2011 seemed to be a banner year for indie authors. It was for me. I reprinted a horror book (that’s ranking in the top 100 and even the top 5 on various Amazon charts), put out two mystery novels in my Reed Ferguson mystery series as well as a short story collection, and I’ve won an award and had a short story included in a vampires anthology. Whew! It sounds like a lot, but for the indie author, it’s a must in order to survive and thrive in this new publishing age. I wrote a post about 2011, and here are my thoughts, or predictions (but don’t hold me to them :)) for 2012, with a focus on the indie author.
Indie Authors vs. Mainstream Published Authors
The news is out now, it’s no secret. More and more indie authors are making big bucks self-publishing their books. Because of this, more and more mainstream published authors are going to join our little group. This presents an issue for indie authors – more competition from those mainstream published authors. Now I know what you’re thinking: they already are competition. Well, sort of. Their publishers control their book prices and whether they can offer something for free. Once these authors go indie, they can do whatever they want to promote and sell books. And they have name recognition, which the indie author doesn’t. It will be a challenge to market amongst the mainstream author turned indie (if you don’t believe me, check out JA Konrath and Blake Crouch are doing with Kindle Prime and free books).
Indie Authors and The Big Six Publishers
It’s in vogue to say that traditional publishers and the Big Six publishers are done. Well, they aren’t (read this post for more about that). They may go away, but not anytime soon. What we will most likely see is the Big Six finally, at long last, adapting to the new book world. They will eventually figure out that once the Stephen Kings, Michael Connellys, Janet Evanovichs, John Grishams and so on are on the way out, they have to bring in new authors or they don’t have books to sell. Many new authors will catch on, at least enough to keep the Big Six in business for a while longer. They will also figure out that they have to pay their authors better, and that they will have to drop prices to keep their readers.
Indie Authors and Marketing
2011 seemed to be the year of the blog tour, the blog hop and so on. That’s what Amanda Hocking did, so let’s all do it. But the problem is that these techniques have saturated the market. I also wonder if giving away free books is hitting a saturation point as well (but that’s for another post). In 2012 the successful indie authors will be the ones who find new ways to entice readers into buying their books. I don’t know what that is for me, but you’ll know it when I know it.
Indie Authors and Writing Skills
As I said in my post about 2011, every Joe Blow with an idea or a book gathering dust on a shelf published it in the past year or so, many with total disregard for whether the book was actually good or not (or edited). What these authors will find is that if they want to really sell books, they’re going to have to clean up their writing. Many will figure this out in 2012. Unfortunately, many will not either, and they’ll continue to glut the marketplace with poor quality books, and then wonder why they aren’t selling.
Indie Authors and Amazon
Amazon is the place for indie authors. With KDP Prime, they are heading into a subscription-based model (you can rent one book a month with your paid service). If this model takes off, it will hurt the indie author as the pool of royalty money is distributed to a larger group of authors. But, will other places, like Barnes & Noble, iTunes and others create their own subscription services, thus giving authors other sources of revenue?
Indie Authors and Amazon Part Two
I get a lot of heat from other indie authors when I say that indies need to quit publishing crap. By this I mean books that aren’t edited properly (or at all), that don’t tell a compelling story (it’s an art form that many indie authors have yet to master), and so on. Yes, many indie authors have great books and the only reason they are indie is because mainstream publishers didn’t see the market for their books – they didn’t know how to sell these books. It had nothing to do with the writing or the story (I’m in this group). But there are disgruntled readers that rant on Amazon and Kindle forums about the poor quality of many indie books. Will Amazon start listening to this group and force indie authors to label themselves as indie? I hope not, but I’ve seen stranger things happen. A strong enough voice can cause change…
Indie Authors and Free
Readers are expecting indie authors to give away books, short stories and more for free. I’m not really a fan of this (more in a future post), but it’s something indie authors must do now to entice readers into becoming fans, and thus buying other books they have. This trend will continue as we move forward in the new book world.
Indie Authors and the Term Indie Author
Unless you are in publishing, either as a mainstream published author or an indie author, or you frequent the Kindle forums, you probably haven’t heard the term indie author. As the word (pun intended) gets out about the self-publishing revolution, the phrase indie author will become commonplace. Whether it’s comes to represent the standard in publishing or a dirty word is up to us as indie authors. Right now it seems to be the latter – I hope that changes because there are a lot of great books being published by indie authors.
Those are the big things I see on the horizon. It’s your turn – what do you think 2012 will bring for the indie author?
Don’t Forget to Read This – What Will You Do When The Sun Stops Shining. Free books and more! A great way to load up that Kindle you got for Christmas!
By the way, the picture you see on my Indie Author posts – it’s what I’m calling The Indie Author Handbook. Those books represent the steps that an indie author should take in order to reach their dreams :). I hope you find this series helpful.