Indie Authors – Read This Post (Seriously)

There has been a lot of ballyhoo lately about Amazon’s algorithms, what it means for indie authors.  And there have been many blog posts about this.  indie author handbookAnd here’s one more :).  Seriously, rather than wax poetic about this, let me make a few points and then let you read some of those posts (they said it all, I give them the credit)  Read the posts…they pertain to you and your potential sales.

Indie Authors and Sales

It seems that Amazon’s algorithms may be changing, not just for free books but also for lower priced books.  See Phoenix Sullivan’s post about agency pricing and how this might affect indie authors, and Edward Robertson’s post about Amazon pricing.  It doesn’t bode well for the indie author…

Indie Authors and The Agency Price Scandal

On a side note, but somewhat related, if you haven’t kept up on the agency price scandal, the DOJ suit, and a letter sent by the AAR (Association of Author Representatives) just check JA Konrath’s blog (I don’t visit his site often because I got tired of his oft-repeated message that the agency model doesn’t work anymore, but his latest post is worth reading).  A simplified and easier post to read is here, by Dean Wesley Smith.  Another post worth reading, that has a letter to the DOJ on it (and it’s worth signing) is by David Gaughran.

Indie Authors and Self-Publishing

The publishing world is changing.  No one seems to know where things will be in a month, a week, a day…what is the impact for indie authors?  One, I do think that genre helps significantly in terms of sales (romance seems to be killing it right now).  Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (can’t find the post lol), you will have more and more competition from mainstream-published authors who are jumping ship and self-publishing.  And they already bring name recognition (i.e. they are ahead of the game and will outsell you based on that alone).  Read this post by Terri Giuliano Long for some thoughts and evidence of that.  I also think it will become less attractive to publish books (what, it really is this hard and now I’m being pushed out by Amazon?).  What can indie authors do?

Indie Authors and Show Me The Money – Not

Don’t look to make money at this.  It’s funny, I see so many new authors, those that have recently jumped on the indie bandwagon, hoping for success.  Guess what?  Not only doesn’t it happen now, it never did!  If you’ve ever attended writers’ conferences, especially back before there was Amazon and ebooks, the adage was don’t quit your day job.  Most authors don’t make money at this.  They write because they love storytelling (I couldn’t stop writing if I tried – I always end up back at it).  But if you hope to make money, increase your chances…

Indie Authors and Your Writing

We indie authors can’t control what Amazon does, or any other seller.  We can’t control agents, publishers or readers.  The ways to sell books will change faster than…I don’t know, it just changed :).  You can control your writing: how much you write, how good your writing is, how you hired a quality editor to make your writing better.  Start there, and let the chips fall where they may.

What do you think?

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.
This entry was posted in Indie Author Handbook, Promoting Your Books and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Indie Authors – Read This Post (Seriously)

  1. Write. Hang on. Don’t quit your day job and add “Fifty Shades Of ” to your title.

  2. We need Oprah from the old days to jump on the indie author bandwagon. She sure could sell books with a recommendation.

  3. Toby Neal says:

    I have to take the time to read all those posts. Yeah we had a little heyday there…It was probably too good to last!

  4. Raine Thomas says:

    Thanks for taking the time to compile all of these helpful articles, Renee! I’ve spent some time reading each of them and learned a great deal as a result. It’ll sure be interesting to see how things shake up over the coming months!

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Sure. I could have tried to summarize it, but the authors did a great job. We’ll have to see where this all goes. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Ed Robertson says:

    Thanks for the link, Renee. No, it’s not good news at the moment. The upside is Amazon’s current conditions won’t last forever. I’ve only been paying close attention to these things for a couple months, but Amazon’s already switched their algorithms twice this year and did so two or three times last year as well. Maybe things will get more favorable with the next one.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      You are most welcome, I’m impressed with all your analyzing. It will be interesting to see where things are in a few months. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Paul Keene says:

    What do I think? I think you’re right (write) on. Indie writers must hone our craft, improve writing skills, avoid shortcuts and sloppiness at all costs. We must deliver stories that leave the reader begging for more, and we have to learn and engage marketing skills that produce an ever increasing fan base. Only those with the will to become a professional writer will make the sacrifices to survive. Pipe dreams won’t work – elbow grease along with strong will and self-belief just might.

  7. I don’t think there is anything wrong with an indie wanting to make money from their work, but I do agree with you (from experience) that you shouldn’t go into this business expecting to make it big overnight. But I’ve seen it happen where people can make a living doing this, so it isn’t impossible at least. You just shouldn’t expect it, haha.

    That being said, I’m mixed about the algorithm change. It may not be bad for indies. It really could go either way. I’ve seen my sales drop off, but then I write horror so they weren’t spectacular to begin with. This too shall pass :)

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Yes, you are right (or write lol). I am making more money with each passing month. Will I make a killing? Probably not, but if I can make a decent amount consistently, and supplement with teaching or something like that, I’d be satisfied.
      And you’re right, the algorithms could help, especially if pricing levels out at a better rate (instead of 99 cents). We shall see. Thanks for commenting.

  8. I think that the word “algorithms” is code for “Amazon manipulates the ratings at whim- for whatever their reasoning may be- at that moment”.

    Yes, indies must provide quality books, with professional editing (learned that the hard way : ) but as long as we are relying on Amazon, I don’t think we have the control that we imagine.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      That made me laugh…and it’s why an author has to look at many ways to market :). Thanks for your comment.

  9. I have 22 titles for sale. I have titles with hundreds of reviews. I have won awards. But yet I am still classed as indie. This is silly folks. What’s inside a book is the ONLY thing that should determine a books value. The big six push dreck on us all day long. Really internet readers (I have 90k+ twitter followers @DahgMahn who READ) They are tired of reading 75 blogs review the same generic fiction. My book The Sword and the Dragon has over 360 reviews with a four star average across, Amazon, B&N, iStore, Goodreads, Shelfari &more… Should it be downgraded because I dont have a tree killing machine behind me? Remember the Lorax folks. Big 6 KILL TREES. :-) lmao

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      I agree that the classification of “writer” needs to shift, but unfortunately there is a ton of crap that gets published by “indies” (waaay worse than what mainstream puts out). Until this changes, I don’t see the “indie” label changing either. But I’d take your numbers and be classified as “indie” over most of mainstream published authors who never make it past a 500-book print run and a couple thousand in an advance. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  10. First and foremost, I am going to write because I enjoy writing and telling a tale. If I wrote to strictly for fame and fortune, my wife and kids would starve and it wouldn’t be any fun (sitting down to write knowing I carry the weight of survival on my shoulders).

    While I am working on being traditionally pubbed I also want to go down my own indie self-pub road (mainly because I have too many tales that I want to share with hopefully a interested reader populace).

    I am starting to venture down outside editing (fresh eyes) and cover art avenues, and even that is exciting. (And so far isn’t bankrupting me.)

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      That should be the main reason to write (Stephen King talks about that in On Writing). Authors don’t want to hear it, but most don’t make any money at it, it’s truly for the love of writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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