Home > The Publisher's Corner > Indie Authors & Self-Publishing Changing the Publishing Industry

5 Ways Indie Authors & Self-Publishing Are Changing the Publishing Industry

With the rise in the number of independent authors and the popularity of e-books, change is happening rapidly in the publishing world.

indie authors

Thanks in large part to self-publishing, indie writers are experiencing greater control over their work as well as a bump up in their earning potential. Here are five areas where indie authors and self-publishing are breaking down old barriers in the industry as a whole—and reaping the benefits:

  1. Shifting Readership from Traditional Publishing to E-books

Ten years ago, e-books were a blip on the publishing world’s radar. Today, they account for 25% of dollar sales and 40–50% of units sold. Readers are shifting over to the convenience and lower cost of e-books, though not abandoning print books entirely. Meanwhile, an increasing number of indie authors are taking advantage of the freedom that self-publishing affords them to capitalize on the success of e-books. While some authors produce print books as well as e-books, some produce content exclusively for the e-book market through businesses such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, which supplies exclusive material directly to the retail giant’s monthly reader subscriber service.

  1. Taking Charge of Writers’ Publishing Destiny

Self-publishing offers indie authors greater creative control, as well as easier access to e-book retailers and readers than traditional publishing does. By playing an active role in all aspects of the production process, self-published writers can earn 60–80% of the list price of an e-book’s royalty. In contrast, trade-published e-book authors earn only 12–17%.

  1. Expanding Indie Authors’ Global Reach

Cell phones and other electronic devices not only expand an author’s global reach but also increase the author’s need for strong publishing skills. Proofing, editing, and formatting the text to be read on these devices are essential for indie writers who want to avoid potential bad reviews for typos or formatting issues while also catering to their readers’ preferences for these devices, however. This means that while transcending the print medium, authors must now keep up with how to present their work via the latest technology.

  1. Larger Profits for Indie Writers

Writers are drawn to self-publishing because they can retain their creative rights and determine the pricing and promotion of their work. The cost of an e-book is often half the price of a traditional print book, and the availability of e-books allows readers to easily find an author’s complete inventory available online to “binge-read” once they’ve become hooked. Traditional print retailers are limited to the amount of shelf space they have available, but this is not the case for e-book retailers.

  1. No Longer Taboo, Self-Publishing Is Opening Doors

In the past, there was a stigma associated with self-publishing, but no longer. Today, self-publishing indie authors are making their way onto the New York Times and USA Today Best Sellers lists—and making a living doing it.

With more control over their work and increased profits, it’s no wonder writers are turning to self-publishing.

Change is happening to the publishing industry, like it or not. Critics might bemoan what they call a glut of e-books and say that producing them devalues traditional print books, but our challenge is to embrace the change and to make the most out of the opportunities presented. If indie authors strive to create the highest-quality content they can and to embrace the entrepreneurial control that self-publishing offers, the future of the publishing industry will continue to be bright and profitable.


Ray Robinson
Ray Robinson

When Ray first entered the publishing industry, authors relied on “vanity presses” to produce their work – many of whom would charge $15,000 or more and leave the author’s garage filled with hundreds of books. Ray, along with coworker Alan Harris, joined forces with Miles Nelson to create Dog Ear Publishing to provide the author community a self-publisher with a heart. The group’s application of new technologies and publishing on demand reduced the cost of publishing a book to a fraction of what it had been for previous generations; authors now have the ability to publish a book in as little as six weeks and print as few as a single copy.