by LinDee Rochelle
Some of you might recall that as a year-end roundup in 2008 I predicted great things for independent publishing in an op-ed piece, “Publishing’s Death Knell Premature,” which I reposted as “Timing is Everything: for savvy authors the time is 2009” on Infinity’s forum community, Author Nation.
In this defiant diatribe (with champagne glass in hand) I ranted about the premature predictions of demise for print books and the future of book publishing. Along with our changing industry, the infant recession was scaring the New Year and I was already weary of its gloom and doom personality.
“I’ve been accused of having a glass-half-full attitude, which some say is an inefficient use of a glass. However, I see it as an opportunity to fill the rest with New Beginnings; and even on the darkest day, with a shot of Hope. Not an easy task for a writer these days is it?” (AN version.)
I mocked those who proclaimed books obsolete and pointed a disdainful finger at their persistence in shunning independent authors who defied “tradition” and published without a prized mainstream publisher contract.
Let’s see where we are on the eve of 2012 …
Hmmm, well we are still hearing the death knell toll, albeit a bit softer, in hesitant cadence. Although printed books’ sales levels have continued to decline, they are still not likely to become completely obsolete any time soon, if ever. (Although I wouldn’t rule out a futuristic world in mid-century when they may be relegated to collectible and novelty status.)
I’m pleased to report however, that growth in the independent publishing industry has eagerly surpassed my modest ‘08 forecast, “Author-originated publishing has an opportunity in the coming New Year to make significant strides and rise to its full potential to establish itself as the ‘new publishing platform’ of the era.”
“Significant strides”?! It seems to have exploded like a hydrogen bomb. Although it needed more than just 2009, by mid 2010 with the explosive popularity of digital books, the industry pumped up. This book publishing format has not only firmly established itself but because of it, author-originated publishing (such as provided by Infinity Publishing) is now one of the most growth-oriented industries in the world.
So why are we still whining about not selling our books? Well … the proliferation of books published affordably is of course, accompanied by a glut of new authors—not all have polished and professionally edited their offerings—which has caused the media and reviewers (online and off) to continue to shun the vast majority of independently published books. It’s difficult to see the hand of a drowning book in a vast Sea of Authors.
But based on the comments I receive as an author advocate, independent authors are beginning to understand the tools needed to compete with what’s left of the New York publishers’ mainstream books—proper editing and focused marketing.
Not all are willing to go the distance. But traditional publishing with its elitist attitude and recent questionable quality continues to lose its edge. This creates an optimum window for independent authors and publishers.
Seven 2013 Predictions … will 2013 be book sales heaven?
Yes, I’m going to stick my neck out again and predict that independent publishing will not only thrive, but … are you ready? …
- author-originated book publishing will continue to flourish and dare I say it? … return to its Ben Franklin roots, as the new “standard” book publishing platform (firmly entrenched by 2015, in the event we survive 2012, heehee)
- however, quality expectations from readers and reviewers will heighten and just like the vintage traditional authors, only the best will rise to the top
- growing alongside will be the online (and traditional) marketing industry and editorial services
- eBooks and their e-readers will continue to prosper, until eBooks finally overtake printed books in consistent sales (this could take a couple of years, but I don’t rule out 2011 as the defining year—the writing is on the virtual wall)
- attractive retail book “packages” will sustain printed books along with digital; digital, print, and audio versions of each title in one versatile bundle will become a popular gift-giving purchase (especially for next Holiday Season)
- following in Publishers Weekly’s footsteps, mainstream publications will grudgingly relax their snobby coverage, and provide news and reviews for author-originated books (if they don’t already)—but a strict quality code will be in effect—you must be prepared
- 2011 will see our first “real” independently published best seller; we’ve had stars in niche markets, especially business books and self-help, but the book that will captivate the nation and validate author-originated publishing is on its way—will it be yours?
My 2008 New Year’s Eve declaration still rings true: “Author-originated publishing has suffered long enough as the industry's redheaded stepchild! It was shunned in its infancy, kicked around in its adolescence, and is finally ready―with the help of the economic crisis―to experience its final growth into adulthood and stand proud as publishing hope for authors who have real talent.”
Do you believe in yourself and your writing talent? Then go forth into the New Year with confidence and renewed dedication. Whether it’s your first, fifth, or tenth book—you will publish in 2011! See you in the title credits.
Cheers to a happy, creative, prosperous New Year!