Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Indie publishing Vs Conventional publishing and Author Vanity.

OK, so you’re an Indie Author and you’ve made the decision to tell the world you’re not interested in getting a publishing deal with one of those biggies with offices in NY, London, Tokyo, et al. But of course, there are those who have quit the mainstream of conventional publishing and gone Indie. The majority of these are mid-list authors who were dropped with the coming of mass mergers and take-overs by conglomerates such as the Hatchette Corp, and there are those who are Indie because they didn’t and haven’t a cat’s chance in hell of securing a publishing deal with one of the Big 6, barring the easy medium of big publisher off shoot e-book enterprises such as Harper Impulse etc. 

So who can blame ex mainstream authors for going Indie or turning to small press publishers, some of which are mediocre in terms of sales and revenue, some better if a tad slack in what they publish (anything reasonable passing muster), but when incomes for mainstream authors are plummeting worldwide and Indie authors are stealing a march on the conventionally published of this world, what else can one do but seek other outlets? In the meanwhile celebrity authors hold sway in the conventional world of publishing, and they do come in various shapes and sizes book wise, from the hard-won novelist who hit the big time with the right book at the right moment and copped a Series Deal, and then there are the ex movie stars, TV presenters, ex journalists, and ex page-three girls (you know, big boobs et al) who write stories for children! The conventional author mix is eclectic, and as diverse as the novels they write. Same goes for Indies.
So how do Indies sell their wares?

In knowing they are up against the household names, how then can they become a household name? Like every other Indie author they will have paid visit to all the various FB groups and Web Sites, Blogs etc, signed up/joined, you name it they’ve been there, most having moved on from FB groups when they realise the group is non-interactive and just a sales board littered with book ads. Then there are the Indie authors who inevitably end up in a round-robin-networks on Google, Goodreads, Wattpad, et al , where they think selling their books will be a doddle until they realise everyone else is intent on selling you their book = catch-twenty-two. All the former are as a result of the natural camaraderie and belief such is the key to success until reality hits and "I am going to be famous even if it's going to cost me hundreds of dollars to get my book noticed worldwide”.

Indie Vanity – and why not?

Many Indies group and set up collaborative/joint projects, joint review teams, joint FB pages, they hold give-away competitions, they join or set up book review web sites or blogs etc., and many Indie authors turn to email newsletters and create a modest following of 1,000 subscribers to their newsletters, some are more successful than others who reap upwards of 3,000 followers by paying for that listing, but another hidden truth is rarely realised, that more than half the subscribers to email listings gradually set their email box to auto dispatch newsletters straight to the spam box

The latter is unfortunately a natural response to persistent cluttering of mail boxes with items no longer of interest to the recipient, and repeat begs of “please purchase my book/s, oh and I have a new one you might have missed” =  believe it, your subscriber didn’t miss your new release because you kept reminding them. Thus Vanity plunges Indie authors into a make-believe world reminiscent of the characters they create, and almost every author is truly given to huge amounts of vanity when it comes to their baby! 

Let's be honest, every book we produce it is that cute baby in the pram scenario and the proud parent parading the new born for all to see... 

So where's the downfall to all this parading, and the foolishness of author vanity? And what of Indie vanity that stretches to investment of hundreds of dollars to be featured on a Book Review/Promotion Web Site (????) but at what cost in real-term of financial outlay and long-term revenue if your book is listed at merely 0.99 / 2.99 $/£? 

Come five years down the line when that baby is no longer topping the upper book sale charts and real-time earnings on that book is mediocre or non-existent, this question will loom “Whatever possessed me to waste all that money on a momentary high?” And guess what, those authors will doll out another $350 -$500 all over again per book to sustain the image they are households names, if but for a week or two of high profile input on social media sites.

The last and most shocking aspect of email newsletter marketing is the blatant reality that email list providers glean email addresses  and sell them to retailers of other products. Do not believe the lies of supposed confidentiality, because there are few service providers who do anything without financial gain attached both ways, i.e. the person who pays or gains the app for free (email listing app) and the resell of that list to other third party sources!!    

Does your vanity stretch to purchase of status and the harassing of a willing readership, or are you of a philosophical bent = you get what you pay for, or you get what comes by mere good fortune and goodwill of readers?