Much of the ongoing drama between the self-publishing proponents and the traditional publishing industry boils down to one chief concern: money. With whole data sets dedicated to examining not only what self-published authors truly earn but also what traditionally published authors are (or more likely, are not) earning, the facts seem pretty clear:
Authors who do the work of crafting a great book, following through with professional, quality publishing services, and then dedicate themselves to their marketing efforts are the happiest in the long run according to their definitions of success.
What has long been overlooked in the process, though, is the definition of success itself. Simply garnering a traditional publishing deal was once the measure of literary acceptance, but outsiders looking in were largely ignorant of how little actual income that deal can translate into.
More and more authors of both publishing processes are finally adopting a more realistic, genuine definition though, and that is the ability to work as a full-time writer. It’s not about retiring to a beach house and writing while sipping cocktails, but more like the ability to get their bills paid and have a comfortable lifestyle while doing what they love. And let’s face it, whether it involves writing or not, that sounds like most people’s definitions of success.
One author has outlined his personal steps for how he achieved this updated definition of a successful writing career. Alex McKechnie provided the information in a podcast, the transcript of which can be found here.
One of the top complaints that continues to stigmatize self-published works is quality, and two of McKechnie’s five tips actually speak directly to that issue. The first tip, in fact, is the need to write a high-quality, engaging book, while later he discusses the need for professional support in all the various details of the work. He goes on to explain the need for building relationships with both readers and those who can help promote a book, like book reviewers.
Some of the predictions for the industry in the coming year included Mark Coker’s stance that the number of indie authors is going to shrink as the ones who don’t take it seriously as a career path fall to the wayside. That should result in an automatic increase in the quality of work, while also helping ease some of the alleged “glut” of content being published.