More authors have asked me about going indie in the last two months than in all previous months combined. Does it have to do with Amanda Hocking’s success? Or perhaps John Locke’s?
Actually, I think it’s because writers are finally realizing that they have a choice. And regardless of what you’re doing, it’s always smart to at least check out all your options. Educate yourself on everything available and make an informed decision that best works for you. So I’ll share what I can, starting with my “predictions” and one of the reasons I chose this path to publication.
My personal opinion and forecast (which I had over a year ago when I first decided to go this way) is that in today’s industry and economy, there is too much luck involved in going the traditional route. Not just for authors, but for publishers, too. After all, it’s really hard to predict what readers will love in 18 months or more down the road, especially when most of the Big 6 publishers don’t even do focused studies of their markets.
The Big 6 publishers will soon be looking for their next deals by looking at the self-pubbed best-sellers. In other words, Amanda Hocking has set a precedence that I think will eventually become the norm, rather than the exception. Last year, I was saying within the next 5-7 years. Now I’m saying in the next 3-5 years. It makes too much sense for publishers to let the author build their own fan base before making an investment in them.
Agents won’t go away, though. In fact, really, they’ll be the ones out looking for the best-selling self-pubbed authors who they like and want to take to the publishers. Rather than writers having to do all the work of identifying potential agents, querying, jumping through hoops, etc., it will be the other way around. Agents will seek out authors they want to represent, which is a win-win for everyone. Authors will need them – an author who goes into a deal, especially a huge auction like Amanda did, without an agent or attorney needs a sanity check. We still need someone who knows what they’re doing to protect us.

My own opinion is that writers shouldn’t wait for this to be required of them. They can be proactive about it, which is why I did it. I started building my fan base in 2010 and now it’s grown exponentially. If I’d kept on querying, relying on luck more than anything, for the next few years, only to learn then that publishers prefer to find their next deals through Amazon and Nook best-seller lists, I’d lost all that time. All those fans. All of that opportunity. I’d be starting at zero in 2012 or 2013, instead of already having sold tens of thousands books.
That’s one way to look at going the self-pubbed route. Rather than it being a mark on your career or reputation, as it once was, it’s a jumpstart on where the industry will likely go anyway.

Next time, I’ll talk about the “However” to this last statement.

Have a question about going indie? Please, do ask!