparison of data on publishing. The study looked at how authors used to perform before self-publishing became such a big trend. Generally, there were always the big authors, few enough in number. Then came the midlist, authors who did well enough but who had to build to the breakout over the course of several books…if they ever broke out. And then came the ones who sank quickly after publication.
Now, self-publishing is changing the economics for authors but not necessarily in a good way. With so many additional titles available, the midlist author is being squeezed out. There is simply too much static in the background for them to make a splash. The big authors, meanwhile, keep getting bigger as readers turn more and more toward the names they recognize.
And the third group, the rest who sink, is growing larger. These elements impact authors no matter if they have self-published or gone to a traditional house. Take this into account when you consider stepping into the indie arena…it might be harder than you think. And remember, too, that you can self-publish and still approach agents and publishers with the same book at the same time.