Indie Author Magazine: How will the strategy of publishing wide play a part in the future of the industry?
Ember Casey: I strongly believe the future of publishing is wide – and more specifically, that it stretches beyond the traditional book retailers where most of us initially built our careers. My backlist has found a second life these last few years on serial fiction apps—platforms that weren’t even on my radar (and some of which didn’t even exist) even a few years ago. With the constant changes in our technologies, the way people read is shifting, and the ways readers buy books are constantly evolving, resulting in new and non-traditional ways for authors to share their stories with readers. While I don’t believe that traditional books (or the ways people currently read or buy them) are going to disappear, we’re in a period of publishing where there are more ways than ever to get our work out there, and being wide puts us in a position to experiment with new platforms that could take our careers in directions we never imagined.
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?
Ember Casey: I believe the idea of publishing “wide” is already evolving beyond its initial meaning, which focused primarily on ebooks and traditional ebook retailers. Authors are recognizing that their stories—their IP—can take many forms and reach readers (or listeners, or consumers of any type) in multiple ways, on multiple platforms beyond the big booksellers, continuing to take on new life and reach new audiences. The “book” is not the product—the story is, and there are so, so many ways for us to share stories these days. We’re already seeing shifts in publication strategies—for example, the authors who first publish their stories via a subscription platform (like Patreon or Ream), serial fiction platforms (like Kindle Vella or Radish), or Kickstarter before ever launching their book on the usual retailers. And I think we’re going to continue to see different and bigger shifts as new platforms and technologies emerge, and as we (as a culture) create new ways of sharing and consuming content. When we recognize that the value lies in our stories, not simply our books, so many possibilities open up for us as authors.
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?
While I haven’t personally delved into direct sales yet, I think this trend could dramatically shift the industry. When we as authors are no longer reliant on any single retailer to make a living, it opens up the door for creativity—both in the stories we tell and the way we run our businesses. We’re no longer at the point where there’s only “one true way” to make a good living in this industry, and direct sales will offer even more opportunities for us.