Hugh Howey is one of the people that should be paid attention to, as well as Amanda Hocking. Smart and attentive, they realize that this all very complicated and that just imitating them doesn’t guarantee exact results. But they have some solid advice about how to approach things. Hugh is damn smart:
“I’ll start by knocking the ego right out of the lungs of this thing and say that what works for one author may not work for another. I’ll also say that this is a massive topic and could easily lead to me writing a book. Not that I will. For both of these reasons, this blog post is going to ramble and often contradict itself. Such is my nature and the nature of the topic.
First off: If you want to become a writer in order to be rich and famous like me, that’s a bad idea. It isn’t why I started writing, and it isn’t why you should start writing. You should write because you love it. But I imagine you’ll want an audience (what artist doesn’t?) And so my advice is geared toward helping authors get to the end of their manuscript, polish it to perfection, and then gain the widest readership possible. This is the best you can hope for. I think it’s possible for every writer who gives it their all.”
I’m not the story. I’ve been hammering this point over and over, and people are finally starting to listen. The outliers are not the self-publishing story. It’s the midlisters.