And now for the news!
Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!
We kick off this week’s news post with an article from Matia Madrona Query of Publisher’s Weekly, who covers the story of Adam Pelzman, an author whose first book was published traditionally but who has recently made the choice to go indie and self-publish his second. He felt comfortable self-publishing The Papaya King, his latest book, in large part because he’d already developed a healthy relationship with his local indie booksellers. As Query puts it, “Little is more validating for indie authors than seeing their books displayed prominently on bookstore shelves—but not too many bricks-and-mortar stores are willing to take a chance on unvetted authors.” The Wellington Square Bookshop may just show other bookstores a path forward towards better supporting their local indie authors; says Query, “The Exton, Pa., bookstore has a section devoted solely to indie authors, runs writing workshops for aspiring writers, and even selects indie books for the store’s book clubs.” Owner Sam Hankin makes real space in his own life to support the project as well, by reading their books and organizing events for the authors at his store. As Query puts it, “Hankin focuses on a work’s exceptional qualities and merit rather than its publishing platform, and he frequently carries promising indie books to other area bookstores—as he has done with The Papaya King. ‘If I think this should belong to the world, it’s worth sending it into the world,’ Hankin says.” Pelzman’s success, and Hankin’s passion, make Query’s story an inspiring read and well worth your time.
Pat Pattison, an executive coach and author working on a book about creative re-invention, brings us this lovely article by way of Next Avenue. He profiles self-publishing senior Patricia Jacobson, who first started her novel Fern in 1986, and uses her story to lay out five steps to successfully self-publishing—and redefining what success means. His suggestions include seeking out editorial insight, doing one’s due diligence on researching self-publishing companies (that may or may not offer editorial services), and ensuring that one’s book is properly formatted before being distributed for sale in print or digital formats. He also tackles the thorny issue of pricing, and sorting out pricing outside of the traditional publishing standards. More than anything, he suggests looking beyond the money for one’s incentive to self-publish. As he puts it, turning a profit isn’t always the ultimate goal. Jacobson herself is a great example of someone who found the process its own kind of reward; she says “‘At eighty-seven, I really wanted to see Fern in book form, so I could share it with family and friends. When I first saw the final product with its classy cover and perfect size, I burst into tears!'” And if that’s not the heart-warming story you needed this holiday season, we don’t know what is!
If you need a little encouragement, Montclair Local contributor Melissa Sullivan has just the thing. While attending the annual Bucks County Book Festival this year, she found herself inspired by the story of Judith Leyster, a Seventeenth-Century Dutch artist who became something of an icon of successful self-promotion to Sullivan as a result of the fearless face she showed the world. As an author who needed a bit of encouragement herself to distribute promotional materials (specifically, bookmarks), Sullivan knew she needed to put herself out there as well. As Sullivan puts it, “often self-promotion can be the hardest part of our job as an artist.” This is because, she goes on to note,
We are used to working by ourselves, doubting if what we are doing is any good. And then, when we are finally successful and have our work out there in the world, we have to start telling people about it, in the hopes that maybe they might want to read it.
This can all be excruciatingly painful if you are bent towards introversion, as many artists are. But even if you are an extrovert, as I am under normal non-writer circumstances, this need to self-promote can still feel like you are swimming through molasses, dragging yourself to the ultimate point of pushing your work on some stranger.
It’s hard work, but it’s necessary too. And if Leyster could do it, and if Sullivan could do it, you too can find a way. We believe in you!
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.