In June 2012, my fellow CompletelyNovel.com colleague Anna Lewis wrote an article for Writers’ Hub on the future of self-publishing. Almost three years later and the self-publishing sector has done nothing but grow. This year, self-publishing dominated the panels in the Author HQ at The London Book Fair and Frankfurt hosted its first self-publishing and author programme showing that self-publishing isn’t going away anytime soon. So where does self-publishing stand today? And what can we expect to be discussing three years from now?
One of the biggest changes we have recently seen in self-publishing is the emergence of the ‘Authorpreneur’ - the author who dedicates time and effort into creating a professional product, and embraces the business side of writing.
The Alliance of Independent Authors have done wonders for the perception of the self-published author since it opened its doors in 2012. Authors such as Hugh Howey and Bella Andre are leading the way in what it means to be an independent author today by using all publication methods available to them - including traditional publishing, eBook publication and print books - to reach a worldwide audience. As these authors’ sales numbers continue to rise, as does the perception of independent publishing as a viable and lucrative route to publication.
At CompletelyNovel, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of Business entrepreneurs and independent travel writers who self-publish books to reach more customers and establish themselves as experts in their chosen fields. Why? Self-publishers are entrepreneurs - people who understand the dedication and expertise needed to create and sell a beautiful product. This is something we are really keen to focus on in the next few years.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in author collectives offering support and advice to emerging authors. As well as ALLi, there continues to be a high level of conversation on Twitter - particularly on the #amwriting hashtag - as well as through independent companies such as CompletelyNovel, who offer an active author discussion hub.
Last April, we pioneered a project based on this trend called ‘One Big Book Launch’, which saw ten traditionally and self-published authors come together to launch their books on the same night. There was a wonderful sense of collaboration and support between authors at this event. By sharing information, contacts and encouragement, authors can discover new opportunities and improve their level of professionalism. Collaborations on book and marketing projects, as well as between authors and technologists is really something I think we’ll see a lot more of in the next few years.
In the last three years, we’ve been to more than our fair share of ‘Is this the death of the book?’ seminars on how eBooks are taking over the world. Rather than an eBook vs print book debate, I think (and hope!) that we’ll see more discussion on the new ways that people can access content and how this opens up opportunities for writers. These opportunities will cover eBooks AND print books, as well as apps, social media and a whole host of other platforms that will generally help writing be read (which, after all, is the main thing).
CompletelyNovel is a company mainly focusing on print books and we see eBooks and other digital formats as an exciting part of the landscape of publishing. Professional authors publishing bestselling eBooks should, and do, publish a paperback version on a POD system that increases their readership to those people who prefer print to eBook. There are so many opportunities available to authors at the moment and new ones emerging all the time, and we’re really excited to be at the forefront of print on demand.