I am very proud of being a self-published author – or an “indie”, as we are often called. I look at my books on the shelf – my own shelf, or, even better, the shelf of a bookshop – and marvel that I created them. But I can’t rest on my laurels: recent statistics suggest that 30% of Amazon best-sellers are now self-published, so I can’t rely on being unusual or ground-breaking.
Being a business-savvy author requires you to keep up with trends that will influence how you publish (and, for some authors but not me, because I’m ornery and stubborn like that, also what you write). And in the self-publishing world, the two big trends seem to be these:
- DIY is the name of the self-publishing game – those “assisted publishing” businesses that offer to do some of the legwork for you are losing ground. I was never tempted by them, because I like feeling that I’ve done it all (apart from designing my covers, of course – left to my artistic abilities, we’d end up with something made out of macaroni and glitter).
- People are reading more and more on their phones. Not me, as my aging eyesight needs print about the size of my thumb, but I do see all the youngsters on the tube reading on their teeny tiny screens. This development favours the clearly formatted, shorter book – so Sam is ahead of the curve on this one.
The net result seems to be that readers – and to some extent, bookshops – are starting to care less about the publication route. As long as the book looks good and is well-written, its self-published status is no longer an obstacle or even particularly noteworthy.