Indie Authors and The Year in Review

It’s been an interesting year for indie authors as well as for mainstream publishing companies.  I jumped onto the indie bandwagon in 2007 with the paperback publishing of Nephilim Genesis of Evil.  But it wasn’t until earlier this year that I decided to become an indie author, in the sense that I have been publishing all of my books on Amazon, Smashwords and so on, eschewing the traditional publishing route. That was notable for me.  But what are some notable things that occurred for indie authors as a whole in 2011?

Indie Authors Hitting It Big

It’s been the year of authors no one has heard of hitting it big.  John Locke blew us away with his staggeringly quick rise to sell a million ebooks.  Amanda Hocking has sold in the millions too.  MR Mathias, Michael Hicks, and others have been selling very well.  And everyone wanted to know how they did it – so they made money on their How To books as well.  But did the How To books help?  Also, many of these indie authors had their success early in the year.  There are rumblings about book sales dropping as we near the end of 2011.  What might this mean for 2012?

Mainstream Published Authors Forgo Book Deals

We heard of JA Konrath dropping his mainstream publishing company to do indie.  Barry Eisler and others are doing the same thing.  And it’s a nice story.  But let’s look at this a little more.  How can these authors afford to do this?  It’s name recognition.  Sure, JA Konrath will say, yes I had a following and you don’t, get over yourself.  But that’s a point that indie authors need to take into account.  If you don’t have name recognition like JA Konrath (yeah, Joe, blow it out your ear, it does help you immensely with your sales :)), you must find your audience because they won’t find you.  Marketing is key in this new indie publishing world.  As is writing great books.  Speaking of writing great books.  Read JA Konrath’s reviews.  And his buddy Blake Crouch.  They’re slipping, in my opinion, but their name recognition is driving their sales.  If you’re a nobody, you don’t have that luxury so your books had better be darn good.

Was This the Year of the Indie Author?

I looked at a lot of these indie authors who have hit it big in 2011.  This is a relative term, but by this I mean sales upward of 5,000 copies.  In the old days of mainstream publishing companies and Big Six book deals, this would be considered awesome sales.  In the indie world, this is still great, but at 99 cents to $2.99, it’s not going to pay the bills for long.  What I find interesting for many of these indie authors is that they have a lot of books for sale.  What does this mean for the average indie author?  Don’t count on one book as the way for you to quit your day job.  Yes, the one-hit wonders are making it here and there, but most indie authors that are bringing in the dough have lots of books for sale.

Was This the Year of the Indie Author? Part Two

As I said above, early in 2011 we heard numerous stories of indie authors hitting it big, primarily with ebooks.  So then every Joe Blow with a book idea, or a draft gathering dust, and those sitting on the fence (should I write this book or not), decided to jump on the bandwagon.  Now we have even more people publishing ebooks.  There are more Kindle and Nook buyers, too.  In the coming years, it will be interesting to see where ebooks sales go.

But is the print book dead?  Read this post for more on that.  Sales of print books are not dying, as people like JA Konrath would have us believe.  It still may happen, but it’s not here now.  Many of these indie authors I’ve mentioned also sell print books, as it’s easy to do with CreateSpace, Lulu, and other POD publishers.  If the market is there, you should be there, too.

Was This the Year of the Indie Author? Part Three

Amazon appears to be positioning itself as the ebook king.  It’s trying to corner the market with KDP Prime and its royalty programs.  Amazon is also working to get ebooks in other countries (Germany, the UK, Spain, India and more).  Barnes & Noble appears to be lagging far behind.  Will this trend continue?  What about other ereaders?  They seemed lost in the mix, but what will happen in the future?

Indie Authors and 2012

As 2012 approaches, what’s in store for the indie author?  What will indie authors need to do to sell books?  More authors means more competition for those readers of our books.  And what about all the poor quality books that are being published…is this helping or hurting indie authors?  Stay tuned for my upcoming post with my 2012 predictions.

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 /

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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6 Responses to Indie Authors and The Year in Review

  1. Nadina says:

    I am waiting for your 2012 predictions :) You have great insight on the industry. I just started but it helps to know from those who have tread on the path before me Cheers!

  2. Edward Owen says:

    Great post! Knowledge is power and as Indie authors, we need all the power we can get. I look forward to reading future posts and have gone back and read some of your previous posts as well. Thanks and keep the info coming.

    • ReneePawlish says:

      Thanks for your comment – I’m glad you find these posts helpful. And you are so right about knowledge being power…

  3. Susan A. says:

    I will be interested to see where ebooks go as well. The number of indies is certainly increasing over time. In some cases this is great, in others, not so much. It depends on the quality of the work they put out. Those that put a lot of time and effort into their writing, revising, and editing are shining examples of good indies. I hope they sell lots of books and I might be buying some of them myself! Unfortunately, there are those that seem to have done nothing more than one quick run through after writing the draft and then simply published it as is. Those individuals are ruining indie credibility and affecting overall sales in the market of self-published books. Some readers get burned once or twice and give up. Sad but true.

    Anyway, great post! I always enjoy reading what you discuss here, even if I don’t always comment :)

    • ReneePawlish says:

      Thanks for your comment and compliment. I agree with what you say about quality and indie credibility – I have the skinned behind to show where some have disagreed (vehemently) with me :). But the discussion is good. Good luck to you!

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