Pre-order the full report on what authors want here.
The lure of self-publishing is showing that it has some appeal even to authors who have been accepted and invested in by traditional publishing houses.
A third of traditionally published authors are interested in self-publishing their next book, according to a new survey from Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest.
The survey, What Authors Want: A Comprehensive Survey of Authors to Understand Their Priorities in the Self-Publishing Era, queried nearly 5,000 aspiring, self-published, traditionally published and “hybrid” authors (authors who have both self-published and traditionally published). It was presented in a keynote presentation at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo.
This trend should be worrisome for traditional publishers, which are struggling to demonstrate to the marketplace that they add value to the publishing process in an era where anyone can publish a book.
Perhaps of even more concern is that two-thirds of hybrid authors are interested in self-publishing their next book. It’s not surprising given the context of the rest of the survey: Time and again, hybrid authors had relatively negative opinions about publishing companies — that they keep too much money, don’t “get” digital and, generally, don’t add much to their publishing process.
At the same time, when offered the opportunity to publish traditionally, nearly three-quarters of hybrid authors are interested and — also good news for publishers — about two-thirds of self-published authors are interested. Not surprisingly, 92% of traditionally published authors are interested. The prestige of a traditional publisher, the wide distribution a publisher can generate and help with marketing were all reasons cited.
The wide-ranging survey also dived into how authors are building their social media platforms, what they think about advances, royalties, ebook prices, agents, ebooks in libraries and more. A full report will be available on DigitalBookWorld.com in a few weeks.
One Important Conclusion
Aspiring authors seem to be most enamored with the traditional publishing industry and those who have experienced both the publishing industry and self-publishing seem to be least enamored with the publishing industry.
While outsiders who probably have among them the next generation of best-selling authors believe that publishers can help them and have fairly high opinions of publishers, those who have experienced both publishers and the alternative have a very low opinion of publishers, by comparison.
Perhaps it is because those authors who have both self- and traditionally published are unreasonably bitter as a group by some slight they experienced at the hand of a publisher. Or perhaps they have made a reasoned comparison of what the publishing industry offered them and what self-publishing offered them and were more satisfied with the latter. Either way, it would suggest that traditional publishers could do more to woo and impress published authors.
The good news for publishers is that aspiring writers still believe in their ability to help them. It’s not too late for publishers to improve their services to authors to attract and retain the next generation of best-selling authors.
Interested in what you read? Want to learn more? Pre-order the full report on what authors want here.