Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Musings: 2012 - Year of the Indie Author

According to the Chinese calendar, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon; the Water Dragon to be specific. The mightiest sign of the Chinese Zodiac is the Dragon. Fierce, ambitious, powerful, and creative. The Year of the Water Dragon although, all of those things, promises to be tempered as the water dilutes the fire of the Dragon, or so sayeth the Chinese Zodiac gurus of the world.

In my world, the world of publishing and authorship, I see 2012 as the Year of the Indie Author. (Independent Author) This will be the year the market is flooded with millions of ebooks, published in multiple languages, and sold worldwide via the internet.

Internet book giants like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Createspace and Good Reads will be abuzz with activity. Reviewers will be scarce, due to the sheer volume of books reaching the reader market - all conveniently priced at the low, low cost of 99 cents.

In 2011, I have spent a considerable amount of time creeping on the reader boards of several sites. Although the projected onslaught of Indie books is expected, there's something else going on in the world of books. Readers are becoming more select in what they will and will not tolerate from the authors.

Here's the top three consistent points from my notes on the reader boards:

Review manipulation is going to continue to be a growing sore spot with many readers. Authors need to think twice about the 'you review mine, and I'll review yours' marketing tactic. Books with nothing but glowing reviews are becoming more of a turn off, than a turn on, for readers. It raises the flag of suspicion that review manipulation is happening. Tread lightly in the review area.

Quality of writing is becoming something readers crave after purchasing less than stellar quality books over the last few years. This seems to be especially true in the mystery, fantasy, and steampunk genres, with an even higher expectation of those publishing as literary works. Make sure your work is polished and ready for publication. Although the big publishing houses are starting to lose control of quality in the market, readers are beginning to take note of quality works versus the unpolished 'get it to market and sell a billion copies' works. The expectation of the readers will eventually reach the old expectations of the publishing houses. An increasing number of complaints are showing up on the reader boards already.

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Steampunk will be top sellers, behind the ever beloved romance. As the economy continues to stagnate, escapism is still part of the market desire. Although, it appears the readers are tiring of the regurgitated vampire sagas.

We, Indie Authors, have the opportunity of a lifetime before us. Success is going to depend a great deal on listening to the readers, valuing their opinions, and keeping a sharp eye on the market trends.

Have a great week everyone!