New Year’s Resolution

2017 was one of the worser years I’ve had in self-publishing. Not necessarily financially (although I had to work much harder to earn my money than ever before), but more emotionally. I’ve been doing this 6 years now and it still feels like an uphill struggle. It still feels like a fight I could lose in the next round. I spent much of 2017 trying to hedge my bets. I started earning money from promotiong products such as ProWritingAid and Vellum, as well as starting new businesses such as AZ of Self-Publishing. These all helped me to earn more money from non-Amazon related sources, which is a very good thing, but they also spread me extremely thin and affected the key part of my business–writing books.

So here is my Self-Publishing New Year’s Resolution for 2018: I shall stop trying to be a conqueror of worlds (because it hasn’t been working) and just concentrate on the main part of this ol’ life that I enjoy–being a storyteller. Writing new stories in 2018 will be my main fous (second being to keep the A-Z of Self-Publishing current, updated, and still FREE). There will be one or two distractions, but I hope to keep them to a minimum. Anyway, for those of you who like to know my thoughts on the future, here are some of my own personal predictions.

 




 

    • Self-Publishing will continue to get tougher in 2018

      Sorry to say it, but making a living from your writing is never going to be as easy as it was a few years ago, and anyone who makes it now will do so because they worked hard for it. Very hard. Self-publishing has become a mature, proven industry, and that means it now behaves like any other industry, where the creative, hard working inviduals will have the best shot at succeeding. This is good, because it means that by doing things the right way and being professional, you will already find yourself ahead of the herd. Most self-published books are poor and rushed. Commit to quality and you will already have a leg up. No free rides anymore. No overnight successes. Hard work = reward and slow and steady wins the race.


    • Some guys will give it up

      I’ve already seen a few of my colleagues announce they are no longer in love with self-publishing, and it makes me sad. They will either turn to other things, or recommit to their existing careers. Most will still self-publish, but will do so less often. Others will look towards traditional publishing to see if they can find success that way. Perhaps they will.


  • Screw Self-Publishing
    • Authors will leave KU to go wide

      KU is okay. It pays okay. It works okay. But hell if it isn’t dangerous. It is an unexploded nuclear bomb to authors, because if it becomes the defacto way for people to find books, it will give Amazon complete control over reader’s money (and how much of it finds its way to authors). Within the KENPC scheme, Amazon DECIDES how much authors get paid, and that is a terrifying thing. The more KU grows, the more power Amazon has to push the boundaries of what it can get away with. Competition is key to authors being treated well, as we need to be able to ‘take our business some place else’. Without competition we will end up fighting amongst ourselves for the scraps Amazon throws us. Therefore, I shall start to move several of my titles OUT of KDP Select in 2018. While the other ebook platforms are far smaller than Amazon, they are also a lot less crowded. With effective ad and marketing campaigns, it is possible for authors to do very well on ibooks, Nook, etc, and I hope to grow on those platforms over time. I hope other authors do the same in order to protect all of our long term interests. But it is an indiviual decion and not one I would judge anybody for.





    • The ‘book ad’ craze will die down

      Facebook ads, Bookbub ads, Goodread ads, AMS ads… They are all touted as the holy grail by whichever lucky sods manage to get things right, but for the majority of us ads are hit and miss, and as more authors spend money advertising books, the results will only get worse for everyone as things over-saturate. Eventually the ‘magic wand’ will brake and, like anything else, only the most commited few will see continuing success. It seems lately that some authors are successful for their ads more than their writing, and that kinda sucks for the rest of us.


    • Amazon book reviews will change

      There were rumours once that Amazon would be overhauling book reviews so that readers could rate specific content such as ‘Drama’, ‘Characters’ etc. Whether this happens one day, I don’t know, but I can see some sort of integration with Goodreads happening, which would make Amazon’s book pages more of a place to ‘hang around’ (and thus exposing browsers to more juicy ads etc).


    • Amazon will begin to deal with authors better

      Amazon will always be out for itself, as any business should be, but it will soon have no choice but to address the troublingly common stories of innocent authors having their accounts suspended for various infractions. There needs to be some sort of appeals process put into place that allows authors to discuss issues and resolve them before KDP fires their lethal bullet of account suspension. I expect Amazon to start employing a warning system that gives authors a chance to state their case. If not, there will continue to be outcries from wounded authors and the anti-Amazon brigade will have all the ammunition it needs to throw some more mud.


    • Amazon will add a new promotional tool

      Let’s be honest, Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Promotions have gotten pretty stagnant. It’s been a while since anything new was added to the KDP Select menu, and KU now seems stable enough to alone for a bit. Amazon may seek to bolster interest in KDP Select by adding a new marketing/promotion tool that will stem the bleeding of authors leaving to go wide.


    • AMS ads will improve

      They have to! Unless we can see what we are actually selling (including KU page reads) then the whole system is useless. Advertising is a huge industry (it makes Facebook and Google/Youtube the juggernauts what they are today) and Amazon will be keen to grow their own share in this. Expect AMS ads to improve. Amazon do not want authors spening their ad money on Facebook or anywhere else.


    • The KDP dashboard will improve

      The next step for Amazon, I believe, will be completely combining Createspace and KDP Print. Beyond that, they may even incorporate ACX, Amazon Merch, AMS ads, Author Central, and more. The last opportunity I spy is an ACX-style exchange between translators and authors that will facilitate foreign translations being created and sold via Amazon.


    • Kobo will improve, Nook and ibooks will remain unloved

      Kobo seriously seems to be the only alternative platform to Amazon that actually cares about selling ebooks. I hope they go from strength to strength.


    • Authors will be bombarded with ‘services’

      Now that ebooks are a stable market with slowing (stabilising) growth, expect to see the next gold rush to be ‘selling stuff to authors’. We already have book blast services, book formatting services, artwork services, marketing services, website services, book delivery services, book ad platforms, book plotting-writing-editing tools, yada, yada, yada, and these will continue to fly at us. Some of them will be great, like ProWritingAid, Scrivener, Vellum, etc, but many will be a pile of garbage. Don’t fall prey to those promising any kind of ‘Instant Result’. My spam folder is full of people trying to save me from myself!


    • AMAZON may launch a ‘video upload service’

      Google has Youtube, Facebook is launching its own video platform, and there are others such as Vimeo. Amazon has a massive list of creative professionals (we authors for one) who may be interested in creating video content. With their massive cloud computing capacity, Amazon could launch its own very video platform. They could also easily steal the many high-profile aggrieved creators from Youtube who have fallen victim to the recent ‘ad-pocalypse’ (Google it). It is in keeping with Amazon’s Web Services division and their videogame production enviroment (Lumberyard) that they would branch out into as many online media avenues as possible. It seems like something they could easily launch and easily dominate. This would affect authors, as it would be another place we could advertise our books.


    • I shall still be around in 2019

      In 2018, I intend to work my butt off. I shall be writing lots of books, and growing various other side projects. As much as I lay awake at night, I don’t intend to leave my readers for a good few years yet. Let’s hope this is a prediction that proves correct.