An Oversaturated Indie Book Market Will Raise the Stakes
Self-publishing or “indie” publishing as it’s interchangeably called, really took off around 2012 with Amazon’s creation of Kindle Direct Publishing. As of 2017, that was five years ago—and now there are millions of e-books and paperbacks already being sold on Amazon, with thousands more being published every day. So how do self-published authors combat the oversaturation?
1. The Quality of a Book Has to be Especially Good Nowadays to Compete
It’s even more important for indie authors to have professional editing (contact Midnight Publishing for a free sample edit!), a cover designed by a professional graphic artist, and formatting that looks high-end and flows without glitches in e-book format. Readers have so many other book titles to pick from now that yours must stand out. Thankfully, with the popularity of indie writing and publishing, high quality freelance artists and formatters are easy to find. A few that we recommend to our self-published authors for great covers are: damonza.com, The Scarlett Rugers, and M.S. Corley.
2. Self-Published Authors Need to Produce More Books
Having one or two titles out with so much competition isn’t going to get you to bestseller status—you need five, ten in a series before you can expect to start seeing legitimate returns. Some successful indie authors have begun writing under pen names, building their platforms in several different genres (pen names allow for anonymity and freedom to write in middle grade fiction, fantasy, and erotica/romance) to test out different readerships.
3. Indie Authors Need to Acquire Lots of Accolades
That means entering contests, winning awards and prizes, and essentially having actual proof that your book stands out from the pack. Check out our comprehensive list of popular contests from 2016!
Low Pricing is No Longer a Means of Selling Hordes of Books
Gone are the days when indie authors could charge $0.99 for an e-book and break the Amazon’s bestselling status for their genre. Readers assume that a book for that low of a price is “cheap”—they’re expecting typos, a subpar plot and other issues. This is not always the case (many indie books are making national bestseller lists), but readers are no longer swayed to download “free” or $0.99 books anymore. Another issue has been that the popular book promo site originally accepting indie books, Bookbub, has become increasingly hard to get accepted for (not to mention that running a promotion can cost $400 and up!). Many authors have stated on Amazon forums and in blog posts that the sweet spot for e-book pricing seems to hover around $2.99 and $4.99, which gives self-published authors the advantage over traditionally published e-books, which are often $9.99 and more, while also conveying the book’s quality. Find some opinions and more detailed info about the pros and cons of pricing at Self-Publishing Review’s blog.
Kindle Select is No Longer a Popular Choice for Indie Authors
When Amazon’s Kindle Select program rolled out for self-published authors, it was hailed as a way to regulate the playing field for high quality versus low quality indie books (authors were paid per page read instead of per book downloaded). Plus, it offered several promo deals like the $0.99 Countdown Deal and more. At first, those authors who’d put time and money into making their indie titles shine made more, and saw a lot of success. However, due again to the oversaturation of the market, the trend for 2017 is leaning toward distribution across many platforms versus being on one place—even if that place is Amazon. Amazon’s Kindle Select program just isn’t turning out profits for self-published authors anymore like it once was, and the best way to accumulate a readership is to be in as many places as possible: iBooks, Nook/Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, your own website and Amazon.
As 2017 approaches, the staff at Midnight Publishing wants you to know how much we’d love to help you achieve your publishing dreams. Whether self-publishing or planning to query an independent press or publishing house, Midnight Publishing’s award-winning editors are here for you. We serve clients in Phoenix, Arizona and worldwide, so contact us for a free sample edit and see why we’ve been trusted with over five million words.