While 2015’s highlights included the release of The Martian (originally a self-published book), several authors achieving New York Times best-seller status and the book Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire becoming the first self-published novel to be stocked by Walmart, there has been a general slowdown in e-book sales in general (a 10 percent drop).
Experts reckon the trend in fluidity will continue – with people moving from self-publishing to traditional publishing, and back and further exploration of hybrid publishing options. A Digital Book World Survey found that hybrid authors earn the most money, followed by traditionally published authors and then self-published authors.
Smashwords’ founder Mark Coker says that pre-orders continue to be a key feature that drive sales – for example, in 2015 some 10 percent of authors took advantage of the site’s pre-order function and those titles accounted for two-thirds of its top 200 best-sellers. The most popular genre is romance.
Shorter stories are also a growing trend – particularly because more and more people are reading on their phones.
The challenges for self-published authors remain – mainly the reluctance of book stores to stock them, although this is something Coker predicts will change as more and more independently published novels continue to reach the best-seller lists.
The other challenge is the lack of traditional media coverage. While social media coverage for self-published titles flourishes, reviews for independently published books are difficult to achieve – unless you pay for them or opt for customer reviews.
Read the full Publisher's Weekly article here.