This week in the world of self-publishing:
Corine la Font, in this January 10th article for the Jamaican Gleaner, writes that “it is wise and cost-effective to just obtain the free assigned ISBNs from the platform you are using”–since most platforms provide ISBNs automatically–instead of buying them directly. Since ISBNs are sold in batches of 10, you may end up with a whole lot more than you need, unless you use a third party service or hybrid publishing company. ISBNs, for those who aspire to self-publish but have yet to do so, are numeric codes of either 10 or 13 digits that publishing companies, booksellers, readers, and others will use to identify your book as well as the format in which your book is published. “Ideally,” says la Font, “each format should have its own ISBN, that is print, audio and Kindle/ebook, but what tends to happen is that Amazon, when publishing the ebook of the same title, assigns an ASIN (a topic for another article) to that specific format.” ISBNs are a key element of the publication process; for more information, visit la Font’s original article here!
Under the “Booklife Report” heading in this week’s Publisher’s Weekly roundup–published on January 10th–-you’ll find a link to an earlier 2016 article by Leylha Ahuile on the explosion of opportunities for self-publishing authors in the Spanish language market. While the article itself is only available to Publisher’s Weekly subscribers (leaving us with the tantalizing introductory sentence: “Self-publishing is a well-established part of the English-language book trade, but Spanish-language self-publishing is just starting to take off”), it reminds me of this 2013 article by Tina Folsom of the Indie Voice blog, titled “Exploring the Foreign Markets for Self-Publishing.” Ahuile’s article may claim that opportunities in Spanish language markets have some element of newness to them, but Folsom’s piece and many other articles besides have long been touting the possible benefits of looking beyond the tangible boundaries of geographical divides and the abstract boundaries of language. Whether you’re looking to self-publish in English and translate your book to Spanish, or publish directly in Spanish, don’t neglect to consider the fact there are more native Spanish speakers and Spanish-language readers in the world than there are native English speakers. And this doesn’t even touch the percentage of global citizens who speak and read other languages, like Mandarin Chinese! There has never been a better time to sell your book abroad.
“Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, is chopping off its self-publishing arm,” writes Amy Wang of the Quartz blog in this January 7th article: “The company said Tuesday (Jan. 5) that it has sold Author Solutions—the self-publishing author-tools platform that it bought in 2012.” Author Solutions has long been a mainstay of the self-publishing toolbox, but has struggled to emerge from its ownership transfer and other internal problems and to overcome significant obstacles to satisfying end-user demands. While a sale does not necessarily spell the utter end for Author Solutions, it does seem to indicate a continued slide towards irrelevance as other, better, and easier-to-use options reach a mainstream audience. Writes Wang, the sale is also an admission of defeat in the battle to stave off market dominance by Amazon, “which already churns out an estimated 85% of self-published titles via its various platforms.” That’s a tough number to beat. For more of Wang’s article, follow the link.
“There’s too much grumbling among authors,” says Carol Buchman in this January 7th contribution to The Bookseller. But Buchman, a self-publishing author of Western fiction based out of Montana’s Flathead Valley, sees a lot of cause for hope: “some people seem to overlook the wonderful benefits of various publishing modes these days,” she says, citing the “freedom to publish and to read in the manner that suits [one] best,” the choice “among e-readers, audio devices, and paper—hardbound or paperback,” and the opportunity for authors to “publish their works in all three formats” as reasons not to despair for the world of words. “As a storyteller,” she writes, “I’m enthralled by the possibilities in technological development for storytelling.” She goes on to address “the innovative energy inherent in technology” as an empowering force, and to rally readers and authors alike to a more hopeful, optimistic outlook. Her full “five-minute manifesto” is available, courtesy of The Bookseller, here!
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.