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!
We’re coming out of the gate with a controversial item today, an article by Gautam Bhatia for The Times of India, one of the region’s most widely-read and well-regarded dailies. In this article, Bhatia digs into what he calls “the rapid privatisation of urban life, and the consequent trivialisation of public culture” and how this has altered public perceptions and quality control in achievement-based celebrations like architectural and literary awards. He hearkens back to a golden age when “Newspapers reported facts; opinions were reserved for the few whose long-term experience of those facts gave credibility to their voice” (which are highly debatable assumptions) and takes time to lament what he considers the downsides of self-publishing, too:
An accountant friend uses Photoshop techniques to make paintings and then sells them as signed prints; another penned a salacious novel, self-published, and critically reviewed and acclaimed by himself on the internet. “I am not a writer,” he claimed modestly, “it just came to me one night.” Both were good reasons for disqualification.
Bhatia is determined to vilify technology, social media, and the “‘I-me-my’ world with its instant gratification [which] has replaced the long-term value of a selective discriminating public space.” What do you think? Do you agree that the way our world works today, including self-publishing, has cheapened perceptions of value and the push for quality? Our own bias may be implicit, but we’re genuinely curious.
On a more positive note, Jane Friedman of Publisher’s Weekly released an article this week about the new ways and means available to authors seeking to reach new readers and therefore sell more books. “Start where you are,” she writes: “Use the power of your community—and the people you know—to gain momentum.” But … how exactly does that work in our modern, tech-savvy age? She argues that “indie authors can become obsessed with Amazon rankings and optimization.” And:
It’s not that those things don’t have a role to play, but national attention and great rankings are sometimes the result of doing a great marketing and promotion job within a community that knows you. It’s often easier to gain traction that way, and encourage word of mouth to ripple further out as a stepping-stone to the more difficult PR wins.
Hm. There’s a lot to unpack in Friedman’s article, which deconstructs the experiences of several specific authors and their books before moving on to providing some key pointers and recommendations. What with Facebook’s targeted ads making news headlines every other week, it’s well worth a look to see what ways going local–and going targeted–can benefit you!
Last but not least, this week we recommend you take a look at a new series just begun on The Guardian‘s website, chronicling the weird little intricacies of making money. This first article traces the path of one book series–J.K. Rowling’s crime fiction series, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith–to success. But this article, by Donna Ferguson, has a twist: she wants to know what algorithms have got to say about literature, and about success. Self-publishing only merits a passing mention, but much of the meat and potatoes of the article applies to authors everywhere, no matter their means of publication. “It doesn’t matter whether a book is published as literary fiction, romance, sci-fi, crime or any other genre, there are some latent features of bestseller-dom in manuscripts and these patterns are detectable by a computer algorithm,” Ferguson quotes expert Jodie Archer as saying. What are those patterns? You’ll have to read the full article to find out. And then, of course, report back to us whether it shapes up with your experiences or not!
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.