The book selling world is shifting radically in the favor of Indie authors

Big Data

Maybe I didn’t say this loudly enough in my earlier blogs.

The world of digital publishing, that world where everyone with a book in her has access to the human universe, is shifting dramatically toward Indie authors.

Let me explain.

The formula for selling books is simple.  Develop an email list of subscribers who want to see books in certain genres.  Send them regular emails with a few of those books featured.

That’s it.

The problem on the authors’ end up until now has been the expense involved in creating huge email lists of readers who want the type of books they write.

It hasn’t been a problem for Amazon because it has been steady building its list for years.  Who knows how many subscribers Amazon now has?

For anyone else, the task has been formidable, if not impossible.

But now we are seeing the proliferation of book selling sites that base their results on the strength of the lists they have amassed.  These sites are pouring resources into expanding their email lists and developing the ability to announce books of interest to readers within an extremely narrow band.

That’s exactly Amazon’s model according to author David Gaughran.  I ask that he excuse me if I have misstated the theory he articulates in his book Let’s Get Visible.  But as I understand it Amazon has used as its guiding light the notion that it will always display to readers the books those particular readers are most likely to buy.  It doesn’t matter if the target book is a bestseller or a book no one has ever heard of so long as it is a book that matches up with the reader’s buying history.

Which, of course, brings us to the concept we have heard so much about in recent days, the notion of “Big Data.”

I saw an interview on Public TV a couple of nights ago with several people who are concerned about the concept.  However, each of them took it as a given that there is no going back to earlier days when people had some expectation of privacy.  Rather the question was framed as what is acceptable within a universe where Big Data is a given.

Amazon came up several times in that conversation.


Because the best use of Big Data is exactly what I described above.  It is the ability to take a huge amount of information, and from it to draw conclusions as to what book a specific person would most likely buy.

Like it or not, that’s what the present is and what the future will look like ten times over.

That’s why it’s a great time to be an Indie author.

In the next few months sites will arise that will be able to pinpoint readers who want books within very specific bands.  How about a romance/thriller/murder mystery where on page seven the ex-husband drives his car off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean while he is listening to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville?

Click here for the top ten  selections.

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