Tag Archives: independent authors

The Indie Evolution & Gaining Ground

The Bowker Self Publishing Report came out yesterday and I must say the numbers are quite impressive. The report utilizes data from 2012 so just imagine where we will be in another year or two.

Though this is all very good news I feel the need to highlight an important quote from the article.

“The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners,” said Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services. “They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps and that’s building a thriving new service infrastructure in publishing.”

Treating your writing as a business is not a whimsical little notion. It is vital to your success. This point cannot be stressed enough if we are to be taken seriously.

Lastly I will share a friendly reminder from our FYI page:
We understand the financial strain on most indie authors. Spending a sum of hard earned cash on a service and not sure if you’ll sell a single copy. The whole independent route is stressful but we can’t stress enough the value of editing. If you cannot afford to hire help please [please, please] get more eyes and ideas from a trusted source before you hurry to print.

A bad reputation is much harder to recover from than no reputation at all.

Indie’s Continue Rising in the Ranks

Here is an interesting article from Forbes online magazine that should leave most independent authors/publishers smiling or at least hopeful.

When the Self-Published Authors Take Over, What Will Publishers Do?

April 30, 2013 |

In 2011, of the $14 billion trade publishing industry, roughly $100 million of it was self-published books, according to data presented at Digital Book World 2012. Less than 1%. A drop in the bucket. In 2013, the numbers should look quite differnt.

In the first four months of the year, we’ve had four weeks where a self-published title was a No. 1 ebook best-seller. Last week, both the Nos. 1 and 2 spots were self-published ebooks. This week’s best-seller list brings fresh challenges to the dominance of traditional publishers.

While David Baldacci’s The Hit (Hachette) retook the No. 1 spot from self-published author H.M. Ward, five of the top ten best-selling ebooks this week were self-published. For those of you who weren’t math majors, that’s half. Six of the top-25 best-selling ebooks were self-published: 24%.

When the top-two ebooks were self-published last week, publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin said, “This is another benchmark moment. The number of small- and self-published books achieving real commercial success will continue to rise; the gatekeeping role of established publishers will continue — gradually and then, sooner or later, suddenly — to fade to relative irrelevance.”

Perhaps the question is, are we in the “gradual” phase or the “sudden” phase in this transition? And what does this mean for publishers?

Some of the larger publishers are making moves to get involved in the self-publishing revenue streams:

– Offering their own self-publishing services (Simon & Schuster, Penguin, F+W Media [my employer], to name three).
– Buying books by self-published authors that have already shown strong sales in an attempt to boost them to even higher sales (See Hugh Howey’s Wool, Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wait for You).
– Offering new business models for authors (Random House’s new suite of imprints, including the controversial Hydra, show that publishers are still figuring this out).

But when it comes to capturing these new revenue streams, it might be like trying to use a mop bucket to catch a breaking wave.

The top-five ebook best-sellers from this week might tell the story better than I can:

1. The Hit by David Baldacci (Hachette)
2. Damaged by H.M. Ward (Self-published)
3. The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken (Self-published)
4. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts (Penguin)
5. Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines (Self-published)

See the rest of the top-25 ebook best-sellers this week.

Pricing

One other wrinkle in this precipitous rise of self-publishing is pricing. The average price of an ebook best-seller is lower now than it has ever been: $6.58. Part of the reason is that the six self-published titles on the list are each being sold for $0.99 or $3.99. If those six titles were taken off the list, the average would be about $8. Read more.

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Reviews

 Reviews

Reviews build confidence and potentially increase sales and that is what all authors want. Right? Sales mean someone cared enough to buy your book and hopefully they will recommend it. But reviews for new Indies are getting harder to come by.

We receive a significant amount of requests to review books and have always declined because we simply did not have the time. In the past we could direct inquiries to blogs focused on indie reviews or other authors willing to exchange honest reviews but times have changed. More and more of the reputable blogs are swamped or no longer accepting solicitations from independent authors/publishers.

I stress honest because the reading public can generally see through the five star promotions written by well-meaning family and friends. Too much sugar can make you sick.

As I said earlier we get a significant amount of requests to review books and have always declined in the past because we simply did not have the time. That too has apparently changed.

We currently have a few prolific readers that are willing to take on the task (and sometimes pleasure) of reviewing but buyer beware they do not sugarcoat opinions. They aren’t cruel but they are direct and they don’t do it for free.

Why? You may ask. This is what they told me: “You are asking me to spend my time and money on a book I may or may not have eventually found on my own. I’m asking you to make an equal commitment.”

Some prefer to let their books be discovered naturally and that is perfectly fine but for those who feel they need a little boost that’s fine too. I believe candid reviews are definitely effective in gaining fans and exposure.

Surely there are some reputable blogs that will still review an independent book for the benefit of journalism?  By all means ideas are welcomed.

If you are interested in the review service we have two people who usually work as proofers offering candid reviews for $35. Yes that is thirty-five dollars per e-book. They purchase your e-book and write an unbiased review. The price seems steep to me but they are offering this service as one possible solution. For now this is all I’ve got. Sorry.

**Suggestion: Always make sure your book is the best it can be before asking for reviews.