Spooky Self Publishing Statistics

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Happy Halloween everyone! In honor of this spooky holiday, I want to share some self-publishing and industry statistics that may shock you. Don’t be afraid; just keep reading.

  • According to an Aptara survey, the trade publishing market segment (which includes fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults) has considerably increased its e-book output. The e-book production rate went from 50% to 76% during the last two years.
  • Amazon still generates the highest number of sales for trade publishers, according to Aptara.
  • According to BookStats 2012, Religion and Children’s/Young Adults showed strong growth while Children’s/YA ranked as the fastest-growing category in publishing in 2011.
  • Brick-and-mortar retail remains the #1 sales distribution channel for publishers in 2011, as it did in 2010, according to BookStats 2012.
  • According to Bowker, traditional print book output grew six percent in 2011, from 328,259 titles in 2010 to a projected 347,178 in 2011, driven almost exclusively by a strong self-publishing market.
  • According to a self-publishing resource on top earners, two-thirds of top self-publishing earners are women.
  • The average top earner spends 69% more time writing than the average author not categorized as a top earner.
  • Self-publishing authors who paid professionals for services like story-editing, copyediting and proofreading earned an average of 13% more than those who didn’t.
  • Hiring a professional cover designer earned top earners an average of 18% more.
  • Top earners had almost four times as many reviews for their most recent book than authors outside of the group.

Being knowledgable of book industry and self-publishing trends and statistics can help you make important decisions as a self-publishing author. For instance, these statistics show the value of hiring professionals such as copyeditors, receiving book reviews, offering your book in multiple formats and taking advantage of Amazon’s author services. The best way to become a successful self-publishing author is to learn from the success of those who have already succeeded.

I’d love to know, do these statistics impact your plans as a self-publishing author?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Are Book Covers Still Important in the Digital Age?

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There was a time when readers would venture to a bookstore or library and browse the shelves for a book that grabbed their attention. Despite the old cliché “never judge a book by its cover,” most people are drawn to books with interesting cover art. While there are still people who purchase print books and who enjoy an afternoon stroll through a bookstore, more and more people are purchasing books online and using e-readers. This shift has authors, and artists, wondering if cover art is still important in the digital age.

While e-book formats require less emphasis on physical appearance (interior formatting is simpler and a full cover design is not necessary), they still need “cover” artwork. Since the reader will be viewing the cover on a screen, it is very important that the design is appealing and captures the essence of the book.

As a self-publishing author, it is important to consider the current trends when making decisions about your book. If you are only publishing an electronic version of your book at first, make sure the cover is appealing on a screen and grabs the attention of a potential reader.  The cover design of your e-book format is just as important as the full cover design of any hardcopy format.

I’d love to know, does the cover design make a difference in the e-books you choose to buy?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

How Far is Too Far? — Extreme Book Marketing Efforts by Joan Rivers

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Did you ever think about chaining yourself to a Costco shopping cart to promote your book?  No?  Well, if you had, I’m sorry to tell you Joan Rivers beat you to it.

According to Rivers, Costco refuses to stock her book, “I Hate Everyone … Starting with Me,” which has made the New York Times bestseller list. The store reportedly banned the book because it has “naughty” words on the back cover. Fighting back, Rivers chained herself to a shopping cart in the store and shouted through a bullhorn, protesting the ban and (simultaneously) promoting her book. Police were called to the scene, but no citations were issued.

Many believe the protest was a staged publicity stunt to help promote the book. Rivers had her own film crew present as she protested, and she willingly talked to the media after the event. Whether the intention was to protest or promote, the story is creating a lot of buzz about the author and her new book. Some might say the old cliché “there is no such thing as bad publicity” is true.

Rivers shows the extremes to which some authors are willing to go in order to market their books, but she also teaches self-publishing authors an important lesson: not every retailer will be willing to stock your book, even if you think they should. Retailers do have guidelines they follow when it comes to which books they stock in their stores.  If a celebrity such as Joan Rivers can’t get her book (which, I remind you, is a New York Times bestseller) onto the shelves at Costco, self-publishing authors will most likely experience similar hurdles.

If one of your book marketing goals is to get your book onto the shelves of a major retailer, think about the marketing efforts you are currently making and learn from your experiences (and rejections, if you have had any). I don’t encourage you to chain yourself to a shopping cart in a bookstore parking lot, but if a bookstore tells you no, consider what other avenues you might take in order to accomplish your goal.

I’d love to know, what do you think of the Joan Rivers protest?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

There is No Such Thing as Free Lunch

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Have you heard the cliché “There is no such thing as a free lunch”? Everything has a cost, even if it appears to be free. This true for self publishing as well as all other areas of life.

While there are companies who say they publish your book for free, there are still costs to you. For instance, you may have to buy large amounts of merchandise after the book is printed, or you will have to spend vast amounts of time marketing your own book. In addition, a “free” publishing company could harm your reputation has an author if your book is not of professional quality.

Authors who want their books to be taken seriously need to invest in their projects. This means you’ll at least need a good copy editor and possibly an experienced graphic designer. Depending on your skills and goals, you may also require marketing services. Not all self publishing companies offer these extra services.

Authors should invest in their books by choosing a full-service self publishing company that offers a variety of production and marketing services as well as excellent customer service. This will ensure that you have access to skilled professionals who will help make your book a masterpiece.

I’d love to know, what additional services do you plan to use when self publishing your book?

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

Espresso Book Machine

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The Espresso Book Machine® (the “EBM”), which Time Magazine named an “Invention of the Year,” provides a revolutionary direct-to-consumer distribution model for books. Put simply, the EBM is an automated book-making machine. The operator selects a title to print, and within a few minutes a book emerges, with a full-color cover, trimmed to an exact size, and indistinguishable from the publisher’s version. As we say, “Hot off the press!”

Currently, Espresso Book Machines have been set-up in select universities and libraries including:

  • New York Public Library
  • University of Michigan Library
  • World Bank InfoShop, Washington
  • New Orleans Public Library
  • San Francisco Internet Archive
  • Manchester Center Northshire Bookstore
  • University of Alberta
  • McMaster University Bookstore
  • London Newsstand UK
  • Library of Alexandria, Egypt
  • Melbourne, Australia Angus & Robertson Bookstore

New locations are constantly being added. The EBM is a great opportunity for self-published authors. Some self-publishing companies, such as Outskirts Press, offer this marketing option. By purchasing this option, your book will be available to be ordered, printed, and sold at every current and future Espresso Book Machine location. To learn more about this option, contact your self-publishing company.

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING: Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

Top Five New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

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As you say good-bye to 2011 and welcome in 2012, you may be creating a list of New Year’s Resolutions. The beginning of the year is a great time to make small improvements and take steps towards achieving your dreams. Here are the top five New Year’s resolutions for writers.

1) Write Every Day

I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, but do you actually follow it? Writers write. Some days, it is only a few sentences. Some days, it is a few pages. But real writers don’t just talk about writing. They actually do it. If you want to get closer to achieving your dreams and improve your writing make an effort to write something every day.

2) Start a Blog

You may be reluctant to start a blog, but social media is a great way to market yourself and your books. A blog gives you a chance to gain a readership before you even publish your book. You can share samples for your work, get feedback from readers or just write about being a writer. In addition to marketing, this is a great way to connect with other writers.

3) Join a Writers’ Group

Writing groups are a great place to get inspiration and feedback. Creative minds often feed off of each other, so reading other people’s work can improve your own. You will also get unbiased advice on what works and what doesn’t in your writing. You can find a group in your area or join one online.

4) Read Tons of Books

The best writers are often avid readers. Read books in your genre as well as books from other genres. Also, look for books and articles about writing, editing and publishing.

5) Publish Your Book

Every writer dreams of publication. Make this the year you do it. Whether you choose to follow the tradition publishing route or pick a self-publishing company, 2012 can be the year you make your dreams come true.

Happy new year!

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

3 Tips for Authors Self Publishing in November

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It is hard to believe, but the end of 2011 is almost here. As the weather turns chilly and stores become Christmas factories, you might be wondering if now is the right time to self publish your book. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind if you are working on self publishing your book this November.

1) Change your copyright year to 2012 so the book appears new even if it publishes before 12/31/11. Readers like to feel like they are reading the newest version of books.

2) If you’re interested in publishing to market for the holidays, it’s time to get moving and finish up before the end of November. As the holiday approaches, more people are buying and shipping, so it may take a bit longer to print and ship. While you don’t want to rush the creation of your interior and cover proofs, the holidays are an ideal time to market. Also, keep in mind that the general reader doesn’t see the book as the author does; for example, an author keeps checking the spelling and grammar, rewriting sentences, and tweaking the cover image. If you’ve carefully reviewed the chapters to make sure they are error free and have carefully reviewed the design at least 2-3 times, then let it go and move on to the next steps.

3) If you’re signing up just to publish by year-end or for Christmas sales, you need a reality check. There is the possibility that your book won’t be finished before the year’s end or that your marketing efforts won’t generate a large  number of holiday sales because you didn’t spend enough time marketing your book. (Think about how early retail stores begin marketing for Christmas. You can’t throw together a book and expect to sell dozens of copies a few weeks before Christmas.) Instead of obsessing over holiday sales and the end of the year, focus on starting the new year off with a bang. Publishing a book is a great way to start off a new year, and you will have more time to plan for success if you consider all of 2012 instead of the few weeks left in 2011.

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING:
Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

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