What are some of the opportunities, and threats, to an author business in today's publishing landscape?

Join Autumn and Jesper as they delve into the far corners of what it means to be an indie author and also answer that burning question: Is too late to get into indie publishing?

 

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Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s):
You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast in today's publishing landscape. You can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join to the best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s):
Hello. I'm Jesper. And I'm Autumn. This is episode 99 of The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. So one episode away from number 100, before we, before we get that far, we are slowly approaching the end of 2020, and we thought that this was a good time to sort of take stock of the indie publishing landscape. What are some of the opportunities and threats maybe to an Author business here towards the end of 2020 and reaching into 2021. So I'm looking forward to this conversation, but first I'd have to say all of them, just to imagine that by next week we released a podcast episode for 100 Mondays in a row.

Autumn (1m 15s):
That's just amazing. I can't believe we had a a hundred that's. That is something to celebrate, especially in 2020, when it seems like just one, do you need a reason to celebrate? And I just, maybe we shouldn't jinx it because we have yet to record it. So I'm just going to calm down and just make sure it really happens. I'll be happy that, yeah, but it's quite a bit, I think its quite an accomplishment, you know, a lot of podcasts never makes it past like 10 episodes because you know, create a thought out, very in a <inaudible> about the podcast and, and then after 10 episodes they realized how much work it isn't that they, they dropped it again. It happens very, very often actually.

Jesper (1m 56s):
So reaching a a hundred is it's it's a lot more and most, yes it is an, it is a really exciting, so it is going to celebrate you. But yeah, I just, I don't know how it happened and I'm just, I am glad we're doing something special and I'm looking forward to the questions that a few glimpses I've seen as the question submitted. So it's really a lot of fun. So yeah, I think so it'll be fun. It'll be fun. But at first, so how are things that we've been so busy? We had a student Q and a today we had all the stuff going on and we haven't been chatted ourselves at this time. So how are things on your side of the Atlantic now? It's it's a good, I actually spent a couple of hours yesterday, driving all kinds of stuff that we've emptied out from the attic on to the landfill.

Jesper (2m 43s):
It's a great thing to move. Yeah. Indeed. Yeah. And, Jesus, there was a lot of stuff for me, especially from the attic, you know what that is, sort of, you put this stuff up there and it feels like, well maybe we are going to use this one day and you put it up there and then you realize, well, 10 years passed and he was just sitting up. So yeah, we do have to rent a storage room though with that, that much, this is clear already. And I think we probably found the space where we can rent a storage room from him, but we haven't quite worked out how big a room we need yet. So we will figure that out. Yeah.

Autumn (3m 23s):
That you don't want to give something to a small, but if you are selling to big when you're just paying for extra room, but I'd have to admit having lived out of storage units, it seems like the last few years, since we sold the house and started traveling that the more having space and having like Iles and things labeled, it's kind of worth the extra money at times. If you think you have to be accessing that for more than a couple months, right.

Jesper (3m 50s):
It's just the organizer and you love doing that. Right.

Autumn (3m 55s):
That's the key. And then having everyone in your family honoring the honor, the organizational system and not just going in there and taking something out and not telling anyone and not crossing it off the list and you'll never see it again ever.

Jesper (4m 10s):
Yeah. But other than that, I don't know. I mean, it's, it's, I don't know if there's much else to say it, to be honest. I know I've just tackling the things on the to-do list earlier today. I was a proof listening to the audio book version of our short guy on a developing story ideas.

Autumn (4m 24s):
Well, that's exciting. Yeah,

Jesper (4m 26s):
That was pretty good to, I mean the, the Narrator is really good. I like his voice. So I just have like two chapters left to proofread a fantastic lesson, I guess it was called Yeah so yeah, once that's done, then I'll put it into post production and we just have to wait until the audio books right now.

Autumn (4m 47s):
That's fantastic. I can't wait. Yes. I really liked his voice. He was very, he has such a very smooth and energetic Voice, which is perfect for a non-fiction. You don't want someone who sounds like, you know, your nightmare is of third grade English, so he's really good.

Jesper (5m 2s):
No, no, yeah, yeah. I think he's good. Yeah. That's a good, so, but how about you?

Autumn (5m 8s):
Oh, it's been, we've both been so busy. I swear. We get so many things done off of our list, but then it was just piles on So after a huge week of finishing up format's for other people and Fantasy maps for people. I have this deadline to finish it by the end of October, which is right. We were just in early November. So my deadline was two finish the third book of the tinted phase that I had been writing and I was down to it. I had to write a chapter a day to do it and I did, I beat up by one day. So I was so excited. I am still on track to hopefully release the first book or the next book. It'll be a book to cause the book ones out, but book two in the series at the end of February.

Autumn (5m 51s):
So that is good. And I had an audio book finished by my audio book Narrator and that's on my postapocalyptic series So and he's just he's he was getting movie roles and play's, and he's got all of this stuff going on so that he's, I don't know, we're sticking with each other. I'm like his number one favorite author. And he was my number one favorite narrator. So we are, we are wed for the whole series and he is on to the final book and that one so I can wait. Yeah, I know you were even though

Jesper (6m 22s):
Speculating to see if it could get him on the podcast right now.

Autumn (6m 24s):
Oh yes. We, we have agree that we have to set up a date, but a literally a date, but I think it'll be our first time chatting, chatting on air. So it'll be a lot of fun, but I thought he would be great to have him and get some perspectives of, you know, what you would look for a What audio book. Narrator his are looking for when they are getting a script ready to record it. So I can not wait to have Brian join me on the podcast for an interview.

Jesper (6m 49s):
Yeah. Yeah. Well that will probably be the end of January or something like that. So just to have to be patient that they will get there. Yes, we will.

Narrator (7m 2s):
Oh, a week on the internet with The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast

Jesper (7m 6s):
Well, first of all, a huge shout out and thank you to Ruth Molina pronounced that. Right. At least I hope that I did it better than when I forced you to pronounce it. Serve.

Autumn (7m 18s):
Yeah. Cause I was going to say, I think you probably got a little bit closer than I did with that one too. So I think at at least Ruth were pretty sure of your first name. So thank you for joining us on Patrion. Yeah.

Jesper (7m 31s):
Yeah. We are so happy to have you on board and it, it is truly the patrons support that keeps this Podcast going. So as you've noticed, we have no sponsors and we have no commercials on this podcast feed, but it's only possible to keep it this way, long term if we have people signing up on Patrion. So the listener, so if you haven't checked it out yet, just to spend two minutes to follow the link in the show notes and take a look at all the cooler words that we give to support us, there might be something that you like. And to be honest, just to a dollar a month, that's help us out.

Autumn (8m 6s):
Absolutely. It, it keeps the internet lights on at least four, the podcast. And we definitely can not complain about that. It's wonderful to have SUPPORT because yeah, like you said, otherwise, I don't know. It, it would be, I don't want to have commercials. I've never liked the commercials. Oh this is not good.

Jesper (8m 24s):
Yeah. Sometimes I think some for Podcast ends up being forced to have commercials to, to fund the endeavor, but it, it would be nice not to have to do that at some point in the future. So yeah. Please, sir. Check out patron if you haven't done. So, and then one more thing. I, I know it's like a best practice to never include water in one call to action, but I'm thinking maybe I could break that rule there. This one.

Autumn (8m 47s):
All right. Just this one time. We'll let you,

Jesper (8m 51s):
I just wanted to mention that the ratings and reviews helps other to find our podcast. And why is that? Well, just like on Amazon, the algorithm's that suggest new podcasts to listeners, they will focus on the podcast with many ratings and reviews. So if you haven't done so already, please take a moment to rate and possibly also leave a review for our podcast. It should only take your moment, but if all our listeners would be willing to do so that would make quite a difference. And I can't tell you exactly where to click and so on because it all depends on what app you're using and, but it should really not be complicated. So yeah, if you don't mind spending probably like 30 seconds to leave a rating, please do so.

Autumn (9m 36s):
Oh yes, we would appreciate it. We're all Authors here. We know how important those reviews are on book. So it's very similar with podcasts. So if you could let people know what you think, why do you like it? And if it's helped you, the Hank, you though it would be so fantastic and we would appreciate it.

Jesper (9m 54s):
Yeah, absolutely.

Autumn (9m 56s):
And then I had new, as I thought, Oh, this is sort of a lead into something else. We've got cooking in one of the reason we're both so busy besides everything else we've got going on. But I asked him one of my newsletters, a survey question about book-length, you know, I wanted to know I'd seen, so Author is putting out these like little kind of Fantasy shorts. And so I wouldn't ask my readers, Hey, is this something you would like? And yes, how many said it is something that they would think would be interesting having these shorter books, 80% you you've looked in my emails having, you know, but that is almost dead on it.

Autumn (10m 36s):
It was 82%. Yes. So that they wouldn't mind some shorter or like a standalone story. So I thought that was so interesting, but what I think is really cool is that this is why having a newsletter is so exceptional. I don't have to sit here and wonder why I asked my readers and you know, we actually have this chorus we've been working on that. You know, it could help out some Authors figure out what to do with your email list. So what are some more news about that coming up soon, soon? Yeah.

Jesper (11m 8s):
Ah, yeah, we will, for sure. But I'm also thinking isn't it kind of, well, a bit obvious. I mean, it's your readers, right? So if you ask them, would you be interesting to have a bit of, you know, some shorter stories as well? Why wouldn't they always say yes,

Autumn (11m 25s):
It was interesting because the way I have the question broken up his like, do you always think there should be a full length? Should they always be a series? They had a couple of options. And so it was interesting to see you, there was a few people who came back and like, it doesn't have to be a series, but it has to be full length. And there are some very strong opinions on this. So it was really, it was a great chance to interact with them, but know, not everyone's like, Oh, I just write more books there. They have specifics. They really do like, and then

Narrator (11m 54s):
On to today's topic.

Jesper (11m 57s):
So I think this is going to be a more of a conversation probably Yeah and we'll see if we have the same views on the industry, as it stands as usual, we have not coordinated hour our line of thinking here at All. So, but I guess we like it that way. It is, it makes it more interesting. It doesn't, it,

Autumn (12m 17s):
It does. Yes. And this is one of those ones where I checked my checklist and what we were doing today while making breakfast, saw the topic and then they didn't think of anything else about it until after the student Q and a, when I did a DoubleCheck saying that it really was the topic today. Right. So you don't have to, I didn't need to do a homework. Did I? So I think, yes, we will have, so we'll have to see if our opinions differ, but both of us being published Authors, I'd be shocked if we were like, no, don't do it. So I think we're pretty much at least on a very similar vein That yeah, yeah. I mean the, there was, no,

Jesper (12m 55s):
It is a bit of a different, Episode this one in the sense that it is not like a list, you can go down and say, okay, this and this and this it's much more like we, we could go into all kinds of directions. So with this definitely M and I think if we are looking at the publishing market as a whole, and sort of just trying to see if we can focus on the point where we can say these are maybe the trends we're seeing and also what are some of the challenges and so on. But I, I think a good place and I could start us out, maybe. Sure. It would be to mention that the possibilities and the tools we have available today in order to publish our work on Amazon, Kobo, Google, and all the other online retailers, I mean the, the market or the PO possibilities we have, it is only about 10 years old.

Jesper (13m 49s):
You know, think about that. And the fact that you are listening to this podcast, trying to educate yourself every week, that probably puts the listener into the 1% percentile, to be honest. I mean, most authors don't do that. And while more than 1% probably knows how to publish their work on line. I honestly don't think that I'm mistaking in saying that there is a lot less people who knows about this indie publishing stuff that you think, Oh yeah, I know

Autumn (14m 20s):
I will. I mean, having, I seem to often end up formatting books or doing book covers to new authors and it becomes more of a coaching session on, Oh, don't forget you need the keywords, the keywords, what do you mean keywords or categories? And why do I need to worry about this in that? And so, yeah, theirs, it's not a, you know, intuitive. I think it's amazing the information that's out there, but I think we've gone from the early days of self publishing. I mean, I started in 2012, eight years ago now. And then there was no information because it was so new, no one knew what they were doing. And now, you know, eight years later there is so much information and some of its wrong and some of it's outdated and some of it's just assumed.

Autumn (15m 9s):
And so that's the other side is then you're just wondering, Please just someone or consolidate all of this and to something I can actually, the one I trust in to give me the step-by-steps. So that's the difficulty is I think of doing it now. I mean, back in 2012, I love calling it the wild West days of self publishing because what is it? Stephen King started this basically, I think it was 2010 when he released a novella a a hundred percent online and crashed the server. Of course it was Stephen King, but he kicked us off and yeah, two or three years later, Amazon had less than a million books. When I first released mine.

Autumn (15m 48s):
I mean, getting thousands of downloads, especially if you offered it for free, like a Kindle free day, you know, those five days free, if you are in KDP select, it was easy. Now it's a lot harder, but the tools, I mean, we didn't have vellum or are these wonderful formatters and some of the cover's now, I mean, the, the covers these days were rival or do better than the traditional publishers. You go on Amazon and the covers are just absolutely amazing. It has gone from trying to mimic a printed paperback that a traditional publisher would put out to doing stuff that only is done online. I, I am waiting a year or two from now. There will be moving covers.

Autumn (16m 28s):
I've been told that they're our video cover's and stuff, but they are not, they're not available. Let's get on Amazon. Thank goodness. Being a graphic artist. I do not want to go there, but if we have to, I will learn. But it's, the covers are just fantastic and they are made, they can be printed, but they really, the colors are just, they're designed to have the light and the video screen behind them. And it's so fantastic. And the book's look gorgeous. And Yeah, I remember, I remember it. Well, when you uploaded your first book, was it in word? And did you even have the hot link to a table of contents, right?

Jesper (17m 6s):
Yeah. Yeah. It was a Scribner extract. And then I had, well, I was trying to look into how to do with myself and indeed there was no, I am not on Mac Ida, so I did not have any developer or anything. So I actually just bought the service from somebody else. I just sent them, they were Scrivener files and say format this stuff. And then they did. So I just paid my way out of it.

Autumn (17m 30s):
That works. But yeah, that was my first one was just word. And I don't think it was hotlinked. I mean, no one talked about that in 2012 now it's like, you need to have these things done or Amazon might not even let your book in a row.

Jesper (17m 46s):
Yeah. But, but also thinking about the stuff that people are talking about, as you say, you know, I think that a lot of us, we live inside this little information or a bubble here because, and what I mean by that is I mentioned the one percentile before, right? If you are listening to this, you are in a very small sliver of the entire Author population, meaning that we are, I think we often assume that every Author knows all of the stuff that we were talking about here, but they don't. I think like maybe 90% of our authors will not know all of that.

Jesper (18m 28s):
Well, of course. Okay. Lets say a lot of authors will know how to put this on Amazon and so on, but there's also a huge, so let's say population, Oh, out of those who does not know all the details about, Oh, are you okay? You can, or you can use KDP rocket, apparently two research keywords. Okay. They didn't know that this stuff you just mentioned about cover the signs and where that is going. They didn't know that, you know, that I think there is a lot of things that, because we live, we are sort of tapped into things and I'm talking about the listeners here as well. Right. Because they listen to podcasts and they educate themselves. It is so easy to start thinking that he is in 2020.

Jesper (19m 8s):
Well, everybody knows this stuff, but honestly, no, I don't think so.

Autumn (19m 11s):
No, no, I don't think so. Yeah. I mean, I have been surprised I have joined some promos with other authors and one of them, I went to look up in her books and her name was listed differently on different books so that she has like five different Author pages. So it was just like, wow. You know, the organizational side of me just like it went belly up and pass it out. But I, again, it's little stuff. If you don't realize how all of the stuff that links together, if your not intuitive, maybe with computers to see how all that metadata works, then you might end up with something like that. So easily, I actually had that in good reads.

Autumn (19m 51s):
It turned out their was whether or not my middle name had a period or a space. I was missing books on good reads. And I didn't even know it until I'm a friendly library and help me out. And I suddenly went from like three pages of books to five or six and it was just like, Oh, I found six more books. And I'm like, Oh my goodness. Where do they come from? But if one little thing, one period was off, you might not have all your books. If you don't go in and claim them and find them and link everything.

Jesper (20m 22s):
No, but, but that's the thing. I mean, because there is so many tools and possibilities available, there's also so many things to keep track of and learn. And that's something I think in, in today's market, you have to be mindful. I mean, it's not only Authors. I mean, if your looking at the reader's as well, we are not even close to a mature market. It comes to the consumption of eBooks. For example, not even close, it was so many places in the world where e-books is, that's not that common. A and there is even places where you can even get it at Amazon. Maybe don't even have a storefront in those countries yet.

Jesper (21m 6s):
So there is so much, let's say two KM in the future. Yes. And Again also here. I think maybe we're living inside a bit of an information bubble here. Where are we just assuming that well, if we, if I'm going into publishing now here in 2020, I'm already way too late to the party, you know, the other side of the 10 years ago and I'm way behind. But honestly I don't think so. No, I think it's, it's your still in the early days of it. Yes.

Autumn (21m 40s):
I think we're still in the early days, I think it would helps to listen to podcasts like this, you know, learn your information before releasing, but it's never too late. You can have a series out, you could have written 10 books and, and then you can find us and start listening and get your marketing down or get whatever missing piece you have. But Cause, I do. I think there are authors who are launching series sometimes right out of the gate. And I'm like, wow, I wish I had been that put together back in 2012. I would love to have not learned everything the hard way, but at least I help people now, so they don't have to, but that's, that's still, it still possible people or releasing books, whether it's they're first series, whether it's they're fourth series and they are doing it well, there are hitting the numbers or getting the best seller tag's there doing phenomenal.

Autumn (22m 27s):
And you could do that now. Or even though they're our, I mean, I, there is just Rumours now, isn't it. And no one really knows how many books are on Amazon. It's not like the old days where you could actually just go click in the corner and you would actually see the number of eBooks listed. Yeah. Not that easy.

Jesper (22m 43s):
Do you think it was? No, I think it was in 2018 that Amazon stopped making it public information, but the common comments let's let me see, come in a group. Do you call it, call it a common agreement? I don't know But but like the general consensus, I guess that's more, what I'm trying to say is that a at the moment e-books on Amazon seems to be growing by about a million a year. And I think the latest, well, it's only assumptions of course, because nobody knows the true numbers of since a couple of years ago, when Amazon started a publisher, I'm making a promise that information public available.

Jesper (23m 25s):
But I think the last number I saw was about 8 million. Wow. And, and then growing by a million a year or so

Autumn (23m 32s):
10 or 11. Yeah. It's a lot of books. It is, it is definitely harder to release something to be immediately seen unless you have all those ducks in a row, but you can still find readers', you can still build a career out of this. And it's unlike, I know I'd rather be doing this now, then, you know, even 50 years ago were you had to go through the traditional publishers and you were vetted and agents. And I understand the perception that the people who do get angel agents are like better writers and everything, but I don't think so. I think they're more marketable. I think the, you know, the traditional publishers, they want to, they're putting a lot of money into an author.

Autumn (24m 16s):
So they want an author who is going to be marketable and make the money. That doesn't mean they're necessarily better writers or have a better story. They just have a better selling point. So there's nothing wrong with you going and trying and writing and EF you will find fans, you will find people who love what you've. Right. And that is awesome, right?

Jesper (24m 37s):
Yeah. For sure that there was a point around this quality of the work, right. With the gatekeepers as it were.

Autumn (24m 45s):
That was it. Well,

Jesper (24m 47s):
Yeah. I mean, at least they would, they would sort of weed out the, the bad stuff first. And then even once you got past the gatekeepers, the traditional publishing, the editing that you are getting, this is first of all, a very, very professional and you are getting many rounds of editing. So finding, for example, a spelling error in a traditional, a published book is it's very rare. Did you find anything? A whereas of course you can say that you could do the same thing as an indie author, but it, it costs a lot of money. If you have to hire like six different editors, I'm like, well, how many pads they do? They do a lot of past us in traditional publishing to make sure that there are no errors.

Jesper (25m 29s):
So at least to that extent, there is a difference. But I also feel like the fact that there is no gatekeepers. I think that's good. I don't like this gate-keeper thing to have somebody sits down the axis. What is publishable and what is not, I think that's wrong. Let the market decide what they want to buy and then what happens Today right. So we just decide what they are buying and what they are not buying that. So it's that simple. But of course it does put a lot of responsibility on the Author to ensure that you are stories and your writing is as good as it can be.

Autumn (26m 2s):
Absolutely. And I mean, that's, to me what gatekeepers, I think people forget it. Wasn't just quality that they were keeping a hold of them are keeping a hold of traditions and not letting people or stories through that. They thought were either not marketable or they didn't want to see so minorities and women or whatever it was. If you hit the wrong person in the wrong publishing house, you would never get to see the light of day now you've you want to find a book on anything it's out there and you can find it and you can write it. But yes, just because you have a voice, you should work on the quality issue, you should do your best to run through an editor.

Autumn (26m 46s):
You to make sure that it's the especially now formatting. I mean, you'll get rejected. I actually kind of like Amazon has gone through, and now they spell check your manuscript as you are uploading it. And if you have any errors, they will come back and they will say, Hey, you know, fix this. Or you can't, you can't change anything in a way that basically locks your book in the dashboard. And so on until you say yes, fix it. Or no, my last name really is spelled that way because I get an error. Not anymore. They finally figured out what my last name is, but I was always, they wanted to change it to a Brit instead of Burt. And so I was getting like, every time I had my name, please let us know, go fix your spelling error.

Autumn (27m 28s):
So a little issues, but decided that I think that's a great every once in a while they are, I still get one or two, like, Hey, is this a correct word? Is that yes, I made it up. It's really spelled that way, but it's good. They are paying attention. And that is helping move up the quality so that the books who don't have the spellchecks and stuff we'll be held back.

Jesper (27m 49s):
Yeah. I thought I have one downside of there not being any gate-keepers to be honest. Oh yeah. Yeah. Because, because there is no gatekeepers anymore because we are talking about those 8 million e-books on Amazon misability is really the biggest issue that we have here in 2021 and going forward as well. And to be honest, I would say that it's probably only going to get worse and, and that's probably, you know, what people want to. But I have said before that this has become a pay to play market. And I think that right now we are very much depending on advertising to get our work in front of readers.

Jesper (28m 37s):
And that said, And I well, I will be just discussing this much more than the self-publishing success costs that we will put out for free and the near future. You more about that in another episode, coming in the near future as, as well. But my point is just that poring more and more money into advertising. That's sort of a downward spiral, isn't it? That's not sustainable. No, no. And that's where we are heading. More and more authors are getting on to the advertising platforms. They're pouring more and more money in. If you're looking at The a bitch for keywords on the Amazon ads, they are only going up. It is getting more and more expensive. Even traditional publishing companies are getting into those are the advertising places now, and they are just pouring money into it.

Jesper (29m 21s):
So it's, and we sell, trying to sell like a $5 a year, a book or whatever you price it is. But it, it does not take very much purpose in terms of costs before it is not worth it anymore. So that's the main concern I think. And I believe that, and this is a way where you and I are focusing Autumn, but I believe that it is much more important to spend your time and also probably the majority of your money and trying to find your 1000 true fans and get them onto your email list.

Autumn (29m 57s):
Yes, I agree. That's what I see with so many things is I, I wonder what the next step, I mean, goodness knows if I'll see if anyone comes up with the next step of what is beyond for eBooks, you know how to readers can find them because everyone talks about good reads, not being the best. It could be an Amazon is not doing anything to make it better. Amazon's were, you know, I just asked another survey question to my newsletter saying, where do you buy books? Because I want to know when I release my next series, should I keep it? Why does it on Amazon? And you're not going to scattering everywhere, but most still go to Amazon. They go to Amazon, just even like, even if they have a Barnes and Nobles, you know, and now they're going on Amazon 'cause the search engine has fantastic, but I still I depending on how things go with the U S elections and the future.

Autumn (30m 45s):
I mean, I don't know if Amazon is going to be able to stay as one massive entity and what's going to happen if it crumbles or if it changes we're going to eventually eBooks might have to expand beyond Amazon or what, what happens when they get 20 million books? I mean, terrace is a server space. Unlimited is there are going to be restrictions, which will just spot on the side sites almost instantly. Uhh, that, Hey, if you actually like, Fantasy go to this place instead of here, because you're going to find more Fantasy Authors over there. It could happen. We don't know, but I don't think eBooks are going away. I, I have so many people in my family who were like, I need to read it on paper and you know, like a year or two later they see like a Kindle Paperwhite.

Autumn (31m 30s):
And they're like, I only read it on my Kindle Paperwhite. So right now people like paperbacks, but there are starting to see, even though the traditional ones that are starting to like Kindle's Or ebook readers or whatever, they are going to find comfortable. And there are only going to get better, a ways of being able to read and have that textual experience that sort of like a book. So the future is going to be kind of exciting, I think. Yeah.

Jesper (31m 55s):
Yeah. And also the fact that eBooks are gaining ground, you know, it, it's also part of, because it is cheaper than ever before to publish a book, the enemy that's a good thing. Or, you know, things like cover's and editing that's shouldn't be skipped upon. No. And I guess that ties into the point that we were making before about the quality we did actually discuss the cost of producing a novel and what we suggest that you should focus on if you are on a budget in episode 64. So if you are in and out, you can go back and listen to that one. But I do think it is extremely cheap to produce a novel, not in terms of time, in terms of actual dollars, then it, especially that one, everyone's

Autumn (32m 41s):
Got a story of there. First one, because if you count from concept to finally publishing it and that's a, usually a three to five year Odyssey, it gets better after that. I promise. I promise. Okay. So let's talk about the first one, but yes, it is definitely a, time-wise not the easiest pursuit, but Hey, once you sell one, it's not like a painting where you'll only ever sell one, You sell it again and again and again, and you get to talk to people about it and its, it becomes a thing that you get fan art. So it's always fun, but it's definitely, it is cheaper. I mean I think publishing, if you look into entrepreneurial magazines and things or self publishing is one of the cheapest businesses as a startup cost because yeah, you need somebody to write it on like a laptop, which most people have.

Autumn (33m 29s):
I've written on my iPad with this external keyboard. I think this is not a huge expensive set up, but you do need the book covers and the editing. And if you don't know how to do the formatting, the formatting, but you know, Again listen to episode 64, you will get an idea of what your looking at it for Price's and the range of prices. And with that, you could have a book up and then you have the ads marketing. And that is definitely right now the crunch point. And that's why I do think that that is 2020 was definitely 2019 and 2020. Where in the year of, you know, you, everyone was getting into AMS as all of the big helpers and courses that are targeting Authors of things to learn were talking about even, I mean, Facebook ads are still there, but they were really looking at AMS ads.

Autumn (34m 17s):
Now that is getting tight BookBub ads are hard to really get some traction, good reads got rid of their ads. It's the finding visibility is definitely the nugget that someone is looking to crack right now. And someone is going to crack it. There is going to be the next generation and guaranteed versus the asteroid hitting the earth in 2020, because we're not at the end of the year yet it could happen, but that's just, that's assume that all make it to 2021. Something is going to change and they are going to figure out a way of hooking up readers with great Authors and that's going to be really a game changer because there is enough readers out there to keep Authors busy readers, especially serial readers reading.

Autumn (35m 1s):
It has not gone away. Thank you JK. Rowling's for raising an entire generation of mad FANTASY readers. We love it. Fantastic. People are reading crazily. It hasn't gone away. Everyone, every generation they say people are not reading. I'm sorry. There is a whole industry devoted to readers and to writers, feeding readers is so this is not, it's never too late. It's not going away. If you want to write and it's in your blood and you like telling stories, give it a whirl. It's a lot of fun. It was, there is the tough parts, but you'll find some people.

Autumn (35m 41s):
Yeah. And I think,

Jesper (35m 42s):
I think part of what you were saying, there is also, I think it's important to be adaptable in this landscape that we are entering here. And as, as we head into 2021, it's probably an increasingly important skillset to be honest, because you have to be willing to spend the time to pay attention to what is working for other authors and then adapt your marketing efforts when necessary, because you can go on out of the taste where you could just upload your book to Amazon and put it in some keywords and Yeah well on Amazon takes over on your cell or a ton of books. You, you could do that 10 years ago, but that's not possible anymore.

Jesper (36m 22s):
And now I'd probably even go further than that and say that some of the marketing tips and tricks that used to work still circulates around the internet and you will come across it once you started looking for tips and tricks to do this and that. But a lot of them has actually lost a lot of the effectiveness. Oh yeah. We talked about the Permafree book one in the past. Episode didn't we? Yes, we have this sort of, this sort of the same thing. So I think it's important to not that you have to listen to us if you don't want to just listening to podcast in general on this topic and try to educate and see what people are saying, what can you pick up in and what do we need to adapt in your own approach?

Jesper (37m 4s):
I think that becomes increasingly important as we head into 2021, because just keep you doing the same thing, then we're back to the downward spiral that I mentioned before, where you can keep pouring money into ad. But yeah, that might work for a while. And of course it depends on how deep your pockets are, but at the end of the day, it's not going to work forever.

Autumn (37m 23s):
No, and even I do worry about newsletters. I mean, it is the number one way of building a relationship with readers. You do want to find those a thousand true fans 'cause they will, they will build your career. They will be your foundation, but joining a lot of books, book, funnel promo's and stuff where, you know, readers are getting, if they go, if you get readers who are serial readers and they're going through these promos and they are getting on a whole bunch of people's mailing lists, it's saturation. I mean, who doesn't have email saturation now. So you need to make your newsletters concise and important and clear and fun and engaging. I mean, it's, it's like writing a book and you have to do that regularly. So you attract your readers or are you have to have a set-up so that they know who you are.

Autumn (38m 6s):
And so when you send your email and you have this new book release that they, they go out and they are still interested because whether you write every book every two months or two years, we need to grow, keep those readers. And you have to have a way of connecting with you and staying in tune to the journey and that's important. But again, it comes down to what if readers are hitting a saturation point with newsletters? I mean, I, I know, I think once a month I go through and unsubscribe sprit, and I'm got too many emails coming every day. So these are the, there are no worries I have, but I also think that we will, will find a step around the will find the next thing.

Autumn (38m 47s):
But like you were saying, you have to stay on the pulse of this and not the pulse of a couple years ago, but the pulse now, what are people chatting about? What are the Authors chatting about? Where are your reader's finding you now go and hang out with your readers, make sure you are going there and not just talking to other authors because the whole point is you have readers. So go find them as well as talking to the other. Authors is a lot of stuff to stand on top of it. But if you love those, it's, it's not exactly like dreary or are not reading the current news stories, which trust me, I don't want to go there.

Jesper (39m 25s):
I don't share your concern about the newsletter to be honest, I still think, and I don't see it going away either that it is the best way to interact with readers because you get in the inbox and of course it is true what you said, you know, that it didn't realize it on you to make those emails interesting enough that they keep being invested in what you have to say. But I still don't think that there was anything out there that we will beat the newsletter any time soon. But yeah, but on the other hand as well, and I'm wondering what you think about this one, but there's probably something to be said about how well, the necessity of having multiple streams of income.

Jesper (40m 4s):
I'm not sure, but I think it might be a must for financial stability going forward. What do you think about that?

Autumn (40m 14s):
I'm still torn. There's part of me who wishes. I had focused a lot heavier. Like I had just gone 110% into writing books and writing them faster and better and getting the marketing down like four years ago when I left my full-time job. But instead part of the reason I left was I was developing courses and Am Writing Fantasy and in this podcast we would come out of it. And I think so I think I have maybe my eggs in separated into two, many different baskets, than I can sometimes manage well.

Jesper (40m 46s):
I didn't say you couldn't have too many.

Autumn (40m 48s):
No, I definitely, I think you can have too many, but I do think that if you can set up a few in automation, if you, if you can flex yourself to have a lot of different things, I think it is a good thing. If it's in your nature, I was just on a friend's entrepreneurial podcast. And we got into talking about that, that if you're naturally inclined to lots of different things, you're probably gonna get into lots of different things and it's better to embrace it and organize it from the get go, then try to make yourself focus on one thing and grow to hate it. So yeah, I think there are ways of branching out and doing it, but I also see some authors who are literally, they're doing a book every two months, which means they are writing like 10,000 words a day, plus the editing plus the plotting, getting the cover's and is that is all they can, that is all that it can fit on their plate and they are doing just fine.

Autumn (41m 37s):
And I think that if you can find enough fans and you were writing well enough, you could, you can totally have that as a model and run with that. But if you are someone who likes to branch out and have a few other things, you can also, you know, get that to work as well and have a more stable platform because you know, some of those authors who are doing a book every two months and stuff, they are Katie piece select. And I think that's a great because it's working for them and there's times I'm like, darn, that is so they make it look so easy. I'm envious because I always do everything the hard way, but I can't give it all at one place. I just can't do it.

Jesper (42m 18s):
No, but that was exactly my thinking as well. That a lot of those who have that kind of success is because they are in control and limited, which I guess it is fine. But if we are talking about financial stability long term, I don't think that's a stable platform, nothing against putting books in, in Kindle unlimited so far. So, I mean, we have a plan to do that for future books as well. But the thing is, if you have all kinds of other things in other places as well, then yes, maybe Amazon will change something in a year or two or three years from now. But if you have incomes from other streams, then you are much more stable. And where are some of those things that you mentioned there, there are a a hundred percent reliant on the income from Kindle unlimited, which is, I would be a bit scared about

Autumn (43m 3s):
I would be too, just because like I mentioned, I mean, there's a lot of rumbling in the U S about breaking up Amazon and, you know, they might just end up having divest good reads or divest ACX or something. Are there other things that they have purchased, but what if they decide to divest something with their books? What do they break that up a little bit, even though we don't know what the future is. And so I, and I do imagine at some point, like I said, the server space can only grow. So big books looks to make a lot of money, but I don't think they are making as much as some of the other stuff on Amazon. So if they decided that, you know, there are going to have limited space, again, people on the books will not go away.

Autumn (43m 43s):
There will just be pop-up cites that are starting to compete with Amazon for certain genres are such. And that will be exciting to me, but that's also because of not on a Kindle unlimited. So I wouldn't be like, yes, I am going there or not. Oh gosh. I had to rebuild everything. I'm already, I'm already everywhere. It'll be so hard to pull my tentacles out. It'd be just horrible. Yeah.

Jesper (44m 6s):
Yeah. No, no, no, no. That's true. But and the thing is also that if it was just on that point about Amazon, as you mentioned, right. If we look at the yearly revenue from Amazon and I don't know the exact numbers because I have looked into it. So now I am getting a bit, yeah, I'll be honest about that. But book sale ebook sales out of Amazon is total revenue. It's probably less than 1% if I'm really, really, really like positive and upbeat here. And let's say is 2% of Amazon's total revenue, but is something like that? It's, it's like nothing that they probably won't even notice it if they stopped selling eBooks,

Autumn (44m 49s):
Probably that's kind of scary. Yeah.

Jesper (44m 51s):
And that's the scary, but I actually have not done well. We have to have some good and some bad ones, but I have one more joke in the pot here.

Autumn (44m 58s):
All right, let's go for it. Or something.

Jesper (45m 0s):
Something that might disrupt the market in ways that we haven't even thought about. Can you guess what that might be?

Autumn (45m 7s):
It's a solar flare. No, no, no. I have no idea AI. Oh yeah. That's true. I all right. I'm going to be sticking to solar flare. Yeah. So are you using the AI for writing the books or AI for helping to prepare readers and writers?

Jesper (45m 29s):
Well, we have already seen examples of AI producing books. It's not right.

Autumn (45m 38s):
Wonderful. Yeah.

Jesper (45m 38s):
Right. But if you're looking at the speed in which this develops and And in the speed at AIT system, sales is incredible. You know, just like two years ago, they couldn't do anything and now they can write a crappy books, but they can write books a week. Where will they be in two years from now or five years from now, which is going to be a completely different landscape. But I don't know, personally, I don't think that AI will replace Authors within the next five, 10 years. I don't think so. Of course. I don't know. But I do think that we need to be really curious about technology and that's why I talked about add a bit, you know, to be adaptable before.

Jesper (46m 19s):
Yeah. Because this is one of the areas where I think that most Authors, this is a blind spot, you know, we, we try to sort of ignore the fact that there was AI technology coming in there instead of embracing it and looking into how can we perhaps integrate AI into our Author businesses so that we can work alongside AI is basically having them help us in doing some of the work on it. I don't know how to do that yet, but I'm just saying that moving forward into the next decade, technology is going to get better and better and better. And I think we have to find ways in order to leverage this technology. And I think that the authors who will do that successfully, they we'll get an advantage.

Jesper (47m 3s):
They will come out on top. So that's something to think about. Oh

Autumn (47m 8s):
I think that's a very, very good point and definitely something worth thinking about, and really looking ahead, not just wondering, I'm just keeping your pulse on today's market, but you know, really projecting into where is this all going? And yeah, I can see AI is being an important part. I mean, there are so many books they are looking at, Oh, now I can't even remember the term, but altered reality, you know, looking into these books where there's like three links and visuals and for mental reality, augmented reality. Thank you. And there are a few people who, who are trying to tie new music too. The reading experience, which I am kind of, I had to say, I'm kind of glad they didn't go anywhere, but it was just disruptive to me, but people are trying to do other things with books.

Autumn (47m 54s):
So yeah. Things are going to be, there will always be someone cutting edge and going a little bit further. And it will be interesting to see where it goes because stories, I know stories or are not going to go away. No, indeed. So I think right now is a great time to get started.

Jesper (48m 13s):
There is no way of knowing for sure, but I would state of course, with no scientific data behind this tool to backup my claim. But I would say that the next let's say 10 years is a window of opportunity for Authors to build themselves in a career in writing in a market that continues to grow because many readers haven't even discovered the possibility to buy a Kindle and download our ebook ship, especially for those listening in the U S and that's the majority of You. I think it's important that you don't assume that the level of market penetration that you see with Kindle and eBooks is the same everywhere else, because it's not, no, no, no.

Jesper (48m 54s):
Here in the Nordics where I live, for instance, there are those who read eBooks, but its not a mature product at all. Wow. I think most of those who do read eBooks here in this part of the world, many of them do through the library system where you can beat eBooks, but actually going onto Amazon and buying an ebook themselves. That's quite foreign to most people hear that, that they are not used to it. So there is one of those information bubbles here again, when I think you were in the U S might assume that this is just normal, this is how it is, but it's not. So think about that as well as the market will mature over the next decade and it, as it does the possibility to find new readers will as well.

Autumn (49m 39s):
Sounds good. And I agree. No surprise there.

Jesper (49m 47s):
Okay, perfect. So next Monday it's finally time for Episode 100 and we are looking so much forward to answering your questions. So see you next Monday.

Narrator (49m 58s):
If you like, what you just heard, there is a few things you can do to support The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy. For as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

 

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