Self-Publishing News: 5.28.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

This week, Publishers Weekly contributor Matia Burnett profiles indie success story, Gurpreet Kaur Sidhu, who wrote her first book in the seventh grade (heavily inspired by Harry Potter, like many of us!) and who always found in writing a way of both retreating from and reframing her relationship to the off-the-page world. Writes Burnett, “As Sidhu came of age and pursued a career in business management—serving as assistant manager at a Fortune 500 company—she continued to find a haven from life’s stresses and disillusionments through writing creatively.” Burnett allows us a closer look at Sidhu’s latest book, a self-published title simply titled Storm. Her journey was, as with many indie and self-published authors, far from straightforward:

Sidhu set out to publish her novel traditionally. “In the very beginning, I was dead set on getting an agent and having my work published through a big publishing house,” she says. But she was pragmatic in her approach, weighing the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self-publishing. The latter won out.

“After getting rejected over 50 times, I decided that if I wanted the world to read my work, I wasn’t going to wait around or be dead by the time they discovered Storm,” Sidhu says. She also recognized that she’d need some expert advice in order to effectively navigate the world of self-publishing and hired an editor and a publicist—a move that she strongly recommends for first-time authors.

In an age of plentiful gadgets and gizmos, finding useful expertise to navigate all of the options is indeed a move that we here at Self Publishing Advisor could get behind, as well. You can find out more about Sidhu’s book by following the link to the Publishers Weekly article, above.

(Hint: Step 6 is to self-publish.) Tarun Varshney writes a straightforward what-to (a necessary prequel to any how-to) in this week’s Entrepreneur that provides, if only as a final flourish, an endorsement of self-publishing for those authors struggling to find publishing homes for their manuscripts. Writes Varshney, there are definitely some structural and sentence-level work that can be done to render your work more appealing to traditional publishing houses, but there are also some manuscripts that are better suited—whether in content or form—for an indie approach.

Rejection doesn’t mean: your book is bad. There could be other reasons:

a. publisher doesn’t know how to sell your book and fears to invest money
b. publisher’s book publishing target for the year has been completed
c. a literary agent is fully occupied
d. a literary agent is not active at that time

So, do not think about the flaws in your work. Your work is in the best possible shape if you have followed steps properly. Go for print-on-demand model. So you can invest along the way based on the response from readers.

Varshney also reminds readers of Entrepreneur that ultimately, the polish and shine isn’t what brings a book financial success—it’s connecting with readers. And connecting with readers, as Varshney puts it, is “all about awareness about you and your book.” Boosting awareness requires as much time and energy as writing, but there are ways forward through the workload—as we have written about on this very website!


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: 5.21.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

This week, Forbes came through for self-publishing authors in a big way, with this article by ForbesWomen contributor MeiMei Fox bringing a bit of sunshine into our lives. Fox’s premise is fairly self-explanatory, given the article’s title, but her content is well worth a deep read or two. “These days,” Fox opens the article, “aspiring authors don’t have to rely on the miracle of finding a literary agent and securing a deal with a traditional publishing house. Self-publishing makes it easy to get your words out there – the tricky part is ensuring that your work gets read. That requires self-promotion.” She touches base with three bestselling self-published authors who happen to be women, all three of whom “have built highly successful careers […] while also being sure to create entire brands around their literary creations to generate income and further secure their fan base.” Those authors are Crystal Swain-Bates, an accomplished children’s book author dedicated to closing the diversity gap in publishing, Kristen Ashley, successful author to numerous romance novels that embrace body positivity and a richer perception of womanhood than is common in the genre, and Penny Reid, who first got into self-publishing because traditional publishers rejected her romance work as having “too many thoughts and used too many big words,” which says a lot about what publishers think women want and are capable of digesting. Each of the authors Fox covers provides some strategic advice to authors (of any gender) looking not only to get into self-publishing but to market their books successfully. Fox’s article closes with a list of eight suggestions on how to do just that.

While many self-publishing authors who are not male might bristle at this article title, this article provided by Prime Press to the Good Men Project opens with a statement of fact: “According to a study published by ResearchGate, men cover at least 72.62% of all the published books recorded since 2010. In the digital publishing world, nothing much will surprise you as well.” Publishing has been growing more diverse of late, of course, and self-publishing provides a democratizing influence over the process as it makes room for diverse authors, women authors, and voices from the margins—but it’s true, men are still in the lead when it comes to overall quantity of voices. As Prime Press puts it, “a whopping 31% of e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store are self-published books, with at least 51% of it written by male authors. This is not surprising since literature spent centuries being a male-dominated arena. There are more male authors receiving recognition, financial success, and hold positions in relevant associations.” But that percentage—51%—is a lot closer to parity than in traditional publishing! The article goes on to profile a number of male self-publishing authors, including Mitch Miller, Robert Gallent, Paul Halme, and Brad Gilmore, each of whom has had great success in self-publishing. Well worth a look!


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: 5.14.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

In this recent article for the Irish Examiner, contributor Margaret Jennings converses with Frank Kelly, a printer who provides services to self-publishing authors. Kelly, who often partners with older authors looking to publish for the first time after retirement, pushes back against the lingering threads of stigma still tied to the process, especially when it comes to older writers. Writes Jennings,

You don’t have to “have a creative bone in your body”, he says, to witness the joy of seeing your name in print. Memoirs, biographies, family histories, local historical society compilations, are also all very popular projects and demand the focussed [sic] application of collating information in a chronological order.

All this is very good for the ageing process, he says.“It’s great for our whole well-being and longevity: it exercises the brain; it gives you a purpose in life, and a sense of achievement. We should always have something to look forward to, that’s my own personal philosophy — it’s the simple things that keep you going in life.”

For positive brain-ageing, writing focuses the mind, but also encourages the self-discipline to sit down and write a few pages every evening, he argues: “Instead of sitting down and watching a box-set, like a couch potato, in the evening, do a chapter a day, or write four pages a day; make a commitment to do something.”

In addition to the benefits associated with writing, Jennings (and Kelly) also note that publishing, separately from writing, has its own advantages: publishing provides a legacy, while promoting a new book with a launch party gives the author a specific time and place to boost their connectedness within their own community. Sounds pretty good to us!

In this week’s issue of the University of Melbourne’s Pursuit, Dr. Beth Driscoll digs into the development of what she calls microgenres, or “ultra-specific tags and categories” which are affixed to various books as they are published in order to render them more easily findable by readers. According to Dr. Driscoll, while “Genre has never been a very stable concept […] that hasn’t stopped it shaping the book industry and driving readers’ choices,” and the rise of microgenres isn’t all bad. Writes Dr. Driscoll, “they have effects that are social, textual, and industrial. Genres prompt social gatherings like cosplay at conventions. Genres influence what happens on the pages of books”—and “In an industry where all publishing is to some extent digital, microgenres, categories and tags all feed algorithms and make titles discoverable.” This is good news for readers. But what about self-publishing authors? As someone who has gone through the process herself, Dr. Driscoll knows a bit. “It’s often authors, these days, who choose how to categorise their own books,” she writes; in order to explore just what the experience looks and feels like, Dr. Driscoll and her fellow researchers co-wrote a comic erotic thriller about self-publishing and then … self-published it. Under a pseudonym, of course. They picked their codes and microgenres and then released into the world. The project is ongoing, writes Dr. Driscoll, but some results are already in:

As author-publishers, we have found that ultra-specific tags and categories can feel limiting, like putting creative work into ever-tinier boxes. But they can also feel generative and exciting, as they suggest new pathways for a book to travel along.

What our self-publishing adventure highlights is that microgenres help books and readers find one another in a global, digital age. Microgenres feed the algorithms that can push books towards niche bestseller charts or reading communities, and then springboard them into wider readerships.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenging instability and adaptability of ‘genre’, it is an ever-more powerful tool to help books circulate.

As you write and publish your own works, it’s worth keeping the power (and pitfalls) of microgenres in mind.


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: 5.07.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

In keeping with its power to assist in democratizing literature, self-publishing has always provided a home for authors traditionally locked out of the traditional publishing process, including authors who are women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and people without access to great resources. This week, at least one of those groups is seeing themselves and their works reflected on the awards circuit: women took home all of awards for all six of the categories of the second annual ‘Pen to Publish’ contest, sponsored by Amazon India, that recognizes “and celebrates self-published digital literary works across several Indian languages,” according to this article in India’s Business Standard. Barriers to women in publishing exist internationally, and so it’s really quite nice (to put it mildly) to see six Indian women recognized for their skill and craft. Totally worth a look!

Did you know the American Booksellers Association runs online marketing meetups? Neither did we! Now that we do, we’re super excited to hear from BookWeb a little bit about their most recent meetup, the first in a series of tree focused on IngramSpark, Ingram’s print-on-demand and e-book distribution platform. Ingram is one of the major companies to keep in mind when attempting to sell your self-published books through retail locations, including both the biggies (like Barnes and Noble) and indie bookstores. Barnes and Noble, of course, has its own thing going on with the Nook platform, but indie booksellers—and libraries!—rely heavily on Ingram for their purchases, and some will only stock books if they’re available through that platform. Emily Behnke of BookWeb points out a number of the meetup’s highlights, and provides a summary of the IngramSpark offerings. Definitely worth checking out!

In further exciting news for gamers, as the headline from GBATemp makes clear, Platinum Games is breaking into the self-publishing market. As GBATemp‘s Krista Noren says, Platinum’s CEO “Inaba hopes to spend 2019 preparing Platinum Games for a future where all its games will be self-published.” That’s pretty cool! We’ll be watching as the self-publishing phenomenon continues to make inroads into the gaming sector.


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: 4.30.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

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

Remember how we recently mentioned the Library Writers Project from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon? It looks as though the entire state of Minnesota is now on board and doing something similar as they launch their Indie Author Project. The IAP. One significant difference from the collaborations we’ve highlighted earlier is that the IAP is competitive, with winners receiving both financial and promotional rewards for their involvement. (Multnomah County Library, for comparison, partnered with Ooligan Press to help move certain leading lights of their Library Writers Project into print.) They do share some core DNA, however, in that the IAP’s “Winning authors will reach hundreds, if not thousands, of new readers via Minnesota’s libraries, and can also leverage being an award-winning author for additional marketing opportunities.” The barriers to entry are low, with the only requirements being that submitted works be:

• Indie-published
• Written by a Minnesota resident
• In an adult fiction or young adult fiction genre
• Available in either PDF or ePUB format

If you are a Minnesota author and are interested, there is more information on submissions in the original article, which you can access by clicking the link, above, and following the instructions and links provided there.

If you’re a science fiction and fantasy fan, you’ve likely heard about some of the many award-related controversies taking place in the world of SFF literature. Recently, the Nebula Awards had their own controversy. The Nebula’s parent organization opened their awards to considering indie and self-published books for their awards in 2013 (which was actually rather ahead of the trend, we’d note; many literary and book awards still to this day do not allow indie and self-published works for consideration). The upside of this has been that their ballots have become ever more inclusive and diverse, a fact of which the Nebula organizers are proud of. They’ve gone on the record to encourage voters to vote according to each book’s individual merit, not outside agendas: “The work that stays with you, that moves you, that work that you love the most should earn your vote,” the article quotes. Unfortunately, the downside of opening up the eligibility is that new legions of participants and supporters are now being asked to learn what might be termed “award-season etiquette.” Unfair promotional campaigns, of which there are many kinds, can sway voters in ways that ignore the merit of individual works. A “slate vote” is one such campaign, and often entails someone putting together a list (or “slate”) of books for others to vote for without having read the works themselves. (And yes, often these slates are put together based on ideologies, not the works’ merits.) So what was this most recent controversy? A very well-intentioned influencer put together a recommended reading list of indie publications up for the 2018 Nebula Awards, and the Internet went a little nuts, with widely-varying opinions all being expressed very strongly. The influencer, one Jonathan Brazee, has since written an apologetic explanation for the reading list, which has made clear his good intentions—which were not to sway voters to vote on books they hadn’t read, but rather to boost awareness of the awards’ growing diversity in nominated works.

It’s good to know that even in this age of polarized online debate, people can still come to understand each other better. And we agree with both parties involved—with Brazee, that indie and self-published authors are totally worth celebrating as we exit awards season, and with the Nebula organizers, who are understandably concerned that new audiences may not be aware of some of the inherent pitfalls to award voting processes. Each award has its own rules and recommendations.


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: 4.23.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

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

In a powerful interview with Verne Harnish—author, entrepreneur, and founder of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) as well as founder of global education and coaching firm Scaling Up—Thrive Global‘s Sara Connell gets to the bottom of why the long arc of self-publishing’s ongoing evolution has become so connected, in recent years, to movers and shakers in the world of business and financial investments. A part of it, Harnish hints, comes down to control: With self-publishing, the rapid changes constantly happening in the world of business pose no challenge to the applicability and usefulness of his books on the subject. In the world of traditional publishing, by contrast, books on business and entrepreneurship and finances are often outdated even before they hit the shelves—these are socioeconomic areas where life comes at you fast—and where publishers hesitate to even pick up titles as a result. The byproduct of this lopsided relationship has been a couple of fields where experts lean heavily on blogs, which are easy to confuse with similar blogs by inexpert folk and people with no authority, and a lot of misinformation. With self-publishing, on the other hand, the wisdom of experts like Harnish can be distilled down into distributable, authoritative forms that can then be updated as the fields themselves evolve. Says Harnish: “We update Scaling Up every six months. I have control of it. No one else is controlling my destiny. I get to keep control of my IP completely. And I can use the book as a real strategic tool to both grow its readership and support my business.” That’s a strength if ever we heard one!

Ever wondered why the e-book ownership situation is so complicated? Michael Kozlowski of The Good E-Reader is here with some thoughts on the matter, and the relationship between self-publishing and e-books. The long and the short of it, Kozlowski indicates, is that “Retailers welcome self-published works because they have better [return on investment] and make more money whenever an indie book is sold.” In reality, we never truly purchase e-books … we license them. But why aren’t we transparent about that fact? Writes Kozlowski: “companies could probably educate consumers about this reality. But they don’t. Probably because no one wants to click a button that says ‘license now’ or ‘rent until rights transfer to a new publisher.’ Instead, they bury this information in Terms of Service agreement, which, it is well documented, not very many people read. But is this information unsavory? Need it be obscured?” Now that is indeed an important question to ask.

Recently, one of our blog staff had the opportunity to sit in on a lovely panel hosted by the Multnomah County Library system as well as Ooligan Press, their local university press, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (#AWP19) conference in Portland, Oregon. Their Library Writers Program is pushing the edge of the envelope in new and interesting ways when it comes to developing partnerships between indie and self-publishing authors and their local purveyors of story. The long and the short of it is, MCL figured out how to host local authors’ self-published works on their website and for access through standard library reading apps (think the library equivalents to the Kindle app); after these e-books had been evaluated and distributed, the MCL staff were able to gauge popularity and readership data, and approached Ooligan Press to see if they would be interested in turning some of those e-books into print form. And Ooligan said yes! As a teaching press affiliated with Portland State University, an Ooligan representative noted at the conference, they were able to be more nimble and take risks on indie authors for reasons of scale. The result of this partnership has been the pickup of author Katie Grindeland’s The Gifts We Keep, which is now for sale in print form as a result of the partnership. The story, as told both in the article we’ve linked here and at the panel in Portland, is just one more delightful proof of evidence that libraries, indie presses, and self-publishing authors may just be the making of each other, rather than competitors. We can’t wait to see what comes next in MCL’s Library Writers Project!


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: 4.16.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

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

Some of the best literature comes from places that the average American reader might not know about, and we write about these places frequently here on Self Publishing Advisor: India, Britain, and this week, Australia. In this week’s West Australian, Jackson Lavell-Lee writes to promote an upcoming event at Barefoot Books Busselton, which according to Lavell-Lee “will host a book self-publishing event on Sunday at 2pm in conjunction with independent publishing company Book Reality.” Lavell-Lee goes on to interview Book Reality’s director and a number of authors who have self-published through Book Reality, giving this article an especially personal touch.

In other fascinating self-publishing news for the week, UK bookselling juggernaut Waterstones is dealing with a landmark case after a petition featuring over 9000 signatures was delivered asking the bookstore to give its employees a living wage. How does this relate to self-publishing? According to the article from Books + Publishing, “Campaign organisers also planned to present Daunt with a self-published book called Working at Waterstones, which includes anonymous testimonies from staff about their experiences of living on a low wage.” It says a lot about at least specific value of self-publishing that is has provided a platform for necessary anonymous publications and therefore the voices of those whose jobs are on the line, whether or not their names are attached to this petition. If they don’t file a petition, their jobs may prove unsustainable in paying basic bills. If they do file a petition and get called out for it, they may be let go on any number of technicalities. Thank goodness for self-publishing, eh? Speaking truth to power is one of its strong suits.


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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