Ever since I have been self publishing, I have heard people say things out there that are either hurtful, hateful or just plain untrue. Most of the time, it comes from two groups of people.
First, the traditionally published world. It has been people who are in the industry or writers themselves who have been traditionally published and feel the need to attack those who have gone in “the easy way.”
The other group of people that I have heard complain and say untrue things, are those that own or work at bookstores. This is sad and hurtful to me as an indie artist. Not only from my books, but from my films and music as well. The whole indie scene has to stick together and support each other. When things like this happen it breaks my heart.
To get into the meat of this, let’s look at some of the misconceptions going around.
1. You can’t money as an indie, self published author – This is horribly untrue. By my experience alone, this is untrue. Don’t take my word for it though. There are hundreds of authors out there (probably thousands) who make good money selling self publishing their works. Just take a look at the new Author Earnings Report. There are also the megastars in self publishing like Hugh Howey and John Locke, but there are so many people, making a good living doing it themselves, that this statement holds NO WATER.
There are more self published authors making good money than there are writers who get picked up by the Big Five. Those writers that get picked up by the Big Five, don’t always make a lot of money either.
2. People won’t read your book if it doesn’t have a publishing house on it - Maybe in 1989. I think that everyday that goes by, this statement gets more and more laughable. In 2010, this article was written that says Random House stopped trying to promote their brand and instead just their books in some markets. If Random House doesn’t think it’s important, why should readers? I would be surprised if most people reading this, could even name the Big Five. Guess what? I can’t. I know they exist and I know the names when I read them, but I think people are caring less and less. In fact, I think it’s safe to say, if you are under 30, you might not even know what the hell I’m talking about. I think that’s progress.
3. Nothing will ever replace a print book – According to this Global Survey, it could as soon as 2015! People buying ebooks has been continuously on the rise. The increase of tablets and ereaders have helped this a lot, but anyone can still read an ebook on their computer. There is stats for this information everywhere. Just google it.
I was the last person to jump on the digital bandwagon for everything I own and everything I create. I don’t buy cd’s anymore, I don’t buy DVD’s anymore and now I almost never by print books. There are some I still get. Coffee table books, picture books, things like that. But for my reading experience, ebook all the way.
I’m not even putting my bands albums out anymore on CD. I just ended my last DVD deal with my films too. I still make print books through Createspace for my readers who have requested those. But, keep in mind, that the age demographic of those readers are mostly over 50.
Digital and streaming isn’t the future anymore. It’s now. If you don’t believe me, ask your kids.
4. Amazon is the devil – This is the one I hate more than any of the others. I think mainly because it’s such a broad comment, it’s a total opinion and there is obviously no facts to prove that Amazon is either the devil or just plain evil.
Most people I hear who say this, are people who either work for, or own a bookstore. With that as the background, you can see how one sided and biassed any argument with Amazon could be. The other thing that makes me laugh about this is, you know every single one of these people that say anything bad about Amazon have shopped there at least once and more likely than not, had a very good experience in doing so.
There is absolutely no reason in the world, why anyone selling something wouldn’t want to sell it on amazon; at least any good rational reason. It is the largest store in the world, with the most traffic. It’s also one of the biggest search engines in the world behind google and youtube.
I explain it like this to guys. Imagine going to a club where there are 237 million girls looking to hook up. 237 million girls who are actively searching for man to be with.
Those are pretty good freaking odds. The chances of scoring are very good there.
According to this recent post there are 237 million active accounts on Amazon. That’s astonishing. Amazon has shared recently, that they also have 20 million Prime members! According to this other recent post Amazon makes nearly $2,000 a SECOND! That is good company to keep.
The reason why self publishers sell on Amazon, is because Amazon is great. People make money there. The percentages aren’t bad at all. If you own a store or work at a bookstore, if you can get us those numbers and that level of exposure (including all the SEO you get) then I’m sure authors will spend more time with you. It’s not that we don’t like bookstores, but this is a business.
To help show through my experience, I make the most on Amazon, by far. Second place varies between Barnes & Noble and Apple. Then in a far distant fourth, Kobo. I have been trying to figure this out and what I have come up with is, Amazon, B&N and Apple not only sell my books, but they also sell my films and my music. I probably get a good amount of crossover from that since I have really only been trying to be a full time writer for less that a year. So with that said, even though I sell more music on Apple than Amazon, the amount of traffic I get on Amazon decimates what I make on Apple or the other online stores.
I am by no means saying anything bad about bookstores. One of my favorite places to go browse around at is Dark Delicacies down the street in Burbank. That place is awesome and has a ton of really cool signings there all the time.
What I am getting at is this: Don’t attack the progress that is being made. You need to embrace it. It’s business. It’s like the Tactics vs. Strategy section of the SPP guys book Write. Publish. Repeat. (Which everyone should read by the way), if things aren’t going well the way you are doing it, figure out a way to make it work. If the tactic of selling print isn’t working for you, then add other products or events to your store. Don’t spend your time bullying self published authors or trying to tear down Amazon. It’s silly.
There will be articles in random papers and random sites almost daily with some information about how ebooks or self publishing is going to die. This is just not true. The music industry tried to do it to mp3’s and the film industry tried to do it to pirating sites. Eventually, both of those industries have at least tried to embrace the digital culture. It looks like the publishing world is doing it too. All of these industries are still in its infancy of merging with digital products, so the more time that goes by the easier this will all get.
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