Self-Publishing News: 1.22.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Not to start us off on a negative note or anything, but this article from the Wall Street Journal last week by contributor Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg hits hard and doesn’t let up. As we’re all probably pretty well aware by now, Amazon has made bookselling (print and digital) as well as distribution at large a cornerstone of its commercial success, and their farsighted planning a decade ago are paying major dividends now, in the late 2010s. Fascinatingly, Trachtenberg uses the story of Mark Sullivan (author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky, a huge hit from 2017–and published by Amazon rather than one of the Big Five traditional publishing houses) to navigate the company’s long story of evolution from small tech start-up to a major force to be reckoned with, in book sales as well as everything else–including customer data points, which the company harvests in bulk. A complex and nuanced take on publishing in the age of Amazon, we highly recommend taking a look at this article–which also appeared in the WSJ’s January 17 print edition under the title ‘Amazon Rewrites Publishing By Pushing Its Own Books.”

One of the keen advantages that self-publishing has over the traditional model is its speed of turnaround and the general rapidity of the process. David Sharp of the AP, syndicated in this week’s Idaho Statesman, covers the posthumous publication of Dead Poets Society of America founder Walter Skold’s poetry collection, The Mirror is Not Cracked. Skold, who passed away in January of 2018, took his children on some of his many road trips to visit the grave sites of more than 300 great poets, and amassed a body of his own poems as well–the basis for the book. His children then elected to publish those poems in print to honor his memory, and elected to self-publish so as to release the book on the anniversary of Skold’s passing. Writes Sharp, “He launched the Dead Poets Society in 2008 in Freeport, Maine, drawing inspiration for the name from the 1989 Robin Williams movie. […] While alive, Walter Skold hatched the idea of creating a new holiday, National Poets Remembrance Day, on the Sunday closest to Oct. 7, the date Edgar Allan Poe died. He viewed it as a day to celebrate all poets, including those who have died.” Now that he’s passed on, his children and those who also lived to celebrate the poets are able to commemorate his life and love of words through the self-published tome–and those who are hearing about him for the first time can take part in the society he helped to found.

If you’ve spent much time in the world of comics lately, you’ll know that there’s a new force to be reckoned with in the land of superheroes (and more): Kickstarter. This article, courtesy of Forbes contributor Rob Salkowitz, dives into the decline of direct comic distribution (think of Diamond) and the rise of Kickstarter-funded projects as an alternative to the big publishing houses, including Marvel and DC. “Comic projects got funded at a nearly 70% success rate,” writes Salkowitz, “indicating that creators are doing a better job than ever finding their audience and mobilizing fans to support crowdfunded work.” But it’s not all clear skies and easy sailing, Salkowitz notes: Kickstarter projects are underrepresented by traditional comic promotional avenues such as the touted Previews catalog so familiar to comic lovers. Writes Salkowitz, the publishing system “has always rested on the weakest points: hard-pressed creators who struggle to make ends meet during the long lead times to write, draw, package and distribute their work, and the uncoordinated network of small, local businesses that connect comics to customers. Both are resilient beyond all reasonable expectation, able to survive through market conditions that would kill most other kinds of businesses. But that resilience is not without limits, and if the trends of 2018 continue, those limits will surely be tested this year.” Keep that in mind as you pick out your next selection at the comic book store!


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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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Self-Publishing News: 1.15.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

The biggest news here at the start of 2019 would have to be the fact that authors are, overall, earning less money. Niall McCarthy of Forbes has put together a nice and succinct report-on-a-report for those looking to understand what this news means for authors–including self-publishing authors. “The drop,” writes McCarthy, “appears to be impacting nearly all categories of authorship and writers of literary fiction have been hardest hit, suffering a 43% fall in earnings since 2013. There was one exception and that was self-published authors who saw their book-related income almost double since 2013, though it remains 58% lower than for traditionally published authors.” So it’s not all bad news for self-publishing authors, for many of whom self-publishing is ancillary to their other income streams–but it does seem to be bad news for the traditional publishing industry, when all the implications are weighed. So what’s causing this drop in income over time? McCarthy (and those he interviewed for this article) place the blame firmly in Amazon’s corner. Writes McCarthy, “While Amazon can prove positive for some authors, particularly those seeking to self-publish, it forces publishers to accept narrower margins and those losses get passed onto authors through lower advances and royalties.”  McCarthy’s article is accompanied by the following infographic, and we highly recommend you read the full Forbes article–here.

publishing income author earnings

Interestingly, the Forbes article is confirmed and supported by today’s second article of note–one which comes from Publishers Weekly, and which provides more of the background information covered in Forbes. They tackle the Authors Guild survey (which purports to be the “largest survey of U.S. professional writers ever conducted,” for context). PW contributor Calvin Reid writes that it’s not all bad news, however, and he tackles the big question of “what next?” that so many authors will be asking after reading the Authors Guild report:

The report includes a number of proposals to counter the slide of authors earnings. Among them the report calls on Congress to allow authors to join together to bargain collectively with giant self-publishing platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook for better terms; calls on online resellers to pay royalties on the sales of new books; asks for better library funding to allow them to deliver a royalty to authors for lending books to the public; urges publishers to pay higher royalties on e-books and on deeply discounted books; and urges publishers to destroy all book returns to prevent these titles from reaching the secondary market.

So what can you do, as an author or reader of self-published and traditionally published works, do? You can voice your concerns directly to those who shape policy and procedure–the companies dominating the publishing and distribution fields, as well as the politicians who govern commerce overall–and push for the further democratization and empowerment of authors. It’s not all bad news for self-publishing authors, of course–our income levels have more than doubled in the last decade–but we’re still, as the report notes, falling some 58% short on average of traditionally published authors. So there’s still work to be done in raising the profile of self-publishing authors around the world, in addition to everything else. If you’re interested in championing the cause, we highly recommend you check out the full PW article at the link.




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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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Self-Publishing News: 1.8.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Another gem from Adam Rowe of Forbes, this article covers some of last year’s top news when it comes to publishing–both traditional and self-publishing trends. Rowe begins by writing that “Popular predictions include the continued rise of audiobooks, political non-fiction, books clubs and the niche subscription service model. But the past still has a lot to say.” What is it that the past has to share, specifically, here? Crime fiction is still on the ascendant, writes Rowe, and it looks as though nothing will be unseating the blockbuster greats of that genre anytime soon–and Rowe mentions that certain other genres, including science fiction, fantasy, and romance, are more popular in digital than print at present. Other revelations include the strength of children’s books as a market force, as well as food writing and popular science, particularly in the UK. This article as a whole is well worth a look, just to keep up with the latest in what’s happening in the publishing industry as a whole.

Every author has probably asked this question of the universe at some point, and here comes New York Times contributor Concepción de León to answer it. Writes de León, “Writing has never been a lucrative career choice, but a recent study by the Authors Guild, a professional organization for book writers, shows that it may not even be a livable one anymore.” But before you start slipping into despair, check out the full article, which covers the history of authorship and how income levels have shifted over the years. de León and the New York Times in general comes from a place of traditional print media, and they’re well aware of that fact. But they don’t completely neglect the self-publishing authors among us; the article relies on findings that “are the result of an expansive 2018 study of more than 5,000 published book authors, across genres and including both traditional and self-published writers,” writes de León. The real problem, de León writes, is a well-known name: Amazon. Amazon “charges commission and marketing fees to publishers that Ms. Rasenberger said essentially prevent their books from being buried on the site. Small and independent publishers, which have fewer resources and bargaining power, have been particularly hard hit.” So … does it pay to be a writer? It depends on your market, and your royalties, and your access to high-quality marketing strategies, de León intimates. Check out the full article for 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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 1.2.2019

2019

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

To start off 2019, our first article today is a retrospective of the happenings in 2018, a year Beniah Munengwa of NewsDay describes as something of a “mixed bag,” in that it contained both some good moments and some hardships for the publishing industry–including the self-publishing industry. What are those highlights and hardships? We recommend you read the article so that you don’t miss a thing, but when it comes to self-publishing specifically, Munengwa cites pricing difficulties, a drop in book fair attendance, and the persistence of stigma as some of the worst book news in 2018, with a burgeoning of dialectical forms, diversification of authors, and the high quality of new self-published content as some of the best. As a Zimbabwean paper that covers news from the diaspora, NewsDay‘s article serves as a good and powerful reminder that self-publishing is a growing global phenomenon–with the power to transform the world. Writes Munengwa, “Heading into 2019, new energy needs to be injected into the publishing industry such that it emerges rejuvenated and refreshed as before, in the process remoulding literature into manna that the yesteryears were reknowned for churning out.” We can’t help but agree.

2018 was a year that cemented Amazon’s grip on the self-publishing industry, among many other markets. Last week, Paris Martineau and Louise Matsakis of WIRED put together a profile of this company, always and forever known for its sheer dominance of consumer-driven sales in the early Internet Age. If you were looking to understand how Amazon’s famous (or infamous?) self-publishing branch fits into its larger mission and into its larger process of acquiring subsidiaries and developing new services, this is definitely the article for you–just scroll down to the “Books” section and dig in. (Although we’d like to note that the entire article, even the non-bookish parts, is fascinating.) Amazon’s reach is, the article indicates, so extensive that it might easily seem that the company has gotten into the life business (after all, it’s now offering healthcare)–and one has to wonder where self-publishing ranks on the company’s list of priorities. Is it better to do all things well, or to do one thing brilliantly? Only time will tell; the jury’s still out on Amazon.

In yet another fantastic article for Forbes, Adam Rowe provides us this week’s outtro with his predictions for 2019–namely, that is, that this will be the Year of Audio. Why’s that? Because all of the groundwork has been successfully laid, and the market has diversified. Writes Rowe, “Audiobooks have been a popular sector of the publishing industry for years now thanks to the ubiquity of the smartphone, but 2018 was the year that distribution channels caught up: Google, Walmart, and Instaread all started selling audiobooks within the last year, and Kobo wasn’t too far ahead of them.” He specifically makes note of the companies making room for self-publishing authors in the midst of this field of new possibilities, including Findaway Voices, a company “which ushers self-published authors’ audiobooks onto the Apple Books marketplace and its 45% royalties.” Rowe also notes that the synergy between podcasts and audiobooks is at an all-time high, with podcasts routinely being ported over or adapted for audiobook format. His final conclusions? Rowe argues that “The virtuous cycle of a growing audience and a growing field of content will undoubtedly continue in 2019. The only question is what interesting new directions publishers and authors will find for audio in the new year.” We hope you’re among those authors looking to experiment, and we hope you’ll share with us the products of your labors! And in the meanwhile, happy New Year!

2019 goals


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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Happy Holidays from Self Publishing Advisor!

happy holidays

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is somewhat light when it comes to news regarding publishing and self-publishing, in no small part because the two holidays which bookmark this particular week are among the most widely celebrated the world over. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a big-news week for us here at Self Publishing Advisor!

This holiday week, we wanted to thank you for helping to make our year and our blog such a success. With 2,175 unique posts in our backlist and over 158,500 unique views by you, our visitors, our blog is one of the most successful–and long-running–of all self-publishing blogs out there. We couldn’t have gotten here without you and your support, dear reader, and that makes this holiday season particularly bright as we look forward to a brand-new year full of unique updates on and insights into our wonderful industry.

thank you holiday christmas


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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 12.18.2018

December banner with fir branches.

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

“The other day at lunch, my friend — a writer and former journalist — raised a palm toward me to stop my monologue and said: ‘I don’t get it! Why would anyone self-publish a book?'” So opens the latest Press-Enterprise contribution from Marj Charlier, in which Charlier, a self-publishing expert who routinely hosts workshops and seminars on the subject, defends the choice to go indie. First she addresses the quality of self-published books: “The belief that all self-published books are poorly written, unedited and poorly designed is pervasive. And, yes, many of them are. Way too many. But some self-published books are great — as fine as those distributed by the big traditional New York publishers and better than some.” Then, she goes on to state that the reasons for going indie are as varied as the authors themselves, including, of course, the speed and responsiveness of self-publishing. Says Charlier, “One of the main reasons that authors self-publish good books is that they have too few years left in life or too little patience to go traditional.” Charlier goes on to describe the hurdles that face even authors who successfully make it through the traditional publishing path, and notes that with the proliferation of self-publishing the process has been democratized. With that proliferation, too, it can become difficult for readers to identify and locate the kind of reading material that they love best–and Charlier has tips and tricks for them to assist in doing exactly that.

If you’re looking for a creative application of self-publishing tools, you can’t look past this project by The King’s English, a beloved bookseller in Salt Lake City, Utah that has survived the rough waters of Amazon’s debut as a major market force in bookselling and is now, in putting together this anthology of community stories, celebrating the people who have kept its doors open and its shelves stocked. As Salt Lake City Weekly contributor Scott Renshaw records, store marketing manager Rob Eckman described the origins of the projects as being rooted in that community-consciousness: “As we approached our 40th birthday, we discussed different things we could do to involve the community, to really be able to celebrate that community aspect of what bookstores are. Finally, we decided to publish a book.” The book in question, which was published under their own imprint using self-publishing tools, invited submissions from the community of 500 words or fewer from both youths and adults. The result has been such a success that The King’s English has decided to make Turning Pages an annual tradition and series, so you can look for more from them in the coming years.

Speaking of creative applications of publishing, consider the work of editor Michalis Pichler, whose latest art book anthology sets out, in the words of Brooklyn Rail Art Books Editor Megan N. Liberty, to “celebrate and archive ten years of the Berlin-based art book fair Miss Read, asks two central questions: what is the function of art fair catalogues and what can they be?” The answers are many and varied, as Liberty describes:

Publishing Manifestos takes this challenge head on, including not just documentation about the past decade of fairs (which have included over 200 exhibitors and a day of programming called “Conceptual Poetics Day”), but also over forty essays and excerpts of texts related to self-publishing, publishing as performance, and other artist’s book practices, making it an invaluable anthology that charts the complex history or artistic bookmaking. As Pichler puts it, “Another way to deal with the habit of printing a catalogue is to produce a discursive publication.”

We’re glad Pichler did exactly that; Publishing Manifestos is not just an important book for those of us whose creative journey included a stop at the intersection of art and self-publishing, but it’s a beautiful publication to hold in the hand. Authors excerpted include everyone from Gertrude Stein to “more contemporary practitioners of experimental publishing, like Pichler, Paul Chan, Alessandro Ludovico, and Paul Soulellis.” Well worth a look, this project is available for pre-order and will be released in hardcover in March 2019.


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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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Self-Publishing News: 12.11.2018

December banner with fir branches.

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Forbes continues to keep us in rich and useful content this year with the latest contribution from Brandon Stapper of the Forbes Agency Council. Stapper, the “CEO of Nonstop Signs & Graphics, which has risen from humble beginnings to become a printing powerhouse” (according to the article) offers up three suggestions to those looking to break out into what he calls “thought leadership”–essentially, getting ahead of the curve in business through nuanced and effective brand management tied to future thinking of the highest order. Stapper’s first suggestion? Publish an ebook to boost your credibility in talking about industry-specific expertise.

Many readers will be most familiar with self-publishing as a vector for publishing fiction and memoir, but nonfiction books about specific niche industries are a rising star and market force. “Having a published e-book (even if you’ve published it yourself) signifies that you really know what you’re talking about,” writes Stapper. “Writing your thoughts on a particular aspect of your industry or a couple hundred pages on a how-to can easily establish you as an expert within your field. And people trust experts and are more inclined to follow them and even purchase their products.” It’s not a challenge to be undertaken lightly, he advises, but the potential benefits may just prove rewarding enough to make it a worthwhile venture.

In this week’s Post-Journal, Michael Zabrodsky breaks down the ins and outs of self-publishing versus taking the traditional publishing route in the “Write Now” podcast–an audio clip of which you can listen to at the link, where an extended written version is also available. If you’re at that tipping point where you’re still considering your options and you have a manuscript in hand, this episode of the “Write Now” podcast may just provide you with the information you need to make a decision. It’s worth noting that Zabrodsky, who self-published an ebook himself, makes note of but does not allow his personal decisions to influence the information he shares. This podcast makes for a straightforward look at what options are available, and the main questions you need to ask before moving forward. “It’s that easy,” he writes, but also: “It’s that hard.” He’s definitely onto something there!


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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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