There have also been some interesting links and discussions about indie publishing going on elsewhere in the past few days:
At Terrible Minds, Chuck Wendig asks how self-publishing can benefit readers. Some good points there.
I particularly like the bit where he asks self-publishers to take risks with regards to storytelling and format. Because if you hang around self-publisher heavy places like the Kindleboards, you get a lot of people who will insist that in order to have success as an indie writer, you will have to do everything exactly as the traditional publishers supposedly do it. Only write short novels, preferably a series, in a popular genre that mimic what’s selling right now, never ever switch genres and if you must do it, always use a different pen name for each genre. Don’t use non-US settings or non-US cultural backgrounds. Don’t write novellas, novelettes and short stories, because those don’t sell. Come up with titles that match those of traditional bestsellers and heaven beware a title contains a word or name that someone might have to look up. Make your covers look exactly like traditional publisher covers in that genre. It doesn’t matter if you actually hate bodicerippery romance covers or those big fat letter covers on thriller, your books must look exactly like that or languish in obscurity. Oh yes, and never ever charge more than 99 cents for a full length novel.
Whenever I read something like that, I always think, “Why are you doing this to yourselves?” Now if a writer actually wants to write very commercial thrillers set in New York or Washington DC and if that writer actually likes the James Patterson style big letter covers or bodicerippery romance covers, then more power to them. But a lot of indie writers are treating themselves just as badly as they imagine traditional publishers would treat them (which isn’t even necessarily true, because there are plenty of exceptions to every single supposedly iron-clad rule of traditional publishing) and I can’t help but wonder why. Why did they go indie, if not to escape from all those iron-clad “Thou shalts” and Thou shalt nots”? The beautiful thing about indie publishing is that we can forge our own path and make our own niche and make it profitable. Because you never really know what will work and what doesn’t. Hell, I certainly never expected that a lesbian western short story would become my bestseller.
In the latest installment of her Business Rusch series, Kristine Kathryn Rusch argues that writers need to think bigger than they do and understand that they are working in an international business. On a related note, Dean Wesley Smith lays out how indie publishing is a longterm investment strategy. I try to get an e-book out once a month instead of every two weeks (though I’m shooting for twenty new e-books this year) but otherwise I very much agree with this.
Fast Company has an interesting article about the growing plagiarism problem on Amazon, which seems to affect erotica in particular, probably because erotica sells decently without much promotion and because a lot of erotica writers do their best to stay anonymous.