2018 Book Industry Predictions: Are Indie Authors Losing Their Independence?


by Mark Coker at Smashwords 


Welcome to my annual publishing predictions post where I prognosticate about the future and share my views on the state of the indie nation.

Each year around this time I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and ask it what the heck is going to happen next.

My crystal ball was a bit surly this year. The first thing it told me was, “you don’t want to know.”  Less than helpful.

The second thing it told me was, “Re-reread your 2017 predictions.  2018 is going to play out as a continuation of last year.”

That’s a little more helpful.  Most of my predictions for 2017 were pretty close.

When I think about the future, I start by looking at the past and then I look for patterns and trends.

What are the entrenched macro trends and forces that, like gravity, are likely to continue in the same direction for many years to come?  And how will these trends impact what they touch, and how will that change the course of the future?

It’s a fun exercise, even when what I see doesn’t fit within the rim of rose-colored glasses.

By imagining possible outcomes, we can formulate strategies for the future, or we can take steps to prevent that future from happening.

Things are tough out there for most authors.

This is nothing new.  Authorship has always been a tough business.  Even before the rise of indie authorship, most traditionally published authors still had to maintain day jobs to make ends meet.


Indie Authors Assert Control

10 years ago, publishers controlled your fate. They decided which writers became published authors, and they rejected most who came knocking, pleading and begging at their door.

Publishers were the gatekeepers to the printing press, retail distribution and readers.

Now, thanks to the tools of indie authorship, you’ve wrestled your fate away from publishers.  You decide how and when you publish your book.  You can reach readers without a publisher.

As I’ve written here at the blog many times, once indies gained access to the tools of professional publishing, the power center in the industry shifted from publishers to authors.  It seemed as if authors would finally control the fate of this industry.  Yay!


Check out the rest of the article over at Smashwords.





26 thoughts on “2018 Book Industry Predictions: Are Indie Authors Losing Their Independence?

  1. As a new novice author, it’s sad that we have little control over how our books will be listed. In 2016 when I launched my first book, I used KDP Select for the first 90 days, then I went out and listed it for six months with iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc. My sales declined on Amazon and I sold one book with Nook. I went back to KDP Select and my sales have increased. I used the sponsored ad approach to marketing and sales continued to increase. What concerns me is my books are now listed with unlimited subscriptions and I’m losing revenue. It appears unless you are a best seller author, you’re trapped with whatever marketing scheme Amazon is using to maximise their revenue. Thank you for making ‘unlimited’ subscription program understandable. I hope most of the gloom you predict doesn’t happen, but I’m not optimistic.


    1. I started out in Kindle select too, so I know how seductive it can be. But now, I’m all wide, and I’m very glad I did. It just takes time to develop a following on other marketplaces, but it’s worth it in the end.


  2. Forgive me for my ignorance, but, authors will never control anything! We write our heart an soul in a book, then what? You publish, get real! Once amazon has your book, they have control and if you don’t do all the work of getting it noticed they will no nothing to promote it for you. Most of us do not have the time or the energy to promote on social media, and I don’t know about you but I get a little annoyed with the “Hi buy my book” ads that pop up in my email box. I have written to authors and all I get in return is another ad.
    The one thing I will say for Amazon, is they have step by step submitting guide that is easy enough for a non-techie to actually do the first time. I did my first book in one afternoon. I have not found another platform that is this easy.
    Sorry for the rant!


  3. There is hope for me as yet then. I am waiting for a conventional publisher to accept my book but it is like waiting for ice age to come along our way. Thank you for your post, it is reassuring.


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