Indie Authors and Predictions for 2012

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 ThisWhat 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.

Image: pixtawan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
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12 Responses to Indie Authors and Predictions for 2012

  1. Ju Ephraime says:

    I agree that the market is indeed saturated with Indie authors. I also agree that giving the books away for free is no longer an incentive to reader to buy the books. I have one of my books in Amazon Prime free library loan, and it did not do well in that program, so I’m seriously considering removing it. I am anxiously waiting to see what the new year brings in terms of publishing and marketing for the Indie author and small publisher.

    • ReneePawlish says:

      I’ve had some success with Amazon Select but not as good as some others – it’s a tough thing to figure out. As for giving away books on blog tours and so on, I don’t think that’s effective anymore, unless you have a huge following. I’m going to do a future post about this when I have some numbers to show what’s going on. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hi,

    I would appreciate if you to read my novel, and give me feedback. My book was rejected by publishers and agents. I strongly believe that every man is gifted to tell a story. This book is now published on a blog. Your visit and comments would provide encouragement, I am sure children in your house would enjoy reading the same. I would like to get this book rated by my readers who appreciate good storytelling. Please visit http://thelordsofkumaon.blogspot.com Thank you.

    • ReneePawlish says:

      I’ll take a look at it and would be happy to give you some feedback – be forewarned, I don’t pull punches, I will give an honest opinion (not telling a writer their work is bad, if it is, doesn’t help). If I like the first bit, I’ll ask for a copy (I hate trying to read a book on the computer lol). Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Ben Woodard says:

    Good info Renee, thanks. I think we’ll see some sort of legitimate rating system and/or review system for indie books in 2012. Right now it’s too easy to game the Amazon reviews, so books I consider only fair get great reviews. Don’t have any idea how this will be done, but indie authors should lead the way.

    • ReneePawlish says:

      Thanks for your comment. It is difficult to figure all of this out. I’d love to get a bunch of reviewers on a list, but then it becomes, what makes them “quality” reviewers, meaning what will the general public consider the qualifications for a person to be considered a great, knowledgeable reviewer? For me, perseverance, being on new trends, and of course writing great books are big pieces of my success :).

  4. Mary says:

    Good post, Renee. I’m just starting … so I hope to find some success. Nothing against the big 6, but it’s such a mess, I thought Indie a better option at this point in time.

    Right now I’m concentrating on getting more product out there. That seems to be a big factor. Thanks for your insights, Renee.

  5. Great predictions. We’ll see what happens, but you never know what’s coming around the corner these days; things are changing so fast.

    • ReneePawlish says:

      Boy, you aren’t kidding about things changing fast. It pays to stay a step ahead. Thanks for your comment and support, Jeff!

  6. The post was very interesting, but as a new indie author there are many things I do not understand. One point that makes it into every blog is that indie authors will not sell their books if they are not edited. How would buyers know ahead of time if they weren’t unless someone left a bad review. It seems that slow sales are tied to marketing first. I read the blogs and the one thing that stands out is no marketing opportunities and readers neglecting to even write a review. If you are new and just published, your book is at the bottom of the lists with few readers and few reviews which seems to be a bigger hurdle. After you have started sell many books, a few people may take the time to write a review good or bad and I can see this effecting subsequent sales. I’ve given away many books and I am still being very polite when it comes to reminding people to take the time to write a review. Good or bad I’d like some feedback. I have only 6 reviews so far, all of them 5 star, but I’ve given and gifted maybe a hundred. We need to help each other into this new arena too. I was able to find great help on Amazon as far as cover art and formatting services and they were definitely indie author affordable, but editors I have not found, at least not professional ones willing to edit for what most of us can afford. What I have been seeing at lot of is pop ups of all kinds of ‘services’ to help sell your book and they are taking advantage, I believe, of desperate writers hoping to make it big. It’s like the gold rush with hundreds of vendors and services offered to help you increase your chances for just a buck or two. The vendors made out well, most gold diggers didn’t. I did find your blog helpful and with more than 313 million people in the US alone, I think there are readers to go around. -PK

    • ReneePawlish says:

      Readers can now sample your book for free – that’s how they can very easily tell if your book has been edited. Also, the old saying is you have about 5-10 pages to grab your reader, and if you don’t they will move on. Again, with free samples, readers are able to do this and then not buy if your book is poorly written or edited.
      Also, why would you want to find out after you’ve gotten bad reviews that your book is bad – that’s backward in my humble opinion. Good editing for story structure should be a part of the process before you publish. There are many critique groups in most cities where you can meet in person with other writers and get a feel for how good or bad your book is.
      I agree that there are a lot of people just looking to make a buck but that shouldn’t stop authors from finding quality editors. I found mine through a friend. I’m sure going to colleges or online would work, and you can ask editors for a list of their clients to see how their editing looks (they should be able to provide a list of books they’ve edited and you can peruse the free samples from them). My point is, there are ways to find quality editors.
      Marketing is key, but if you have a bad product, it will negatively affect your sales – this is in any business, not just writing.
      Thanks for your insightful comment. Good luck to you and if I can help you, please let me know.

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