Now that some of the hysteria following the shock referendum result has subsided, I started to wonder what the impact of the Brexit vote would be for self-publishing authors like me. So I did a little digging, and here is the result of my research. And hey, I’m no expert! (Not that the experts seem to know much either.) But here is what I discovered, and what you might need to consider as an author going forward into the new non-EU-but-maybe-something-like-the-EU future…
It’s Not All Bad For Self-Publishing
Even though the impact of Brexit is likely to be bad for publishing in general in the short term (ref: Publishers Weekly), fewer editors looking for books to take on means that authors who are already self-publishing have the upper hand. We’re not scrambling around for scraps. We’re not hoping and wishing for book deals that may never come. We’re already trading in a world-wide market place, often being paid in multiple currencies.
And here again is another short-term positive, at least for UK authors. The pound falling against the dollar means that authors about to be paid this month’s royalties from their US sales are set to gain significantly. Not so great the other way around, of course, but in general US authors sell better in America than the UK, while rest of world authors count the US readership as one of their biggest and best markets. I’m not saying I’m glad the pound is weak against the dollar … but the payout for my Keeping Sam promo from two months ago is just about to come in, and it’s set to be a couple of hundred pounds more thanks to the crazy reaction to last Thursday’s vote. Many other indie authors are in the same position.
Reaching Out To Partner With US Publishers
Those considering hybrid publishing might want to consider switching focus to American publishers, not only because of uncertainty over the EU but also because of a possible English-language rights issue that has been thrown up by Brexit. Publisher’s Lunch report that with the UK out of the EU, US publishers may try to seize this opportunity to distribute US editions of their books throughout Europe, rather than leaving European sales territory exclusive to the UK.
The Chance of Recession
Many experts are predicting another recession, and of course during a recession people cut back on non-essential items. Like books. But while spending on hardbacks and high-ticket books might well be affected, ebook sales are unlikely to be badly hit. Self-publishers have long been masters of pricing to the market, and this flexibility will be key in responding to consumer needs in the coming months.
Indies Are Better Placed To Reach Out To Readers
Another unfortunate downside of the referendum in general is the amount of airtime and media attention given over to it – a subject so all-consuming dominates conversation and drives mere chat about such things as book recommendations out of people’s minds. And this is unlikely to get better in coming months. But there is a glimmer of light here, and that is in the form of distraction marketing. While doom and gloom take over in the political landscape, people look for a little light relief on social media – a platform where indies are well placed to reach out and connect with readers. So while the publishing world in general is feeling shut out of the mainstream press, self-publishing authors who get little attention from these sources anyway have little to lose.
It’s good to stop for a minute and think beyond Europe – hard though that is while nobody seems to be talking about anything else! There are voracious readerships in countries like India and China, and many authors, including myself, sell lots of books in Canada and Australia. English is a world language, and we are ideally placed to capitalize on that. So try not to get bogged down in – or dragged down by – the detail, and focus on the positive. Whether you wanted to be independent (from Europe) or not, if you’re an indie you know all about going it alone.
Over to you – please share your thoughts and comments about the changes following Brexit (let’s try to keep it not too ranty). As for me, I voted Remain. But this is democracy in action, so I accept the majority and now it’s just time to get on with it.
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