Indie Author Magazine: How will the strategy of publishing wide play a part in the future of the industry?
Damon Courtney: While Amazon’s exclusive Kindle Unlimited platform has been great for a lot of authors, it’s also a magnet for scammers and people who just want to make a quick buck. That is only going to accelerate as the AI tools that are coming online start to really ramp up.
I don’t know how much the other platforms like Apple, Google, and Kobo will play into the mix, but being able to reach your audience directly (a la Brandon Sanderson) will only grow in importance. Having your own reader list and learning how to reach those readers directly will be the key to longterm author success.
Indie Author Magazine: Do you anticipate that the definition of wide will ever evolve to mean more? If so, where do you see authors going?
Damon: Probably not for the authors who’ve been around a while. For a lot of authors, wide will still mean having your ebooks available on more than one retailer.
Even big authors who are exclusive to Amazon right now are starting to experiment more with other ways of reaching readers. Patreon, Kickstarter, Radish, Royal Road, direct sales. But, they wouldn’t say they are “wide”.
Wide might come to mean more to newer authors, but the old guard will still think of it as Amazon Exclusive vs. Other Stores thing.
Indie Author Magazine: On an individual level, direct publishing can equate to greater control over titles, greater royalties, and a closer relationship with readers. What will the trend of authors publishing direct mean for the industry as a whole?
Damon: Speaking as BookFunnel, direct sales for authors is growing like crazy. What we’ve seen is that most readers love their favorite authors a lot more than they love their publisher or platform.
Whether it’s via Kickstarter, Patreon, or their own store, more authors are trying out selling direct to readers. And, with every reader who buys direct from an author, the whole pie grows for all indie authors.
It may take time to change reader behaviors, but it’s already accelerating because of how many authors are jumping into the direct-sales waters.
Indie Author Magazine: With AI being such a hot-button, divisive topic now, what role(s)—if any—do you think it will play in the indie publishing world in five years’ time?
Damon: Everyone needs to learn how AI can help them in their business.
Indie Author Magazine: How important is technology to one’s success as an indie author and to the industry as a whole?
Damon: Technology will never be as important as telling great stories.
Indie Author Magazine: What can authors do now to build community with their readers and within the industry?
Damon: Learn how to reach your readers directly. Own that relationship.