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lynnmosher

Independent Authors Are Starting To Outsell The Big Five

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Posted (edited)

This is not news. Self-pub is as old as Leviticus and The Odyssey.

Writers had patrons as far back as the middle ages.

Traditional publishing as we know it today, is less than 200 years old. Writers made a living from their writing, for centuries before then. 

But to succeed so well with a self-pub today? Exceedingly rare, because most authors will never replace the services that a trad-pub would have done for them.
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Edited by Steven Hutson

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Thanks, Lynn. Good to see that yet another source is backing up the information I've been seeing in other places.

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Good news, but old news. This article was from 2016.

 

9 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

But to succeed so well with a self-pub today? Exceedingly rare, because most authors will never replace the services that a trad-pub would have done for them.

 

More outdated information.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

More outdated information.


Nope. Self-pub titles typically sell in tiny numbers. I know the people at the self-pub vendors, and they don't even claim otherwise.
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Edited by Steven Hutson

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Thanks for posting encouragement Lynn,...

Even if the article was written in 2016 there is a vast "forgotten" readership out there,...and independent authors are striving to fill that gap. It's positive that more readers are willing to buck traditional publishers and give independent authors a chance. NO ONE said it would be easy or instantaneous,...but there is a clear trend in this direction. 😀

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3 minutes ago, Katherine Johnston said:

It's positive that more readers are willing to buck traditional publishers


Is this what has happened?

I know people who read self-pub books. But I don't know anyone who either actively seeks them out, or deliberately avoids the trads.
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I'm not sure the article was from 2016. I couldn't find a date on it. However, the stats ended May 2016.

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Posted (edited)

Found this quote in the article:

"The amount of high-earning, traditionally-published debuts dwindles as we get closer and closer to the present day."

This changes the equation significantly. It speaks of debut authors. Everyone, in every industry, starts at the bottom. No one (unless your name is Obama or Clinton) gets their dream deal on book #1.

And of course, a lot of authors start out with a self-pub and then move on to a trad deal on book #2 or later (which they preferred all along). Can you say Amanda Hocking? William Paul Young? John Grisham? Very common strategy, and it affirms the attraction of the trad-pub deal.

The headline "Independent Authors Are Starting To Outsell The Big Five" just isn't true. Seeing as self-pub preceded the trads by a couple of millennia, exceptional self-pub books have always been with us. None of this "started to" happen in our lifetimes, or with the help of modern tech.

(Unexplained in the article, curiously, is how they know the earnings of these authors. This information is supposed to be confidential.)
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Edited by Steven Hutson

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2 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

Nope. Self-pub titles typically sell in tiny numbers.

 

Oh, Steve, to quote Ronald Regan, “There you go again.”

 

This is a screenshot of an Author Earnings report (the latest available - 2017). If you look at units sold, the combined Indie (self-published) numbers are 35.9%. Big 5 is 25.6%.

 

Screen-Shot-2018-01-21-at-2_33.11-PM.thumb.png.4c3444abdba0ce3dbff0a5a4276b7e3d.png

 

2 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:
2 hours ago, Katherine Johnston said:

It's positive that more readers are willing to buck traditional publishers


Is this what has happened?

 

With the likely exception of bookstores, self-published books compete side by side with traditionally published books on all major online retail sites – and have for quite some time. In fact, in a recent holiday promotion on Rakuten Kobo, a couple of my (self-published) books appeared right next to books by large publishers on their main promotion carousels.


Also, my Amazon advertising campaigns routinely place my, and many other self-published books next to traditionally published books.


Does this mean it’s easy to find success through self-publishing? Or that self-publishing is for everyone? No! I am in agreement that far too many self-published authors fail to understand, or just won’t pursue what’s required to better position themselves for success. And even if you do everything correctly, it’s still no guarantee of success. 

 
However, to assert that authors have a better chance with traditional publishing is no longer accurate. Over the past decade it’s been a whole new world in the publishing business. Many new avenues have opened up, and everything is in a state of continuous change, so authors really need to do their homework before deciding how they want to publish.

 

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We are blessed with choice!  We have the responsibility of choice.  Praise God for His guidance and seek it continually!

 

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I'm not here to jump into this ... discussion?  I just wanted to make sure anyone out there reading this knows that both being traditionally published, or self-published are ligament ways to be published.  Write what God calls you to write, publish how he calls you to be published, and he will place your book in the hands of those he who need to hear what you have to say.  May God bless you all and your writing!  

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

Does this mean it’s easy to find success through self-publishing? Or that self-publishing is for everyone? No! I am in agreement that far too many self-published authors fail to understand, or just won’t pursue what’s required to better position themselves for success.


Agreed.
 

22 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

However, to assert that authors have a better chance with traditional publishing is no longer accurate.


Well, I'm not so sure that I said such a thing. But that aside:.

If I want to start a new business, in a field where I have zero experience--
And I can choose between going it alone-- 
Or to partner with someone who has a hundred-year record of success--
Where dozens of trained professionals will help me (and not send me a bill)--
The choice is clear.
 

Edited by Steven Hutson

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27 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

If you look at units sold, the combined Indie (self-published) numbers are 35.9%. Big 5 is 25.6%.


Trying to ponder the significance of breaking out the Big 5, for the purposes of this discussion. There are lots of smaller houses that could be a better fit for your book, particularly at the beginning of your career. And they might even pay better than the bigs.

But curiously, I couldn't help but notice the revenue column in that chart. The revenue for the Big 5 is more than double the self-pubs (43% vs. 20%), despite fewer units sold. Which means more $ per book sold. Am I reading this right?

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7 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

But curiously, I couldn't help but notice the revenue column in that chart. The revenue for the Big 5 is more than double the self-pubs (43% vs. 20%), despite fewer units sold. Which means more $ per book sold. Am I reading this right?

 

I noticed that, too. Since the term they used is "% of dollars," I would take that to mean retail price of sale. This doesn't surprise me as Big 5 books usually command a higher retail price as compared to self-published books.

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2 hours ago, Accord64 said:

Since the term they used is "% of dollars," I would take that to mean retail price of sale.


I'd be interested in getting clarity on that distinction.

Until then, if I read those stats as apples-to-apples (the only meaningful analysis), it looks like total quantity and total dollars. Which tells me that the Big 5 took in more dollars with fewer copies sold, (Which, of course, means a higher per-copy price). 

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15 minutes ago, Steven Hutson said:

Until then, if I read those stats as apples-to-apples (the only meaningful analysis), it looks like total quantity and total dollars. Which tells me that the Big 5 took in more dollars with fewer copies sold, (Which, of course, means a higher per-copy price). 

 

Careful, that could easily suggest that higher prices are necessary because of all the overhead involved (Big 5 expenses, distribution channel costs, agent's commission, etc.).  Self-pubs don't have all that overhead, so they can charge a lower price.

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7 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

Careful, that could easily suggest that higher prices are necessary because of all the overhead


I have no opinion there. Just trying to understand the stats on that chart. Those columns should be apples-to-apples, if they're to mean anything at all. But since you bring it up:

Yes, some of that money goes to the expenses you mentioned. Quality control, marketing and editing are good things.

Who wants to join me this Spring, at the LA Times Book Fest? I can show you around, and you'll see what I mean.

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