Self-Publishing News: 12.19.2016

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Timothy Oliver Stoen is a 78-year old prosecutor in California who’s newly self-published memoir has the aim of ensuring that those who’ve made big life mistakes know that their life isn’t over. See, Stoen was once part of a utopian movement called the People’s Temple of the Disciples of Christ, acting as an attorney for the cult’s leader, Jim Jones. He eventually left the group, the majority of which had migrated to Jonestown in Guyana. However, in 1978, tragedy struck and over 900 of the inhabitants of the town died of a mass poisoning, including Stoen’s six-year-old son. This death plagued Stoen for a decade, and writing the memoir took nearly ten years, as reliving the grief was something that he needed to walk away from when it became overwhelming. After bringing his memoir to several publishing companies who hadn’t heard of Jonestown, Stoen’s agent suggested he self-publish. Read the article above to hear some powerful advice from the author himself who insists that writers be honest and write in their own voices.

After releasing multiple titles with big name publishers, John Birmingham found to his dismay that having an “in” with certain companies does not guarantee you anything. While his publishing contracts contained clauses that prevented him from releasing works that would compete with his publisher, Birmingham vacillated about what to do when his series was tanking due to a mistake made by his publishing company. “I waited until the Hooper series tanked and then they spent eight months twiddling their thumbs saying, ‘we’ll offer you a deal but it won’t be very good’.”

Birmingham decided to go out on a limb and step into the world of self-publishing in 2016. He has since successfully published three novellas and his first self-published novel, A Girl In Time. “The book debuted at five on Apple, which is very gratifying when I see my former publishers further down the list. That was fun,” he said in an interview with ABC news.

This is a fantastic article that gives an author’s in-depth account of a falling out with traditional publishing company.

This year alone, over 750 people entered the BookLife Prize in Fiction, “an annual writing contest for unpublished or self-published novels launched earlier this year,” but only five finalists were chosen. The judges are currently working to determine who will win overall, but this piece puts the spotlight on the finalists so you can pick your favorite before the judges do!

There’s Kipp Wessel, whose book, You Swallow the Moon “is about a young man who loses a brother and experiences the unraveling of his first real love.” He says, “In response to these compounded losses, he becomes obsessed with wild bears when he believes their ability to regulate their winter hearts may offer him a safe passage through the intense grief immobilizing him.” Kipp calls it “a modern novel about the wilderness of heartbreak.”

Next up is Jane Alvey Harris who wrote the novel, Riven, which she describes as “a hard-hitting, issue-driven, contemporary account of a 17-year-old girl whose reality and mental health fracture when her childhood abuser re-enters her life after 10 years.” She says, “It’s a documentation of a survivor’s journey to make peace with her wounded ego and achieve self-acceptance.”

Krys Batts’ book, Not Flowers But Love focuses on “the main character’s internal struggle to overcome past relationship disappointments that hamper her from opening up her heart again.”

T.J. Slee’s mystery/thrilled novel, Cloister, is “laced with dark humor,” and features “a very unorthodox heroine. Sister Charlie Jones is not your typical Mercy Sister nun, but she’s doing her best.”

Lastly, Jennifer Kaplan’s novel, Crushing the Red Flowers is a children’s book that covers pre-WWII Germany. For Kaplan, 1938 “was the turning point” and one that she finds has been “overlooked by educators. However, her book “starts in summer and stops in December 1938. We all know what happens after that, but the characters don’t.”

To hear more from the contestants, click the link above and pick who you think the winner should be!


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, 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,

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