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Indie Authors: Timing, Positioning, Adapting and Reinventing

Until fairly recently, the debut of a much-advertised television show or mini series on television pretty much guaranteed high ratings for the network airing the event. An example of this is The Thorn Birds, a 1977 best-selling novel by Colleen McCullough. It was adapted into a mini-series in 1983 and, thanks to much pre-air hype, it became the second highest-rated mini series of all time, second only to the mini series Roots, based on the 1976 bestseller by Alex Haley. Nowadays, however, a much-hyped television show doesn’t have the same impact because viewers simply have too many shows to choose from and too many ways to see them – thanks to the likes of the PVR and its forefather, the VCR. Viewers don’t need to watch a show or special when it airs – they can record it and watch it at their leisure.

The same may be said for books. Unless you’re Dan Brown bringing out another book about the intrepid Robert Langdon or you’re J.K. Rowling about to resurrect the Harry Potter series, there is no guarantee that readers will be lined up around the block to purchase your book or will be crashing servers at Amazon in an effort to be first on the bandwagon to pre-order your newest offering. So where does that leave the indie author trying to build a name for himself/herself and to grow his or her respective readerships?

In a pretty advantageous position, without a doubt. Why? Because indie authors have the ability to set trends, to adapt, to reinvent and to upset the status quo. The Passive Guy at adopted the following reasoning:

“If indie authors are in the process of disrupting traditional publishers, one of the ways they’re doing it is by using lower prices. The infrastructure necessary to support an indie author (laptop plus internet connection plus someplace to sit while you write) is much, much less expensive than the infrastructure necessary to support HarperCollins. So the indie author can sell ebooks for 99 cents when HarperCollins can’t afford to do so. Another huge advantage of indie authors is that they are far more agile than traditional publishers. The book acquisition, development and release process takes months, maybe more, at a traditional publisher. Yes, they can rush out an instant book on Nelson Mandela, but doing so means going outside the normal publishing process and slows down everything else when it happens. An indie author isn’t weighted down with a cumbersome production infrastructure and marketing process. If he/she decides cowboy zombie cooking erotica is the next big thing, the first book can be up on Amazon very, very quickly. And the second book can follow shortly thereafter. And it doesn’t matter whether a Barnes & Noble buyer thinks the book will sell or not.”

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, a bestselling author writing in several different genres, seemed to have the right take on things when she said, “... just because your book isn’t successful now doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. Or, conversely, just because your book did well on its release, doesn’t mean its selling days are over. It can be revived, if you time things right, with the idea of discoverability.”

So, there it is...the recipe for an indie author’s longevity and success... it’s a simple as one, two, three, four...timing and positioning, adapting and reinventing...

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Marta Tandori