There was a point in time that you could go the indie route with books, self-publish them and have them find a large audience. Over the past ten years or so, we’ve seen a real constriction of the internet, and with it the opportunities for organic growth.
This comes in two waves: first, everyone is corralled onto social media sites. The internet used to be much more “open world,” meaning you would often find yourself at 2am on one of Lil B’s 500 Myspace pages. Now people open up their browser and go straight to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (though that’s more of a phone one). It’s where most people get their news, recommendations, etc.
So far, not great. But not terrible, either. When I came on the scene in 2010, you could actually do something with Facebook, and buying an ad actually led to growth. Not so anymore. Social media has become algorithmized to within an inch of its life, to the point that you can mute people and still have your home pages flooded with the replies to the person you’ve muted. The site determines what you’re going to see.
What those two things combine into is a complete dead-end in terms of promotion or growth. Which means it might be time to shrug and try one’s hand at “traditional publishing.”
I’m not saying that it’s impossible to have an indie hit. We see it happen all the time. Just that, at this point, the juice might not be worth the squeeze. Corporations once again have total control of the medium, and unless someone somewhere can find a way to hack that and make it work for them, the game is shifting once again.
Unless there was some alternative…