To 2016 and beyond! by Debbie Bennett

So here we are – December 2015 and I’ve been at this self-publishing indie lark for nearly five whole years! I started back in February 2011, after many years of what are generally known in the industry as "rave rejections" - we love this but we can't sell it kind of thing. Well maybe they couldn't. I could and I did, as I've proved several times over.

Rat Run was released in November. The sixth (and final) book in my 3+3 dark and gritty crime series. The process has been refined many times over the years and time and experience bring enough confidence to carry me through the moments when the self-confidence nosedives, that point in a book where the initial heady rush has long gone, but the end is nowhere in sight and I have absolutely no idea where my plot is going ... I know that if I persevere, my subconscious will come through for me and eventually I'll hit that long galloping race to the end. And then it's cover design - relatively easy now as the brand is established and my male model has lots of photos to choose from on Shutterstock! And editing - my editor knows my series, knows my characters and knows my strengths and weaknesses.

What now? As I'm sure I've said in earlier blog posts, times are changing in the book industry. Despite all the cries of the ebook is dead, it really isn't. Trad publishing always (rather conveniently, I feel) forgets to include the huge number of published books that don't carry an ISBN and thus fly under the radar. But Author Earnings are on the ball again, with a very interesting recent report and a far more universal coverage of the trad versus indie debate. Although I still fail to see why we have to compete at all. There are enough readers out there for everybody and I've never felt threatened. But trad publishing is still running scared, burying its head in the sand whenever it stops to think about all the unedited rubbish swamping the internet. Readers are clever - they know what they like; trust them. The good stuff rises, although it sometimes has to swim a bit first.

But readers are fickle creatures. As I've also said in earlier blog posts, there are some truly awful books out there that sell by the bucket-load. Why? I have no idea - if I did, I'd tap into whatever it is...

Also worth a look is the newly-published Smashwords survey.

I think 2016 may move further into the digital world. Believe it or not there are still large parts of the word where Amazon doesn't sell stuff, or where their pricing is prohibitively expensive. There are countries where large numbers of citizens don't have a credit card. But they often have smartphones. And I predict that will be the next big market - selling to these people, who will buy books via apps on their phones. How to get in there? There are sites emerging. I'm watching with interest. And that is why I will never put all my eggs into Amazon's basket with KDP Select. Because Amazon doesn't rule the world - really, it doesn't.

Meanwhile, what on earth am I going to write next?


Wendy H. Jones said…
I'm looking forward to finding out what you will be writing next. Bring it on. All the very best for this new phase in your writing life
Susan Price said…
Congratulations on your 5th year anniversary, Debbie! - and I'm glad you post with us. We all benefit from your knowledge and experience, and we cheer you on!
Chris Longmuir said…
Well said, Debbie. All strength to your writing arm .
Debbie you are inspirational! I must admit the past 5 years for me have not been good ones, but that just shows how much publishing has changed. I'm thankful we can put out our own titles indie, since I have been able to rescue my backlist from total oblivion, and one of my books in particular has benefited from that. But on the whole, indie across all channels isn't working for me - at least not yet - so I have put my new book into Select as an experiment!
glitter noir said…
Well done, Debbie. you may be right about smartphones--which seem to be getting much bigger. I've seen a few that looked enormous. And, while people may read on their Kindles or Nooks, they have passionate relationships with their smartphones.
Lydia Bennet said…
congratulations on five years doing brilliantly, I agree about phones being the future and also other nations, getting into those is a lot harder though - I've tried to some extent. You'd think iTunes would be the way to go for people using their phones to read as well as hear music but it's very inefficient and muddled to buy things from in my view, different formats, weird terminology, hard to find the right page etc. Finding music you want is easy but browsing for things you might not know about isn't so effective.
Umberto Tosi said…
Well said, Debbie. Congratulations on those five years. You provide inspiration along with your hands-on tips. Whatever it is that gives you the verve to work past "that point in a book where the initial heady rush has long gone, but the end is nowhere in sight..." along with the faith to "know that if I persevere, my subconscious will come through..." bottle it and I'd like to order a case, please! Happy holidays!

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