Representatives of Publisher’s Weekly and Kobo, the ebook reader that is very indie friendly, both noted that the room where the self-publishing events took place was so crowded they could not see the front of the room. One had to use his cell phone to look over the crowd to see the speakers and panelists. This is only one of the many indicators of the popularity of self-publishing, and the extent to which it is disrupting (in a beneficial way) the old-school methods of the publishing industry as a whole.
The 2014 Digital Book World survey found that among 9,200 authors surveyed, those that had been traditionally published were moving in number to self-publishing.
The authors felt their experiences with publishers were less than anticipated, and so felt the publishers had underperformed with their books. This might of course be a case of authors who don’t understand the industry expecting too much of any company that offers marketing services but is more likely due to a number of factors like lack of creative control, the long production schedule, and the short shelf life publishers are willing to offer.
For those who turned to self-publishing, only about 16% regretted their decision and decided to return to traditional publishers. For the rest, the trade-off they made in lack of distribution and marketing support was made up for in other ways…including the amount of royalties they gained.
Beatrix Potter, fed up with rejections from publishers, self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1901.
Now there’s a success story!
Short books have gained a lot of credibility in the publishing arena. Still primarily the purview of self-published and indie authors, shorter books are having an important impact on writing careers.
Shorter works allow authors to generate more titles in shorter timeframes. Since algorithms and search results are going to be pushed in part by the number of titles available, this is no small point.
Shorter works also allow authors to constantly offer readers something fresh and new.
Short works can provide an opportunity to work in a new genre or category with less risk than creating a longer work.
How do you use short books to your advantage?
We all gripe now and then about how well celebrity bios sell. Well, 2014 is projected to be the year when a different category outsells that standby.
The self-help category is poised for another huge boom. Works that are intellectually “credible,” meaning those that are reflective and offer something readers will find meaningful, will fuel this boom.
If you have something in the works or an idea for a project that fits this category, get cracking! Now is the time to grab for your breakout success.
Smashwords, one of the largest self-pub sites, continued growing in 2013. The company added 25,000 authors. The number of titles it offers has nearly doubled to over 275,000. Its authors earned $20 million in just that year.
Changes on tap for 2014 include better marketing opportunities, enhanced reporting tools, and better trending information feeds.
Quite a bit of chatter is going around these days about how self-publishing is shaking up traditional publishers. In some ways it is a war between sides that are battling for attention from the same pool of readers. WIthout going into all the other elements, let’s remember one key fact:
Self-published titles represent 10% of the current market.
This means that a number of places where books traditionally are distributed–brick-and-mortar bookstores, big-box retailers, shopping clubs and the like–aren’t paying very much attention at all to self-published titles.
When considering your career, take all the details into account to find the best path for you and your work.