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"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)

4.19.2011

Opportunitites in Publishing: Traditional or Indie?

(see how clever I am, combining "O" and "P" in one post, thereby catching up on the A-Z challenge?  *pats self on back*)

Traditional publishing or indie publishing, that is the question. You may have inferred from a previous post that I prefer traditional over indie (or self-publishing). Then my answer may surprise you: I say both! I want to have my cake and eat it, too.

The e-book revolution has shaken up the publishing industry, and the big winners are and will be authors. Never have we had more options and more opportunities to carve our own individual path to success.

Random thoughts:

I think the stigma of self-publishing is quickly fading, thanks in large part to the wonderful talent of such pioneering authors as Cathryn Grant, Amanda Hocking, and LindaCassidy Lewis.

All these great authors that are publishing independently are creating a need for the same services traditionally published authors are getting – editing, cover design, marketing. When a niche is created, entrepreneurial souls step in to fill it. Whether it is buffet style services or one-stop shopping, I believe demand will make them available and competition will insist on quality.

In the future, I see e-book sales as the new slush pile. The cream always rises to the top.  Smart literary agents looking for fresh voices will carefully watch Amazon to see what is resonating with audiences. Is it possible that the dreaded query letter will become a thing of the past, and that literary agents will come looking for us?

Smart literary agents will also have to shift the services they offer authors. Not all authors are going to want to be shopped to traditional publishers. A literary agent can make himself relevant to those authors by facilitating access to the services they need to make their books the best and most competitive as possible.

Amanda Hocking is the model to follow, I believe. She is a prolific writer, and each book sells the next. Her pricing is brilliant – the first book in a series is priced at 99 cents, the perfect price for a curious reader. Then, the reader is hooked and willing to pay $2.99 to $4.99 for the next books in the series. In addition, she has used her self-publishing success to land a reported $2 million traditional publishing deal.

Established authors aren't going to have to bargain price their e-books. Stephen King will never have to price a book at 99 cents. Let's be real. He knows his fans will pay a heck of a lot more than that for his new book. Nathan Bransford says he'd pay $100 for a new book by J.K. Rowling, but let's be real. Most of us wouldn't. I would, however, pay about $14.99. If Amanda Hocking could make a million dollars on 99 cent e-books, imagine how much money an author could make at the $14.99 price point. (Nathan Bransford would do the math. I, however, am no Nathan Bransford.)

The take-away message from all this? Get cracking! Write that book, and then the next and the next. Your dreams have never been more attainable.

Hey!  I just noticed I passed 100 followers today!  Thank you so much, I'm immeasurably flattered!


9 comments:

Cathryn Grant said...

Here's another pat on the back for your clever combination of O and P. ;)

I tend toward having my cake and eating it too...I published my short stories traditionally, my novels as an Indie Author. It truly is an exciting time to be a writer, and you said it well.

lbdiamond said...

Congrats to the number of followers you have!

Publishing is definitely changing. It will be interesting to see where things go.

Nice post!

Michelle Gregory said...

it's certainly nice to see the stigma going away and the market widening for indies/self-pubs. a lot has changed even in the four years since i went down that road. thanks for the encouraging post.

Shelli said...

Thanks, Cathryn -- I think there are so many opportunities, there's just no wrong way to success.

Diamond -- Thank you! I'm excited to see where it goes next, too.

Michelle -- I think it's thanks to those of you brave pioneers that the indie opportunities are blowing up.

Linda said...

It's too soon for me to know how well self-publishing will work for me, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it.

It's a new day in publishing. Exciting times!

Langley said...

Very cool, the combo thing. I'll pat you on the back too. This is excellent information, I need to learn more about self publishing. Amanda Hocking is an inspiration!

I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life

Shelli said...

Linda -- I'm excited for you and hope it goes well. Best of luck!

Langley -- Welcome, and thanks for dropping by! I'm looking forward to visiting your blog.

Carrie Dair said...

Yeah for catching up, cleverness, and wait...this is an o and p posting. :) You're absolutely right about the way things are changing in the publishing industry. My husband reads tons with his iPad these days, and most of them are self-published deals. Of course, most of them are being offered free as well; by people who just want to be heard, have their story read, and don't care whether they make a buck or two. That's awesome. I applaud them. Personally I'm hoping to make at least a buck or two. Because darned if I didn't spend that much on the take out meals to give myself some writing time. :) Excellent post for discussion Shelli. As always.

Carrie Dair said...

Oh, and congratulations on reaching 100 followers. Woo hoo!!!!