Self-Publishing News: 7.23.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

July

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!

This article from Publishers Weekly comes at the perfect time to remind us how much we love audiobooks (and how perfectly suited audiobooks are for the summer holiday season, with all of its road trips and its changes of pace). The article, an interview between PW contributor Benjamin South and “audio veteran” Scott Brick, is revealing on many levels–first, peeling back the layers (and the myths) of what audiobooks are or are not to authors, including self-published and indie authors. Brick is known primarily for using his voice as a narrator of these books, but he’s also now using his voice to advocate for them. Says Brick:

My choices are driven by wanting to work with really good authors and it’s thrilling when people get in touch with me to say they’ve discovered a new author because of me. I am also a fan first and foremost. Most of the new authors coming out these days are indie authors, and if that’s where they are, that’s where I am going to follow.

Brick goes on to describe what draws him to a book, how he goes about collaborating with indie authors to bring their books to an audio format, and the ways in which working with indie authors and self-published books is different from working with a traditional publisher. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether or not you should pursue creating an audiobook edition of your self-published book, this revealing interview is an absolute must!

Last month in this news space, we discussed a different, earlier article on one of of the new ways that indie and self-publishing authors are breaking out into mainstream awareness: through Wattpad, and collaborations between streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and that unique story-publishing platform. This month, pop culture titan Vulture tackled the subject with this article by Chris Lee, wherein Lee breaks down what it is, exactly, about the platform that has led to it having such a moment. And it’s not just Netflix and Hulu getting in on the action: broadcast television network The CW is also putting out feelers, as well as NBCUniversal. And while Wattpad’s star is rising quite high these days, the question remains: can its success translate or “trickle down” to other indie and self-publishing outlets, platforms, and authors? According to Wattpad Studios’ chief Aron Levitz, (“as well as entertainment executives from companies in partnership with Wattpad,” writes Lee), there’s one specific reason why Wattpad is leading the pack:

[…] the Toronto-based publishing platform’s devoted community of readers provides a secret weapon in developing content with road-tested mass appeal: data. By actively commenting — often paragraph by paragraph over the course of, say, a 300-page online book — Wattpad readers function as a highly motivated focus group, helping dictate plotlines, vetting characters, and even the deletion of scenes.

It doesn’t hurt that while Wattpad is finding ways to its stories, the vast majority of content on the website is free, and the platform is brokering deals with these film companies without necessarily forwarding those profits to its authors. It remains to be seen whether the authors whose stories are being adapted will receive the same treatment as, say, a traditionally-published author or a self-published author in the usual mode. Watch this space as developments continue!

“How would you choose to build a general book publisher today, if starting from scratch? That was the question I found myself asking two years ago,” writes Pete Duncan, author of this recent blog post for The Bookseller. Duncan, who compares the average 10 to 20-year lifespan of a modern tech company to the longevity of many large publishing houses, set out to discover exactly what it would take to succeed in modern terms at “that delicate balancing act which the publishing industry has so often been adept at, of combining riskier publishing with safer bets, to keep shareholders’ hair on, and publishing across unrelated categories, to cushion against unforeseeable changes in readers’ taste.” It’s not an easy act, he concluded, after a year working in consultation with “a variety of book publishers small and large, self-publishing authors, website publishers, and companies from other sectors running some type of publishing activity.” One thing these all had in common? Things may not be so stable when it comes to publishing at all, with fragmentation of services and the multiplication and innovation of online services in many ways replicating and suborning traditional publishing models. Having now launched Prelude Books, a hybrid company seeking to occupy many niches all at once, Duncan is entirely honest about the challenges ahead. But the rewards are equally as great: “In this new type of publishing the relationship with the reader is fantastically direct and instantaneous – no more having to persuade intermediaries to stock a book then rely on yet more intermediaries to build the basic level of buzz.” This whole blog is a gem, and we highly recommend you take a look.


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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.

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