This week in the world of self-publishing:
In this November 29th article for the Belleville News-Democrat, Teri Maddox writes from across the pond of Deborah Heal’s work. Heal, who has self-published both what she calls the three-book “History Mystery Trilogy” and the “Rewinding Time Series” of four books, is a retired English teacher from Waterloo now fulfilling her dreams of becoming an author––and finding a great deal of success in it. Maddox prompts her readers at BND: “Imagine being able to fire up your laptop and experience history in real time, whether at the Old Slave House near Equality or on the Trail of Tears in Golconda.” And this is just what happens in Heal’s books, to Southern Illinois woman Merrideth Randall and her friends, “But their magic software works only when they’re visiting old homes.” The premise is plenty interesting on its own, but what follows––Heal’s own story and route to success––is equally fascinating! Heal isn’t content merely to use a textbook; she does her own research. Maddox quotes Heal’s husband, Bob, as saying: “Debbie does a lot of deep research [….] The history is right. She makes up the characters, but she doesn’t fudge on the facts.” The hard work has more than paid off; as Maddox chronicles, “More than 3,000 people have downloaded the Kindle version of ‘Time and Again’,” Heal’s first book––and now, of course, she’s making news across England for her unique approach to (religously-infused) history. To read Maddox’s original article, follow the link.
Not every foray into self-publishing is made in the serious spirit of authors seeking self-actualization (although those forays are lovely, too). According to Peggy Sturvidant in this November 27th piece for the Ballard News-Tribune, we have a new self-published entry into both our holiday canon and our updates-of-classic-science-fiction canon: Santa Meets Frankenstein. The book, put out by illustrator Jan Harvey-Smith and Q13 morning meteorologist (turned author) M.J. McDermott, is shaking things up in the seasonal literature department––and raising eyebrows, in the best of all possible ways! Says Sturvidant of McDermott, “She bubbles with the creative juices that led her into majors in drama, atmospheric sciences, and fuels her love of writing. She calls it ‘writing in the cracks,’ between work and family.” (Emphasis mine.) What a beautiful way of expressing what so many of us indie and self-publishing authors know to be a daily reality! And the spirit of the book, according to author and illustrator, could be considered a modern “Christmas fable, ‘for middle readers and the young at heart.'” For more information, check out Sturvidant’s original piece!
Do you know how to find Reykjavík on a map? Well, it’s a beautiful place and absolutely chock-full of brilliant writers––writers as diverse as Nordic Council Literature Prize winners Gyrðir Elíasson, Sjón and Einar Már Guðmundsson. In this November 28th post to the Reykjavík Grapevine, Kári Tulinius writes a brief but to-the-point piece to all fellow Icelandic authors in search of that “next step”––and actively advocating for indie, hybrid, and self-publishing platforms while at it. Tulinius, a poet himself, writes that “generally, if it is a good book, Icelanders do not look down on writers who self-publish […] so if you have no patience for regular publishing, go for it.” His piece is straightforward, to-the-point, and––I think––perfectly on point for anyone (in Iceland or outside of it) looking for that final word of encouragement to pursue a non-traditional mode of publishing.
Esther Ashby-Coventry, contributor to the New Zealand-based paper The Timaru Herald, documents the self-publishing adventures of the Geraldine Writers’ Club members Edna Huber, Bernadette Joyce, Faye McGunnigle, and Judith Farley. According to Ashby-Coventry’s November 27 article, which went on to be re-posted to the even more widely-read Stuff.co.NZ, these four women don’t think of self-publishing as “their only option,” but rather “the best option” available to first-time authors themselves. The distinction may seem like semantics, but we happen to think this particular set of semantics is an important one! “It’s a catch 22,” Ashby-Coventry quotes Farley as saying: “If you are not known the publisher won’t take you on but how do you get known?” While the article closes with somewhat depressing words from HarperCollins’ New Zealand marketing manager Sandra Doakes (“It is rare to make a genuinely good living in New Zealand; a lot of authors still have day jobs.”) it doesn’t seem that the Geraldine Writers’ Club is suffering because of their decision to seek success outside of mainstream publishing. Current members like Huber look to the example of Alice Mabin, who moved from New Zealand to Australia and whose 2014 novel, The Drover, has sold more than 21,000 copies. “Success is not in bookshops competing with every other book,” Ashby-Coventry quotes Mabin as saying. And that is, we think, a very wise final thought to close out this week’s news!
As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.
ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive 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, kellyschuknecht.com.