Indie Author Magazine: How will the strategy of publishing wide play a part in the future of the industry?
Dan Wood: We’ve been in a time of great upheaval in the book market with so many opportunities for indie authors over the past decade. As authors begin to take a longer view of their careers, I am confident they will recognize the long-term value of library discoverability in building lifelong fans and reject options that prohibit that. Beyond that, wide publishing will continue to grow as more retailers and subscription services enter the market and as new tools enable authors to sell directly to their most dedicated fans.
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?
Dan Wood: As a community we’ve failed to fully define what wide fully means now, and technology is rapidly advancing. In the summer of 2023 wide means you can bring a book to market in all current formats, in most of the world’s languages, and be available for sale to nearly anyone in the world. That doesn’t mean as a business that it makes sense to do so, but having such options is unprecedented at any time since the book industry began. Technology is at the heart of this, and will give more people access to all of these opportunities. Will technology bring us more formats? I’m sure it will. It is hard to predict what nature storytelling might take place in virtual environments or with augmented reality. Technologies like large language models and blockchain might enable the legal reforms and record keeping necessary to easily license IP and ensure the owner of that IP is compensated properly. These innovations will come from the new players and will by necessity be available first to those who are available wide.
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?
Dan Wood: Direct sales will be an extra incentive to be non-exclusive, but I am skeptical it will change the industry a great deal. The majority of readers will continue to want to purchase and discover books on their preferred platforms that they are comfortable with. The real opportunity for authors is that ability to have a closer relationship with their most loyal fans. What we’ve seen play out in other creator communities such as video streaming and music will continue to grow in the book world. Savvy authors and publishers will offer special editions of their books, merchandise, and more and their fans will love it.
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?
Dan Wood: AI will provide more people opportunities in publishing.
Indie Author Magazine: How important is technology to one’s success as an indie author and to the industry as a whole?
Dan Wood: Technology is what allowed the indie movement to happen.
Indie Author Magazine: What does transmedia mean for an author’s business? Will indie authors ever need to be more than just “writers” to survive in the industry?
Dan Wood: No, but some who pursue transmedia will find great success.
Indie Author Magazine: Why does community matter in the future of indie publishing?
Dan Wood: We need each other to navigate all the changes in our industry.