| 16.1°C Dublin

Kevin Flanagan: eBooks are no longer the orphan child ... instead they are very much part of the publishing family

OVER the last few years waves of unsigned writers have swarmed the eBook stores in a quest for self-publishing success. As a result, we are now in the midst of a competitive market for both independent and traditional publishers. With the experience and financial might behind the traditional publisher, you may think that the self-published writer would be the one falling behind. Well, guess again.

Until recently, self-publishing success was determined by individual success stories – Amanada Hocking, John Locke and Darcie Chan - but some recent studies have revealed that the eBook market is now favouring self-publishing as a whole. In certain genres, self-published authors now dominate the charts while other, more experienced, independent authors are predicting a growth in their profits.

So where is this information coming from? Well one source is from self-published author, Kevin McLaughlin. Like many ePublishing writers, McLaughlin uses social networking and blogging to publicise his science fiction books. Recently, he wanted to determine the likelihood of a self-published author getting onto the Amazon science fiction charts so he began to analyse some figures.

First he began to record the raw sales from each book on the chart. He then determined whether each entry was independently or traditionally published. Next, he compiled his findings and published them on his website (kevinomclaughlin.com). Below are the findings from the 99 eBooks on the chart:

“The breakdown was 38 (38.4pc) traditionally published books and 61 (61.6pc) self published books. Of the 38 traditionally published books, 22 were first published ten or more years ago; only 16 were ‘recent’ releases.”

Science fiction is normally a genre associated with its classic writers – Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick – whose books were present in the 22 eBooks first published ten or more years ago. However, with McLaughlin’s findings, we see signs that ePublishing has not only allowed new self-published writers to gain access to a previously rigid genre, but to completely overwhelm it.

And it is not just Kevin McLaughlin compiling statistics for ePublishing. Steven Lewis of Taleist, an online resource to help writers self publish, conducted a survey that was answered by 1,000 self publishing authors. The full report will be published by the end of May, but Lewis has already released some initial findings that speak volumes.

The report found that 36 per cent of authors surveyed have been writing for ten years or more. This is quite contradictory to the reputation that all self-published writers were amateurs. Admittedly, this does not meant that all these writers are good, but with 34 per cent of the authors surveyed expecting ‘their revenue to at least triple in 2012’ they must be doing something right.

The report also found that: “The highest-earning self-publishing authors write 31% more words per day than their less successful self-published colleagues, but they spend 62% more time doing it. This translates to spending 24% more time per word.”

This is a promising find because it shows that once a self-published author begins to make money they are then able to concentrate more time on their writing. This would hopefully translate into an improved quality in their work and a boost in their income - a win-win for everyone.

Now that we are beginning to get a further insight into the ePublishing market, more questions will surely begin to be asked: What genre is the most self-publishing friendly? How fiercely should you self-market? Do writers prefer to self-publish rather than pursue the traditional route? How many authors are able to work full-time on their writing?

These are all important questions that can help other writers formulate a more successful business plan. The only ingredient missing is the information. But with the likes of Kevin McLaughlin and Steven Lewis helping to provide some interesting facts, surely we won’t have to wait long.

If you would like to learn more about successfully self-publishing a book visit www.becreativebooks.net