According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), in 2011 e-book sales rose 117%, generating revenue of $969.9 million, while sales in all trade print segments fell, with mass-market paperbacks plunging by nearly 36%. As a result of this, insiders worry that traditional publishers will focus on hardbacks and publish fewer paperbacks.
The article argues that most readers buy books, not because Simon & Schuster or Berkeley published it, but because they want a good read, be it from a big publisher or from an individual author. They also buy a book based on the cover, the back cover blurb, and the author's name. So indie authors have to make sure they have a professional looking cover and an enticing blurb, as well as a good book. And they have to promote. Promote, promote, promote.
Indie authors can make money, if their product is good, of course:
At $2.99 a pop, authors earn nearly $2.00 on every eBook sale. Even at 99¢, with average royalties of 33¢ to 60¢, earnings on a hot-selling book can quickly out-pace the meager advance offered to all but the superstars by a traditional house.I don't think self-publishing has the stigma it used to have. I personally know traditionally published authors who don't consider indie authors to be "real" authors, but with more and more writers going the indie route, I think readers will become their own judges and gatekeepers. They will try new indie authors because the price is low and they will like what they read and then buy more by that author - or they will try someone else. And they will be able to do that without spending $25 for a hardback. For that amount, they could have bought 8 indie books, and hopefully found 8 authors they like. And those authors would have earned more than if they'd been published in hardback by a major house.