Questions 3: Publishing in 2020

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From my own experience and asking around, this hasn’t been a very good year for publishing and selling books.  I’m not really going to touch on that second part though since I rant about it a lot on Saturdays.  That and I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on it.  So . . . I’ll jump right into it then.

  1. How would you describe the state of indie publishing?
  2. What do you think could improve it?
  3. What is something that you feel hurts authors in the indie publishing world?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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25 Responses to Questions 3: Publishing in 2020

  1. I don’t think I can answer this in numeric fashion, so I’ll just write. Indi publishing is what it has nearly always been. I think it might be time for an upgrade, like trying to run all the new programs on an old operating system. Currently, people have manipulated the system to get between authors and the market. It seems they want all of our earnings and more in exchange for a glimpse of that market. Perhaps an upgrade to the old systems would give us a better shot. I think folks like Amazon could do more, too. Rather than pinch us for ads, perhaps some kind of advocate would help all of us reach more readers. A million authors all selling 20% more books also trickles into Amazon’s pockets.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would describe the state of indie publishing as a glut of books some good some bad. I don’t think there is a way to improve the glut but I do wish there was a way to improve the ability of an Indie author to attract readers. I think it really hurts indy authors to not be able to raise a voice above the crowd. There are ways to try and do it but those ways are very costly and really don’t work well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. L. Marie says:

    I can’t think of anything better to add than what has already been said.

    Like

  4. acflory says:

    I’ve never understood the ‘pay per click’ principle of advertising so I’ve never used it. Never used any advertising, actually, mostly because I can’t afford it. Does Amazon ‘favour’ those books that are advertised in some way? I mean, apart from the fact that there is an advertisement?

    As an avid reader myself, I choose new reading material on the basis of word-of-mouth rather than advertising, or rankings, or /numbers/ of reviews, but I have a suspicion I’m not typical in that regard. I’ve tried a few books with millions of reviews, and apart from a few exceptions, I’ve always been disappointed. Either I’m a very odd person [always possible], or there’s something wrong with the system. :/

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    • I believe Amazon favors the advertised books only in that they get seen on the site. So, you have more exposure than someone who doesn’t advertise. ‘Pay per click’ I believe is that you only pay for an ad if somebody clicks on it? I haven’t really figured it out myself, which is why I don’t use it either.

      Word-of-mouth is more difficult to get these days. I’ve noticed that most people will stick to the tried and true series, so indie authors don’t get a lot of traffic from casual readers. Also, word-of-mouth has turned more towards social media, which is infinitely harder. I have my stuff getting shared on Twitter all the time, but no sales. I think a bigger factor are reviews, which I can’t figure out how to get. I mean, if nobody is buying the book then nobody is going to review it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • acflory says:

        Sounds like we’re on the same page, Charles. I think part of what’s gone wrong for writers like us is that Kindle Unlimited has been a) gamed and b) subsequently leached all the oxygen from non KU book sales. Absolutely no idea how we become ‘visible’ again. 😦

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      • I use KU, but I don’t think it helps much. It doesn’t give me any extra exposure. Page reads aren’t that much better than sales and don’t net reviews. I think part of he problem is that promoting is too expensive. Only those with a lot of money behind them can take advantage. Those of us without such resources have to depend on free promos, which aren’t what they used to be.

        Liked by 1 person

      • acflory says:

        Yes. for a short while there, Amazon threw open the playing field and invited all of us to have a go. If the story was good, it succeeded. Merit. Now, the playing field is reverting to what it was before. 😦

        Not sure if you’ve noticed, but a lot of very popular Indies have suddenly been taken up by publishers. Given that they’re ‘re-publishing’ ebooks only at this point, I grind my teeth every time I discover a favourite Indie is no longer affordable. 😦

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      • I’ve wondered if Amazon did that open floodgate thing for their own ends. They created a lot of money for themselves and threw the publishing industry into a bit of chaos. Everyone thought they could write and publish a book and that created a tidal wave. Amazon seems to have ridden that to where they are now with books and jumped to their Prime shows. It’s like they built the indie platform and then walked away.

        I haven’t noticed publishers picking up indies recently. I remember it happening a lot years ago, but didn’t see it returning. It is a difficult decision though. Your book becomes more expensive, but you have a company backing you in terms of promotions. Are the publishers hunting for the authors or are the authors doing the hunting?

        Liked by 1 person

      • acflory says:

        Oh I’m sure Amazon did it to be some kind of ‘loss leader’ to bring people to the website. Remember that they made a loss for /years/ and everyone said Bezos was an idiot? Now, you can buy anything and everything on Amazon so they don’t need Indie authors at all. From a business pespective I guess it makes perfect sense. 😦

        I don’t know how the Indies are being picked up, but in scifi, literally most of my favourite Indies are now not-Indies. I guess a lot depends on the genre. As for the benefits…hmm. I think these Indies bought themselves a tick of approval from the industry, but I doubt that the industry will do much for them. Don’t forget, these are Indies with HUNDREDS of reviews, and one assumes very nice sales as well. They built all that on their own. Rather than the publisher enhancing their efforts, I believe the publisher is simply cannibalizing their success. I guess the proof will be what happens in the future.

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      • If they don’t need the indie authors any more then I really wonder what the endgame was for them. It would be strange that they set all of that up for nothing more than money then leave it to rot. Then again, I’m an author and not a businessman.

        It might depend on the author and publishing company. Some might be fostered and nurtured to keep their momentum going. Others might just have been brought in due to their popularity, but they won’t be helped that much. I’ve heard authors have to be their own PR team even if they work for a publishing house, so who knows what’s going to happen. I remember years ago that the news would jump on any indie author that got picked up for a long contract. Now, it seems old hat.

        Liked by 1 person

      • acflory says:

        I don’t understand Amazon either. I think they’ve diversified so much that no single category of product is a driver any more. KU earns them money as it’s a subscription. As is Prime. Then they’ve got their paid advertising and cloud servers, not to mention a market place of ‘things’, often sold by third parties. I’ve never seen a Waltons shop but I imagine Amazon has become a kind of digital Waltons – all things to all people.

        There are some good publishers around – like Bain – but the Big 5 or 4 or is it 3 now? are simply subsidiaries of multinational corporations that don’t care about books at all. Kind of horrible when you think about it.

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      • Amazon reminds me of an online mall that is one store. It has nearly everything. Add in Netflix too for the full picture.

        Liked by 1 person

      • acflory says:

        YES! That’s it precisely. In that scenario, the bookshop gets squeezed between the big box stores. But as long as that mall brings in the buyers, you have to have a presence. -shrug-

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  5. This year has been really difficult for me as an author. I make most of my sales in person, going to conventions and speaking on panels (with my book propped in front of me, of course). All of that has been shut down.
    One friend of mine has tweeted about taking her books to a local Farmer’s Market. As she said, people bring crafts to the fair and books are just another kind of craft. I’m pondering that, but it seems like a huge time commitment. Hmmm, maybe I could get with a consortium of local authors and we take turns being at the Farmer’s Market all day.
    Right now I’m kind of like Craig and just trying to write my best story.

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