Self-Publishing News: 5.23.2016

This week in the world of self-publishing:

First off, this little press release put out by Author Solutions on May 18th via PRWeb: the self-professed “world leader in supported self-publishing services” made an announcement last Monday to the effect that “it has entered a development partnership with immersive content studio Legion of Creatives. Through the relationship,” the press release goes on to state, “Legion will actively review indie book titles within the Author Solutions catalogue for possible film, television and digital adaptations.”  For fans of Author Solutions this is pleasant news indeed, but the company has its fair share of detractors.  Even critics have to admit, however, that the prospects for self-publishing as a whole are broadened by these kinds of pioneering partnerships–in the future, they are likely to not only be available to all self-publishing authors, but to be made much more affordable as the market broadens and competition increases.  For the original press release, follow the link!

In this, the first of two articles put up by Publisher’s Weekly on May 20th related to hybrid publishing, contributor Nicole Audrey Spector puts together a comprehensive guide to getting started with hybrid publishing––much as we did with our March 2nd blog post.  As Spector puts it, going hybrid is to seize upon a “third option”––an option “which fuses aspects of traditional publishing with self-publishing, often for an up-front fee. At least that’s one definition,” she writes: “as any author exploring the territory of hybrid publishing will find, it’s complicated.”  It’s complicated in part because hybrid publishing is not the same thing as being a hybrid author––the former involves a specific publishing model which incorporates the flexibility and authorial rights of self-publishing with the resources of traditional publishing … and the latter is usually used to describe an author who has published through both the traditional and self-publishing models (and may also have dabbled in the hybrid one) or may have moved from one to the other.  Spector goes on to describe the workings of various hybrid publishing companies and the experiences of several authors who have used them, and closes with this warning: “Hybrid publishing does have its drawbacks and is assuredly not for everybody.”  The “key,” she writes, is “for authors is to do their homework, connect with peers who have published with hybrids, and determine their expectations and goals from the start.”  Wise words all around, I should think.  You can read the rest of Spector’s guide here.

Brooke Warner contributed the second May 20th piece on hybrid publishing to Publisher’s Weekly, and her interest isn’t in explaining the concept to beginners a la Spector’s piece, but rather to project a forecast for the hybrid publishing market over the coming years (an equally vital task, I think!).  Says Warner, founder of hybrid firm She Writes Press, “Within hybrid publishing there exist many creative models, defined largely by what we’re not.”  The struggle has been for self-realization and self-definition, and to exist at the center of their own narrative––that is, not on the fringes of the self-publishing vs. traditional publishing catfight.  “As more hybrid publishers continue to enter the market,” she argues, “we need to start to define ourselves more by what we are, which requires certain standards to be adopted and certain industry practices to change.”  How to go about oding this?  Well, Warner has an idea––in the form of a brief manifesto:

Hybrid publishers ought to be meeting the standards of their traditional publishing counterparts—both editorially and in design. Hybrid publishers ought to have traditional distribution, or to find better inroads into the marketplace than currently exist in the self-publishing sector. Hybrid publishers ought to qualify to submit their books to be reviewed traditionally and to enter contests without being barred because of their business models. Their authors ought to qualify to join any professional organization they want without facing the discrimination that currently exists against any author-subsidized model.

Well, that’s a rallying cry if I ever heard one.  And with a pedigree like Warner’s to back it up, maybe the various power-players will listen.  Even if they don’t, Warner writes, “We’re tapping on industry doors and witnessing some acceptance and some pushback, but, since we’re here to stay, we’ll just let our books do the talking.”  Powerful stuff.  To read the rest of Warner’s article, click here.

 


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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.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Why the Digital Census Matters : A Retrospective

Here on Self Publishing Advisor, we strive not just to keep up with the current trends, but to try and keep a little ahead of the curve–which is why I spent the last five weeks unpacking the results of The Bookseller’s 2015 Digital Census (as described in the FutureBook).  For those of you who are perhaps checking in for the first time, The FutureBook collates information from those involved in the digital publishing industry (whether through traditional or “indie” means) and summarizes the top five current market trends.

[ I’ve broke down each trend, and you can find posts dedicated to each point linked at the far bottom of today’s article. ]

Reviewing the 2015 FutureBook and Digital Census findings has been a wonderful and enlightening experience for me–and hopefully it wasn’t entirely useless to you, as well!–but it’s not the whole picture.  It reflects our attitudes, hopes, and concerns at a specific, limited moment in time.  And ultimately, the FutureBook’s timeliness lends the material contained therein both its value and its constraints:

We need the Digital Census because without it, we wouldn’t know where our experiences as indie and self-publishing authors fit within a larger story–and we need the Digital Census to keep happening because there’s nothing static about the book industry.  As the FutureBook’s editors have said, the survey from which the Census information is collated was designed to “reflect how the sector is continuing to change [….] It asks [authors] what about what their perspective on the book business is, and how we can help them take their innovations to the next stage.”  Change is change, and digital publishing as well as self-publishing must continually reinvent itself to remain a force to be reckoned with.

Those constraints I mentioned? The Digital Census only touches upon those publishing matters which pertain to works that make an appearance in pixels.  It’s not a complete picture of the publishing experience, whether we’re talking about traditionally-published or independently published authors.  So while the Digital Census is an important piece of the puzzle, it’s not the be-all and end-all of information gathering for us here at Self Publishing Advisor.  Like clockwork, industry titans like Publisher’s Weekly and HuffPost Books release predictions for the upcoming year.  Bowker just released a report in November on the top concerns in the self-publishing market, while Author Earnings publishes its reports every few months.  It is my goal in 2016 to keep you “in the know” on all of these reports–because we all know one thing to be true:

knowledge

You don’t have to be evil to recognize the power knowledge can bring–because power isn’t necessarily about the subjugation of others.  Power, in the world of self-publishing, is the ability to take hold of your own narrative and shape it however you please.  Just as empathy and cooperation will trump behavior in line with a “survival of the fittest” mentality (every time, according to behavioral scientists and psychologists), indie authors know that power is something we all benefit from cooperatively and collectively.  This is why, think, the self-publishing industry is such a rich and complex network of community forums, relationships, and partnerships.

All of this is a little beside the point, perhaps, but it’s worth noting that what we do with the information we collect is equally as important as the fact that we collect it.  Many of the reports and information sources, like Author Earnings and the FutureBook itself, are born from a desire to help the indie community!  And that’s the kind of generous impulse I can thoroughly stand behind, especially as we navigate the holiday season.

 


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Demystifying the Digital Census, Point by Point:

One: Mobile overtakes tablets and dedicated e-readers as the device of choice

Two: Digital sales are still growing, but they are also slowing

Three: Self-love levels recede as many indie authors report lower satisfaction levels

Four: Publishing remains very much divided on matters digital

Five: … And the majority believe publishers remain unprepared for what’s coming.

In Your Corner : The lonely road to self-publication

The road to self-publication is many things, and “frightening” can certainly register as one of those things, especially when you throw the word “lonely” into the mix.  Maybe it’s because we’re human beings and we’re hardwired to crave the affirmation and support that community brings, but there are few expressions in the English language that hold as much potential to inspire fear as “striking out on my own” or its close cousin, “in uncharted territory.”  And while it’s true that there are many other people out there self-publishing these days, there’s no exact way to translate that “head knowledge” into “heart knowledge” if it hasn’t been made real to us in personal experience––which is one of the reasons, I think, why digital communities hold so much potential for the self-publishing author.

frightened

Chances are that you or I will run across few others who will choose to self-publish over the course of our lifetimes, so where else are we going to turn for feedback or even for some basic know-how than the internet?  Blogs like Self Publishing Advisor and hybrid self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press provide important bridges to a successful and meaningful self-publishing experience for those of us who find ourselves stymied or at a loss, or even just lonely.

In this, my first post here, I’d first like to clear the air: it’s completely alright to be scared to self-publish.  Your feelings, whatever they happen to be, are one hundred percent valid.  My job, both as a contributor to this blog and––separately––as Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press, is to be your ally, cheer squad, sounding board, and advocate all at the same moment.  Everyone faces discouragement at some point when bringing a big project through from its beginning stages to its final execution and delivery, and self-publishing is no different.  But the challenges you’ll face or are already facing must be addressed as the specific things that they are, peculiar to your own individual experience.

There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter self-publishing experience.  But there are such things as insecurity, and fear, and trepidation.  These feelings are real, no matter what the reality of the situation is and whether they are built upon a factually accurate perception of what’s going on with your book.  And I can’t change what you feel simply by telling you “things are otherwise than how you see them in this moment.”  I’m lucky enough to have the (hopefully unbiased and wholly objective) perspective of someone whose work hinges upon being able to honestly and earnestly remind authors they’re not alone, and to simply be there, time and time again, when the authors I work with need someone in their corner.

It doesn’t hurt that I work for a company I really believe in.  As an employee at Outskirts Press, I don’t have to fudge on the details to make a sales pitch: we really are there to help authors before, during, and after publication.  Authors really do get to keep their profits, they’re really not stuck waiting for agents to like their books enough to publish them, and they really, truly, are not alone … even when it comes to the marketing process, which can often feel like the most isolating part of the whole experience, as the post-publication phase requires self-publishing authors to take responsibility for the course of their own careers in ways that more traditional avenues don’t.

Outskirts Press aside, self-publishing is now more common than traditional publishing––even though, sometimes, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.  (And there are a whole host of reasons why perception doesn’t line up with reality on this one, many of which can be traced back to the traditional publishing industry and its stranglehold on media outlets and therefore the larger public conversation.)  Self-publishing authors have a collective voice that resonates much more clearly now than it used to, maybe, but we still face an uphill battle when it comes to dealing with those fears and insecurities I mentioned earlier.  I’m here for you, though, and every week here on SPA I will keep on affirming your decision to self-publish and backing up those affirmations with a veritable onslaught of cold hard inspiring and encouraging facts, data, anecdotes, and proofs that I’ve amassed over a lifetime of experience in the self-publishing industry.  I hope you’ll check in every Thursday, and use the comments section, below, to ask questions and respond with your own insights.

You’re not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.