If you told us five years ago that Indie authors would be the driving force of the publishing industry, we’d have checked your temperature and heckled you on Myspace. Here we are today and what we know for sure is that indie authors will be more the norm, less the black sheep of publishing sooner than we all thought–as in today. Here’s why:
1. Big traditional publishers no longer have the “prestige” they once did
It used to be that having a book deal with a big traditional press was akin to earning a coveted place among the literary elite. Now readers have more power than publishers and authors can become known without a publisher’s endorsement or imprint on their book. Also, with book deals bestowed upon every semi-celeb, 15-minute famer, and Real Housewife, publishers can no longer pretend to publish the “gems.”
2. Writers who once depended on royalty publishing have found success going indie
The publishing industry can no longer pretend that only the “rejects” and authors with niche audiences self-publish. Indie authors include top experts, thought leaders, and bestselling authors. Indie publishing attracts authors from all walks, including ones who’ve turned down or used to publish with royalty presses.
3. Without indie authors, several under-served audiences would continue to be ignored by traditional presses
The success of indie authors can largely be attributed to the fact that traditional publishers ignore niche audiences. The book business continues to grow and attract readers in specialized markets thanks to indie authors who discovered them first.
4. The traditional publishing market is driven by profit, not by readers’ demands, interests, or curiosities
The publishing industry made their biggest mistake in allowing book retailers to soldier the eBook market. The fact is that publishers were afraid of how eBooks would affect their bottom line. Instead of shaping themselves as “content creators,” they married themselves to being “book builders.” In doing so, they let retailers pioneer a necessary advancement in publishing. This also created the perfect storm for indie authors to provide readers with what they wanted: good content, easily accessible, quickly shared, and purchased at a reasonable price. Indie authors have multi-faceted purposes for creating their content that aren’t solely grounded in financial gain, which often position them to think bigger than huge publishing conglomerates.
5. Even if they wanted to, royalty presses can no longer afford to take chances on unknown authors
Because so many independent houses who could take chances on unknown authors have either been acquired by royalty houses or gone under, the number of good writers getting deals continues to decline. The days of royalty presses taking risks on unknown authors have changed dramatically, so indie authors have opted to take their own chances. In doing so, a good portion of the market that could belong to traditional publishers, actually belongs to indie authors. And for the record, we’re not complaining…
What do you think? What should indie authors do to make sure they don’t fall into the same traps as big publishers?