Indie Author Magazine: How will the strategy of publishing wide play a part in the future of the industry?
Steve: “Wide” distribution is really a misnomer meant to convey non-exclusivity to the dominant retailer. In reality, “wide” authors sell to just 3-5 relevant customers (retailers) rather than just one. Both situations are quite risky and leave authors with relatively little control over their career growth. Authors also have very little knowledge of who their customers actually are, because that information isn’t shared by retailers. As more authors learn how to sell directly to their readers, bypassing the retailers altogether, Amazon exclusivity may become less popular.
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?
Steve: “Wide” just means wholesaling to more than one distributor. I think many authors have experienced the serious drawbacks associated with purely wholesale channels. Many are switching to a retail model, where they sell directly to customers.
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?
Steve: We’ve found in the AMMO community that selling directly to readers is ironically the most reliable way to increase wholesale revenue from the retailers as well (this is due to cross-channel marketing effects), and selling directly to readers also gives authors significantly more control and flexibility. As algorithmic policy enforcement at Amazon continues to produce baffling account terminations and the per-author share of the KU pie continues to dwindle for most authors, direct sales will likely be an increasingly attractive option.
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?
Steve: The world’s great novels will be written by AI.
Indie Author Magazine: How important is technology to one’s success as an indie author and to the industry as a whole?
Steve: It’s indispensable. Web tech is how we sell books at scale.
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?
Steve: Indie authors already have to be more than just writers.
Indie Author Magazine: What can authors do now to build community with their readers and within the industry?
Steve: Create a group (pref. NOT on SM) and show up daily to interact.
Indie Author Magazine: Why does community matter in the future of indie publishing?
Steve: Community and connection are the indie author’s ‘secret weapon’