Mark Coker published his own predictions for publishing in 2013 on the Smashwords’ blog earlier last week, and it is quite a comprehensive list. With over twenty-one separate items that will have an effect on publishing and book selling in the next twelve months. GoodeReader spoke with Coker about some of the specific observations he made about where the industry may be headed.
“No doubt that we’re going to see the number of self-published ebooks explode. One, the traditional industry is going to be less capable of supporting authors and legitimate authors are going to realize they have other options. Next, there will be a flood of authors wsho were previously holding off because they were still believing and holding onto the stigma. Then there will be the next generation of writers who reach that point where they have completed their manuscripts and they’re ready to think about publishing.
“We’re also going to see the expansion of the global market. Self-publishing took off first in English, that’s where the first wave of indie authors came from, but now we’re going to see a new wave coming from Latin America in Spanish, Portuguese from Brazil, and in the year ahead we’re going to see a lot of expansion into Asia. Each of those markets will follow kind of the same progression that we did in the United States, where the authors in those markets are still more pre-conditioned that the only reputable way to publish is through traditional publishing. They are all going to start on this path when they see the stigma is declining.”
Coker spoke at length in the interview and in his blog post about the potential impact on books that the current state of change within the Big six is having.
“I’m disappointed that the publishers are merging. I don’t think it will be good for the publishers and I definitely don’t think it will be good for the authors. They are best served when we have a vibrant ecosystem. We have all of these great, smart passionate people working to create, improve, and promote books. I’m concerned that what’s happening with this consolidation is that it’s not happening because publishers think they can grow their businesses, but because the finance people are taking over. I think these companies are going to become ruled by the finance depts and the editorial depts—whom I consider to be the heart and soul of publishing—are going to lose power. This is actually a new thing, that the acquiring editors are losing control. It’s more difficult than ever for a passionate editor to acquire a book because they’ve got to sell that book internally, running a gauntlet within the company before they can take a chance on an author. We’re going to see publishers taking fewer chances. We might even see them publishing fewer titles as a result of it, or they may try to start publishing more titles while making a smaller investment in each author.”
Coker’s explanation of the future growth of self-publishing hinges both on the state of traditional publishing coupled with the self-published authors who are honoring their readers with quality content, something that only the highly successful writers tend to be doing.
“This to me is all very exciting. It’s very good for books and for the industry. We’ve already seen it now for the last five years. Opening the flood gates on a global basis is going to allow works to be published and discovered by readers that would never have been published before. We saw a trickle of books at first, then it became a stream then a river then a flood. The future will be a tsunami of books.”
Mercy Pilkington is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.