I recently posted a portion of Mark Coker’s keynote speech from the Self-Publishing Book Expo. The first half of the speech was about 10 trends in self-publishing, which sparked some interesting conversations.
In the second half of the speech, Coker discussed ways authors can succeed, but he started with the idea that self-publishing is getting more difficult for a number of reasons including more quality works being published and an over-supply of books.
The Smashwords founder recently posted the second half of that speech on his blog (saving me the trouble of transcribing it). What Coker says is right, there is sobering news for indie authors.
From Coker’s blog:
“Everything gets more difficult from here. You face an uphill battle. With a couple exceptions – namely Scribd and Oyster – most major ebook retailers have suffered anemic or declining sales over the last 12-18 months.
The gravy train of exponential sales growth is over. Indies have hit a brick wall and are scrambling to make sense of it. In recent weeks, for example, I’ve heard a number of indie authors report that their sales at Amazon dropped significantly since July when Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited (I might write about Kindle Unlimited in a future blog post). Some authors are considering quitting. It’s heartbreaking to hear this, but I’m not surprised either. When authors hit hard times, sometimes the reasons to quit seem to outnumber the reasons to power on. Often these voices come from friends and family who admire our authorship but question the financial sensibility of it all.”
While self-publishing may not seem as enticing to some as it once did, Coker does offer 20 tips and advice for the road ahead:
Good isn’t good enough
With the glut of high-quality books, good books aren’t good enough anymore. Cheap books aren’t good enough (Smashwords publishes over 40,000 free ebooks). The books that reach the most readers are those that bring the reader to emotionally satisfying extremes. This holds true for all genre fiction and all non-fiction. If your readers aren’t giving you reviews averaging four or five star and using words in their reviews like, “wow,” “incredible” and “amazing,” then you’re probably not taking the reader to an emotionally satisfying extreme. Extreme joy and pleasure is a required reading experience if you want to turn readers into fans, and turn fans into super fans. Wow books turn readers into evangelists. Last year I wrote a post titled, Six Tips to Bring Your Book Back from the Doldrums. It’s a self-assessment checklist that prompts you to take an honest look at your reviews, your cover image, your categorization and targeting. With some simple questions and honest answers, you’ll be ready to give your books a makeover.
Network with fellow indies
As I wrote in the Indie Author Manifesto, indie does not mean “alone.” It takes a village to publish a professional-quality book. Network with your fellow indies at writers conferences and local writers groups. Share experiences and support one another through the good times and bad.
For the full list, click here.