Back in the old days of publishing (four or five years ago), many writers viewed self-publishing as the option of last resort. Self-pubbed authors were the black sheep of the writing community. They were considered failed authors because they couldn’t find an agent or sell their book to a big publisher. They were ridiculed as "vanity" authors. Sadly, much of the most vitriolic criticism came from fellow writers.
We don’t hear much of that anymore. Self-publishing is finally earning the respect it deserves. High profile indie author successes are climbing the bestseller charts. Their commercial success is changing perceptions about self-publishing one reader at a time. Look no further than the bestseller lists at major retailers to see how the indie insurgents are scaling the lists. Many self published authors have landed in the top 10 bestseller lists of major eBook retailers, and many more have topped genre-specific lists at #1. A few have even landed in the New York Times eBook bestseller list. Indie bestsellers are destined to become the norm in the months and years ahead.
Don’t misunderstand, We are not implying it’s easy to become a bestseller. It’s difficult, and rare. To get there you’ll need talent, smart decision-making, hard work, patience, and luck. Even authors previously published by big New York publishers are starting to go independent. These authors are questioning what Big Publishers can do for them that the author cannot do for themselves.
It’s only a matter of time before authors begin speaking of the stigma of traditional publishing. Indie authors have the ability to publish faster, distribute more broadly, price lower, sell more books at higher royalty levels, reach more readers and earn more income than they can by surrendering their rights to a traditional publisher.
If the indie author movement was a person, 2011 was the year the movement entered adolescence and 2013 will be the year the movement reaches adulthood. These newly minted indie eBook authors (old timers are the ones with three or four years of experience with self-publishing) are experimenting with abandon. Through trial and error, experimentation, and rapid information exchange with fellow authors, indie authors are discovering the secrets of successful modern day publishing.
We're witnessing the rise of the indie author collective. The collective – warts and all – gives rise to an intelligence and sophistication that will redefine publishing for the better.