Indie Author Magazine: How will the strategy of publishing wide play a part in the future of the industry?

Sarra Cannon: Having our books available in as many formats and as many places as possible will continue to be a successful strategy for a lot of authors. I believe more authors will begin to explore wide as the visibility and cost of advertising on Amazon becomes more of a challenge. I’ve always been wide, and I think there are so many paths to success that we’ll continue to see it as a major strategy for decades to come.

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?

Sarra Cannon: I think it’s already evolving! For a long time, most of us have seen wide simply as having our books available at all of the major retailers. Now, it’s branching out into Kickstarter, direct sales, games, libraries, apps, and more. I think we’ll see more multimedia collaborations, more merch and specialty items, and entire worlds of products and experiences branching out from popular series. I think we’ll also see more niche platforms pop up for ebooks and serials.

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?

Sarra Cannon: I believe direct sales will continue to empower authors to think outside the box, build communities of readers, and expand their income streams. In return, I think this will inspire retailers to introduce more tools to help match the right readers with new authors. I also think we’ll see a lot more author collaborations and niche communities that will help readers find the books and authors they’re looking for, bypassing the retailers completely. It will be fun to see how it plays out.

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?

Sarra Cannon: In five years, I’d like to see AI being used as a powerful support system for authors, lifting all of us up and making our lives easier. I could see it being helpful for organizing series data, writing blurbs and taglines, and making our marketing easier. My biggest fear, though, is that it will be abused and as AI-created works flood the market, it will make visibility and discoverability more difficult, particularly for new authors. I think the use of AI will make connection and community in the bookish community more important than ever, and I have hope that by the time five years have passed, we’ll have found a good balance there.

Indie Author Magazine: How important is technology to one’s success as an indie author and to the industry as a whole?

Sarra Cannon: Technology is the key to our existence as indie authors, and the more tools that emerge to help us do our jobs, the more opportunities there will be. I believe new technologies will make it more and more possible to write in extremely niche subgenres and still find our exact ideal readers. While there’s always a learning curve to adopting new technologies, I have faith that more and more tools for authors and readers will emerge over the next decade, making it possible for us to keep writing what we love and making good money doing it.

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?

Sarra Cannon: Transmedia excites me so much, because the possibilities are truly endless! Authors who are passionate about it and learn to do it well will thrive in their own way but there will always be a place for indie authors who are simply writing great stories. The bigger danger isn’t that readers will demand it, but rather that a lot of authors will be distracted by the limitless possibilities of it and not be able to execute it in a successful way.

Indie Author Magazine: What can authors do now to build community with their readers and within the industry?

Sarra Cannon: Community is one of my core values, and the best way I’ve found to do that is to share my passion for the story, connect with my readers as often as possible, and give them safe, friendly spaces where they can have fun and talk about books. I would tell any author looking to start building a powerful community to first think about how and where they show up best. Is it video? Livestreams? Newsletters? Blogs? Forum chats? How do you like to interact with friends? Where do you feel like you shine outside of your books? Lean in on those strengths and don’t try to build on every single platform at the same time. 

Indie Author Magazine: Why does community matter in the future of indie publishing?

Sarra Cannon: Gone are the days when most authors can simply hand off a manuscript to a publisher and go back into the writing cave. Indie authors in particular will almost always benefit from real connections with readers. As AI takes on a prominent role in the industry and picture-perfect influencers make us feel like outsiders on social media, I believe authenticity and community will become the most powerful tools we have outside of our stories. The more a reader sees that we’re human and in many ways, just like them, the more they will feel like they’re truly a part of something. In a world where so many people feel disconnected, I believe these types of reader communities, linked to the worlds we create, will change lives and make a major difference in our world. This is what I’ve most wanted to do with my fiction, and I’m excited for what the future holds.

Chelle Honiker

Chelle Honiker

Chelle Honiker is an advocate for the empowerment of authorpreneurs, recognizing the importance of authors taking charge of both their craft and careers. In response to this need, she has founded a media and training company dedicated to supporting these creative professionals. As the co-founder and publisher of Indie Author Magazine, IndieAuthorTraining, Indie Author Tools, and, Chelle’s team of more than 80 writers, editors, trainers, and support staff provides resources and insights that help authors navigate the complexities of self-publishing. Her role as the programming director for Author Nation, an annual conference in Las Vegas, further exemplifies her commitment to fostering a community where authors can grow and succeed. With a career spanning over two decades in executive operations and leadership, Chelle has honed her skills in managing complex projects and delivering impactful training programs. Her experience as a speaker and TEDx Organizer has taken her to many countries, where she has shared her insights with diverse audiences.

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