Self-Publishing News: 1.26.2021

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The big industry news of the last week has been the acquisition of Wattpad by way of a 100% stake. Wattpad, a self-publishing platform known primarily for producing short-form serial stories as well as fanfiction, has been a key actor in raising mainstream awareness of self-publishing, while simultaneously lessening the stigmas attached to indie works and teen writers. It has also worked in partnership with Penguin Random House to traditionally publish The Kissing Booth, which we wrote about here on the blog several times back in 2018, and afterward the company created Wattpad Books, which partners with Macmillan to publish other stories in book form. Wattpad has yet to go public, having acquired all of its financing through private investors. And now, according to Korea JoongAng Daily (in association with The New York Times), the Korean-based IT firm Naver has purchased a 100% stake in the company. Kyoung-Son’s article summarizes this event, and makes note of Naver’s next steps in getting “administrative approvals” in multiple countries, including Korea and the United States. For more information on this major development in global self-publishing, please read Kyoung-Son’s article in full.

This fabulous article comes to us by way of The Bookseller, an industry news platform which has put out articles in support of self-publishing as well as traditional publishing over the course of its long history. (The website is part of a London-based company that claims to have been “the business magazine of the book industry since 1858.”) Angela McConnell-Hughes (AKA Angela Kay Austin) is a self-publishing author whose books have put her on USA TODAY‘s bestseller list, and whose voice has become a very welcome and much needed one within the industry as an advocate for diverse indie authors. We highly recommend reading the entirety of her article, but absolutely must amplify her hard-hitting conclusion:

I think recent events in America and across the globe highlight the need for indie publishing, but I also believe they support the rally for change within traditional publishing. The authors and poets of the Harlem Renaissance voiced the anguish of Black Americans during the early 1900s. Indie authors of today follow in this tradition, introducing readers to vivid worlds inhabited by people of color. As a self-published author, I don’t see an end to the growth of indie publishing because I don’t see an end to traditional publishing marginalising different voices.

– Angela McConnell-Hughes, “Taking Back Control” (2020)

McConnell-Hughes takes no prisoners in her article, and holds nothing back. By chronicling her own experience and honestly documenting some of the challenges facing indie authors, she comes across as an earnest and sincere advocate when she still thinks going indie is the best approach, at least for authors who find themselves unwelcome in traditionally published books, either by deliberate exclusion or the systemic advantages given to certain authors that we have talked about here on Self Publishing Advisor before. If you, like McConnell-Hughes, have grown used to reading books where characters “who looked like me weren’t represented,” you too might consider following in her footsteps and choose to self-publish. Whatever you choose, her article is worth 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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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