It’s not often in the real world that business people give away their secrets – but it is in the indie publishing world. Because theoretically, all other writers could be considered ‘the competition.’
If you buy one writer’s thriller, will you not skip buying another writer’s thrillers?
Well, no – that’s not the way it works. Ask the romance writers: people who like romances gobble them up like unfattening candy. People who like vampire stories buy MORE vampire stories. And if there aren’t any new vampire stories coming out of their favorite writers’ computers, they will try someone else’s vampire stories.
I’ve always known that writers are relatively slow – readers are incredibly faster. I can read in twelve hours what took a writer a year to write (or in my case, what is taking 13 years and counting).
It’s the nature of the beast: growing wheat takes all season, you wolf down a sandwich in ten minutes. Consuming is faster than producing. Especially now that we have modern production and distribution systems (in the West).
The final barrier to consuming as many romances as you want was price: and with good indies publishing good quality books at $2.99-9.99 (few in the upper ranges), that barrier has long crashed. Writers have found that they can make a living producing books that sell for $2.99 – and give them a $2.00 ‘royalty.’ Because they have to sell far fewer of them. I don’t know what the royalty rate (6% – 15%?) is, average, over that particular niche, but it isn’t producing $2.00 per book.
And now, today, good news from an very canny writer/businessperson (I read her every Thursday without fail): Kris Rusch: for PAPER books, “The playing field has just leveled.”
Meaning (go read the article; heck, read ALL her and husband Dean Wesley Smith’s business articles) that an indie writer CAN get books competitively into the paper distribution system, because, while publishers have been very slow to change, apparently BOOKSELLERS – and book distributors – have not.
What this means for mainstream novelists who have yet no ‘name’ isn’t clear IN DETAIL. But it surely means we are on the edge of a cliff – and the glide down is going to be awesome.
As one of those new novelists, I can’t wait.
[Skip here all the part about competition, and writing the best book you can, and actually finding you ‘tribe’: all things that I have no problem considering my job. The barriers are down! Now it’s ONLY up to me.]
Now all I have to do is finish the dratted thing, to MY standards (which will include whatever I deem necessary in editing and cover and layout), and get out there and do my due diligence to find readers who like what I write, and the potential is both unlimited AND timeless.
Like having people find out they can buy your wonderful, best recipe, triple-chocolate homemade (really) fudge brownies on the internet.
This is heady stuff. Now excuse me while I go WRITE.
It is amazing how much faster a profit can be made when you cut out the publisher as the middle man. But part of me still really wants the traditional publisher-writer relationship.
That’s exactly the point.
Kris’ other point is that publishers don’t do the job writers think they will do, except for a minority of their writers. If you’re going to have to do the work anyway, you might as well have the control and the money, too.
Unless you NEED the validation being ‘selected’ by a publisher gives you. For that, you’d better be very sure – because it can cost you a lot.
Today I confess to having saved no energy for writing early in the day. Slow living: walking home from the grocery store with a heavy backpack & watering and weeding the garden have taken quite a bit of time & energy. A second burst of energy will surely be upon me soon. Best wishes for a productive writing day to you 🙂
This is an excellent and inspirational post. Yes, I have noticed those shifts in the market, and am looking to leap at the opportunity. I have followed your blog so I can get your updates. Thanks for sharing!
I have a new writing blog that I created after self-publishing my first novel for the Kindle. Please check it out and share your writing experiences with me!