The Kindle Bestseller lists have been announced from Amazon for 2012. This always provides a good eye-opener into the market and although it won’t surprise many people to hear that romantic fiction is flavour of the month at the moment, I’d like to talk about the fifteen self-published books that are in the Top 100.
This actually indicates a fall from 2011’s tally of twenty, and I’m sure that this is encouraging for the doomsday merchants in the traditional publishing world who are hanging on to their jobs with the remnants of their finger nails. The self-publishing craze is nearing the end of it’s cycle and we can all get back to crusty old gate-keepers. Do I agree?
Well, no, of course I don’t. The problem with looking at the Top 100 is that it focuses your mind on the blockbusters. Romantic fiction is obviously doing well at the moment due to the Fifty Shades of Grey porn explosion for middle-aged housewives. A few years back it was wizards and after that it was vampires. Trends are trends and blockbuster books will always follow these trends and that’s what is reflected in Top 100’s.
What the list doesn’t show is the increase of self-published authors that are able to make a living in 2012. There are many comments from self-pubbed writers that are claiming that they’ve sold 200k, even 400k books in 2012 and have made more money than most traditionally published authors, perhaps that are even on this list.
The equal playing field that self-published eBooks enjoy against traditional is still there, but maybe what this list is showing is that the marketing machine that can get behind the ‘traditionals’ cannot be replicated by a writer on their own (however good they are on Twitter) and this does tip the playing field in the favour of traditional. This makes sense. It takes marketing to generate millions of sales; hype, promotion, exposure, media etc. There are some great new marketing ideas that are being discovered by self-published authors but there is a limit to how far you can go on your own.
I am more influenced by the statistics that show how increasingly successful self-published writers are becoming right through the scale rather than looking at the million sellers. If you hit the amazing annual figures of 400k eBooks being sold at £2.99 then as a self-published author you are making £800k a year. Not too shabby and you still won’t get anywhere near the Top 100.
So I encourage people like me to persevere with self-publishing. I still can’t see a valid incentive to go traditional as a new writer. How do these figures make you feel?