Ebook publishing will continue to grow enormously, but thinking that there are too many ebooks is like believing there are too many songs.
Self-publishing completely changed the book publishing industry. In fact, it turned it on its head. What was true only ten years ago, will never be true again.
With well over a million new ebooks being published every year, it is easy for self-publishing authors to feel that the numbers are against them and that any new book they publish will be lost in the swamp. In previous posts, I have expressed similar feelings over the years.
Many ebooks fade away
However, of all the ebooks that are self-published each year, a high proportion are by first-time authors who often lose motivation and interest after discovering that ‘overnight bestselling successes’ are extremely rare. First-time authors also tend to make the three classic self-publishing mistakes;
- A poor, unedited or badly proofread text, which is full of errors and typos.
- A homemade cover that screams amateur and fails to attract interest.
- No plan for book promotion and marketing apart from opening a Twitter account and joining Goodreads.
A high proportion of first-time authors become one-time authors because they lack the drive, determination and persistence that has always been necessary for any author to achieve some modicum of success.
Success is always the product of hard work
It is only a small proportion of new self-publishing authors who understand how much effort is required to succeed, and that it rarely arrives by publishing only one or two books. For these authors, they also see a lot of opportunities.
They understand that yes, there are a lot of ebooks, but there are also a lot more ebook readers than there were five years ago. Ebooks are no longer locked onto proprietary ebook devices, because more and more ebooks are being bought and read on smartphones and tablets. Ereader device sales are plummeting, but tablet and smartphone ebook reading is growing fast and will drive ebook sales in the future.
New authors, who find success also understand their genre, their niche market and their potential readers. They write to sell, and have marketing plans, promotional plans and more than likely, a budget to spend on launching new titles as well as on promoting their backlist.
In other words, they work at building a small, or even big business upon their author brand.
Today’s successful authors do not view the millions upon millions of ebooks on Amazon, B&N, iBooks and Kobo as a handicap, but as an opportunity. That there are millions of ebooks is proof that the ebook market is vibrant and here to stay, and will obey normal market behaviour. The dross will fall away quickly, allowing the cream to rise.
There have always been too many books published each year, and pulping books that do not sell well is still how the traditional publishing industry sorts its winners from its losers. Astute self-publishers understand that they will face the same odds and decisions.
But with ebooks they have one tremendous advantage. Ebooks don’t need to be pulped and lost forever. They can be withdrawn from sale, improved, re-written, re-targeted, and recycled.
Amateur hour is over
Self-publishing will continue to be a wonderful opportunity for new authors. One that was not available just a few short years ago when book publishing was strictly under the ‘lock and key’ control of only a handful of publishers.
Unlike years past, new authors are now judged by the reader, who is the ultimate decision maker. Of course, many authors will fail the test, but some will win.
The winners are highly likely to be not only great writers but also writers who keenly understand that their books are products and that only quality products sell well in competitive markets.
Not only will they publish great stories, but their texts will be well edited and proofread and be squeaky clean of errors. Their book covers will be professionally designed to appeal directly to their target readers. They will have a plan, and a budget for every new title and a means of assessing their return on investment.
Yes, being a successful author today means having a very keen business instinct and an understanding that there are not too many ebooks at all. The truth is, in fact, that there are too few fantastic ebooks for sale and that this market is still very much a business opportunity for those who can see it.