The Indie book publishing industry has gone through so many changes.
It is difficult to recall how things were, way back when there were no ebooks.
I was reminded of how the time has flown by when I noticed that my Whizbuzz Books promotion site posted its first book promotion back in 2010.
When I started Whizbuzz Books the aim was to promote my own books, and then after a few authors I knew liked the idea, I added their books as well.
Within six months, though, I had to make a tough decision because I was spending so much time working on the site, for free.
I took a deep breath and began charging for book promotion, but thought that it would never work and that the site would probably die as a result of asking for payment for my work.
Indie publishing is very much alive and well
But after all the years, Whizbuzz is still alive and making a small side income for me, even though there are now literally hundreds and hundreds of new paying book promotion sites on the Internet that have started up since I did, with new ones appearing every day.
But this is how the market works, so I am pleased that I can say that I was one of the first, and had a hand in launching an idea that has been worth copying.
Book promotion is only one facet of the new Indie publishing industry, as, over the course of the years, other services have blossomed as self-publishing has established itself as a viable product in the book market.
So much so, that I believe that even the name, self-publishing, is nearing its use by date and that Indie publishing is a far better name for this new industry.
When it all began, authors were indeed doing absolutely everything themselves, but over time, as the industry matured, more and more authors are using independent professional services to assist them in producing a better product and in promoting new titles.
When I began there were no independent publishers, book cover designers, editors, copy editors, ebook formatters, or proofreaders. There were no book promotion sites, blog tours or book bloggers.
But now, these services are in abundance, and no one blinks an eye at the thought of paying for these services, as they all add value to the product.
Professional services add value to Indie publishing.
These are the services that are helping to create a new self-publishing industry – the Indie publishing industry – which is becoming more professional by the day.
So much so that it is now impossible to tell the difference in quality between a good Indie published book and a traditionally published book.
Of course, there are still many authors who are reluctant to use paid services, but in book publishing, like in any other business, very little success comes without some financial investment.
However, in one area, though, it is tellingly clear that book covers have improved out of sight. Clearly, paying for a professional cover is one lesson that has been learned by most Indie authors.
Quality comes to Indie publishing
The quality of Indie books has improved enormously and will continue to improve. The value of paid services has to be credited for this, as great writers need far more than the ability to write well. They need professionals to help them get their book to market.
For all the improvements in quality and promotion, there is still, however, one vital part of the market that stands in the way of even greater success for Indie authors and publishers.
Distribution and retailing are monopolised in the hands of only a very few.
In any other business, such as fashion, electronics or food, for example, this would be a cause of great concern, as it not only threatens the freedom to market your products, but it breaks the basic 101 business rule that no more than 20% 0f your income should come from one source.
Currently, if and when sales die on Amazon, authors and publishers’ incomes die immediately. There is no reliable second, third or fourth business income stream. This is a very bad business model.
Indie publishers need more sales avenues.
For Indie publishing to truly flourish, new and inventive distribution and retail platforms have to be created and exclusivity really must die.
Indie authors need to be able to sell their products through a variety of channels to protect their incomes. Of course, it’s easy to say that this is impossible.
But as with all things business and the Internet, nothing stays the same, and in five years time perhaps a clever startup or two may have been able to crack this last barrier to making the Indie publishing industry truly competitive, profitable and most importantly, very, very successful for the thousands upon thousands of people now involved.
Indie book publishing is a huge business now, and this scale provides the financial motivation for bright people to enter the market to break the distribution monopoly.
Some have already tried and failed I know, but I am very optimistic that it will happen. Why? Because there is a hell of a lot of money to be made, and that is always the best motivator for creating new business success.