Sunday, January 22, 2012

Indie Author Books: Hype or Revolution of the Book Market?

Indie Author and Indie Book Wave just a Media-Hype or has the time come for the Revolution of the Book Market?

On a first view, it all looks like a big media-hype when you read these typical banner headlines like:
- "Amanda Hocking sells more than 1,000,000 fantasy novels"
- "John Locke sold more than 2,000,000 eBooks"
- "12 Indie Authors each have sold more than 200,000 KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing by Amazon) eBooks and 30 others each more than 100,000 KDP eBooks"
- "26 year old is making millions cutting out traditional publishers" (again Amanda Hocking)
- "Author decides to go Indie to earn bigger margin than going with traditional publisher"
- etc. etc.


These headlines remind us a lot to the past when every blogger seem to make millions with his blog, every website with a dot-com in it was estimated to become sellable for hundreds of thousands of dollars. At least these have been the headlines. Only a few of the webmasters have ever seen more than the $35 check from Google AdSense or Affiliate Programs they participated in.


So, is it all a déjà-vu?

Certainly, for the serial entrepreneur who follows the "call of the fast money", the rude awakening might follow as it did ten years ago trying to blog for millions.

However, it will be different for thousands of writers who actually can write (whoever defines that?) or write what his/her audience wants to read. For these writers the (r)evolution of the Book Market has started. The change of the book market has been made possible through the acceptance of e-readers like Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, Applications for Tablets, and the establishment of markets for eBooks on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Apple's iTunes Store, and others.

The companies behind the Big Book Sellers make it easy for every book author to publish and market their own book as an eBook without or with little costs. The authors are able to do it all by themselves: formatting, uploading, setting the sales price, do the cover design - and with the push of a button, their work is on the book market visible to readers worldwide.

The Book Sellers do not stop here. Amazon (via CreateSpace) offers also to publish your book as printed book to very affordable rates. Depending on the size of your book, CreateSpace prints your book for $3 and up. The procedure is the same as for eBooks: formatting, uploading, cover design, set sales price, done.

These new ways of publishing doesn't make your book an automatic bestseller even if your book is now available on the biggest book selling websites, because your (future) readers don't know yet that your book exists. You have independently published and printed your book, now you are also free to independently get the word out and market your book [This makes you an Indie Author - see Definition]. After you made all your relatives and friends buying your book :o) you have lots of possibilities to find your future readers. This can be done online through a book blog, social media, forums, chat-rooms, etc or offline through market your book to book stores, reader circles, libraries, schools, etc.

The (R)evolution of the Book Market has just begun!

This new arrangement of market shares of the publishing market will not (yet?) make the Big Publishing Houses obsolete. They still have the bigger market share, have the big name authors, marketing channels, and control lots of shelf space, if not all.

The more the readers are accepting eBooks and even if printed, ordering more online, the more the market share will balance towards the Indie Authors and Indie Books. The big name authors will probably think about the new ways of publishing, too.

New markets for (freelance) editors, cover designers, document formatting services, (technical) quality controllers etc. will be generated through a wave of Indie Authors who start self-publishing their works. The revolution of the book market is a win-win situation for readers and authors.
- For Readers: sales prices will come down (eBooks), they get to know new authors, new and bigger selection of books.
- For Authors: The market (readers) will decide if your audience enjoys your books and not publishing houses or a bad resume letter to the publisher. No agent "forgets" to submit your manuscript - the success of your book is all in your hands.

Do we still need Publishing Houses?

Yes, they will have their eligibility as a full service provider for the writer who doesn't want or cannot go independent. You don't want to go indie because you like to concentrate on your writing and only on your writing without having time, knowledge or the desire for marketing your book which can become easily a full time profession. Also, if you don't want to learn how to format a document for printing (although easy), hiring an editor or cover designer, and have no clue how to set the price for your book, then a publisher might be the way for you (and lots of other writers) to go.

Many writers see the Indie Author way to publish as a first step into the writing market but will switch to publishers (if successful and the author's name becomes known) as soon as advance-checks are getting written. This is understandable because they can produce more but ex-Indies are losing their independence in respect of their work. Some of these (most of these?) writers risk becoming only text producers instead of book authors and might lose their audience after releasing a traditionally published book.

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