And now for the news!
Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!
Well, of course they do! I mean, when you look at the numbers, that’s quite a bit less than one in ten people alive on Planet Earth–and if you’ve spoken to any number of earthlings lately, you’ll know we’re a species addicted to storytelling and words. But the point, according to the UK’s Southern Reporter, is actually something quite different. (And also, the article is talking specifically about 5.3 citizens of the United Kingdom alone, which is rather a smaller population than Earth’s 7 billion.) No … the point is that memoir and autobiography now make up a majority in terms of author-interest. According to the article, “One in five of those planning to write a book would like to pen their own life story (21 per cent), more than twice the number of any other non-fiction genre and considerably more than any genre of fiction” (emphasis added). This means that, in about five or ten year’s time, whenever this massive percentage of UK authors finally sits down to pen books in their retirement years, the majority of books published may in fact be autobiography and memoir–not mass market genre fiction. Not romance, not crime fiction, not Nordic Noir. How cool is that? Keep your eyes on your pocketbooks, people! British nonfiction is a storied and legendary canon, and about to get a lot more diverse and interesting!
We’ve known for a while now that the publishing industry isn’t doing so well, as a whole, while self-publishers are growing and diversifying at record pace. Well, this article by Michelle Caffrey of the Philadelphia Business Journal chronicles the progress of BookBaby, a South Jersie Print-on-Demand (POD), ebook distribution, and indie publishing company known for its ease of use. The full text of the article is only available to subscribers, but if you don’t happen to be one, you can catch much of the same information in other places and from the BookBaby website itself, specifically its “in the press” page.
And you thought the New Yorker was irrelevant to indie authors, huh? Well, maybe even the New York literary scene can take a clue or two, as Stephen Burt’s most recent piece dives into the nature and values of fanfiction. The worlds of fanfiction and self-publishing are not, it’s true, one and the same–but there’s a tight correspondence to explore, as very often fanfiction authors have no other option forward to publication than going indie, and many times established self-publishing authors began as writers with a foray or two into the fanfic universe. Burt spends some quality time with other cousins of the self-publishing movement, cousins we have spoken about regularly here on the blog–fanzines, science fiction (and other popular genre fictions), as well as the rich relationship between scholarly analysis and pop culture–and upon which we could hold forth for quite a long time. Suffice it to say, Burt’s piece is a refreshing take from an establishment magazine which has often spurned “our people,” and an insightful bit of analysis in and of itself. Well worth taking a look!