Trad vs Indie – A Debate on The Future of Book Publishing

future-of-booksSo I did it. I tweaked my final comma, dotted my final I and after writing an email that gave me hives, I pressed send and off went my bookbaby to five terrifying awesome beta readers.

I sat for a while. Motionless. Except for the rapid blink of my eyelids at the completely blank screen. There were no more words needed. What in the fucksticks was I meant to do now? Then the realisation slowly crept in… I HAD NO BOOK. IT WAS GONE. LIKE REALLY GONE. The book that had consumed me for nearly two years, was no more. Holy mother of almighty fuck.

Wana know what happened next…?

I freaked the fudgebuggins out, thats what. It took exactly 4.3 milliseconds before I combusted in a violent meltdown. I really regretted sending it. HOW COULD I SEND IT OUT TO REAL PEOPLE…Obviously its a pile of shite. A fact of which, even the halo holding hand of god couldn’t dissuade me of.

And to my utter fucking horror, I realised there is no ‘unsend’ button. What self serving artificially intelligent email company DOESN’T HAVE A RECALL BUTTON???

FUCK. Like fucking fuck. With six side orders of FUCK MY ACTUAL FUCKING LIFE.

I spent the next 12 hours listing eleventy hundred things that were wrong with my novel. The list included everything. EVERYTHING. Not just main characters, arcs and endings. Oh no. I attacked the detail too, no comma, speech mark or paragraph spacing was left unscathed.

I made the mistake of voicing these concerns to some bastards wonderful friends who told me to pull my shit together before they sent a BitchSlapOGram to my front door. I listened. Just. And only after several more hours of wallowing in a seriously impressive vat of self loathing and book related hatred.

SonOfABitchWhatHaveIDone?

Okay. I’m done. Moving on.

With continued interruption to the schedule, today, I want to debate. I want to know what you think about the future of publishing. Of course, I have brought together some interesting facts and articles and some points of note. So I hope you bought your most opinionated self cause I’m interested in what you got to say. Without further ado…

Let’s talk the future of publishing.


Technological advancements have heralded the era of indies. The ease and speed at which one can click happy their way into the rain forest of books is frankly startling. Gone are the days of tortoise publishing, where it takes a gajillion years from inking THE END to seeing it on the shelf because of overly agented bureaucracy and publishing paperwork.

Gone too are the wondrous years of 2011, when you could click upload and get instant visibility, sales and a shit ton of mulaaaaa in the bank from Amazon.

It’s no longer good enough to just write books. Not if you want to actually sell any. You need to treat writing like a business.

Now you have to be a CEO, a marketer, a social media expert, copywriter, and if there’s any time left in your day, then maybe, just fucking maybe you can be a writer. Much as it pains me to say it, you can’t afford to wallow in your creative writing love nest with your fave characters anymore. You need tactics, strategies and big picture thinking to ensure you keep selling books.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Actually, the prospect of being a CEO of my own mini writing business quite excites me.

Sacha as el' Presidente... Perhaps after one too many tequilas!

Sacha as el’ Presidente… Perhaps after one too many tequilas!

But… I’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to some exceptional leaders during my short career, and because of that, I have an inkling about what it takes to be successful and its horrifying.

After I finished my Masters degree, I was elected as President of the students union, which led to me spending a lot of time with the Vice Chancellor (The uni’s headmaster) and he taught me an extremely important lesson. While people might not change, the world does, and fast. Industries, sectors and technology develop so fast, that if you aren’t on top of your game, you will get left behind.

Good CEOs keep up with the times, exceptional ones are ahead of it. They predict the future. No. They create it. They forge ahead as front runners. They know where the industry will be in five, ten, twenty years time because they are the ones taking us there.

I heard today that Google has a fifty year strategy – mind boggling isn’t it? But that’s what global monopolies can do.

Sure, no ones expecting us wee writers to be Vincent van Goghing industry changing masterpieces. But sitting up and taking note of what’s happening in our world is kind of important.

In 2011 there were less than a million ebooks. Today there are over 4million and EVERY DAY another 3500 are added. If you want to be seen, you better make damn sure you know all the latest marketing techniques. Putting your book in the rainforest and hoping it gets seen is going to lead you to an Amazon ranking with more digits than Pi.

 

Here’s where the debate really starts… In Feb 2016, the Author Earnings Report showed that:

“The Big 5 now account for less than a quarter of ebook purchases on Amazon, while indies are closing in on 45%.”

That’s right. You heard correctly. Traditional publishing is dying. Everyone knows about Barnes & Nobles struggles. But it’s not just them. The ebook market is destroying traditional publishing, and not in a friendly, it’s not about the winning kind of way. In a… I’m going to fuck you up, then fuck your family up and then I’ll start on every other bitch you know, kind of way. It’s cattier than the queen bees playground.

Publishers are dying because they aren’t evolving. Instead of creating the future of books, they are stuck with a big fat D + for effort and forging on with what they know best; acquisitions and mergers. Someone seriously needs to have a word, before we end up in some dystopian mind fuck for a society, where no one can write with a pen and there’s no such thing as paperbacks. Except of course, in museums. Oh and Facebook is always listening. Seriously though. You actually need to turn your microphone off in your settings.

Last year, there were rumours, spread by corporate publishing conglomerates that paperbacks were making a resurgence and ebook sales were falling.

Umm. no. Sorry darling big 5, but the only reason paperbacks made a come back was because of the adult colouring book craze last year and that fad is well and truly over. As for ebook sales, they only looked like they dropped, because indies are taking over the market, and indies don’t need ISBNs. If you don’t have an ISBN your book sales don’t count in their calculations. et voila, the appearance of lower ebook sales.

Image from creative commons

Image from creative commons

But what next? Where in the shit is the future of book sales going? If five years ago ebooks were barely a thing, imagine where we will be at the next Olympics.

Amazon just pumped 5 BILLION into the Indian market. Five fucking billion! Can you imagine writing that cheque? My point is, it means something. It means the Indian market is thriving. It’s growing and Amazon wants a piece of that juicey pie.

And what of Kindles? Did you know that Kindle device sales are slowing? Why? Because no one reads on a kindle anymore, everyone reads books on their phones. (Yes, I know I am making sweeping statements, but you know I’m right). I forget where I read the article about the percentage of people who read entirely on their phone, but it was frighteningly high.

I do it. I read 100% of fiction on my phone and the only actual books I buy are non-fiction or a fictional story I loved.

And then there’s the phone penetration statistics. We’re set to reach 5 billion mobile phone users by 2019, that’s 70% of the worlds population. Is anyone else terrified by that statistic? Trust me when I tell you, big brother is watching, and if you’re an author, your website had better be mobile friendly.

The third world is coming after us, technology will not leave a single stone unturned, you watch, Jeff Bezos will be chucking his loose change into Africa next. It might take five or ten years, but I’m telling you, it’s the only unchartered market left. And there’s already signs of it on the horizon – blue chip firms with their corporate social responsibility are pumping kindle devices into third world countries pre-loaded with books. And so they bloody should, everyone deserves stories.

Image from CC. YES I know it's not a bloody elephant, but what's a girl to do? Apparently licence free images of headphone wearing elephants don't exist.

Image from CC. YES I know it’s not a bloody elephant, but what’s a girl to do? Apparently licence free images of headphone wearing elephants don’t exist.

Then there’s the quiet friend, the elephant casually chilling in the corner with Dr. Dre Beats on. Audiobooks. They’re coming for us. I’m telling you. We humans are fickle, lazy, impatient beasts. Why read when you can listen and do five hundred other things at the same time? No ones fucking present any more. We’re too busy stalking the miserable lives of people we haven’t seen in two decades on Facebook, or slathering over the next SnapChat we receive.

It ain’t a coincidence that Amazon announced just last week that Prime customers get yet another freebie – audible membership thrown in for frizzle.

Times are changing. I for one, have no intention of writing one book and watching it drown in a sea of invisibility. Fuck that. I want to be writing full time and selling books when I am 90 and need the font size at one billion. But the only way to survive in this business is to adapt, and to adapt you need to see the future.

So tell me, writerly wizards, where do you think the publishing industry is going?


Enjoyed this post? Subscribe for more posts just like it as well as the latest in publishing news and competitions. Sign up now.funny 5-july

116 comments

  1. An awful lot of authors I came across are moving from traditional publishing routes to self or indie publishing to regain control over their own work it seems. I still prefer a ‘real’ book to read otherwise I tend to forget it’s on my phone or kindle!

    1. It’s funny you mention real books – In the last 5 months or so, I have started to actively grow my ‘real’ book collection. I’d read so many books and yet couldn’t see any evidence of it. So I ended up buying a bunch of my favourite ones, just to say I had them and could see them on my shelf! Bizarre behaviour really because I don’t re-read books! that’s good to know though… I suspect thats the same for a lot of reviewers? (send them paperbacks?)

  2. First, congratulations on surviving meltdown 😉

    I agree with you… though I am, and always will be, a lover of hard copy books. I do read on my phone…on the PC the laptop, the Kindle…in fact, wherever books are available. Much more convenient to read on a device I m carrying anyway than to stuff War and Peace in my handback and risk a dislocated neck.

    Indie publishing has come a long way in the past few years and we have to step up and learn, constantly, even just to get a book out there, let alone to get it seen. On the plus side, that should keep ageing brains nice and active… and hopefully, as technologies advance and spread, see vast quantities of literature being made available in places where books were once a luxury too.

    1. Hehe, thank you! I nearly didn’t survive! hahah. It’s true you know, over the last 5 months I have started collecting hard copies again because I wasn’t happy my bookshelves were bear. Ridiculous really, because I don’t re-read books generally so they will sit there looking pretty and untouched! I love the thought that technology will enable books to not be luxuries. Knowledge should be free and easily accessible for anyone, not just the rich.

      1. I agree with you on that too… although not the it about not re-reading books. If it was worth reading cover to cover once, there is probably a lot more in there than meets the eye, so mine are always re-read.

  3. I am one of those people who reads ALL my fiction on my phone, always have. Never owned a Kindle or other e-reading device, never needed to. The app is free and excellent and regularly gets updated. I also love having loads of books on my lovely little phone, I can read wherever in tbe world I am. Yes, big trad pubs love to manipulate the sales figures of ebooks, but the fact is, those figures dont take account of any book sales but their own. And they charge almost as much for their ebooks as for their print books, so no wonder their e-sales arent good!

    1. Interesting that you went straight to the phone device – clearly you are way ahead of the times! to be fair, I had a kindle, but mostly I was already reading on my phone, so it was a bit late for me too. You’re dead right there – bloody publishers are terrible for pricing. Ahh well, in a few more years there might only be the big 3 !!

      1. Lol! Yes! But also I think there will be the emergence of smaller new publishers who can utilise the market more effectively, who will be keen to court authors and offer them the expertise they crave. But I think we’re quite a long way from that yet.

  4. First of all, huge congratulations for finally getting it done, and yes, I know it is TERRIFYING the first time – believe me, it stays that way. I have just sent my 13th book for Amazon off to 10 book bloggers and am sick with nerves about it. The first person to read the book is always my proofreader, and that REALLY scares me – not because of the typos, because everyone makes them, but because she is the FIRST PERSON TO READ IT!

    What do you do now? You start on the next book!

    Great stuff about the future of publishing, btw, really well thought out and in touch. I am amazed that everyone reads on their phones, I can’t imagine it!! I read everything on my ereader (never buy paperbacks except for the occasional second hand one).

    My view? I think that in the future the GOOD stuff will be self-published, as the publishers stick more and more to what they know sells – it will be like the indie music scene of the 1980s, when the big companies were all producing the pop shite that sells loads. With the good, imaginative stuff you will also get a lot of utter rubbish from people who don’t know they can’t write, the same as with music, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    Well done!

    1. Thanks so much Terry, it has felt like SUCH a long road, that I am still a little shell shocked I even handed it over! let alone the fact it was finished! Wowza 13th?? Is your proof reader your sister? Am I right in thinking she’s a proof reader?

      I have a TON of blog related admin, so have been trying to catch up with that, but I have two more projects due for completion before xmas, so I had better get a shifty on and complete them!!

      Thanks so much for the lovely complement 😀 it made my day. Thats a really thoughtful insight too – I suspect you might be right – publishing in the traditional form will become extremely elitist and samey, which is a shame really. I have a feeling that if they are going to save themselves, then it will be by venturing into international rights sales and distribution for indies, that, and trying to buy our paperback rights. Otherwise I think they are Fuuuuuuuuuudged.

      1. Yes, my sister is @ProofreadJulia!

        I don’t think that trad pub will become elitist, but samey – for sure! It already is…. you know all those Itsy Bitsy Cupcake Cottage down the Itsy Bitsy Daisy Lane chick lit books? Someone who knows lots of trad pub chick lit writers told me that they are actually GIVEN THE TITLES AND TOLD TO PRODUCE THEM…. it’s no different from the way they churn out pop hits via computers that work out the formula. Horrible!

        1. That’s the one. I thought it was your sister – I actually asked what she charged the other day as I was thinking about a proof read after the editor. But I’m mulling over funds first, as I have a few books to launch next year and shit gets pricey REAL quick.

          I think maybe I meant samey – and by samey I mean elitist! :p it kind of is already – they only put big marketing budgets behind established long standing authors, isnt that a bit elitist? sure it makes business sense, but it also means if your the underdog you don’t stand a chance.

          OH MY GOD. It’s like some kind of messed up dystopian author farm. How can they remain creative? F*** that. Indie all the way!

  5. Fudgebuggins is the best word ever. I haven’t tried traditional publishing (though I’d like to for my YA ghost novel, just to say I have) but even the indie publisher route doesn’t wholly satisfy me. I’ll leave my Westerns with their publisher because he’s pulp to the bone, and he’s awesome to work with, but I’m totally putting everything else out myself. Mostly because I’m a control freak but also because I want to be in charge of my own business!

    1. lol, I actually don’t know where it came from, got to love making up a new word! Yeah, for a while that’s how I felt too about trad publishing – to be fair, I think we indies would probably still need publishers for international rights sales, but other than that, and possibly paperbacks, I am not sure what we would use them for? Not having to pay up front maybe?? Im too much of a control freak too to tbf.

  6. Very intersting article, Sacha. But I think reality is far more complex than this.

    Personally, I think ebook and trad book will end up living together and have very different markets. We tend to think that if indi books rise they will eat away at the trad market. I don’t think this is what’s happening. I think the indie market is creating its own space, which is different from the trad market. It’s different in terms of modus operandi, in terms of kind of stories that are acquired and sold, in terms of work behind the product (although this is where the two market overlap the most) and above all, they are different in terms of customers.
    And I don’t mean that the market with split between indie-buying customers and trad-buying customer. I mean that customers will be both, but will turn to one market or the other depending what they are looking for, the distition restin especially on price and quality.

    I often hear about this argument that ebooks seem to be falling because ebooks without ISBN are not counted.
    My opinion is that they are not counted because they might not be books. Now I know my bookseller’s mind is coming into this but here’s what I think.
    In the trad market, all publishers are operating in a standardised way. Sure, there are big publishers and small publisher, good publishers and bad publishers, but the way they operate is basically the same: acquisition of a book, editing process, bulding of the project, publiscation, marketing. They will also deposit the book with a ISBN because that’s required by law and is an indication that the book has all the characteristics that will allow the author to defend their work if any problem ever arises.
    Now let’s look at indie books. Sure, there is a percentage of indie authors that go the same route as trad publishers. They will go through the same stages as the standardised traditional route and their books will be professional products. But let’s face it, this is a small percentage.
    Most indie authors are far more amateurial, and a part of them (well, of us, I’m an indie author too) don’t really have a clue what they’re doing. My 11-year-old nephew could publish a story on Amazon and his book would appear as an ebook right beside Neil Gaiman’s new book.
    That’s why statistics don’t take into account the mere number of ebooks out there, in my opinion. Because a number of them can’t be considered books. So statistics take into account the ISBN because when an author deposit his book with an ISBN it shows the author knows what the standard procedure is and it can be infer that his book will be up to studards. (You bet that Neil Gaiman’s book will have an ISBN and my nephew’s won’t 😉 )

    I think this will be the true distiction, in the future. Not between indie and trad books, but between professianal and amateurish books.
    We are not there yet, but I think that’s where we’re heading.

    As for the resurgence of papaer books, I’ve read recently there is a very specific reason for that and it’s the same reason why audiobooks are rising: people just can’t stand screens anymore. We work in front of screens, we go to the cinema and watch a screen, we watch the tv screen, we even watch out phone screen, we use social media on screen. So when people want to relax with a book, increasingly they choose a paper book or an audio book. It’s self defence, basically. And I think this is a very intersting evolution of the market, one that I wasn’t expecting.

    So, I don’t want to hijack your post, Sacha, I think I’ve talked more than enough!
    But thanks for starting the conversation. It is a very interesting topic 🙂

    1. Ahh but of course, if I tried to include every nuance I would have rambled on for a decade!

      While I agree in part, I’m not sure I agree fully. The author earnings report shows a direct correlation between indie sales going up and trad sales coming down. So I do think that the indie market is eating away at the trad one, BUT perhaps that is less about big block buster indies and more about the fact there are just so many of them and they all have small pockets of space in the market.

      Where I do agree is on the fact they are carving out different markets. It’s like the rise of indie bands in the 90’s. There was a whole swathe of people that were indie fans. I am sure the same will happen in the book industry too. I think the rise of indies is becoming wildly popular over all our industries – just look at the likes of Etsy’s popularity for niche art, clothes and jewellery. People don’t want to buy from faceless bureaucracies any more, blue chips are untrustworthy and when someone can see quality (like on etsy) they are willing to pay.

      I understand what you’re saying about ISBNs and book quality, but I know a lot of indie authors who are exceptional and don’t use ISBNs – like Joanna Penn for example. She’s an amazing author and sells tens of thousands of books every year and hasn’t ever used them. I would like to think that there would be a distinction between amateur and professional books – but I am not sure that will be the case, there are a lot of badly written books that make best sellers – like 50 shades. I personally wouldn’t call that a professional book – yet it has an ISBN and a polished cover and supposedly went through editors. Like you said right at the start, this is so complex, and there are so many variables and nuances that we couldn’t boil it down, but it’s a bloody interesting debate. I am so honoured you took the time to write such a thoughtful comment. Thanks Sarah 😀

  7. I think you pretty much covered that question, Sacha. Terrifyingly. Progress is a wonderful thing, but it is starting to scare the pants off of me. If I thought I was lacking something in the technical department before, I now know I don’t stand a chance. But will that stop me? Not in a million yeras!

    1. It is terrifying, but kind of exciting too, don’t you think?

      Hey, I’ll have none of that. You work really hard, and you stand just as much of a chance as the rest of us. I’m glad nothing will stand in your way 😀

  8. Glad you survived your meltdown, Sacha! I think we all have those moments, especially with the first book. But don’t stress, all will be well 🙂
    As for the future of publishing, I think you’ve pretty much covered it. Hugh Howey does a pretty good job of it as well – in fact, in one of his most recent posts on the subject, he posits that independent bookstores are on their way back, which is really good news. Amazon is already onto that as well, opening stand alone stores – I think perhaps it’s because there are always going to be people who like holding a ‘real’ book. I must say I still prefer it – I don’t love my Kindle, other than ease of transport, and there’s nothing like getting your published book and holding it in your hands. Can’t do that with a phone or Kindle.
    I find the marketing and promotion side of things the most difficult part of being a writer and, to be honest, I think I’m pretty crap at it 😀 But I have had to make a conscious decision to run my writing as a small business, and promotion is a big part of that – it’s a constant learning curve. But the upside is total creative control – over the story, the edit and the cover design – something that is appealing to more and more authors, including those traditionally published. So. The future of publishing? I think indie writers are going to get more and more credibility, independent book stores will make a resurgence, and emerging markets are going to be where the e-book money is at. Now, how to tap into it all… ?

    1. haha, after 24 hours I took a chill pill and I am alllll good again :p

      LOVE Hugh Howey – I haven’t been following him long, but what I’ve seen so far is amazing and insightful.

      Its not just holding them or seeing them fill your shelf that I love, I love the smell of books too – old musty ones are just as good as new ones!

      Marketing is hard. I think it’s hard because its an extroverted activity and most writers are introverted, so it pushes them WAY out of their comfort zone.

      1. Yes, Hugh is awesome, definitely. He really gets it. Oh, and speaking of marketing, area libraries are having indie author days coming up (St Albans, Letchworth and Hemel) You get a table, a chance to sell and promote your books. I’m doing St Albans next month, then Hemel next May (which might work out for you too?) Cool to see the libraries getting on board with indies.

          1. Yes, I’m booked into St Albans and Hemel – I’ve found the local libraries to be quite supportive, actually. St Albans is next month, I’ll let you know how it goes x

          2. Well that is VERY encouraging, I happen to be friends with the leading lady in charge of libraries in Hertfordshire, so I am chuffed to hear you’re getting a good service 😀

  9. It’s scary to think how different things will be in the future. I’ve been working on my novel for almost three years now. I’m hoping to finish it next year, but by then how different will everything be?
    I definitely prefer physical books over ebooks. I like turning the pages and seeing them on my bookshelf. Though I do have a Kindle and use it often. I love BookBub and getting a good deal on a book.

  10. Good article. Congratulations on sending off your novel, if you didn’t have writer’s doubt I would be worried. It shows that you care about your work. The people who think they are sending out a masterpiece are generally the ones who end up disappointed.?

    I disposed of my paperback collection apart from a dozen favourites and my travel books. I read everything on my kindle so haven’t quite made the transition to using my phone yet.

    The vast majority of my sales are ebooks, probably 99% and that suits me as the income per individual sale is higher.
    As you said, the market is getting crowded and it is very difficult to be heard through all the noise. We need to find innovative ways to market ourselves and we may need to move away from thinking of ‘selling books’.

    I’m going to start experimenting a bit more, possibly with an existing book rather than my new one.
    I’m sure it has been done before but I may serialise one on my blog. Maybe 1,000-2,000 words per week. If people want it quicker they can buy the ebook or paperback, if they want to read it for free then great it’ll just take longer. They may enjoy it and buy another one of my books.

    Whilst a good online presence is crucial, don’t underestimate good old face to face contacts. I hate the word ‘networking’ but I’ve got a lot of sales and other side projects from getting to know and helping people who then go on to spread the word about my books.

    I’m very interested in what other ideas people have.

    1. haha, well that’s reassuring then, because I do really really care.

      WOW, I can’t believe you basically got rid of the lot. I’ve spring cleaned my collection a number of times, but I don’t think I could bear to get rid of the lot.

      Yep – that doesn’t surprise me in the slightest – most indie authors have their sales from ebooks. I think experiments are REALLY good, especially if you track and measure any variables and results, that way you can tweak to perfection.

      Thanks so much for reading 😀

  11. I have to admit that I don’t want Audiobooks to be the next big thing. Those are so different from physical books and ebooks that many new authors will be left out. It could work really well alongside ebooks and be a boon for voice actors, but the process is so different that I can’t see it as a replacement. As for where I think the industry will go, I’m not sure. If you asked me a year or two ago, I’d say indies would become the talent pool for big publishers to choose from. Today, I feel like the Big 5 are holding onto their established talent and Amazon is focused on being like them. So the indies aren’t finding as many ladders to the next level as they used to. This year has been incredibly slow for sales in general, so maybe we’re looking at the tipping point. Another challenge that might factor into this is that many people won’t touch a book unless it has a movie or TV series attached to it. The adaptation is becoming a central milestone instead of an extra adventure.

    1. I know, I am not much of a fan either, but I know lots of people who are. I don’t suppose it will ever completely replace books, but I do think its going to have a surge over the next 5 to 10 years.

      Unfortunately I think the indies who are emerging from the pot are the ones who have the spare cash to inject into advertising. I hate that its true, but I really believe it is.

      Now the TV thing for me, is a bit chicken and egg – because they never seem to be popular until the TV series comes out.

      1. It will be an interesting surge. The question I have is if it will benefit authors or voice actors more. Usually, you still have the ebook or paperback to go with the audiobook. Totally agree with the indies getting further if they have more funds to work with, but I guess that’s to be expected. This is how you can get more exposure until you forge a stable brand.

        1. Now that is a jolly good question. I suspect authors, because even if you do the royalty share with the voice actor, it’s only for 7 years. Whereas the author then earns royalties for life and 70 years posthumous. SO in the long run, my gut says author, especially when the author isnt taking a risk. They have the book out there already. The voice actor will only have his name to the audio book – if it fails he won’t get income.

  12. I’d like to pick up on a slightly tangential point. You mentioned your experience at uni and keeping up with things. We recently got a valuation for a client in our block who wants to sell. We thought the valuation was vastly OTT. As did two other flat owners here. The valuer’s out of touch, we all said. Then we discovered a flat in the block was on the market for the sum the valuer had mentioned and another leaseholder had been offered even more for his flat (didn’t want to sell though). Point is, it’s so easy to become complacent and live in the past. The publishing industry continues to change and we all need to keep abreast of what is happening, and look for new opportunities to market ourselves. We need to look at new/different networks as well as the ones we are comfortable with. I’ve had five new enquiries this week after using a different social media forum – just hope they don’t all say yes!!

    1. Now that’s very interesting and what a positive for you too even if now isn’t the right time to sell, it’s still nice to know. You’re so right though, things change almost daily these days it is FAR too easy to fall behind. What fab news on the new social media forum too, thats amazing.

    1. Thanks Craig, 😀 ahh well, I heard its already changing – you can royalty share for a start so that you don’t have to outlay a ton of dosh. That’s a start at least I guess.

      1. I knew about that, but I’ve also heard that the talent you get isn’t quite the same quality. I’m going to do it eventually, but I think I need to get to a different level first. Then I want to explore graphic novels which are similar in how they royalty share or pay up front.

        1. I didn’t know that. That is good to know. Personally, I kind of want to do my own. I was a voice actor as a kid, so I figure it’s like riding a bike… cough cough pahahahahahaha.

          1. It is part of the marketing process. You share amazing stuff. I am going to start talking about more about the elements in my book. I think it is necessary to start drawing folks into the magic of the story. 😀

  13. While the ebook may be doing incredibly well I believe (and really hope) that the paperback will survive. At least until we’re old and grey. Some day maybe everything will be digital, both books and everything else. But I know a great many people who still prefer the paperback (or hardback), the entire bookstagram community is proof of that. As it is now most people are already spending way too much time with their eyes glued to a screen, and it’s nice to get a break from that by reading actual paper books instead. I only buy ebooks if they’re free, if I can’t afford a physical copy or if I don’t know whether or not it’s worth spending so much money on a physical copy (which is the case with most indie books I buy). I personally hate reading books on my phone and I like looking at my bookshelf and seeing the books. I think it’s a shame that a lot of self-published authors don’t offer physical copies of their books. That’s just my opinion though.

    1. I hope they do too. I love paperbacks, despite mostly reading ebooks. I have started restocking my bookshelf over the last few months in protest haha!

      I agree by the way on the physical book thing. Not only is it a shame, its also bad business not to offer a paperback. I can’t understand why they don’t when the createspace and ingramspark print on demand services are so easy to set up.

  14. The era of big publishing houses is well and truly over. (they just haven’t realised they’re corpses yet) Smaller publishing outfits who can respond and re-engage quickly are starting to come into their own. Individual authors are ‘doin’ it for themselves’.

    What a wonderful time to be an author! 😀

  15. A word of advice, Sacha: when you get the comments back from your awesome beta readers, read through once, then put away for at least a week and let it simmer. Otherwise I foresee you will self-combust!!! Seriously, the stages are: rage, annoyance, despair, then, hopefully, you are galvanized into rewriting and corrections. Good luck!
    Regarding publishing, the only good thing that came out of my looking for an agent is it made me rewrite a lot, and I think (hope) improve the ms. I would have been mortified had I pushed the button already. And I’m also getting on with book number two since I feel throwing something out there with no follow up will allow it to sink without a trace. ?

    1. haha, noted. To be fair, by the end I hated it so much if anyone even says they liked a single sentence I’ll be made up! :p
      I think rewrites are amazing post feedback, it’s a wonder what you can do with a bit of objectivity.

  16. At a writers conference I went to earlier this year, I met a girl who’d just been given a publishing contract, though not with one of the big publishers. I’ve noticed there are a few of these companies setting up, aiming to market the hell out of new books and launch them as e-books, only making hard copies available via POD. What I found staggering was that, having been given the contract, she had all the decisions taken away from her: the title was changed, the genre was shifted, the cover was presented to her with no opportunity to approve it… The publisher had complete control.

    To be fair, that book has gone on to become a bestseller, and her profile has been raised significantly, so maybe they know something she doesn’t. But I’m not sure I’d want to give up all of that control (though it might be worth considering selling your soul for a three book deal if it does raise your profile – you can always use your newly acquired fame as a platform going forward).

    Personally, I think you’re right in thinking that Indie is the way forward, Sacha. But you’re also right in thinking we should keep an eye on where the next trends are going to be. (I’m going to have a lie down now, so I can face that challenge refreshed in the morning.)

    1. Now THAT is very interesting. I am not in the least bit surprised about all her rights and control being taken away. I take it you aren’t going to dish the dirt on who this best seller is?

      1. You’re right, I’m not. That would be un-gentlemanly. Even if she is a bestseller, she’s only just starting out, and I wouldn’t want to risk damaging her relationship with her publisher by putting that out in a public forum. The circumstances, though, were worth sharing as it offers a useful insight for other authors who are considering which way to go.

        That said, bearing in mind the headache your series title gave you, having someone else make those decisions for you might have been a good thing!

  17. I enjoy hard copy books. I have rows upon rows of them, but the majority of my book purchases are now ebooks. It’s is the only way my reading addiction hasn’t resulting in the need to build on an entire addition to my house just to maintain my collection.

  18. You know what you should be doing now, don’t you? Writing another book. The book you sent out to beta readers is nowhere near done, so don’t worry about that. You’ll have loads more ideas for it once they send it back, so you’ll have another session rewriting it (in places). But you should be thinking about the next one. Now. Oh and I haven’t a clue where the publishing industry is going. Nobody tells me anything.

    1. Aloha, haha, I am don’t worry. 13k into it. BUT IT WAS AWFUL trying to start. I was drained and empty and felt lousy once I pressed send. It’s been a very slow start, I have only maybe added 1000 words this week. but 1000 is 1000. I am speeding up with each day. But it’s hard, because this is non-fiction. I’ve also outlined the next Keepers book and the prequel. So that helps 😀

      haha, no one tells me nothing either, but that don’t stop me guessing!

        1. haha, well, trying. I have found it exceedingly difficult to get into the flow, but then it’s a non-fiction piece, and so using a different side of the brain all together. Sigh.

  19. What a great post, Sacha. Congratulations on sending your book baby out to beta readers. I too went through the whole “OMG What have I done”, phase. It`s not good. I am a bit like a schoolgirl starting second year with my notebooks and pens and rulers all shiny new. But, I am giving self-publishing a go, I have an editor, without whom there would be no “Wisp”, and I was very lucky to find an awesome cover designer who is also going to format my book for me. She asked me on messenger “Who is going to format your book?” and I went “Doesn`t create space do that?” “No Adele.” and I went “Shiteeeeeee.” so she stepped in and avoided me having a major meltdown. So what happens next is I get the final copy back from wonderful editor, get it up and running on amazon then……….I have a cunning plan. In my head. Well actually written down in one of the shiny new notebooks. Marketing……FB, Blog, local bookstore, the local paper, you tube, library, door to door…..lol….but it if works hey I`m not afraid of hard work. Big publishers versus indie publishers. hmmm…….I think I would say to the big 5 “And where did the dinosaurs go?” They need to change to accommodate both the indie market and the public’s need to escape for a reasonable price. I think we`ll see more and more hybrids appearing. indie publishers with a foot in both worlds. I`m a kindle gal. I don`t own a mobile, I have a Tesco huddle instead for now which I can read books on and face time people. God this is a longgggggg comment. Love for getting your book out there, big hugs. x

    1. Hey my lovely, WOW, so sorry for the delay, I have been manic. Haha, yeah I am dreading the formatting, I am strongly considering not formatting the non-fiction I think it would be too much of a pain in the a-hole. But I think I will give Keepers a go myself, it’s quite expensive, and I’d like to keep costs as low as poss.

      I am just developing my plan. Unfortunately it seems to involve a lot of money being spent. Sigh. But like you, I am not afraid of hard work either.

      Wait what? No mobile…… *gasps* don’t actually know what I would do without it anymore. I want one of those timed lock boxes, to break the addiction!

  20. bwwwwahahaaha! Everytime I read one of your blog posts, it’s like your personality is jumping out the page. I love it so much.
    Such hilarious moments here:
    SonOfABitchWhatHaveIDone? hahahha
    “is going to lead you to an Amazon ranking with more digits than Pi.”
    haha was “Indian market” a play on Indie?
    Among others.

    Great wisdom shared & you backed it up with stats that I didn’t even know about. It’s quite shocking actually.
    you just totally mind fucked me into a whirlwind on more questions now lol. I have to reevaluate what I know and my whole strategy.

    On a another note, are you doing NanoWrimo this year?

    1. Hehe, glad you liked it and that I make you smile 😀

      Lol, no for once, Indian market wasn’t a joke – I really did mean the book market in India!!

      Yeah, it’s shocking actually, but you get a bunch of hits on your own website, so if you have an engaged audience already, maybe you won’t have so many issues?

      Not doing NaNo in the formal sense, but I suspect I will probably pen nearly 50K in November anyway!

  21. I’ve tried reading on my iPhone and hated every moment of it. I felt like I was some little fairy reading a book (no jokes please!) ?
    But, I have to agree with you on reading paper or hardbacks. I much prefer to feel the real book in my hands than read on my iPad. A year ago, I was having a go at everyone who was still reading the paper versions. “You’re all so 1990s” I was telling them all. Now, I’ve joined them. I like to see where I am in a book and find it far easier to read. If independent bookstores are really making a comeback, then that can only be a good thing. However, I’ll only ever be an indie author.

    1. haha *sniggers* okay, grown up conversation…

      Yeah, I definitely like the feel of a paperback, but I can’t be doing with the expense or room it takes up, we only have a small place, and as a voracious reader paperbacks have become a treat now 🙁 sad really.

      1. We have an almost full bookcase. However, I’m never afraid to pass on good books to the charity shop where not only do I pass a story on to somebody else (instead of it laying on my bookshelf) but it also goes towards helping somebody who has a greater need. I can always buy that book again. ?

        1. Do you know, I’ve actually bought a few books for the second time recently, although I resented doing it. But that was only because I wished I’d never got rid of them in the first place!

  22. I just read my first book on my phone. I thought it would be too small for the old eyeballs, but…it was just fine!

    I think you’re right, Sacha, about the decline of traditional publishing. The Big 5 will always be around, and for an author, the marketing support they provide is a godsend. But small publishers without marketing budgets don’t add much that authors can’t manage themselves. Going indie ups the profits that can be reinvested in promotions – a rather nice cycle. Having published both ways, I’m a fan of indie publishing all the way. One thing that I think will happen over time is that the indie market will develop some vetting vehicles to push the great books to the top. We see Amazon starting to weed out the poorly constructed books and that’s a step in the right direction.

    Hey, congrats on hitting “send!” Just wait for that moment you click on “Publish!”

    1. haha, I’ll be honest, I do usually increase the size of the font to make it easier on the eyes, I also put night mode on a lot of the time, because I want the harsh light removed. It helps, a lot.

      You were one of the key influencers that pushed me to go indie. Just so you know… If I hadn’t read that post of yours about coming away from your publisher, I might have gone down that road. SO glad you wrote it. It’s gone down as one of the most influential posts I have ever read.

      Now, wouldn’t that just be amazing – if there was a mechanism to push the good books up to the parapet that would be amazing, but I feel cynical today, so I’m not convinced.

      1. The world of publishing is changing rapidly, Sacha. I think the trend will be more and more sales share to indie authors which will encourage trad publishers to up their game – all good for authors. There are already some vetting mechanisms out there though they are small in scale right now. I’m going to post about the results of my switch in a couple weeks. All good news including sales up about a billion %. You’ll be happy with your choice. 🙂

        1. It really really is. So fast it boggles my mind. I didn’t know there were vetting mechanisms – I mean I know Amazon is cracking the whip on books with stacks of errors etc, but I didn’t know there were actual mechanisms. I hope I am… I am so so filled with horrid doubts at the moment. Not that it’s stopping me, but it is plaguing my mind and I’m bored of going round in circles.

  23. Great piece and a question that will always plague authors! Personally, I would love a new breed of publisher that takes care of printing & distribution of PBs, while allowing the author to retain digital rights. More of a partnership really. Does that already exist?! If so, please point the way 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Evie, I would love that too, I wonder if a new breed will be born? I think there are some hybrid organisations that help writers, but I am not sure how many rights you get to keep – I suspect they need to make a buck or two as well…

Leave a Reply