As we settle into 2014, the indie publishing blogosphere is full of retrospectives and predictions for the new year. 2013 gave us plenty to celebrate, and trends in self-publishing suggest there could be a lot to look forward to.
Of course, the sheer number of self-published titles reflects just how popular the practice is. With such a crowded field, standing out can seem impossible, but some authors are doing just that.
In December, Amazon announced that data from 2012 showed that “a quarter of the top 100 bestselling Kindle books…were self-published.”
Ninety-nine self-published titles appeared on Digital Book World’s bestseller lists in 2013. That’s more bestselling e-books than either HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster had last year.
As indie authors gain traction, traditional publishers are taking notice. More self-published authors are signing book deals, and some authors are even turning them down. Brenna Aubrey passed on a three-book New York deal in favor of self-publishing, resulting in an impressive first month of sales.
The trend of publishing independently is becoming too big to ignore, as evidenced by the Wall Street Journal article on indie author Russell Blake, who has signed a deal to co-write with Clive Cussler.
Granted, for every success story there are droves of authors writing in relative obscurity. And, as numerous industry experts, including Mark Coker of Smashwords, have pointed out, the competition will only get fiercer in 2014. As self-publishing becomes more mainstream, the bar for quality and professionalism is on the rise.
So what’s an aspiring indie author to do?
Research. Research. Research. Learn about your options. As indie darling Hugh Howey advises, take ownership of your work, take your “craft and this profession seriously.”
Above all, make sure you have the best book possible before sending it out in the world. Use beta readers. Find an editor whose style works for you. Find the designer who can make the best cover for your book.
When everything’s ready, publish.
And then get back to writing.