I've said for a long time that this the best time to be a writer...and I still believe this. One of the reasons why it's so good now is the "old challenge" was one that the author had little control over. The "old challenge" was getting published. The traditional process had very few slots and too many talented authors vying for them. The author was at the mercy of agents and a few big publishing companies and there was little they could to effect the outcome.
But now authors have many options for getting published. Many factors are contributing to this:
- The shift away from large retail bookstores (breaking down a barrier to entry)
- The emergence and dominance of ebooks (level playing field regardless of publisher)
- Lessening of stigma of self-publishing (as more and more authors become successful)
- The growth of successful small presses (providing more "slots")
So, what then is the new challenge? One word - discoverability (okay, so it's a made up word but it will soon reach "real word" status just as muggle did). By fixing the "old challenge" we now have many more authors out there and being found amongst them is our new challenge. No, I'm not one of these people that says, "Woe to all of us...we'll drown by the influx of too many writers." I think more choice is a good thing. But it does mean that as authors you have to work harder so that people can discover your fine work.
The big winners in this new environment will be Amazon, Google, and Apple. Why? Because they control discoverability. So as authors you need to makes sure you are maximizing your exposure with these places. Think about the following things:
- Have you selected your categories wisely?
- Are you making use of the Amazon Author's Central features?
- Have you considered making an app version of your book?
- Are you tagging and asking others to tag your books for maximum discoverability
I'll be talking more about both these topics in the coming weeks. But if you haven't read my guest post at Michael Hyatt's site entitled Five Steps to Building a Platform When You Hate Selling Yourself. I suggest you start there.
I've never said that publishing was "easy," but it is very "rewarding." I love a challenge. I thrive on it so I'm glad to have a new thing to turn my talent and intellect to. I hope that together we'll give you some ammunition to vanquish as well.