The trick now is to aggregate all the sales data across authors so we can apply it to future trends the same way large publishers do. But how can we be sure the data we collect is even applicable when the landscape changes not just yearly but seemingly monthly?
Well, we can't. Nor can the traddies. Publishing as an industry just isn't set up for change, especially at the pace we've seen change occur in the last handful of years. We're all continually playing catchup and watching the numbers and today's trends trying to extrapolate what that means for tomorrow, only to be hit by something new in the market that throws old data into a tailspin.
The best advice to any author entering the biz now, whether self-publishing or through the traditional route: Stay flexible and realize that change will happen, and that some changes can't be planned for.
Of course, not all change is bad. That's most true when you understand that change is meant to benefit at least one segment of the industry. You just gotta hope you're in that segment.
Be adaptable. Be the proto-mammal in the world of dinosaurs when the asteroid comes crashing to earth. Be ready to change yourself to survive the changes around you.
Make 2012 your year of change.
Happy Holidays to All!