Saturday, March 12, 2011

At last we can interact directly with readers...but can we?

One of the statements I see over and over again is that for the first time authors can put their work directly into the hands of the readers with no middleman. While I agree that self-publishing now means authors don't have to ask permission of large or small publishers, the fact is unless you are selling thousands of books from your own website or blog you are not direct selling.

Now the good news is (contrary to the famous song) the new boss is not the same as the old boss. Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble are distribution partners and therefore don't limit what you can and cannot say...well most of the time.

I was very concerned with Amazon took a number of erotic books off the market, and what was worse is they removed the books from the kindles and DID NOT reimburse the people who had bought them...excuse me how is this not theft? Amazon took money from people in exchange for a product (albeit electronic) then made it go poof.

I'm a gambling woman, and risk taker by nature. That's probably why I was involved in self-publishing and ebook publishing many years before most people. I'm very bullish about the future of both and feel the income potential for good writers has never been better than it is today. Am I losing sleep at night worried that I can continue to sell through these venues? Nope not a bit...but...that doesn't mean that the level playing field that we have now will be there in the future.

I'm not sure if I've said it here, but I have in other venues, said that once New York gets "serious" about ebooks I can imagine where they make deals with the electronic distribution houses similar to they did with brick and mortar stores that would make for an uneven playing field. Possible changes:

  • Traditional Best Seller Lists independent of Indie Best Seller Lists (something BTW that I think could be good for both)
  • A co-op system for recommendations where large fees are paid to be admitted to cross sale promotions
  • More in the way of advertising for the big boys
  • Continued ability for only large publishers to make books free
  • What does that mean to you ... the author. Probably not a whole lot but some things to consider.

    1. Make hay while the sun shines - maximize these gold rush days because they might not be here in the future.
    2. Don't completely turn your back on NY publishing - I'm not saying don't put your work out now (see #1) but while you're gaining a following with self-publishing keep an open mind if someone knocks on your door.
    3. Do sell direct - and encourage people to do so. Having access to emails of people who enjoy your books and want future copies is always a good thing. Do what you can through newsletters and direct sales to build your own database of contacts.
    4. Keep your eyes open and think creatively if/when the change comes - does it make sense for you to joining with a bunch of other indie authors to form your own small press? Possibly.

    If this new revolution in publishing tells us anything it is that change is the only constant. So keep your fingers on the pulse of the industry and adapt as necessary.

    1 comment:

    Libby said...

    Good advice and tips. We live in exciting times.