Author Interview – Ben Hale : Part 2

Author headshotWithin the Indie Author Hub, you can learn about other authors, their thoughts and opinions, what makes them tick and how their writing process works for them.

All this week I will be releasing segments of an interview I conducted with fellow author, Ben Hale, author of Fantasy series, The Chronicles of Lumineia. Have a look at his profile and books here.

Part 2 : The future of publishing

What do you think the future of publishing will be? I wrote a blog post on this exact question a few weeks ago. In a nutshell I think that the only publishers that will survive the next decade will be the ones that value authors. Without the monopoly they have enjoyed for so long, some publishers will struggle because more and more authors will have no reason to go with them.

With the world of publishing evolving, publishers need to evolve with it. Right now I see publishers only placing value in the major bestsellers, such as Harry Potter or Twilight. (To a degree, they didn’t have a choice. They couldn’t invest into everyone or they would have gone bankrupt.) With the advent of e-publishing that can now change. Publishers can value more authors by offering print-only contracts, digital-only contracts, or offer a higher percentage of sales if an author wants to pay for editing or artwork themselves. Everything including the length of the contract needs to change.

A good example of this is how publishers used to plan marketing strategies. They used to gather analytics from bookstores that helped them track who was buying books and where. They still do that but many books are sold online now, and Amazon doesn’t give that information out—even to publishers. That means that the entire system that publishers used to base marketing on is now flawed. I have read an article of another author who was fortunate enough to be invited to meet with a publisher. To her surprise, the publisher’s personnel didn’t even know how blogging could grow a book’s exposure. You can find the complete story on her blog (Penelope Trunk is her name). I consider it a must read.

In essence, publishers need to become more versatile to handle the expanding opportunities that are available. They need to trim the extraneous expenses so they can operate more efficiently, and they need to put more value in mid-list and new authors. To be clear, even if they do change this way, it doesn’t excuse authors from their responsibility. Part of branding is promoting the author. That doesn’t work if the author can’t market themselves. The business of writing is more than just writing. It is marketing yourself, marketing your work, and consistently learning how to do it better. Once authors recognize their role, and publishers learn to adapt, the publishing world will finally be in balance. At least, that is my hope.

So, do you think there is a place for traditional publishers anymore? I believe there is, but only if they adapt to the changing market. As I said, if big name publishers began offering print-only contracts to successful Indie Authors, I believe many more would be willing to sign. The result would be a huge success for both publishers and writers. I don’t know a single indie author who sells well in print. (If you are, then congrats on your success!)

What about Agents, are they necessary? It depends on the writers goals. At the end of the day there is only so much an author can do before it cuts into their writing time. Marketing, editing, networking, blogging, website management, etc, all take so much time that it is difficult to focus on writing. I do think that agents will begin to evolve, and start offering more to Indie Authors who want to focus on their books. In time, some might even begin to call themselves Indie Agents, or E-Publishing agents.

Top tip for aspiring authors? Literary success requires research, diligence, and sacrifice.

Don’t miss part 1 of this interview where Ben discusses his writing process

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