Monday, December 31, 2012

The Current State of Indie Publishing

And so we come to the end of another year.  Time to think back a little bit about the one just past, and the state of "indie" publishing.  It seems as though the amount of content out there really is becoming enormous!  It is certainly getting to be harder and harder for a book to stand out amongst the crowd.

Maybe the biggest story in "indie" publishing this past year, as far as I can see, is that there doesn't seem to have been any one big story.  In 2010 the story was Amanda Hocking becoming the first self-published author to sell over a million e-books.  In 2011 it was John Locke selling a million+ on Amazon alone.  In 2012 it seems to me that the biggest story was the revelation that Locke actually got his first big push after he paid a service to generate fake reviews.

But who were the big, knock the ball out of the park, bestsellers among "indie" authors in 2012?  I don't know.  There are still plenty of authors making a decent living at it, but there also seem to be more and more that are struggling to find an audience.  That is certainly true in my case.

I know it is comparing apples to oranges in many ways, but this time last year I did a three-day free promo for my romance book, No Cure for the Broken Hearted.  In those three days I gave away 18,000 copies.  I had similar results when I gave away copies of the novel now called Tinseltown Blues earlier in 2011.  I think I had around 50,000 downloads in five days on that one.  Both promos led to healthy sales going forward for several weeks afterwards.

This year I released my first suspense novel, Natalia.  I promoted it just as hard as the other two, but sales have been virtually non-existent.  I sold about ten copies in the first three months, mostly to friends and family.  Earlier this week I had a three day free promo for Natalia.  In those three days, the book had about 250 downloads.  Compared to 6,000 per day, that's a big difference, even with the genre switch.

I'm still optimistic, despite the rough waters.  I'm proud of Natalia and think that it will find an audience eventually.  I'm also hard at work on a memoir that I think is going to be really good.  It's coming along well so far, anyway... 

So 2012 wasn't quite the breakout year I'm always hoping for, but being the eternal optimist, I'm looking forward to good things in 2013.  And to everyone out there in cyber space, have a great New Year!

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