The bookselling industry now favors independent authors in many ways, and authors can market their books without publishers very successfully.
Here are five surprising facts about book marketing today that show just how lucrative indie publishing can be:
- The majority of book sales are not from best sellers.
This surprises most people, but think of it: the New York Times bestseller lists generally include just 15-20 titles each, out of hundreds of new releases that are doing lively sales and thousands more that earn their authors a reasonable income. That means that authors can be highly successful without breaking into a bestseller list.
- More than half of Amazon’s book sales are from books you won’t find in a bookstore.
This astonishing fact was first brought to the public in Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail. He pointed out that, at that time, Barnes & Noble had 130,000 titles available in its stores, but Amazon.com made a slight majority of its sales from titles the bookstore didn’t carry. Once again, we can see a huge market for books that may not be considered “mainstream” or that traditional publishers may not invest in—and yet they make good money when they go to print (or ebook).
- People trust their friends more than they trust ads.
This fact has been confirmed over and over in studies.. While ads can influence buying decisions, a recommendation from a friend goes a lot further. This fact has been used to good effect by independent authors who build followings of loyal fans. These fans’ reviews and recommendations then drive sales with almost zero marketing budgets.
- Authors can make more money independently than with publishers.
Again, this surprises many people—yet depending on the author and the title, it’s often true. A typical book contract gives a moderate advance of $10,000 or less and if the publisher recoups this, the author then starts receiving a small percentage of sales as royalties. By going the independent route, an author makes a much higher profit from book sales. Unless a publisher offers a particularly attractive book marketing package, the math is simple.
- Many experienced, published professional authors are switching to independent publishing.
Given the prospect of controlling their own intellectual property, keeping all rights and making more money, more authors are leaving their publishers to switch to indie publishing.
Smith Publishing is a leading book marketing agency that has promoted thousands of books and authors, both traditionally and self-published, from every genre. Contact us to learn more about book marketing as a self-published author.