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Recently Hugh Howey, the author of Wool, published comments of interest to anyone hoping to sell their book through nontraditional means. See Joshua Brustein’s story in Bloomberg’s Business Week. For a comprehensive view of his experiences and ideas, visit his website: http://www.hughhowey.com. (”Indie” publishing refers to independent publishing, much like indie for independent films.)
However, given that most POD and e-book sell few copies, it’s time to become more realistic.
According to the Bloomberg story, with a focus on sci-fi, mysteries, thrillers, and romance
“Kindle sales made up 86 percent of the top 2,500 bestsellers in these genres on Amazon. … indie authors sold slightly more titles than authors with Big Five publishing deals and that they accounted for 47 percent of the revenue that authors made from their work, as opposed to 32 percent from those with major publisher deals.”
This is food for thought when you are trying to sell your novel to a mainstream publisher. Recently DigitalBookWorld.com gave a series of five findings that relate to indie publishing in an article titled “Common Ground in the Debate of Self v. Traditional Publishing.” There is little surprise when they report that:
- Digital publishing has shattered the traditional market. (Remember what Napster did for independent musical bands?)
- The largest digital publisher (Amazon) won’t release sales data. (Amazon is the publisher that made all of this possible.)
- Genres: romance, mystery, thriller, erotica and Sci-Fi-fantasy have the most self-published books.
- Only a few authors can make enough money to support themselves.
As the article points out, it’s effective to promote a book on sources like BookBub.com, but don’t hold your breath until you check the prohibitively high costs!
While these developments are encouraging, I would encourage writers to approach traditional publishers first. Only the traditional publishers can take care of marketing, advertising, and distribution into libraries and bookshops in a satisfactory way. So it’s well worth the hassle of submitting your manuscript to agents, etc. Even though print on demand and e-publishing are fast and relatively easy, it’s well worth giving traditional publishers a try. When they ignore you (as is typical), you might want to give Amazon a try.
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