Apologies for the late posting! This was scheduled to post in the early morning hours, but failed to do so (probably because of my poor wifi connectivity). We hope you find the information as rich and valuable in the moonlight as you would have in the sunlight–and we’ll be back on track for next Monday morning.
This week in the world of self-publishing:
- Lawyer spurned by publishing house started writing thrillers on his commute: Now they’ve been downloaded 1m times and he’s earning a fortune
“Mark Dawson’s life story should provide hope to the thousands of undiscovered authors around the world with half finished manuscripts under their beds,” writes Eleanor Lawrie for ThisisMoney.co.uk in this April 30th article that was then syndecated in the Daily Mail. Why? Lawrie goes on to state the bare facts: “The ex-lawyer and author of more than 20 thrillers has seen a million copies of his books downloaded in the space of a few years, and is now negotiating a film deal.” And of course, this kind of wildly unexpected success is not the result of a traditional publishing deal. Dawson initially tried the traditional route, but his book (The Art of Falling Apart) failed to make back its advance for a variety of reasons, and he stopped writing for years before returning to writing during his morning rail commute to work as a cross border fraud lawyer. His books, which feature government assassins John Milton and Beatrix Rose, have been distributed to around a million readers, though Dawson says about half of those were freely given digital copies. He still makes six figures off of his writing alone, enabling him to transition into a stay-at-home author and father, which he credits with improving his family life. One generally gets the feeling Dawson is just a phenomenally nice person, especially as regards building up his fan base. “One of the main reasons I’ve been successful is I’m very focused on developing my relationship with readers,” he says. “I reply to everybody, I don’t pay someone to do it for me. […] I try to turn readers into fans, into friends.” Now that’s a work ethic worth supporting. For Lawrie’s full article, follow the link.
In this April 29th retrospective for The Bookseller, Philip Jones reflects on the happy coincidence that the company’s latest issue pulled together a series of articles that both reflect on the current stigmas and progress made in the world of publishing, much of which comes out directly in support of self-publishing. “Some years ago,” he writes, “a meeting was convened with various communications chiefs and trade journalists to discuss how to improve the reporting of this sector as well as its general standing among peers across the media. It was foresightful: since that point the trade’s reputation has worsened each year. You do not now have to wander far on social media to meet our detractors—a Guardian piece on self-publishing will usually flush a fair number out, as will almost anything written about Open Access and science publishing.” And the legacy of publishing (and self-publishing) has been continuously riven with polarized opinions in the years since, and the industry’s response to an evolving market has often been behind the curve instead of ahead of it. As Jones puts it, “I recently asked a senior executive if they were comfortable with the way self-published authors were slowly taking over Kindle sales. The response—largely unsaid—revealed to me that they were not.” And while Jones may very well be right that traditional publishing caters to an “indifferent” supply chain, he is far more on point when he closes with a call to action: “by tackling the underlying insecurity of what a publisher does, we will better secure our fortunes.” For more of Jones’ retrospective and a fully hyperlinked list of The Bookseller’s latest articles, check out the original article here.
“The joy was not only in seeing my book but also in the feeling of its ownership,” writes Brig A N Suryanarayanan in this Apr 27th article for the Deccan Herald. Like Mark Dawson, Brig first tried the traditional publishing route–to no good end. It was, he writes, “published by a famous publisher but without any interaction with the readers.” But after Brig’s latest decision to pursue self-publishing, requests for copies have come pouring in–from a “motorparts Gujarati businessman from Jalgaon,” “an English professor from Thanjavur” as well as “a retired Indian colonel from the US […] and the son of an IAF Wing Commander from Johannesburg.” The list goes on, as does Suryanarayanan’s joy. Floods in Chennai and obstacles to translation to other dialects could not prevent the book from reaching its audience–in large part because of Brig’s dedication to getting the book where it needs to go. Brig hopes that his work (Many Laughs and a Few Tears), a collection of humorous short stories, will prove an inspiration to others. He writes: “I hope all this motivates the authors in you to get on with self-publishing!” For more anecdotes from Suryanarayanan’s journey from discouragement to joy, visit the Deccan Herald article 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.