This week in the world of self-publishing:
This piece–written by Tonya Riley for “The Kernel” on The Daily Dot for the week of May 15–explores the rise and fall of one of self-publishing’s most recent features: the community-ranked and community-driven sort-of self-publishing competition website. If you haven’t heard of InkPop, you might have heard of Figment or Swoon Reads, both of which operate on a similar principle: would-be authors upload their manuscripts for other authors and readers to vote on and rank, and the top-ranked manuscript goes on to sign a contract with a publishing house. In the case of InkPop, that was HarperCollins, a “Big Five” publishing house which went on to shutter InkPop in 2012 after publishing only two manuscripts through the platform. Riley takes an up close and personal look at why InkPop ultimately failed, despite all of the things it did right. She interviews author Wendy Higgins, one of InkPop’s two success stories, as well as other members of the InkPop forums. To read her entire article, follow the link!
[CONTENT WARNING: LANGUAGE]
“Sometime last decade,” writes Katie Rife for The A.V. Club in this May 12 news piece, “Amazon introduced Kindle Direct Publishing, which allows aspiring authors to upload their work to Amazon directly, spending less time dealing with the dinosaurs in the publishing industry and more time writing stories about dinosaurs f***ing people.” Rife, who eschews more politically correct language to make a point, is referencing an earlier article published by The A.V. Club about the careers of two authors of dino-erotica, one of the many subgenres (many of which are, one hopes, more innocently self-aware) that the self-publishing industry and Amazon in particular has made possible. (No, I won’t provide that other link here. Hop on Google if you must!) But Rife has actual news to share, news which has rocked the self-publishing and video communities: “Amazon, being the pervert that it is, isn’t satisfied. It wants video.” What she means is, Amazon has deliberately placed itself as a competitor to YouTube and therefore YouTube’s parent company, Google. Amazon’s new platform probably sounds very familiar: users upload videos to Amazon’s “Video Direct” service that they have made or at least own the right to, decide if they want the video to be free, rentable or purchasable, or free on Amazon Prime (which earns income dependent on performance). As Rife points out, the content of these videos will probably be determined by equal parts self-interest and the whim of the watching public, which could lead to some … er, interesting material.
“As a former gatekeeper, I’m fascinated by the gatekeeper divide in book publishing, where the role gets falsely propped up by supporters of traditional publishing and completely dismissed by those who favor the indie space,” states Brooke Warner of She Writes Press fame in this May 12 HuffPost Books piece. She pits former Random House editor Daniel Menaker against self-publishing success story Hugh Howey, each of which paints their chosen platform with the language of perfection–particularly as regards “gatekeeping,” or the tendency of people in positions of authority and power to filter the tastes and interests of those under their influence. “I take issue with both extremes,” writes Warner, whose own website falls somewhere in the middle between traditional and self-publishing models. She rejects the sexism and predestinate careers of both parties and instead opts to argue that “there’s another gatekeeper arising in our midst that no one is talking about—and that’s the distributor. And while she goes on to make the contestable argument that self-publishing churns out inferior books, she follows this up by positing it may in fact be a problem of recognition: there is no system in place to ensure that high-quality self-published materials rise to the top and received the acclaim they deserve, raising the tenor of self-publishing overall. For more of Warner’s fascinating argument, check out the original article at HuffPost Books.
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.