Self-Publishing News: 3.10.2021

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This article from Publishers Weekly is a fun one! In it, contributor Drucilla Shultz covers the story behind the self-publication of Sister of the Chosen One, a new indie book co-authored by friends Colleen Oakes and Erin Armknecht. While we highly recommend you read the entirety of Shultz’s excellent article, we’d like to highlight this particular book and article for the relationship behind the book. All too often, in our experience, it feels as though there’s a certain kind of pressure to keep all things relating to a book’s publication (or self-publication) professional rather than personal, when in point of fact one of the great strengths of going indie is that it leaves room for both to coexist–as happened with Sister of the Chosen One. Oakes, specifically, is known for her past publications and for having worked within the traditional publishing paradigm, but when it came to this book the need was there for more flexibility. As Oakes states in Shultz’s article, “every book release feels fresh and different, because not only have you changed as a writer, but your books themselves are representative of your growth.” Both Oakes and Armknecht reflect on the challenges of releasing a new book during a pandemic, and the effect of COVID-19 on their book’s marketing process. Definitely take a peek at Shultz’s piece on PW for the full story.

Here is another fascinating self-published project that comes to us courtesy of COVID-19, as covered by Di’Amond Moore for Georgia Public Broadcasting: photographer Tara Wray, widely known for her previous book Too Tired for Sunshine (and for the hashtag #TooTiredProject that has followed it) is launching a new photo-book by way of going indie that chronicles her experiences during the isolation of COVID-19. The book encapsulates not just those feelings of isolation and separation from the world outside, but also the togetherness and lived-in texture of her life with family (her twin 10-year-old boys are featured among the many photos included). This latest project of Wray’s marks the beginning of a new phase for her original #TooTiredProject in that she is using the opportunity to start Too Tired Press, with Year of the Beast as its first publication. How neat is that–not just going indie but launching a brand new indie press? Consider us fans.

This helpful article hit shortly after our last news post, but we can’t let another week go by without mentioning its excellent and thoughtful contents, which come to us courtesy of Steve Landry under the magazine’s “Think Geek” section. It offers what Landry calls a “comprehensive guide” to the self-publishing process, and covers everything from “Polish[ing] Your Manuscript to Perfection” at the beginning of the publication process to both marketing “pre-launch” and “post-launch” checklists. If you’re still wondering if self-publishing is right for you, Landry also addresses that question in detail. We highly recommend reading the entire guide as a part of your own pre-publication market research.

Last but certainly not least for this week’s lineup of news articles comes this piece for Food52 and later syndicated on Salon by Cathy Erway. In it, Erway follows the plight and growing popularity of food writer Alicia Kennedy. Early in 2020, Kennedy saw her freelance work vanish seemingly overnight with the downsizing of the market at as a result of the pandemic–but this was not the end of her story, but rather the beginning, with her Substack-based newsletter rising through the rankings to make her one of the most widely-heard voices in food writing during the stressful period, and a profitable side business as well thanks to Substack’s paid subscription option. Writes Erway, “As more food writers and recipe developers become fed up with traditional outlets, both food media “celebrities” […] and freelancers like Kennedy, who felt there were too few opportunities for her work, are finding success in publishing content in newsletters and through other independent channels.” The effect of this shift mirrors that of personal blogs on the industry of food writing in the 90s and early 2000s, which “not only challenged a sleepy traditional media that felt behind the times, but [also] democratized it.” While the current change underway is neither simple nor easy to sum up, Erway’s article proved very thought-provoking indeed for those of us deeply vested in the various routes to indie publication. And Kennedy is only one of a great many “creators of print magazines and direct-to-consumer digital food media” challenging the status quo, writes Erway, by “favoring a more transparent transaction between creator and consumer via subscription.” We like the sound of that.

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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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