Indypub basics: the flood of new writers

WARNING: Subject to headdesk and foot in mouth.  Please feel free to argue.  This is my learning experience, too, you know.

Here I am, encouraging you to be part of the problem and not part of the solution.  Ian says:

I think a bigger portion of the why [he’s not making Dean’s numbers] has to do with volume. In January when I uploaded my first Smashwords books, they had about 1.6 billion words published. Now they’re over 1.9 billion. So in three months, people have uploaded 100 million words worth of ebooks to Smashwords. That’s 10,000 short stories of 10k words each, or a thousand 100k-word novels. That’s a lot of competition for buyers to sift through. I suspect my sales are coming from people searching for specific tags, like “superhero” or “cyberpunk” first. The number of indie-published works is increasing at a staggering pace. I think individual sales will drop as the pool gets larger, and I don’t think repeat business is a given at all in this industry. People are fickle.

I think it’s a good point.  There are a flood of people who are now indypubbing (like me).  Yes, we are the flood.  Do I think this means that now isn’t the time to epublish?


I think the wave of new writers will burst forth for a month, two months, six months, a year, as people clean out their trunks.  Why not?  You might make some money on that stuff.

But, just as there are a bajillion people who want you to write their books for them, there are a bajillion people who have written one or two books, and that’s it.  They take YEARS to finish books.  It’s a hobby.

Being a professional writer is hard, even a self-publishing professional writer.  A lot of the self-publishers that we’re seeing now will weed themselves out.

So, that’s something to ask yourself:  Do you want to be the kind of writer who puts up one book, finds out that you’re not seeing sales (because one book is just kind of floating out there, in the middle of nowhere, like a blog with one blog post), and gives up?


Indypub basics: money


Update: Death by Chocolate early release


  1. I agree. I think ebooks need to be viewed in the long term, as any career should be viewed. I know I’m not reaching Dean’s “numbers” per ebook yet but I only started at the beginning of February. This is a long term thing for me. Most small businesses do not see a profit before the five year mark, why should indie publishing be any different?

    There will always be hobby writers and folks who have one book in them and nothing else. It’s the writers who consistently work, day in and out, producing and putting it out there that will build a career. But it takes more than one book and more than one month. A lot of the new writers can’t see that and will fall by the wayside.

    For me, I’m thinking five, ten, twenty years down the line. I want a career, not just one book.

  2. YES! YES! YES! I’ve been saying this for a long time… once Konrath and Hockings put out numbers and showed how rich they were, of course everyone wants to be a writer. And why not, how hard is it? You upload a file and want for the money… and wait… and wait… okay, fine, this isn’t working, back to my normal life. And that’s what will happen. This flood of people are those uploading their backlists – the stuff that got rejected, etc. Once it’s up, they need to write more books. Those who don’t will fade away. Those who are “real writers” will continue to produce work, network, and build.

    Great post! 🙂

    (Psst… I’m a first time visitor today.)


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