As we move into 2014, I thought I’d give some predictions for indie authors in the coming year. Who knows if I’ll be right or not, but it’s interesting to speculate on what might happen this year in the publishing world.
Indie Authors – Will Barnes & Noble Or The Nook Disappear?
This is one many authors are debating, and I’m going to weigh in. I don’t think the Nook disappears, at least not this year. It’s second in sales, and expanding its sale distribution outside the U.S. And many readers prefer the Nook over the Kindle. A change in how they try to sell the Nook would do wonders for it. As Dean Wesley Smith states, the Nook does need some refocus, but it’s not going anywhere.
Along the same lines, some, like JA Konrath, predict that Barnes & Noble will go away. I don’t see this happening. Paperback book sales are fine, and Barnes & Noble is doing everything it needs to in order to stay viable in the book business. For more on this, and for some great counterpoints to JA Konrath’s predictions, read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog – it’s a wonderful synopsis of where he thinks Konrath is correct, and where he’s missed the mark.
Indie Authors – Amazon’s Pull In The Market Will Diminish
Amazon took ebook publishing by storm, and they did a lot to try to corner the market with KDP Select. But more and more authors are reporting that free isn’t what it used to be, and they’ve left KDP Select (for more on this, read Indie Authors – Is Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals Beneficial?). That’s one factor in what I see as Amazon’s losing it grip on the market, although it will be slight. Another factor is overseas sales. Even though Amazon is publishing in many other countries, it’s difficult to make any headway in those markets. And readers in other countries aren’t necessarily gravitating toward the Kindle (can anyone say Kobo?), and this doesn’t bode well for Amazon either. I’m sure Amazon will come up with something else to try to lure authors back into exclusivity with them, but I don’t see many coming back because they don’t want to forfeit the traction they’ve made in other markets.
Indie Authors – Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Each year we see more and more people try their hand at writing, many (if they’re honest with themselves) with the dream of hitting it big. But one thing that hasn’t changed over time is that few will do that. Sure, it’s easier now to make a living at this writing thing, but it still takes a lot of work, dedication, more work, sacrifice, and more work to get paid a livable wage on a consistent basis. Many people don’t have the stomach for this. And many will realize that, although they’re doing okay in terms of sales, it’s not enough to make a living. The old adage don’t quit your day job will remain true.
Indie Authors – Mainstream Publishers Will Reshape And Reform
Mainstream publishing isn’t going away. The Big Five (or whatever it is now) will still produce books, still live off some big name sellers, and still be in the marketplace. They do know now, more than ever, that publishing is changing, and they’ll change with it. It may mostly be in negative ways, but it’ll be enough so that they stay around. I do think we’ll see more indie authors get hybrid contracts, where the big publishers produce their print books, but the authors retain ebook rights. And that’s a good thing.
Indie Authors – Do You Need An Agent Anymore?
Agents will continue to lose relevance. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t good agents, or that they aren’t helpful to authors. But the old way of publishing, where you generally had to have an agent in order to publish, is long gone. In its place are agents who are trying to figure out their role in all this. I also think we will see a rise in agent scams, so it behooves indie authors to vet agents very carefully (this should happen anyway, but unfortunately it doesn’t).
One thing I do know is that I’m grateful to all my readers and supporters! I hope you all have a wonderful year. What do you think will happen in 2014?
On a side note, it’s Elvis Presley’s birthday! If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan. I wrote a blog last year, Five Things Authors Can Learn From Elvis Presley, and I hope you’ll give it a reread for some inspiration :).