The eBook is not dead: self-published authors are making a killing!

You might have heard some murmurings recently about how eBook sales have slumped, and the electronic way of reading is now on its way out in favor of the traditional printed book. And while it is true that we have regained our love for a print book, and they are not going to be replaced anytime soon with eBooks, the digital versions of our favorite novels are not dead, they’re just making a killing for others.

A new report, published by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has shown that, in the US at least, the sales of eBooks are just as steady as those of print and audio books, and sales continue to grow at the same rate. The difference, however, between eBooks and print books, is that the digital books seeing high levels of sales are published by self-published authors, instead of the big traditional publishing companies.

PwC says that, in the data collected from traditional publishing houses, it does appear that the sales of eBooks have dropped. That data, though, doesn’t take into account those authors who publish by themselves or using a small publishing house to help them through the tricky woods of self-publishing. Another report, this time coming from a site called Author Earnings, was publishing recently based on tracked downloads on Amazon, the giant website which sees 75% of all eBook sales go through its website.

This report clearly shoes the popularity in eBook sales from self-published authors grow in the space of the last year, while those digital copies of books published by the Big Five publishing houses (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster) have slumped, effectively swapping places with self-published books. Less than 30% of the eBook market is held by the Big Five publishers, while almost 45% of it is seen and enjoyed by self-published, or indie, authors.

The figures from Author Earnings also show that, despite the fact that traditional publishers as a whole make more gross dollars from eBooks, the authors themselves are actually making a killing on the sales of their eBooks, because they take home 70% of the sales of each book, instead of the 10 to 15% that traditionally published authors take home. This means that self-published authors can afford to lower the price of their titles, driving up sales, and getting themselves on that coveted best seller list.

So the eBook is not dead, and neither is the self-published author. They’re just working together in harmony, making a killing.

Competitions, why enter?

Have you ever read about a story competition and wondered why you should bother entering, when your main goal is to get your book published and sold in stores? Well story competitions of all kinds are not just good for your own personal practice, but they can also earn you feedback that is crucial to the overall success of your self-published book. What are the advantages of writing for a competition? Read on…

  1. Even if you don’t win a competition, you have the opportunity to gain feedback from those judging as to their thoughts on your story, and in the process you’ve got your name out there to other professionals.
  2. You might wonder why you’d waste your time on creating something just so that you can enter a competition, but if you have something you are already working on, you can often just edit it to match the theme that the competition is asking for. If it’s a short story competition, then most writers have something small up their sleeve that they can pull out, whether it’s an idea that has been formulating in your head, or something that you started work on years ago but never got around to finishing. Now is your time.
  3. There are so many free competitions to enter out there, so what have you got to lose by getting yourself involved? It costs you no money, and just an inch of your time, and you could earn some serious cash from it, with some prizes worth four figures.
  4. The exposure that you could gain from winning, or coming as a runner-up in a competition is more valuable than paid-for marketing. Those judging these competitions are always experts in the field, they might be publishers, established authors or editors. They know what they are talking about, and if they’re advertising your name and your writing, then you know you’ve come up golden. These people will remember you, they’ll look out for your work on the shelves, and they’ll be some of your biggest fans when your book finally does come to fruition.
  5. It gives you an idea of how your work will be received. If you don’t win, and you are not able to be provided with feedback from the judges, at least you know that this particular piece of writing is not going to be on a bestseller list. Take that silent feedback, run with it, and try again. If nothing else, it will give you good practice for getting your writing absolutely perfect, and you’ll be on the shelves, and those bestseller lists, before you know it.

If you want an idea of which short story competitions to enter, here is a pretty good comprehensive list that should help you out. Good luck!