And now for the news!
Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically news from or regarding self-publishing companies!
Wait, what’s Sweek? It’s got a cute logo, that’s for sure:
The short answer, it turns out, is that Sweek is another self-publishing startup. This one isn’t necessarily in direct competition with indies and others who produce book-length works that are then distributed via bookstores and online sales, but that doesn’t mean that Sweek doesn’t have some serious competition–it just comes in the form of mobile platforms like Medium and Wattpad (and others, too). These platforms, which often consist of both a desktop-friendly website and a sleek (or sweek, I guess) app which allows users to both curate a collection of other peoples’ works for easy reading and write their own stories for publication. In this article from Molly Flatt on The Bookseller, one thing is very, very clear: our reading and writing habits are changing, and various industries–and platforms–are competing to be the next “normal.” Here’s to you, Sweek–we will check in with you in a couple of months to see how you’re doing!
Oh, and we all want to know what that ‘good part’ is, don’t we? Of course, for some of us it has nothing to do with a knight in shining armor and everything to do with a warm cup of tea on a cold winter’s night. Which is pretty much how my evening is going right now, come to think about it. Do I need a romance novel to round out my evening? Audible thinks so, which makes perfect sense, since romance books make up a big slice of the audio book giant’s core offerings and sales. So what’s the deal with this new service? Jacob Passy of MarketWatch writes that Audible (now an Amazon subsidiary) now offers an entirely separate package for subscribers who want to skip the other genres and dig into their romance. Says Passy:
The new “Take Me to the Good Part” function identifies major plot points — yes, including the sultrier moments — using algorithms and allows listeners to skip ahead in the story. And the “Steaminess Score” keys listeners in to the level of passion they can expect from a given title on a five-point scale from ‘Sweet’ to ‘O-O-OMG.’
Which … fair enough. What remains to be seen, of course, is how this will translate when it comes to boosting the careers of self-publishing authors. According to Passy, “self-publishing has allowed the romance genre community to address concerns related to inclusion,” concerns which Audible & Amazon haven’t always been willing to take on. One hopes that will change, and in the meantime, you can skip all the boring bits of your latest bodice-ripper.
I mean … one might argue that if one can foot a bill that large … one probably already has an extensive networking reach and the ability to build a business of any kind with greater success than, say, a recent college graduate who’s paying off loans by working with AmeriCorps or burning time in an entry-level position. But still, this is fascinating stuff! And what, exactly, do life coaches have to do with self-publishing? Quite a lot, actually, as Cathy Alter reveals in her article for the Washingtonian. Sure, the attendees of this particular book launch event all look overwhelmingly glamorous in their ball gowns and tuxedos (around a table fit for the Capitol in The Hunger Games), but I’d totally sit down with any one of them to hear what they have to say. That’s the power of glamor–of good branding–for you. And as Alter puts it, “self-help books are less about racking up sales than about building a personal brand that pays off in other ways”–and all of these self-published self-help authors have a lot riding on the line, and on their reputations, and on their brands. The author at the center of this article, the author behind the authors, could easily be framed as an object of derision–but it would have been a mistake to do so, and Alter avoids falling into the trap of taking an easy or simple portrait of the men and women profiled here. Well worth a read!
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.