Where will 2016 take us as Writers?
The last few years have been an astonishing time for Fiction Writers. The Digital age caught us up and created opportunities to write a book, publish it and in quite a few cases experience the lovely joy of seeing financial rewards for our hard work. I hope you were amongst the latter and saw some return on your hard work.
I can only guess at Where 2016 will take us all as Writers.
Each year is different because each year is a learning experience of how to deal with the idea of publishing Digital books online – for authors and the Platforms.
I’ve been reading David Gaughran’s Book, “Let’s Get Visible”. It’s well written and still informative and relevant for kick-starting the thought processes about how to market your eBooks. Although, it could do with an update. But, as I say, it’s excellent help with understanding the processes behind the Platforms and how they market books in contrast to how a Traditional Publisher thinks; that’s the key, understanding the platform helps us to see our place and the benefit of using the platforms.
This year, 2016, should be a year of stabilising things a little. Five years of mega-digital-publishing by Amazon and Smashwords and co. has been plenty of time to experiment so I predict that there will be algorithm changes made that will become standard and reliable.
Google and Algorithms
Google Updated this month. Basically and clearly stating that the algorithm of High Quality Content and Frequency will be rewarded on website and blog posting. Amazon and other platforms need to address the problem of quality – not frequency – because of that enormous glut of eBooks published that have no other purpose than to attract unwitting buyers into a purchase that turns out to be a sad case of, ” WTF is this!”
Those books are disappearing rapidly but by proxy of algorithm stay close to similar books in search results. Leading to exposure-space being grabbed that could be better served to a legitimate author – someone like you and me who has worked damned hard to finish a great story or non-fiction book.
Solutions , Ideas and Moving Forwards with Digital
How that problem can be solved has yet to be discovered. Attempting to eliminate books from the lists would be an arduous task that isn’t time/money economical. Hoping that through lack of sales they will fizzle into the ether is probably the main plan but doesn’t stop mercenary authors writing crap and posting it every few weeks. So it goes back to how to establish a level of quality during the uploading and publishing process. I’m sure Amazon want to keep things automated – that’s the business model the have – but it would mean writing new programmes that can identify a crap book and recognise a serious attempt at writing. The author can’t be penalised simply because they are on their first or second book. Otherwise, we would be going backwards and recreating the traditional publishing attitude of elitism in publishing by vetting authors according to experience and past sales.
Learning from the Search Engines
Google have been working towards building quality links to information for years. It seems that they are getting very close to achieving the goal of sifting through the dross to find and deliver quality writing and postings for the person searching. Google’s algorithms can determine the difference between good writing and bad, level of vocabulary and cross check for originality. Probably a load more stuff that I haven’t thought about, too. Their software is uncanny in its abilities. It’s also not based on somebody’s opinion at Google, it’s using other written material that is known to be high quality in that area and subject to cross reference ideas, writing and originality.
Gamers, Swindlers and other Bad Stuff
I think there must be a way for Amazon to start working on this type of algorithm. Maybe we might just begin to see signs of it in 2016. At present, Amazon serve up suggestions based on browsing history. That’s why what you see isn’t the same as what I see on Amazon. Fair enough.
Amazon have certainly been working on blocking the “gamers” who try and upload crap to make a quick buck, but at the same time can’t cut their own throat by cutting profits from these gutter crawlers. They have to find a solution that will replace lost profits in one area and eliminate the bad stuff in the other area.
Forward March into 2016
It will be an exciting 2016 for authors as we see and hear about successes from fellow authors and begin to see what new innovations Amazon and Smashwords have thought up.
Most importantly, as an author working in a world of opportunity that has never been available before, we shouldn’t lose sight of the main objectives; write stories and publish them and hope for the best with income and profits. One day it’ll pan out and become the norm for an author who is good, to make a steady living at writing.
Digital Publishing Trends and opportunities White Paper for further reading.