Self-Publishing News: 5.15.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

Beginning in March, Amazon began a policy which allowed third-party sellers the right to purchase the “Buy Box” for new books being sold on Amazon. Why is this such a big deal? Traditionally, by default, the “Buy Box” has always been something that belonged to the original publisher of the book. That way, when you purchase a book, 45% of the profits go back to the publisher, and in turn, help pay authors. “This contributes to authors’ royalties,” says Brook Warner, “and also means that your purchase is supporting the entity that published the book, namely the publisher.” Warner suggests that this policy not only favors the largest third-seller parties, but it drastically affects publishers and authors.

Warner is affiliated with the publishing industry, so she has seen first hand the negative impacts of this change. One of the authors published under Warner’s press called her to inform her that her book was no longer being offered at all on Amazon from her publisher. If someone were to search for the title of her book, the only available purchase options were from third-party publishing companies. “Amazon’s policy states that ‘eligible sellers will be able to compete for the buy box,’” says Warner, “but in this case, we had been completely wiped off of Amazon as an eligible seller in any capacity, without being notified.” After more investigation, Warner found that some books published by a company she used to work at, Seal Press, were only offering copies from third-party sellers.

The problem with this new policy, according to Warner, is that it affects publishers’ backlist for books “(typically meaning any book that’s six months or older).” To someone buying the book, it appears as though the third-party seller is the only available purchase option, and if they did click the “more buying options” button, it would only alert them to cheaper versions of the book, not the one for sale by the publishing company which is listed as “sold by Amazon.com,” with no nod to the publishing company at all. Because small publishing companies are especially dependent on backlist sales, and because Amazon is the main source for backlist sales, Amazon is making it look as though a lot of these books are out of print with their publishing companies when in fact, they are not.

What are the biggest takeaways from this new policy by Amazon? For Warner, it is that they are trying to further drive down the value and cost of books, something they’ve already done with their ebooks by encouraging authors to sell their books for under $10 by giving the incentive of better royalties if they do so. Further, this makes it so that authors can’t earn royalties for the sale of their books. Amazon has suggested to people who are upset about the “buy box” competition that they should keep their books in stock which is problematic for self-published authors or backlist authors whose books are only available by print-on-demand, which are only printed to order, i.e. out of stock. “This new third-party seller policy is potentially terrorizing,” says Warner, “in that it can and will literally result in publishers selling fewer copies and ultimately being forced to declare backlist books out of print.”

In order to counter this effort by Amazon Warner suggests supporting indie bookstores, avoiding third-party sellers and always considering how your purchase will affect the authors, especially if you yourself are an author. Driving down the cost of books means driving down the value of your creative and intellectual property, which as authors we should all value very highly.


spa-news

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.

Self-Publishing News: 5.8.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

Dr. Alison Baverstock of Kingston University in London was already a writer, publisher, consultant and teacher when she decided to explore the world of non-traditional publishing. Allison ended up with comprehensive enought research on the self-publishing industry that she was able to write How to Market Books, a title that has been called the “bible of book marketing” and which has been translated into 15 different languages.

More than half a million self-published books entered the market last year alone, and that number is sure to keep growing, as it continues to be a more popular option for authors of all types–from the first timer to the seasoned vet.

Baverstock noticed that though self-publishing was originally met with hostility and was highly stigmatized at its onset, it has a growing popularity and acceptance as more and more authors seem to be taking this route for a myriad of different reasons.

Allison is not the only one to have noticed this. Neil White, creative director and publisher at Nautilus Publishing Company in Oxford, said self-publishing was a “huge waste of money 10-plus years ago. In order to make each book affordable, a press needed to publish 1,000-5,000 copies of the book. Most of those are still in someone’s garage.” However, White and Baverstock have both admitted that self-published has transformed a huge amount in just a decade.

The ease of digitization has made self-publishing very popular. You can download programs to edit and format your book from your own computer. You can upload your book directly to Amazon and other ebook platforms, making publishing literally a click away.

Rather than delegitimizing self-publishing, its rising prevalence has made it more respected, with serious authors who have already been through the traditional publishing houses choosing this route because it simply pays better for them in the long run.

Baverstock says, “If you look at the “New York Best Seller” list, there are usually two or three titles in the top ten that started off as self-published books.” Two or three out of ten isn’t too shabby for an industry previously dominated and controlled by the traditional publishing market.

These facts have shown that traditional publishing companies aren’t always as in tune with reader’s tastes and preferences as they thought they were. “There have been several areas of self-publishing that the industry was quite confident that nobody wanted books on, and actually they’ve been proven wrong,” says Baverstock.

This is not to say that all self-published books will do well. White cautions that there are a lot of self-publishing books that will sell less than 1,000, or less than 100 copies of their books. He also cautioned against simply one-click publishing something on Amazon that you haven’t seriously edited or put time and care into formatting. He has four pieces of advice for authors considering the self-publishing route, and they are as follows: “Hire a great story editor. Hire a great copy editor. Hire a talented book designer. Hire a great book publicist.”


spa-news

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.

Self-Publishing News: 5.1.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

Yesterday, in his article for the UK’s Express, author John Marrs dishes on what it took for him to survive all of those rejection letters–and still rise to the top, albeit through different means. Self-published means! Writes Marrs, “I assumed that with more than 20 years as a journalist behind me, writing for national magazines and newspapers, I might have had a slight advantage over other new writers on the hunt for an agent. How naive I was.” And how common an experience this is, for authors today. Becoming published, it seems, has less to do with skill and experience than with some nebulous formula for blockbuster success which the traditional Big Five publishing houses then fail to make good on in most cases. (We’ve talked about midlist authors here on the blog before, and how difficult it is to succeed in publishing even with a publishing house at your back.)

Luckily for Marrs (and everyone else), he found another way. He self-published through Amazon, and his book began to sell. The secret? Family. “I was fortunate that enough family and friends of friends bought The Wronged Sons for it to make an impact on Amazon’s charts,” writes Marrs. “Then, once visible, people I didn’t know began downloading it, too. Recommendations also came from members of online book clubs.” And he didn’t stop there–he released two more books, both of which became big sellers. He has since signed on with a traditional publishing house, but that, he says, is not the greatest reward he’s experienced as a result of self-publishing. Instead, it’s the fans: “One of my favourite things to have come from this ride is being able to interact with readers. They often tweet me to chat about characters or storylines they enjoyed and send me pictures on Instagram of my books in countries as far and wide as Canada, the Maldives and New Zealand,” he writes. If you’re a reader of self-published books, we hope you take a moment to tweet or comment on your favorite authors’ social media accounts today. It makes a big difference!

In this April 26th piece for the Entrepreneur, Samita Sarkar explains why running a kickstarter to launch your book is hard–and maybe not advisable. And in an age when launching a book is already hard, this may seem like a harsh judgement but in fact Sarkar’s thoughts are tempered by compassion and a great deal of wisdom. “Self-published authors know that you can spend months — or years — honing your writing craft,” she writes, “but as soon as your book goes to print, you’re no longer just a writer; you’re also an entrepreneur. Your publishing imprint is your company, and your book is your product.” This is not a bad thing, but it can lead to some interesting consequences when Kickstarter is involved.

“Statistics from Kickstarter show that most of that platform’s campaigns fail,” writes Sarkar, “And that’s not good, because your Kickstarter page is never deleted. So, for years to come, anyone who Googles your name may stumble upon that failed campaign. Out of 349,504 total campaigns,Kickstarter reports, just 123,447 succeeded –a 35 percent success rate. Some 14 percent of projects finished without receiving a single pledge.” You will want to weigh this possible (or statistically probable) result against your need for money. But Sarkar also has some points on how to make Kickstarter work, and these points are worth paying attention to. Read the rest of her article to find out more!


spa-news

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.

Self-Publishing News: 4.24.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Many people think of writing as the first step to self-publishing, however, Trevor Crane flips this assumption on its head. Crane insists that “you must begin your pre-launch plans before you’ve written one single word.” A best-selling, self-published author himself, Trevor also owns a successful book marketing business “and the publishing companies Bestseller Big Business Publishing and the children’s imprint Super Kids Book Publishing.” Trevor’s daughter could be said to be one of his clients for the latter business, a stunning young girl who published five books in just three months!

Crane’s advice for authors considering the self-publishing route is to do a little reverse engineering and think about “the steps that precede the perceived onset” of actually writing the thing. Some useful tips Trevor provides for authors who want to ‘stay ahead of the pack’ are to first off, make clear what it is you want to promote and write. “Just like you can’t start building a house without a blueprint,” he says, “you can’t write a book until you know who you are writing for and what your marketing plan will look like.” He advises that authors try and step into the mind of the readers and ask yourself who your readers are and how you will advertise to them when your book is complete.

Secondly, Trevor recommends that you get on your social media soapbox and let the world know that you’re writing a book. This serves a dual purpose: one, it keeps you accountable and two, it gets the word out and builds anticipation for your audience. “One of Trevor’s clients sold 25 business sessions at a trade show before she had typed a single sentence”–now that’s effective marketing! She even ended up with a best-seller.

The counter-intuitive last piece of advice is to focus on the story, AFTER you’ve taken pieces of advice 1 and 2. He recommends researching the genre you plan to write in and see what works best, what is most popular and successful. Once you’ve gotten a feel for what works and what doesn’t, what makes top-sellers and what flops, try and craft a formula that will make your story a success. There’s a way in which you can repurpose popular works in a certain genre “in your own fashion, in your own words and with your unique take on your subject,” he says, “Your book should be readable, flow well, and adhere to creative guidelines: vary sentence lengths and set scenes, as an example.”

In his publishing and book marketing businesses, Trevor encounters a lot of authors who don’t like their books because they didn’t take the time to plan ahead before they dove straight into the writing process. Don’t make that mistake. Plan ahead, and plan for success!


spa-news

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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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.

Self-Publishing News: 4.17.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

This week we’re going to take a look at self-publishing news from around the world!

In this article, garner some tips from six independent writers were able to make it big in the self-publishing world.

First up, Tracy Bloom, author of No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, a book which sold over 500,000 ebooks since it’s release in 2013. Tracy wrote this book in 2007, and after not being able to find a single UK publishing company that would pick up her work, she decided to self publish nearly six years later. Her piece ended up being a grand slam, overtaking Dan Brown on the top Kindle UK charts. “Her first three books have since been physically published but her digital sales lead the way (with 250,000 digital copies of her debut novel sold compared to 29,000 in paperback).”

Advice from Tracy? “Think commercial.” She says that the key to her self-publishing success was her ability to study the ways in which people navigate Amazon’s website and get them to stop and look at her work specifically.

Next up: Mel Sheratt, author of Taunting the Dead, which sold over one million ebook copies. That’s right, one million. Mel spent 12 years getting rejected by publishing company after publishing company because of her ‘cross-genre’ writing style which mixes women’s fiction, crime and thriller. “At the end of 2011 she self-released her debut Taunting the Dead which reached No 3 in the Kindle UK fiction chart, topped the police procedurals category and has been downloaded 200,000 times. Mel has written 12 more ebooks – six of which she has published herself.”

Mel’s advice to other self-publishing authors is also based on marketing; she recommends creating a yearly marketing schedule that includes offering your book at different prices throughout the year, that way you can promote your book whenever you’d like.

Janet MacLeod Trotter sold a whopping 800,000 copies of her ebook, The Vanishing of Ruth, a piece of historical fiction she self-published in 2011 after being dropped by her traditional publisher in 2010. Her book rose to number one in the Waterstones crime and romance categories the year she published it. “After the success of her first ebook, she self-published her backlist and now has 22 books to her name. The Tea Planter’s Daughter was one of the top ten bestsellers of 2012 for a self-published author.”

Janet’s advice for self-publishing authors is to constantly revamp their book covers, recommending that you “give your books a new look every so often.” After all, a lot of people will be judging your book by its cover. 😉

Rachael Lucas was able to sell over 150,000 ebook copies of her debut young adult novel, The State of Grace Sometimes Means Fitting in and Standing Out. This was a book Rachel wrote in three months “as a challenge” to herself to “see what might happen.” What happened was that she quickly rose to Amazon’s best seller’s chart.

Rachel’s advice to first-time self-publishing authors is: “Set yourself a writing target,” she says, “‘Signing up to NaNoWriMo – [National Novel Writing Month] a worldwide challenge where anyone is encouraged to write a novel in a month – gave me a time-frame and daily word target, and made starting a book much less daunting. Having written 50,000 words in 30 days, it didn’t seem too much of a challenge to finish writing my first novel.’”


spa-news

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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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.

Self-Publishing News: 4.10.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

This week we’re going to take a look at self-publishing news from around the world!

This article focuses on the self-publishing journey of Grew Fowler whose work, Jam Sandwiches, tells a touching story of an abandoned boy with Down Syndrome “and the lives he touches as he navigates his way through life.” After receiving rejection letter after rejection letter, Jam Sandwiches was originally something that Fowler published online through Amazon’s CreateSpace– this is an easy process where you fill out a questionnaire, talk with a design consultant, and then a few weeks later your books arrive on your doorstep. After growing up reading a lot of Stephen King, Fowler found comfort in the fact that King had wallpapered his writing room with rejection letters and decided to press ahead, carving his own path.

Lucky for Fowler, his book was eventually caught the eye of a leading publishing company in the UK and will be “formally launched this year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August – one of the world’s leading arts festivals,” after being translated into other languages.

Because self-publishing is still a fairly unheard of concept in New Zealand, Fowler acts as a sort of a pioneer, and perhaps an outlier as far as self-publishing goes in the country. Being picked up by a publishing company has been humbling for the author, who “maintains he just got lucky.” The challenge of writing something that is widely liked by a reading audience and that also catches the eye of a publishing house is grand. Most of us would be happy with just the former, and ecstatic with the latter. All we can do is put our work out there by whatever means we have available and see what happens.

In India, if a child said they wanted to be an author when they grew up just fifteen years ago, that would’ve most likely been a statement to be met by chagrin by their parents. However, with the emergence of self-publishing companies in India such as Power Publishers, becoming an author has become a more acceptable career choice that is being taken more seriously today.

“Just fifteen years ago, a new writer with the aspiration to become an author, or start a career in writing would have found a solid wall before her,” says Pinaki Ghosh, founder of Power Publishers, “It was practically impossible for a new author to publish a book in India.” In 2010, however, everything changed when digital printing became an option in the country. While traditional publishing companies in India were previously only willing to pick up books they could sell 5,000+ copies of, digital printing meant that first time authors were able to get 50 or less of their books published, meaning less risk for the publishing companies and authors.

Digital printing has equalized the playing field for writers in India and opened the door for self-publishing as an avenue for talented writers to get their work exposed and see if they can get picked up by a publishing company or successfully market their book and build a fanbase of their own.


spa-news

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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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.

Self-Publishing News: 3.27.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Best-selling author, Dean Crawford, started writing adventure novels in his teens. However, he always thought that a career as a writer was a long shot for him, so he ended up working as a graphic designer, writing screenplays on the side.

Deciding to take a six month hiatus from writing to study the book market, Crawford decided he had an idea of how to write a bestseller. In 2005, Crawford mimicked the writing style of Dan Brown and was able to land himself a $350,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster. Needless to say, becoming a full-time writer after this was no longshot, but rather, a reality. All of the books in his three part series were best sellers which secured him a six-figure paycheck for his next two books. These books didn’t sell as well as his three part series, which led Crawford to his decision to reanalyse the book market once again.

In 2013, Crawford caught on to the growing popularity of digital publishing and founded his own publishing label, Fictum. To date, he has published 19 novels on that label. A frequenter on the Top #100 Paid on the Amazon.com list, Crawford has become a huge proponent of self-publishing.

He says, “For authors struggling under contracts with publishing houses, independent publishing is a real opportunity for them, not a second best alternative. They shouldn’t be afraid to dig out old manuscripts that their publishers or agents didn’t want, dust them off, edit them and self-publish on Amazon and other digital platforms. It’s their material, and the 70 per cent royalty rate offered by digital vendors dwarfs the 12.5 per cent of a typical publishing contract.”

Rather than waiting on advances from different publishing houses that may or may not take on his books, Crawford is now in a position where he has a loyal fan base and is able to move 20,000 copies of his books in a few short months without the aid of traditional publishers. He has removed the variable–whether or not a publisher will pick up his book–and found a formula for success that pays him far more handsomely.

“Since I made the move, I’ve seen more and more traditionally published authors forced back into day jobs because they can’t make ends meet,” says Crawford, “At the same time, I’ve seen more and more independent authors leaving their day jobs to go full time as writers and achieve their dream. They’re not household names, but they number in their hundreds and thousands across the world.” Luckily for his readers, Crawford didn’t allow himself to get forced back into day jobs, but asked himself how he could work with the market and have the market work for him. This kind of intuition and attention to the grand scheme of things is something we can all learn from as self-published writers who are also in charge of the marketing of our own books. Sometimes we need to step back and see what is made popular by demand and how we can adjust our writing and marketing schemes accordingly.


spa-news

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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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.