ALLi’s Big Indie Author Data Drop 2024

ALLi’s Big Indie Author Data Drop 2024

March 19, 2024

I love when the Big Indie Author Data Drop comes out each year – it’s such a great resource to get a handle on what’s happening with indie authors, readers and the publishing industry – and also – where things might be heading for both trad and indies.

As a global not-for-profit organisation, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) gathers and makes sense of the data that affects authors in the indie space. That said, it’s incredibly relevant for traditional authors, publishers, librarians and booksellers as a whole – because indie authors are having a huge impact on the publishing space as you will see from some of the stats included in the report.

I’ve been a member of ALLi for many years (and now an ambassador for and non-fiction advisor to ALLi) and highly recommend you join ALLi for all the wonderful resources, community and services on offer.

Here are some of the key takeaways for me from ALLI’s 2024 Big Indie Author Data Drop:

 

  • Self-published authors make up over 50% of Kindle’s Top 400 Books for 2023 K-Lytics, 2024

 

Over 50%! Let’s digest that for a moment! More than 50% of books in the top 400 on Kindle are NOT published by traditional publishers.

 

  • ‘The most noticeable trend emerging this year is the growing pride emerging across the indie author community.’ ALLi, 2024

I’m certainly seeing that attitude from the the Australian non-fiction authors I’m working with too! (See these posts about authors Mary Garden and Annie Gately for starters, and get ready to hear from more during the year). And you certainly don’t need to worry about the indie romance and sci-fi authors, they know they’ve been ahead of the game and reaping the benefits for years.

 

  • ‘Younger authors seem to be observing and grasping how the industry is changing. According to the survey, the younger the author, the more likely they are to prefer self-publishing for their next book. In fact, less than half of authors under 45 years old would prefer to have their next book traditionally published.’ Authors’ Guild, 2023

I think this is fascinating – younger people taking charge of their future, being entrepreneurial and learning the business by doing. Yes, readers will always need and love traditional publishers and the books they bring out – but the industry needs to really think about the talent and opportunities they’re letting get away…and what they’re going to do about it. It also means real world bookstores and book distributors might need to change things up too.

As author Carrie Clarke commented on the young author trend, ‘That’s surely not good news for trad publishers…’ and I totally agree, because what do you do if the stellar talent no longer really needs you, or even considers doing business with you?

That said, not every author wants to, or is capable of being an indie author. And some authors prefer the hybrid model with some books with trad publishers and some self-published,

Every author is different and has different needs and wants at various stages of their careers.

What I’m seeing though is more and more a blurring of the lines, and a questioning about how things are done…can be done.

When you see multi-award winning traditionally published writers bringing out indie books, such as Carmel Bird (shortlisted three times for the Miles Franklin Award and winner of the Patrick White Award for Literature), you know times really are changing.

 

  • ‘ALLi’s spring 2023 income survey showed self-published authors earn more than those
    traditionally published and was backed up by new data from the autumn 2023 Author’s Guild income survey.’

It seems that indie authors benefit from writing and publishing MORE books, the shortened publishing cycle and the greater share of royalties.

 

  • ‘Gen Z maintains strong and regular reading habits with nearly 40% reading daily or a few days each week, and 55% still reading once a week or more….Gen Z are reading a lot (in paperback), they also love library spaces and they want to read diverse stories.’ Wattpad 2023, Nielsen 2024

That’s great news that there’s a younger audience coming through with a healthy reading appetite.

 

  • ‘The key reasons authors choose to self-publish include to retain power over decisions for their book, the opportunity to retain a higher percentage of royalties, and the positive stories they had heard about self-publishing.’ Kingston University

That rings true for what I’m seeing too. There are a lot of capable people out there who are writing books – they also care about how their books are presented (cover design especially!) and the rights they retain.

They also get a lot of joy from mastering the different aspects of self-publishing. When someone has success self-publishing, they also share their joy and learnings…it catches on! I’m so buzzed that Look-It’s Your Book! and Bold Authors are helping authors on this journey to competence and confidence too!

 

  • ‘Indie authors use a variety of services to sell direct to their readers, in order of popularity they are: BookFunnel, Shopify and then WooCommerce and Payhip.’

The ability to sell direct to customers and to build a direct connection with readers has so many benefits for indie authors compared to the more traditional publishing model.

 

  • ‘AI is a topic in constant movement, in constant contention and we can see from Written Word Media’s data on this topic that authors are unsure about its many different uses. What is true is that authors need to be more human as consumers come to value experiences and connections above mere products. Luckily of course, books are already an experience, but it is worth all indie authors considering how to make their connections with readers even more meaningful.’ ALLi

 

There is a fair bit in the report about how authors feel about Ai and what they are comfortable using it for at this stage, so if your head is in a swirl about Ai, you can get across how other authors are thinking about it by reading the full report.

 

ALLi’s 2024 Big Indie Author Data Drop also includes commercial information from sources including PublishDrive, Kobo, Kindlepreneur, Draft2Digital and others that is well worth taking a look at if you’re planning book marketing and distribution strategy. There’s also some great information about readers wanting more diversity in the books they read, and diverse authors and disabled authors having success.

You can download the full 2024 Big Indie Author Data Drop here – there’s plenty about authors, retailers and publishing to discover – including positive stats for female authors and LGBTQI – so a big thanks to Orna Ross and the team at ALLi.

 

  • For a variety of other stats across trad and indie publishing from 2023 – click here
  • For a running list of stats for 2024 click here (the data starts of slow and then picks up the further into 2024)

 

NB: I am ALLi’s non-fiction advisor, an Australian ambassador and also an affiliate. That means if you click this link and join (thank you, please do), I may receive a small sum – but it won’t affect the price you pay in any way. It will also help me continue to share information to help your publishing journey go even smoother. Thanks again and happy writing and publishing.