This post by Jennifer McCartney originally appeared on Publishers Weekly on 1/16/15.
Industry insiders predict an increase in diversity, serialization, and hybrid publishing
Self-publishing saw another successful year in 2014, with authors like Deborah Bladon and Jen McLaughlin hitting the New York Times bestseller lists, fanfic authors like Sophie Jackson receiving six-figure advances, and many millions of titles being published across the industry’s numerous platforms. The view of self-publishing as an outlet of last resort for desperate authors is also changing—the negative stigma that’s long been associated with the industry is being discarded for a more progressive outlook, along with the acknowledgement that self-publishing and traditional publishing can coexist and even benefit one another. And self-publishing platforms are increasingly serving as a kind of testing ground for traditional publishers, which are snapping up successful indie authors and offering them, in some cases, million-dollar advances. Further, some traditionally published authors are becoming more open to exploring self-publishing as a supplement to or as a replacement for their traditional publishing careers.
A year ago, we predicted that the self-publishing industry would mature in 2014, with writers taking ownership of their role as both authors and business owners. As 2015 begins, we once again anticipate a year of growth, despite some concerns about market saturation. For this year’s preview, we talked to a number of industry insiders about the current state of self-publishing, the trends they’ve noticed over the past year, and the current challenges facing indie authors in an increasingly crowded market, along with some of their predictions for 2015.
As an example of continued industry growth, Ashleigh Gardner, head of content at Wattpad, noted that in 2014 the social publishing site gained millions of users who shared 15 million works of fan fiction alone—resulting in breakout publishing stars like Anna Todd, whose One Direction fanfic, After, got her a four-book deal with Gallery Books at Simon & Schuster.
Established self-publishing sites like Lulu also saw growth over the past year, according to the company’s v-p of marketing, Dan Dillon, as a result of new initiatives like Lulu Jr.—a brand enabling children to become published authors. In addition to Lulu Jr., the company announced a partnership with Crayola to develop a line of co-branded book-making kits for kids.
Across all segments of self-publishing, there were signs of continued growth and innovation—from Crayola to fanfic to hybrid publishing to the rise of serialization, we break it all down for you here.
The Rise of the “Authorpreneur”