Monday, March 18, 2013

Indie Authors Rewrite the Rules of Publishing

Back in the old days of publishing (four or five years ago), many writers viewed self publishing
as the option of last resort. Self-pubbed authors were the black sheep of the
writing community. They were considered failed authors because they couldn’t find an
agent or sell their book to a big publisher. They were ridiculed as "vanity" authors. Sadly,
much of the most vitriolic criticism came from fellow writers.

We don’t hear much of that anymore. Self-publishing is finally earning the respect it
deserves. High profile indie author successes – utilizing the best practices contained
herein – are climbing the bestseller charts. Their commercial success is changing
perceptions about self-publishing one reader at a time.

Look no further than the bestseller lists at major retailers to see how the indie insurgents
are scaling the lists. Many Smashwords authors have landed in the top 10 bestseller lists
of major ebook retailers, and many more have topped genre-specific lists at #1. A few
have even landed in the New York Times ebook bestseller list.

Indie bestsellers are destined to become the norm in the months and years ahead. Don’t
misunderstand, I’m not implying it’s easy to become a bestseller. It’s difficult, and rare.
To get there you’ll need talent, smart decision-making, hard work, patience, and luck.

Even authors previously published by big New York publishers are starting to go
independent. These authors are questioning what Big Publishers can do for them that the
author cannot do for themselves. It’s only a matter of time before authors begin speaking
of the stigma of traditional publishing. Indie authors have the ability to publish faster,
distribute more broadly, price lower, sell more books at higher royalty levels, reach more
readers and earn more income than they can by surrendering their rights to a traditional

If the indie author movement was a person, 2011 was the year the movement entered
adolescence and 2013 will be the year the movement reaches adulthood. These newly minted
indie ebook authors (old timers are the ones with three or four years of experience
with self-publishing) are experimenting with abandon. Through trial and error,
experimentation, and rapid information exchange with fellow authors, indie authors are
discovering the secrets of successful modern day publishing.

We're witnessing the rise of the indie author collective. The collective – warts and all –gives rise to an intelligence and sophistication that will redefine publishing for the better.

In The Secrets of Successful Ebook Publishing, I attempt to capture and distill the proven
best practices of authors who are reaching the most readers with their books.

My hope is that these secrets will spark your imagination as you work to become a more
professional, more successful indie author.

Five Big Trends Facing the Future of Publishing

The publishing world is in flux as multiple trends converge to challenge old rules and
create new ones.

Here are the five most important trends facing publishing today:

1. Bookselling is moving online as brick and mortar bookstores disappear.

2. Reading is moving to screens as ebooks replace print books.

3. New publishing and distribution tools empower authors to become professional
publishers while eroding the monopolistic edge once held by large publishers.

4. Digital distribution enables authors and publishers to efficiently reach a global

5. An over-supply of books and alternative media content will place downward
pressure on ebook prices.

These trends create an environment where indie authors and small publishers can out publish
and out-compete the larger New York publishers.

A mere four or five years ago, publishers controlled the printing press and access to retail
distribution. Today, thanks to free ebook publishing and distribution tools such as
Smashwords, the ebook printing press is free and available to any author.

Distribution has become democratized, and global, thanks to the foresight of retailers
such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Amazon. These
retailers are hungry to carry the ebooks of indie authors. They want indie ebooks because
these books satisfy their customers and sell well. Retailers also understand that readers
couldn’t care less about the name of the publisher on the book’s virtual spine. Readers
simply want great books.

The implications of this revolution are profound. Writers are now in charge. Readers are
the new curators.

You, the writer, decide when your manuscript graduates to published book. You are your
own gatekeeper. You will bypass the traditional industry gatekeepers and publish directly
to your readers around the globe.

Along with this power shift also comes the responsibility of authors to honor the best practices
of the best traditional publishers. You must publish a quality, professional book that is as good as, or better than, what’s published by traditional publishers. Readers have
little tolerance for anything less, which is how it should be.

We live in an age of media abundance. Consumers have unlimited access to myriad high quality
sources of entertainment and knowledge. Much of this content is available for
free. Yet despite the prevalence of free content options, readers will still purchase your
book because your book is unique.

Darwin is in charge. This is a game of survival of the fittest. Writers who honor readers
by publishing great books will reach the most readers.

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success will help you up your game, even if you’re
already a successful author.

Before we get started, a simple reminder: It’s tough to sell any book, even a great book.
Keep your sales expectations low, then work to exceed them. Focus on the long term.
Successful indie authors must do many things well while avoiding mistakes that can
undermine their opportunity.

Article From Smashwords.

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