And now for the news!
This week in the world of self-publishing:
- Stephanie Bond on why she credits her success with self-publishing to the hard-knocks she got when she pubbed “traditionally”
Ever heard of self-publishing sensation Samantha Bond? If you haven’t already, Maya Fleischmann of the Huffington Post blog fame is here to save the day with this September 14th article on Bond, an author she introduces first as fleeing the corporate sector to find solace in writing–prolifically–for traditional publishers until launching her own self-publishing company in 2011. “And she hasn’t looked back,” writes Fleischmann before launching into a lengthy interview with Bond, featuring questions like “What was the inspiration for your Coma Girl Daily Serial?” (Bond’s latest series), and “You have numerous books in the works. What makes you want to share your writing progress with your followers? How do you focus on so many books and decide which book to work on each day?” Fleischmann’s skill at stacking questions is equaled only by Bond’s ability to answer them; if you’re curious to find out her answers and learn more about her latest round of work, you can read Fleischmann’s full interview with Bond here. (We here on the SPA blog find it utterly relatable.)
“There are plenty of perks to self-publishing,” writes Kylee McIntyre for Tech In Asia in this September 14th article: “You get a lot more control over the way your work is presented. You can also can end up making more money in the long run – e-publishers can take just around 40 percent of sales, much smaller than the 75 percent cut that traditional publishers receive.” But there are downsides, too, she warns–including the assumption “that you’re responsible for plenty of the publishing process yourself, including marketing and design. You also probably charge much less for people to buy and download your work.” Which brings us to the nebulous “they” of the article’s title. As it turns out, writes McIntyre, there are some parties out there who are interested in “trying to level the playing field” for authors who choose to publish digitally. This company, Notion Press is based out of Chennai and was founded by three men, only one of whom has a background in publishing. The other two, McIntyre writes, have backgrounds in engineering–“appropriate,” she writes, for a company which “describes itself as an accelerator for books.” With roughly 1,500 books under its belt and 120 members on staff, Notion Press is doing quite well. Its authors are doing even better. It has turned what it calls “productivity trash into treasure,” meaning that its founders have a pretty good handle on transforming authors’ experiences in self-publishing by way of social and personal management tools. To learn more about their fascinating approach, read the full article at the link.
Some self-publishing stories are not standout successes. Some of them, sadly but truthfully, are horror stories. As Melissa Nightingale reports in this September 16th piece for the New Zealand National Herald, author Sean Colenso’s story is one such nightmare. After choosing to self-publish his photo book of material gathered around his home town of Twizel, NZ, through Xlibris, he found himself “$11,000 out of pocket.” (These are NZ dollars.) “Now,” writes Nightingale, “he is using his experience to warn other new authors to be careful choosing a self-publishing business.” His experience stacked miscommunication upon miscommunication, and he faced repeated demands from Xlibris for more money to cover services they didn’t seem to make good on. (For instance, he was promised that his book would be published in both print and digital editions, but to date the only version available to buy on Amazon is the e-book. There’s also the issue of marketing–which as yet Colenso has seen none of, despite paying $3,000 NZ to cover those costs.) The price of his e-book soared. His books appeared at none of the promised outlets and book fairs. His royalty payments haven’t come through and he hasn’t been told why. “It’s just left me absolutely screwed,” Nightingale quotes him as saying.
Luckily, New Zealand-based authors have at least one advocate: The New Zealand Society of Authors. “There are honest, reputable self-publishing services that can help a writer who wants to self-publish but who doesn’t feel confident about doing it alone,” NZSA president Kyle Mewburn said, as quoted by Nightingale. “Unfortunately there are some rogue offshore organisations charging large fees to do very little. They misrepresent their services in order to profit from writers.” Xlibris may be offshore for New Zealanders, but it’s very much onshore for those of us who happen to be based in the USA. The moral of this story? Read the fine print. Be careful. Trust no one until you have seen evidence, through previously published authors, of reliability and accessibility. If this sounds like a mobster initiation rite, that may tell you something about the current state of affairs in self-publishing. We must continue to advocate for truly ethical practices. For more of Nightingale’s report, follow the link.
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.