If you told me five years ago that Indie authors would be the driving force of the publishing industry, I’d have called your bluff. Today, I’m sure of it: indie authors will be more the norm, less the black sheep of publishing sooner than we all thought. In fact, it’s already happened. It is the age of the author. Here’s why:
1. Big traditional publishers no longer have the “prestige” they once did
It used to be that having a book deal with a big traditional press was akin to earning a coveted place among the literary elite. Now readers have more power than publishers and authors can become known without a publisher’s endorsement or imprint on their book. Also, with book deals bestowed upon every semi-celeb, 15-minute famer, and Real Housewife, publishers can no longer pretend to only publish the “gems.”
2. Writers who once depended on royalty publishing have found success going indie
The publishing industry can no longer pretend that only the “rejects” and authors with niche audiences self-publish. Indie authors include top experts, thought leaders, and bestselling authors. Indie publishing attracts authors from all walks, including ones who’ve turned down or used to publish with royalty presses.
3. Without indie authors, several underserved audiences would continue to be ignored by traditional publishing houses
The success of indie authors can largely be attributed to the fact that traditional publishers ignore countless niche audiences. The book business continues to grow and attract readers in specialized markets thanks to indie authors who reached them first.
4. The traditional publishing market is driven by profit, not by readers’ demands, interests, or curiosities
The publishing industry made their biggest mistake in allowing book retailers to soldier the eBook market. The fact is that publishers were afraid of how eBooks would affect their bottom-lines. Instead of seeing themselves as “content creators,” they married themselves to being “bookbuilders.” In doing so, they let retailers pioneer a necessary advancement in publishing. This also created the perfect storm for indie authors to provide readers with what they wanted: good content that is easily accessible, quickly shared, and purchased at a reasonable price. Indie authors have multi-faceted purposes for creating their content that aren’t solely grounded in financial gain, which often position them to think bigger than huge publishing conglomerates.
5. Even if they wanted to, royalty presses can no longer afford to take chances on unknown authors
Because so many independent houses who could take chances on unknown authors have either been acquired by royalty houses or gone under, the number of good writers getting deals continues to decline. The days of royalty presses taking risks on unknown authors are far and few between so indie authors have opted to take their own chances. In doing so, a good portion of the market that could belong to traditional publishers, actually belongs to indie authors.
Dara M. Beevas is a writer, editor, blogger, speaker, and indie author. As vice president of award-winning Beaver’s Pond Press, she’s mentored hundreds of indie authors through the publishing process. She is also the author of The Indie Author Revolution. Her passion for indie publishing led her to launch an online support community called Wise, Ink. You can find her blog at www.wiseinkblog.com.