And now for the news!
This week in the world of self-publishing:
Big changes are coming to America’s last big brick-and-mortar bookstore, says Alex Meyer for The Columbus Dispatch on August 13th. The changes in question involve––you guessed it––self-publishing, albeit in about as staid and straightforward a manner as you might expect from a retail giant struggling to keep up with a rapidly evolving marketplace: Barnes & Noble will be introducing self-published books to its bookshelves as a matter of course. And this isn’t the only nod to indie authors and publishers; says Meyer, “It recently modified its Nook Press self-publishing platform to include in-store print copies — a notable nod to the burgeoning field.” The changes comes as Barnes & Noble seeks to compete effectively with CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing platform, along with IngramSpark, Lulu, and Outskirts Press, who just so happens to have rolled out a brand-new web presence as well as new offerings at the beginning of this month. But how does an author get involved in the new Barnes & Noble program? “The Nook process does include a caveat: To sell books in stores, an author must have had e-book sales of at least 1,000 units in the past year,” writes Meyer. “Someone with e-book sales of at least 500, meanwhile, qualifies for publicity through in-store events, such as book signings and discussions.” The stipulations have been put in place to protect the time and quality of programming store staff dedicate to such projects, but they feel rather like more of the same when it comes to the traditional publishing industry’s long legacy of “gatekeeping.” As Meyer says, part of the point of Nook Press is to “draw interest from a traditional publisher.” That might be an attractive outlook for some authors, but there’s a growing sense among indie authors that self-publishing is more than just a stepping-stone to something better––and that such antiquated ideas have their roots in an undeserved stigma. But you’ll have to judge yourself! Catch the rest of Meyer’s article at the link.
“Stephen Miles is no stranger to the world of make believe,” writes Deanna Kirk for The Daily Sun on August 12th: “As an only child of older parents, his companions were often the books he lost himself in, such as tales about Sherlock Holmes, and works by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Louis L’Amour. But when he found himself as an adult in a job where he could allow his mind to wander, he thought, ‘Why not let this imagination go to work for me?'” As it turns out, this was a question worth asking, and Miles took advantage of a mostly solitary but imagination-feeding job to pen a book he later titled The Texas Rangers of Scotland Yard. While he’s up-front about the book being a work of fiction, Kirk notes in her article, Miles went the extra mile when it came to researching the actual world in which he places his fictional account. Inspired by the BBC Sherlock Holmes miniseries, watched in increments on YouTube, Miles was struck by one episode where a Pinkerton agent travels to Britain to assist in a case. “That started my wheels turning,” said Miles. According to Kirk, “Miles began to ask himself questions such as ‘What if Sherlock Holmes had met a Texas Ranger?'” and the rest of the story fell into place. In my personal favorite anecdote of the week, Miles tracked down the author of a childhood favorite series, Hank the Cowdog––John R. Erickson––for advice before publishing through Amazon’s CreateSpace platform. For the rest of Miles’ story in today’s featured interview, follow the link!
We’ve highlighted the resurgence of zines on this blog before, but it looks like there’s more to come in respect to the opportunities this peculiar little publishing platform offers for self-publishing authors. “Print, despite what you may have read online recently, is not completely dead yet,” writes Matthew Moyer for The Orlando Weekly on August 10th. “In particular, the DIY zine format is becoming a standard-bearer for print’s vibrancy, enjoying an unprecedented third (fourth? fifth?) act.” Zines, Moyer points out, “have a long and proud history” in the self-publishing world, representing thousands of self-published pamphlets and magazines that “reflect the individual viewpoints or obsessions” of their creators and publishers. “Because there are no publishers to be beholden to,” writes Moyer, “zines go a long way in representing and disseminating voices that might otherwise be overlooked or go unheard in the mainstream.” If this sounds a little familiar, it should––the last five years have seen the public discourse, both on the big screen and the small screen as well as throughout the myriad corners of the internet, run rampant with controversial discussions about diversity in representation and specifically, in representation within traditional publishing, which has a rather terrible track-record in terms of upholding diversity and the niche voice. “There are zines on every possible subject: music, comics, arts, politics, feminism, literature, cooking, film, how-to guides, bikes, crafts,” says Moyer. “And a majority of the newer creators are young, new entrants to the field, bringing fresh perspectives and voices.” Having recently attended the Orlando Zine Fest, Moyer collects interviews with ten of the zine-creators there in his article, which you can find 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