Brexit is not what the book industry wanted. “The Bookseller’s surveys have shown the book trade was overwhelmingly against ‘Brexit’ and pro-Europe, as were its heartlands of London, Edinburgh, Oxford and Bath.” In fact, the final figures showed that 78% of the publishing industry supported remain. Nevertheless, Brexit is what we have been dealt and now we must work out what exactly it could mean for us, this industry and, of course, you the authors.
Although it’s early days, we’ve analysed the situation and it seems clear that Brexit will affect the traditional publishing industry much more than self-publishing authors. Being larger and more expensive, operational machines are more exposed than individual authors, who can be nimble and react quickly. Below we share our thoughts on some of the ways this could work to a self-publisher’s advantage:
5 Ways Brexit Could Benefit Self-Publishing Authors
1, Traditional publishers and agents will be taking on less, so there’s now more room for self-published authors.
As history shows us, in times of financial uncertainty the big publishers stick to tried and tested publishing formulas. They will be looking for low-risk projects, such as those with celebrity authors or authors with a big marketing platform already (expect more diet / lifestyle books from Instagram stars). This creates opportunities for self-published authors who have written something a bit niche or literary, as the chances are they will find competition from the big publishers greatly reduced in their area. Reviewers and bloggers in their niche may well find they are receiving fewer books, so it will be easier for these authors to make a splash.
2, A stronger dollar means UK authors will make more from US sales.
While both the euro and the pound are pretty unhealthy, the dollar is getting stronger, as it seems like a safe haven in this sea of turmoil. In simple terms, selling a book for $15 in January 2016 would have been the equivalent of £10; where as a $15 sale is worth £11.50 today (July 2016). This means you can either reap the rewards of a higher GBP royalty per US sale, or you can afford to do a price promotion to make the dollar price more attractive/competitive to US readers, whilst still making the same net profit in GBP. This is a great time to promote your book in the US. Experiment with flash sales, summer reads promotions etc. It’s also a good time to give some (more) US bloggers copies of your books and start to get noticed over there.
3, Amazon, where the majority of self-published authors make most of their money, is likely to become more important.
There are many successful authors, such as Rachel Abbott, who make so much on Amazon they don’t even bother trying to sell anywhere else. As a global giant, Amazon is better positioned to weather the storm and a British independent bookshop, so it is likely that Amazon will come out on top. Whilst this is sad for our high street, most self-published authors sell relatively few copies through high street shops, compared to the online giant.
4, Publishers will find their international bulk printing more expensive but self-publishing authors who use print-on-demand will be relatively unaffected.
Traditional publishers often print in Asia and have books shipped over. This will now become more expensive because of the weak pound. Some traditional publishers print in Eastern Europe, as it is cheaper than the UK but quicker than Asia. That could now be affected by import tariffs, which may increase the cost. However, self-publishing authors who use print-on-demand platforms, such as Create Space and Ingram Spark, will escape relatively unscathed. Ordering books from Create Space may become slightly more expensive because they price in dollars.
5, Big publishers will scale back, leaving more talented freelancers for the indie community.
While big publishers will be looking at how to survive with mergers and redundancies, self-publishing authors will remain unaffected and can carry on focussing on writing and selling books. In fact, the big publishers cutting their payroll bill will result in more talented freelancers for the indie community. This is great news for us, as we tend to work with lots of designers, proofreaders and typesetters etc. who have been trained up in the big publishing houses.
All entrepreneurs and authorpreneurs will find a way to use current market conditions to their advantage – that’s what makes them able to rise when others fall. Be smart, be nimble and be prepared… good luck!