Self-Publishing Apocalypse? The Upcoming Bubble
A few months ago, an article was published in the Guardian about an upcoming self-publishing bubble. In it, the author makes several good points one being, insiders (the indie elite) fleeing the market and seeking traditional publication. Another, was the proliferation of established brands getting involved in the self-publishing craze, remember Penguin and their launch of Book Country? Or more recently, Simon & Shuster’s acquisition of Author Solutions this past November?
As he went on, it was apparent that we are in a bubble, and so I’ve been rethinking my next move. No matter what, market bubbles are never pretty, we’ll all be affected in some way but how much is completely up to us.
Hedge Your Bets
The writing is on the wall, even self-publishing gurus these days are using words like “hybrid publishing” when before it was: “indie or die.”
As annoying as the gurus are, they’re right, the key to surviving this bubble will be diversification. Since our books are our number one asset it would be wise to publish across multiple platforms. That includes; ebooks, audio books, novellas, short stories and even articles. We spend so much time writing, editing and rewriting a given project, that we owe it to ourselves to keep our minds open to ALL publishing opportunities.
Build a Strong Platform
Self-publishing is a hustle and those who are aggressively putting their work out there in the world, will survive the upcoming bubble. That means those blogging, guest posting, and those proactively seeking interviews, and reviews won’t be harmed as much as the author who’s waiting to be discovered.
Remember writing is a business and if you don’t know what’s going on in the industry, you’re at a serious disadvantage. Let’s put it this way, if you have no idea what DRM means, then you got some studying to do. A good idea is to look at the self-publishing superstars and learn what they did and how.
Authors who aren’t afraid to spend money on advertisements, and coaching will be better off than those who try to wing it. Though I don’t recommend spending your life savings, it would be wise to not only make your book as professional as possible, but to find the right people to market to which sometimes requires money.
Authors Will Have to Stop Giving it Away
As more and more authors offer up their ebooks on Amazon’s KDP altar, free books, will eventually get old. Meaning there will be little value placed on our work.
This was a huge issue when I freelanced during the economic downturn. It was called “the race to the bottom” and it pissed off a lot of veteran freelance writers who saw their rates go further and further down. Many content mills popped up, like Demand Studios and Examiner.com who offered visibility or ad revenue to their writers, but little, if any, cash. Visibility by the way, is the same strategy being used by Amazon’s KDP program! Feeling queasy yet?
That bubble burst, only after Google cracked down on content mills and black hat SEO. And in textbook fashion, insiders like Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post– bailed selling her company to AOL for $315 million dollars. This created a backlash from those writers who worked for very little, or in most cases, free for the site.
This was just one bubble involving writers, but there were others involving the movie and music industries as well. I believe we indie authors would be wise in learning from the mistakes of our fellow artists rather than repeating history and finding ourselves with the short end of the stick.
So what are your thoughts? Are you building your bunker yet?
Posted on February 24, 2013, in Business, Publishing, Writing Business and tagged Content mills, Ebooks, Huffington Post, Market Bubble, Self Publishing, Self-publishing bubble. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.