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.

Self-Publishing News: 3.20.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

“According to data gathering website Author Earnings, self-published novels now make up 42 per cent of the fiction book market, offered via distributors like Kindle, Kobo, and niche websites like Smashwords,” according to this CBC news article by Maryse Zeidler. 42% is a pretty significant chunk of the fiction book market, considering what a niche, almost frowned upon practice self publishing once was; it now almost seems…mainstream. Public libraries across Canada are even going so far as to promote collections of self-published authors!

Because of how prolific self-published books have become, the cost for the readers can be very small, allowing them to try out authors they’ve never heard of without very much risk. This is good for authors who are just starting out and need to slowly gather a fan base. Zeidler points out that this also allows for a vast array of genres like “science fiction, mysteries and thrillers, not to mention ultra-niche genres like steampunk or even dinosaur erotica.”

The stigma around self-publishing has not disappeared, as there are some poor quality things that do get published. However, there is a rising number of professional authors who are putting out high quality material and offsetting that stigma and sometimes even becoming best sellers!

This is an absolutely fabulous and entertaining article by James Altucher, a successful self-published author, in which he gives all the reasons he has decided to self publish.

First on his list? Speed. Althucher once challenged himself to write and publish a small novel…in a weekend. He successfully did so and published it on Amazon under a pseudonym almost simply because doing so would’ve been unthought of even just a few decades ago. Six months is the normal time frame James will take on one of his books, which is still unthought of if he were to go through a traditional publisher who would want outlines, drafts, etc over a span of most likely one to two years. “Another friend of mine publishes a book every two or three months. Another friend writes fantasy novels –maybe two or three a month,” he says, “He’s sold over two million copies of his books. All through self-publishing.”

Second on his list is control. Now that the best designers and editors have discovered that freelancing is more profitable, that’s what they do, and that means anyone who wants to publish a book can hire them. For James, the cost of hiring the best freelance writers is well beyond worth it, as he prizes his readers more than money and knows that a well designed book will sell infinitely more copies.

Another reason he gives is that you don’t need permission to write a book anymore. “You don’t need to be a good writer,” he says, “You don’t need to have a good story. You don’t need to have anything to say.” He finds a beauty in this. Writing has now become an artistic act available to any/everyone. Self-publishing being the great equalizer.

Money is an oft-cited reason by many successful published authors, but James cites some pretty staggering figures from his traditional published earnings -vs- his self-published earnings. The maximum figure he gave from traditional publishing was $100,000, and his current self-published novel has made him between $300 and $400,000.

I’d go on, but you should really read the list yourself. He’s curt, to the point, and a hoot to read. He’ll make you want to go out and hug a stranger or publish a book this weekend on Amazon.


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: 3.13.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

This incredible series by Bennett Voyles goes over how digitalization has changed “book consumption, book production and book marketing.” This part of the series focuses on the writer.

While Voyles is quick to admit that the top five publishing companies control 80% of all the book industry’s sales in the US, he quickly counters that staggering percentage with the fact that “The Big Five” only has a 23% share of the Amazon ebook market. Further, three of the top ten best selling books on Apple iBook this past February were written by self-published authors.

So what are the advantages to the digitization of the publishing industry for writers? Voyles suggests that the publishing process is now more streamlined. If you want to make edits to a book you’ve already created, you can quite literally do that with a few clicks of a button–better yet, if you do so through an Amazon e-book, those changes are instantly made to already purchased books. This means that the authors can immediately adapt to the reactions, reviews and input of their readers.

Think about it this way, if you’re worried about the response you might get from a book, you can almost give it a test run by publishing it first as an ebook, gain some feedback from readers all around the world and then adapt your manuscript to create something more reader friendly. Looking at digitization in this way, it seems as if the quality of books coming out in this age will be enhanced, contrary to the all too oft made argument the proliferation of ebooks/self-publishing would in general lower the overall quality of books today.

Voyle hammers this home when he points to successful self-published authors who end up landing deals with traditional publishing houses, meaning that the quality of self-publishing leaves room for cross-over. But he almost seems to suggest that this cross over to traditional publishing may not actually be that profitable for self-published authors who can make anywhere from 35-70% royalties over the 7% royalties they’d get in a big publishing house. Further, traditional publishing houses seem to be moving in the direction of outsourcing a lot of the copyediting, proofreading and production to freelance workers, workers that can just as easily be hired by self-publishing authors meaning that you now have access to the same quality of editors as traditional publishing companies anyhow.

Not only do self-published authors have a higher chance of getting a bigger paycheck than they would in a traditional publishing house, they are given the chance to publish first and foremost, which “raises the odds of success from nil to slim,” according to Voyle, who acknowledges that self-publishing is not a sure thing either. Self-published authors have to be a publishing company of their own; they have to find editors, deal with copyrighting, create an interior and cover design, be marketing savvy, etc. etc. Doing all that on top of creating a solid manuscript is obviously a bit overwhelming, which is why we at Outskirts Press offer services to help writers with those somewhat laborious tasks.


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: 2.27.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Milo Yiannopoulos, who just resigned from Breitbart News on Tuesday after some highly condemned comments about pedophilia, is currently in an interesting position as far as being an author goes. When a lucrative book deal falls through due to this level of bad press, celebrity figures of Yiannopoulos’ status find themselves in the same position of aspiring authors of lesser status; no publishing company will touch their book.

In this article, James Hibbard points to other celebrity figures who’ve been in a similar situation to Yiannopoulos, such as O.J. with his title If I Did it with a hypothetical confession of the double murder and Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho with its graphic and violent  content that angered too many people. Seeing as how the O.J. book was picked up and sold over 100,000 copies through a small publishing house, there is speculation that something similar could happen for Yiannopoulos. Jason Pinter, a publisher with Polis Books says, “I think it’s going to be a situation like with the O.J. book, where even if somebody publishes it, a lot of bookstores will refuse to carry it.” The logic follows, if bookstores won’t carry it, publishers probably won’t want to touch it, no matter how many copies he pre-sold, especially if those pre-sold copies were to his previous supporters who have since abandoned him do to his lewd comments.

So I guess the moral of this story is…even if you’re a celebrity with a huge social media and right wing media platform, you could still very easily end up in the shoes of those of us who can’t get a publishing company to touch our work. Silver linings: at least ours isn’t ignored or pushed aside because of infamy.

If you’re looking for a fantastic, in-depth and honest article about self-publishing children’s books, look no further than this piece by Ashley Eneriz. Eneriz begins with the priciest part of children’s books: the illustrations.

Eneriz gives a rough estimate for what a quality illustrator might cost, so you can know if you’re being high or low balled right off the bat, which I found useful because a lot of people don’t know what a reasonable price is for a book with a color cover and 20-40 color illustrations inside.

As far a time as something that was “spent” by Eneriz, she says that she spent about an hour a week for 15 weeks, which when you break it down like that, doesn’t sound too shabby for writing an entire book (albeit one for children)! Another time commitment she had to invest was in-person marketing at craft fairs and other special events, as she said that almost none of the 2,000 copies she sold the first year were online sales.

So, her final questions was, “is it worth it?”. While admitting that she barely broke even and that she makes more money in a month at work than she did in a year of selling her books, it was a dream come true for her, which was ultimately priceless. Sometimes, profit is not the goal, but following our passion is. If you think writing is a get-rich-quick scheme, sure, you may be disappointed, but hopefully you write for the love of it and not the love of money.


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: 2.20.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

In a fast-paced world, articles with bullet points (especially numbered ones) seem to rule as far as attention grabbers go. Consumers look and see a title like “8 tips for how to self-publish your novel” and think, ‘I’ll read the all of the emboldened points and skim the ones that interest me most, and then I can get back to my really interesting Facebook news feed.’

Ricardo Fayet, provides one such streamlined list for those thinking about taking the plunge into the self-publishing world. Fayet’s list is one worth going over because, while it is concise, it has some insightful tips that one might not consider off-hand.

  1. Know your audience
  2. Create a writing routine and be consistent with it
  3. Give your manuscript to readers and gather reactions before publishing
  4. “Know your budget and do your research”
  5. “Always hire a developmental editor”
  6. DO NOT design your own book cover
  7. “Don’t think of distribution as digital vs. print” — there’s a market for both!
  8. “Build your mailing list before you publish your book”

Within each of these tips, Fayet has pretty sound advice that is fleshed out succinctly, but with enough information to persuade you that he’s done his research. Click the link above and pluck what piece of writer wisdom you can from it!

For a more heart-warming piece, we’ll turn to the story of Dawn Reed, a woman who had the (quite achievable) dream of publishing a children’s book. Reed’s story had been rejected several times over, which would turn some dreamers into cynics or quitters. However, Reed had a more realistic (and optimistic) understanding of these rejections.

I think of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) who was rejected by over 20 publishers and Norman Bridwell, writer of the Clifford the Big Red Dog books, who was turned away by 15 publishing companies…and I keep going,” says Reed.

Rather than let the rejections stop her in her tracks, Reed simply chose another route–that of self-publishing. While working with a self-publishing company, a bizarre thing happened. Dawn received an email saying, “Hi. Your dream is over. Your book will never be published…” Reed was obviously crushed, but turned to things such as prayer as a way of coping with what seemed to be both terrible and impossible news.

Luckily, after probing and inquiring about the strange email, she received word “from the Vice President and Director of Production,” she said, “His email account had been hacked, and that’s why I received the harsh notice. I was so relieved!”

If you consider yourself a fellow dreamer, lover of writing and self-publishing, read this article to see how Dawn dealt with the possibility of her dreams being shattered time and time again, and how she turned out to still become a self–published author nonetheless. It’s an inspiring article that I’m sure many of us can empathize with.

 


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: 2.13.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

In this article, Jeremy Ryan Slate asks the question, “Why use a publisher at all?” in lieu of the question, “Why publish at all?” when confronted with the reality that only 1% of books published in 2016 ever made it to an actual bookshelf.

Slate uses the example of a book by Jared Kleinert called, “2 Billion Under 20” to really send his point home. Kleinert’s book–which focused on millennial entrepreneurs–did well initially. However, because the author went through a traditional publisher, when the book’s sales began to fizzle out he wasn’t able to use/repurpose the content of the book to generate sales because he had waived the right to do so with his publisher.

Thus came the impetus for Kleinert’s next book, “3 Billion Under 30,” which he decided to self-publish, for a handful of reasons, some of which are elaborated on in this article. First was networking–the stories he compiled to make the book came from over 75 entrepreneurs, all of whom used the book as a platform for their brand, in turn helping Kleinert establish his own brand. Secondly was the press component: when you self-publish you can promote the text on your blog, website or other social media platform by publishing excerpts–a liberty you do not get when going with a traditional publisher. Lastly, Kleinert–a true businessman–has come to realize that the free market has made it more profitable for editors and designers to freelance than it was for them to work for traditional publishing companies. Thus, the best of the best are accessible to self-publishing authors who are willing to pay to have professionally designed and edited books, of the same (if not better) quality provided by traditional publishing companies.

To read more insights from the entrepreneurially minded, read the full article by clicking the link above!

Maryann Breukelman’s first published novel is entitled, “The Secret Bookstore” and is described by the author as “a modern fable …a sort of a fairytale for adults.” Written under the pen name, Magnus Fox, Breukelman identifies with the main character, who embraced the fear of the unknown so as to find a path to self-discovery–much like the author feels she herself did by self-publishing this piece. Breukelman has written many manuscripts, but most remain hidden away or abandoned before she decided to explore writing in a new genre with “The Secret Bookstore.”

“The novel follows the journey of Fox, a disillusioned accountant who finds his life thrown into chaos at the appearance of a mysterious woman urging him to seek out a secret bookstore and ultimately his true purpose in life.

Fox is faced with the decision to leave his comfortable life behind and risk it all in the quest. The book follows that journey into the depths of a distant forest, chronicling Fox’s growing obsession as he faces a series of extraordinary events.”

This book can be read as an entertaining tale of adventure, or as a more philosophical plunge into the question of “why self-publish?” or what our purpose in life might be.


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: 2.6.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Because I love the juxtaposition of these two articles on Amazon in relation to self-publishing, I’m going to present them both and let the readers formulate their own opinion on this corporate conglomerate. First, we’ll start with an article by Doris Booth that analyzes the ways in which Amazon “vigorously promotes its 70% royalty plan over its 35% plan to compensate authors on the sale of their e-books.”

But, 70% is DOUBLE 35% you say. Diving deeper, however, Booth unveils how the promotion of the higher royalty package is actually misleading.

“Believe it or not, the writer earns more money on the 35% plan than on the 70% plan. Why? Because the 70% plan is based on the publisher’s net income and the 35% plan is based on the gross sales price of the book. A book priced at $9.99 based on 70% of the publisher’s net income earns you $3.15. The same book based on 35% of the gross sales price yields $3.50.” – Booth

With that in mind, and also considering the fact that amazon puts a ceiling of $9.99 for the price of the ebooks using the 70% plan, while authors using the 35% plan can pick the price at which they’d like to sell their work.

More interestingly, the 70% plan grants Amazon exclusive rights to your piece, meaning you cannot sell it on ANY other platform, even if that platform was simply your own website. You grant them this exclusivity and you receive nothing up front. That’s right, “the author who signs the exclusive deal has just given away his or her entire content for free to Amazon, at least initially,” says Booth.

Further, when/if you do get paid by Amazon, it will not be based on the sale of the individual copies of your book, but rather, on the number of pages read by those who purchased it. So if your book sold for $9.99, but the reader only got 15 pages in, “your royalties will be calculated upon how many pages of your book are read, divided by the number of other books read that month.” Booth continues on with a more staggering statistic; “In hard-to-find data, Digital Book World reported not long ago that Amazon Kindle’s monthly individual author payout equaled $1.38.” One dollar and thirty-eight cents per month, you couldn’t buy a can of Coca-Cola with that.

I would definitely encourage authors to do their research, perhaps beginning with the piece above by Booth, before deciding where to self-publish their work. If choosing Amazon, carefully read the plans and what they offer you as a client, and don’t be too easily persuaded by larger numbers that are hiding larger inadequacies as far as returns go.

One lucky author is going to receive £20,000 as the Kindle Storyteller Prize winner in 2017. “The prize is open to any author who publishes their book through Kindle Direct Publishing between February 20 and May 19 this year,” says Tristan Fane Saunders, “Entries from any genre are eligible – including fiction, non-fiction and collections of short stories – so long as they are more than 5,000 words and previously unpublished.” So, if after reading the previous article and you do decide to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon, you could end up with a pretty big paycheck.

The incentive to offer a prize like this? Saunders seems to allude to dwindling Kindle sales and a general decline in ebook sale, “having shrunk 2.4% over the previous year.”

Whatever your opinion on Amazon might be, it has provided a streamlined way for authors to directly publish their work online. Be it for better or worse, being able to get your story published is often half the battle, and Amazon turned that battle into a breeze.


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.