To quote Isaac Asimov and Heraclitus – The only constant is change. And there have been a lot of changes in the publishing industry, the most radical of course being the addition of Indie writing and Indie Authors.
Much of that change is due to Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, who took Indie writing out of vanity press and made it something viable. As a kid I remember having one of the last Woolworths in our town – Woolworth was the Wal-mart of the first three quarters of the last century – but it was succeeded by K-Mart, then WallyWorld and now Target. It’s the manner of things to change. Once Smashwords proved that Indie writing was not just viable but profitable, then Amazon (and more slowly B&N). Then Amazon upped the ante by adding their Select program, and an opportunity to make money from ‘borrows’. Sometimes more than the book itself.
It’s also in the nature of people to fear change. There are the die-hards who swear upon Smashwords and see Mark Coker as the patron saint of Indie writers. (Well, he more or less is… but lets keep things in proportion, okay?) Many swear that Amazon is the great big corporate boogeyman out to rip off all writers. Well, they’re a big corporation out to make a profit – if writers do it for them, they’re good with that.
Now there’s Kobo.
I have to admit, walking away from the security of Amazon and the Select program scares me. I’ve done pretty well there, so I’m a little nervous. My sales there are still good but alterations in the way the algorithms are calculated have definitely had their effect. Moving some of my books to Smashwords and B&N has shown that sales there aren’t what they were last year, so I need to try something else. (And yes, part of that plan is to release more books.) I’m going to take it in baby steps though, and just release a couple through Kobo – which is probably better anyway – and see how they do. I’ll add more if the returns are worth it.
I’m also going to do print. Why you ask, when e-books are increasingly exponentially, and DTB (dead tree books) are slowly fading. Um… note the slowly fading bit. They’re not gone, and I don’t believe they ever will be. They may become a luxury item, something you buy as a gift. Authors may release special signed copies as collectors items. More than that though, they’re still a shrinking 80% of the market.
So why am I doing it – going to Kobo, putting my books out in print?
I’m doing well, but I could be doing better, I want to be higher in the charts, I want a LOT of people reading my books. Therefore, I need to get my books where LOTS of people can read them. That’s in as many venues as possible. I don’t want someone to look at my book listing and say “I’d really like to read that book but I can’t because…its not in print/not on Nook/not on Kobo, etc. To do that I have to broaden my horizons and my market. That’s the next step….
Even if it does feel like I stepping into the dark…