And now for the news!
Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!
To start off 2019, our first article today is a retrospective of the happenings in 2018, a year Beniah Munengwa of NewsDay describes as something of a “mixed bag,” in that it contained both some good moments and some hardships for the publishing industry–including the self-publishing industry. What are those highlights and hardships? We recommend you read the article so that you don’t miss a thing, but when it comes to self-publishing specifically, Munengwa cites pricing difficulties, a drop in book fair attendance, and the persistence of stigma as some of the worst book news in 2018, with a burgeoning of dialectical forms, diversification of authors, and the high quality of new self-published content as some of the best. As a Zimbabwean paper that covers news from the diaspora, NewsDay‘s article serves as a good and powerful reminder that self-publishing is a growing global phenomenon–with the power to transform the world. Writes Munengwa, “Heading into 2019, new energy needs to be injected into the publishing industry such that it emerges rejuvenated and refreshed as before, in the process remoulding literature into manna that the yesteryears were reknowned for churning out.” We can’t help but agree.
2018 was a year that cemented Amazon’s grip on the self-publishing industry, among many other markets. Last week, Paris Martineau and Louise Matsakis of WIRED put together a profile of this company, always and forever known for its sheer dominance of consumer-driven sales in the early Internet Age. If you were looking to understand how Amazon’s famous (or infamous?) self-publishing branch fits into its larger mission and into its larger process of acquiring subsidiaries and developing new services, this is definitely the article for you–just scroll down to the “Books” section and dig in. (Although we’d like to note that the entire article, even the non-bookish parts, is fascinating.) Amazon’s reach is, the article indicates, so extensive that it might easily seem that the company has gotten into the life business (after all, it’s now offering healthcare)–and one has to wonder where self-publishing ranks on the company’s list of priorities. Is it better to do all things well, or to do one thing brilliantly? Only time will tell; the jury’s still out on Amazon.
In yet another fantastic article for Forbes, Adam Rowe provides us this week’s outtro with his predictions for 2019–namely, that is, that this will be the Year of Audio. Why’s that? Because all of the groundwork has been successfully laid, and the market has diversified. Writes Rowe, “Audiobooks have been a popular sector of the publishing industry for years now thanks to the ubiquity of the smartphone, but 2018 was the year that distribution channels caught up: Google, Walmart, and Instaread all started selling audiobooks within the last year, and Kobo wasn’t too far ahead of them.” He specifically makes note of the companies making room for self-publishing authors in the midst of this field of new possibilities, including Findaway Voices, a company “which ushers self-published authors’ audiobooks onto the Apple Books marketplace and its 45% royalties.” Rowe also notes that the synergy between podcasts and audiobooks is at an all-time high, with podcasts routinely being ported over or adapted for audiobook format. His final conclusions? Rowe argues that “The virtuous cycle of a growing audience and a growing field of content will undoubtedly continue in 2019. The only question is what interesting new directions publishers and authors will find for audio in the new year.” We hope you’re among those authors looking to experiment, and we hope you’ll share with us the products of your labors! And in the meanwhile, happy New Year!
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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.