This week in the world of self-publishing:
“Maybe you’re already got the #girlboss title of your dreams,” writes Ashley Mason in this February 12th article for Brit + Co, an online media index that “enables creativity through inspirational content, online classes and do-it-yourself kits.” A major hit since its debut in 2011, Brit + Co turns out to be the perfect platform for Mason’s advocacy efforts on behalf of self-publishing: “Publishing a book can instantly make you an authority in your industry,” she writes, “but getting picked up by a publisher is out of reach for most people because they don’t have a large enough following or the established reputation that attracts book giants.” The solution? Taking advantage of the multiplying resources out there for first-time self-publishing authors. “It’s tough, but the payoff is big,” says Mason, and closes out her article with her list of 5 benefits to going indie (HINT: the list includes personal branding, better royalties, and improving your communications skills). For the rest of Mason’s stellar article, follow the link!
It’s not every day that self-publishing makes it into the BBC news digest, but Dougal Shaw has taken the conversation to the biggest international media playing field in this BBC Business piece, published on February 9th (and indexed at Digital Book World). As has become common, Shaw segweys into his piece with an almost obligatory shout-out to Fifty Shades of Grey, followed shortly thereafter by a description of Andy Weir’s journey to fame with The Martian. Interestingly, Shaw then takes a look at what he calls a “cautionary tale”–the story of Douglas Wight, a “former News of the World tabloid journalist [who] set up his own company to self-publish a biography of pop diva Rita Ora, in the run up to Christmas.” According to Shaw, “Self-publishing wasn’t as straight-forward as [Wight] had hoped,” with the author shouldering “the different formatting requirements of the various e-book outlets, organising cover illustrations and marketing, all while bearing the financial risk of the whole enterprise.” Wight’s book made good on his investment, however, and is earning its keep. As such, an expression like “cautionary tale” might seem like overkill when the very same person is on the record as saying “he feels his gamble paid off.” The moral of the story? When jumping into a new endeavor like self-publishing, it’s best to be prepared for a steep learning curve, and to lean on the assistance that is out there. For more of Shaw’s article and the accompanying news video, visit the BBC Business article here.
“The day my book got to the number one spot on the psychological thriller best seller list, I knew it finally bumped The Girl On The Train off the perch it had practically owned for the last year,” writes Eva Lesko Natiello for HuffPost Books in a February 10th article. Natiello, author of the indie book The Memory Box, writes: “That was a big deal for me. Mostly because my book is self-published. Any self-published author knows how difficult it is to compete with other indie books, not to mention, traditionally published ones.” And what does Natiello credit her success to? In part: an engaged reader base, and a great deal of “buzz.” Says Natiello: “The challenge is, how to get buzz. What is the marketing plan? We can’t do it in the same way traditionally published books do.” Indie authors lack the paid professional marketing team that traditionally published authors have in their corner by default. She advocates for self-publishing authors to steer clear of trying to beat the traditional books at their own game, but rather to focus on taking advantage of self-publishing’s unique benefits. What are those, pray? Immediate price flexibility is one, writes Natiello, and speed to market in addition to accessibility to readers. Indie authors have nothing to apologize for, she says. Traditional publishing has rigged the game against midlist authors since it became an institution, and now indie authors are taking back the field–with elbow grease and ingenuity. For the rest of Natiello’s reflection on her time on the bestseller list, check out her essay here.
Fresh from across the Big Pond, here comes another instant international indie bestseller! In his February 9th article for Australia’s ABC News, Brett Williamson introduces his readers to the winsome little anti-bullying picture book, A Ferret Named Phil. The brainchild of 21-year-old Adelaide author William Reimer, the book follows the (mis)adventures of its titular character as he encounters a series of rough situations. Reimer, writes Williamson, “said he and the majority of his friends had experienced some form of bullying while growing up and that he wanted the book to help children who may be subjected to bullying.” He originally drafted the book as part of a high school project before rediscovering it at the the bottom of a drawer and rewriting it–up to seventeen times–as he journeyed toward publication. Reimer quit his job at a café before polling local banks and his social circle for funding. Eventually, he met with success as he crowd-sourced his funding efforts and self-published, and now that the book is in distribution he’s beginning to see positive responses flood in. “Recently I got a message from a mother who wanted to thank me for the book,” Williamson quotes Reimer as saying: “Her little girl shied away from things and then she started to read my book and took it to kindergarten in her bag every day. When her mother asked her about it, she said that she wanted to be brave like Phil.” That’s about as sweet a testimonial as one could hope for. Watch out for this book as it crosses the seven seas in the coming year!
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.