Recent research from Pew Research Center found that the number of Americans aged 16 and over who have read e-books grew from 16% in 2011to 23% in 2012. Over the same period, the number of those who read printed books fell from 72% to 67%. And where the US leads, the rest of the world is following.
- This is great news for indies, growing our global market exponentially while keeping our costs down. Most indies find most of their income comes from ebooks — in some cases, as much as 95%.
Amazon, the market leader, has now opened stores in India, Brazil, Japan, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Italy, with more to come and new platforms like Kobo Writing Life are coming on stream. Apple and Google are also paying more attention to self-publishing. And promotional vehicles like Pixel of Ink and Bookbub are bringing authors and readers together
- These offer indie authors worldwide a diversity of opportunities and sales and distribution channels.
More trade published writers are learning about the commercial and creative advantages of going indie and more self-publishers are learning to do what they do better.
- As we share our knowledge and encourage each other towards excellence, the reputation of self-published work goes up and up
Indies have learned that self-publishing does nt mean doing everything yourself and are now hiring professionals to help them deliver great books. (That's why ALLi now has a Partner Membership, to bring good writers and good service providers together).
- Professional editors and books designers and promotion companies, many of whom used to be reluctant to work with indies, are now recognising serious self-publishing writers as great clients.
Self-publishing platforms grow ever more author-friendly and if we don't want to manage too many accounts ourselves, aggregator/distributors like Book Baby and Smashwords offer access to multiple retailers at low cost.
- It has never been easier to for a writer to directly reach readers.
6. Libraries and Literary Organisations Open Up
We're not there yet, and ALLi is shortly taking our campaign “Open Up To Indie Authors” to bookstore owners, literary prizegivers, festivals and events — but there are signs that literary organisations are at last beginning to reach out to self-published authors.
- As the industry wakes up to the reality of self-publishing in the 21st century, they understand they must find ways to accomodate indie authors
7. Bookselling Is Changing
As self-published titles gain readers and accolades, bookstore owners realize that refusing to carry indie author's books is losing sales. Some forward-thinking store owners offer self-publishers an opportunity to buy shelf space for a reasonable price—under similar terms to those offered to traditional houses.
- Booksellers are moving towards stocking self-published books and actively seeking ways to partner with indie authors.
8. Reviews & Features Expand
In 2012, for the first time the New York Times reviewed a self-published book, a groundbreaking moment that said indie books are now impossible to ignore.
- Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post and The Guardian report regularly on self-publishing and indie authors. Other media have begun to follow suit.
9. Indies Strike Better Terms With Trade Publishers
John Locke and Simon and Schuster, Belle Andre and Harlequin — these are just two of the high-profile, seven-figure print-only deals signed between indie authors and trade publishers in recent times. This is also happening on a smaller scale, with smaller distributors actively seeking out self-published authors.
Expect to see many more such deals as indie authors continue to develop their craft and grow their sales opportunities. This has a knock on benefit for all writers.
What do you think? Do you agree that things can only get better? What are your self-publishing plans for 2013?