Self-Publishing News: 2.11.2020

February concept. stationery and notebook, business background

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

The big news of the year is, of course, the rise and fall of one specific title–the much-lauded American Dirt. This book first made headlines after a fierce bidding war propelled it to the top of the list of sought-after books by traditional publishing houses like Hachette and Penguin Random House before landing with Macmillan. Its sympathetic portrayal of cross-border migrants meant that it appealed to the kind of reader who utilizes social media and other platforms for social activism; it came as a surprise to many (but certainly not all) that the book would eventually become something of a hot potato, with Latinx authors, readers, and academics panning its use of stereotypes even while attempting to do good. In a situation that seems like the perfect and utter reverse of the publishing stories of such blockbuster hits as Becoming by Michelle Obama and Educated by Tara Westover, American Dirt has become representative of deeper structural problems pervasive in the self-publishing industry. In this thought-provoking article on Latino USA (a branch of NPR), Christine Larson of UC Boulder attempts to detangle just why traditional publishing has become so difficult to navigate. As you might expect, self-publishing features–although in a nice twist, Larson doesn’t demonize those who seek an alternate path to publishing but rather lays out the facts:

My research has found that romance writers doubled their median income from 2009 to 2014, largely due to self-publishing. Romance authors of color, in particular, found new outlets for books excluded by white publishers. Back in 2009, before self-publishing took off, the Book Industry Study Group identified just six categories of romance novels; by 2015, it tracked 33 categories, largely driven by self-publishing. New categories included African American, multicultural, interracial and LGBT.

By 2018, at least 1.6 million books across all genres had been self-published. Nonetheless, though choice is expanding, readership has stayed flat since 2011. With more books but no more readers, it’s harder than ever to get the attention of potential buyers.

But self-publishing is just one of many factors, writes Larson, in the tangled web of publishing troubles. And when it comes to amplifying the voices of marginalized peoples, social media has become a powerful tool by “offer[ing] a powerful outlet for marginalized voices to hold the publishing industry accountable.” Larson’s entire article is well worth a read.

In this Businesswire article reporting on the findings of a recent Technavio report, things are looking rosy for those of us in the self-publishing industry over the next four years (this will come as an encouragement to those who found the American Dirt story, above, deeply saddening). The report’s findings indicate that while “The emergence of smart devices, e-books, and online subscription models has transformed both the publishing landscape as well as the reading behavior of readers,” and even medical publishing companies have gotten on board, ebooks remain a primary driver in the directions both traditional publishing and self-publishing industries will go in the years to come. A sample of the report is available at the link, and it provides more detail and analysis of both the present and the future.


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.

 

Self-Publishing News: 2.4.2020

February concept. stationery and notebook, business background

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

Forbes has proven itself a useful platform in recent years for news regarding self-publishing breakout successes, challenges, and opportunities. This week, contributor Bryan Collins tackled the remarkable success story of Texas-based authors, business owners, and podcasters Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant–as well as their semi-anonymous third partner, who simply goes by the name Dave. Before implementing some big changes, Platt and Truant were “generating over $60,000 a month in royalties from their popular sci-fi seven-book series Invasion, for several months,” writes Collins, but when faced with the kinds of in-person events (such as interviews, convention appearances, book fairs, and so forth) that come with that level of success, they found the process to be “Diluting their focus [… and] they had less time to write genre-fiction books (science-fiction, thrillers, etc.).” Their royalties took a hit, and they took a long look at just what they wanted their legacy–their brand–to be. Together, they landed on crafting a business that resembles a story studio, in that it will employ a number of authors around the world to collaborate on diverse projects. Their vision to pour their personal profits into another way for indie and self-published authors to break out into the public eye is an inspiring one.

This recent article from Emma Shacklock on the Woman and Home website is everything you need to get started in self-publishing, from figuring out which company fits your project to sorting out the benefits of print and digital editions of your book after publication. She also touches on marketing and promotion, with advice on how to make the most of your social media presence and suggestions for maximizing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by way of going all in on metadata. She highlights the need for an attractive book cover design as well as a good, professional editor or proofreader depending on your book’s needs. Overall, Shacklock’s approach is the emotional as well as the practical starter kit we needed this week as a reminder of just what the essentials of self-publishing really are.


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.

 

Self-Publishing News: 1.28.2020

january

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

This week on the Tech Times website, Eric Hamilton gave an important recommendation for the website’s readership to take a longer look at self-publishing than many of them will have given before. This is important because the typical Tech Times reader will already have the sorts of aptitudes and interests to make self-publishing a book and promoting it on social media and through other digital outlets a success–but many of them will not have considered doing so for a variety of reasons. Hamilton appeals to the tech industry’s built-in activist leanings when he writes that “going the route of self-publishing will help someone level the playing field against traditional publishers. With self-publishing tools, authors will have access to the same industry best practices and standards that are used by traditional publishers.” Appealing to a sense of democratic justice can only resonate with generations of Tech Times readers who have come into their voices during the last few decades of increasing online engagement.

Adam Rowe, who has written about self-publishing before for Forbes, brings us another stellar piece this week in the form of an email exchange with self-publishing expert David Gaughran, who serves up his top five reasons for authors of all kinds to spend some quality time developing a robust email methodology as a part of their promotion. His reasons run the gamut from email’s particular suitability for “deepening engagement and retaining readers” to the fact that you own the content, not some social media platform that mines your material for commercial uses, to its unique ability to convert readers into book buyers. While many tout the advantages of social media promotion (including us, of course!), Gaughran writes that the motivational weight of a social media post differs from that of an email. “Through a repost,” he notes, followers “can align themselves with your brand without paying anything for the privilege. But on email, no one’s watching, which encourages genuine, monetary support.” In an age of social media supersaturation, it might just be that slowing down a moment and taking the time to develop an email list retains a certain unmitigated power.


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.

 

Self-Publishing News: 1.21.2020

january

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

As mentioned last week, awards season is now well and truly underway, with some of the biggest awards for authors of self-published works either beginning their consideration periods or announcing winners. In the latter category comes arguably the biggest news of this week, the PR Underground announcement of the 2019 Best Indie Book Award winners. While the linked PR Underground article provides a great summary, the complete list of winners can be found at https://bestindiebookaward.com/live.

This week’s article from Rafael Castillo (originally published by the Express-News service and boosted by MySanAntonio.com) is one of the best pep talks we’ve ever read, and it comes just in time to pump us up for the main bulk of 2020. (Can you believe January is almost over? Neither can we!) Writes Castillo, “The internet, Instagram, Facebook and cellphones are the new masters of the mass publishing market. And that, my dear friends, is a good thing. The democratization of poetry, publishing and getting the word out will become a fad making everyone a Walt Whitman or an Emily Dickinson. The decade of the MFA artist is slowly coming to an end.” In its place, the independent author is flexing his or her artistic muscles, adds Castillo, and many a hybrid author is carving out a niche–sometimes a well-paying niche, as is the case with visual and poetic artist Rupi Kaur. While there are far more authors out there pushing the envelope than ever before, hard work is seemingly still required to get a leg up on the competition. Still, Castillo’s article is the motivation we needed this week.


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.

 

Self-Publishing News: 1.14.2020

january

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

Awards season has officially begun, and not just for film and television–the publishing industry is in the thick of things with shortlists being announced left and right for the big ones: The Nobel Prize for Literature, the National Book Award, the Man Booker Prize, and many others. Self-publishing has a number of awards geared towards independent and self-published authors, with the Selfies being a great example. This week, Publishers Weekly announced the beginning of the awards process, with works under consideration, and the wheels grinding towards the announcement of a shortlist in May. The final winner will be announced in June. This is an especially exciting year for the Selfies, as 2020 marks the first year where an award will be offered for works published in the United States; up through 2019, the Selfies were a project specific to the United Kingdom only. For more about the Selfies, check out the original article (linked above).

This from Michael Kozlowski of The Good E-Reader: 73 libraries around the world passed the 1 million mark when it comes to ebook checkouts in 2019–which is to say, EACH of those 73 checked out AT LEAST 1 million ebooks. According to Kozlowski, “Half of all the libraries that joined the club had more than 2 million checkouts in 2019. Collectively, this group amassed a staggering 174 million checkouts.” That is exceptionally good news for authors of ebooks, including self-published authors; as demand and usage both increase, libraries become more willing to experiment with new ebook-lending and collection development strategies. We’ve already seen some incredibly exciting experiments taking place, including one at the Multnomah Public Library in Oregon, as we’ve reported before. Kozlowski’s article breaks down just which libraries are seeing the most 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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

 

Self-Publishing News: 1.7.2020

january

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

One of the most useful things to do early on in a new year is sit down with a calendar and plan out what to sign up for or prepare for and when. Publishers Weekly to the rescue! This article from last week lays the groundwork for the coming “big events” of the bookish world in 2020, from regional to national to international book fairs, festivals, and conferences–including several our blog contributors and fellow bookish folk shall be attending. The PW list has some quirks in organization, in that it is sectioned off by month, but within each month the individual events are organized alphabetically, not chronologically. (So be aware of that.) We were going to say something about how certain months look particularly busy, but in spending a little more time with the list, it’s fair to say that every month is packed full of potential opportunities.

It’s never too early to pick up some new marketing and communications tricks, and along comes Eric Fischgrund of Business 2 Community with a few ideas just as we’re unpacking the new yearly planner and our fresh pack of preferred pens. And Fischgrund? He gets us. Like, really gets us. And our busy schedules, and how easy it can be to distract us from our wonderful new goals with shiny cool new things or even just the complications of everyday life. Writes Fischgrund,

Marketing and communications programs often fall through the cracks, and ideas from December are cast aside by February when new corporate directives are pursued. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

He then goes on to list the four points indicated by the article title. Several are perhaps not specifically applicable to self-publishing, but points 2 and 3 are more or less exactly the enthusiastic reminder we needed to get started on our self-publishing 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.

 

Self-Publishing News: 12.31.2019

happy new year 2020

Goodbye, 2019! Happy New Year’s Eve.

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

This eye-opening article by Ron Charles in the Washington Post serves as a retrospective of the last decade in publishing, including insights into many encouraging trends as well as several ones that might serve as watchwords for the future. Charles covers the phoenix-from-the-ashes return of indie bookstores as well as the rise of audiobooks, graphic novels, and female authors. He also gives room to the politicization of both adult nonfiction AND children’s picture books–at the same time as a boom in the diversity of children’s book authors and characters, the popularization of erotic romance, and the surge in print-on-demand options and availability to readers and authors alike. The world of the gatekeepers (librarians and publishers among them) grew contentious, while television and film feasted on book adaptations for the big and small screens. Charles spends much more time on each of these points than our simple summary might imply, and we cannot recommend reading this article highly enough, as each and every one of those points has huge implications for self-publishing authors and their readers.

We are loving this article from Virtual Strategy Magazine‘s Allen Smith, which serves as a straightforward but delightful survey of all of the different steps one must go through before and after digging into self-publishing. The article is a relatively brief one, which makes it a good and quick browse for this holiday season.

Chandler Bolt contributed this excellent piece for Influencive, a website dedicated to “unconventional wisdom” and “influential minds.” He writes that “When we picture something as significant as writing and releasing a book, doubt starts to creep in. Our hardwired instinct to stay in our comfort zone and protect ourselves from failure is powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated.” But that protective instinct can often translate into a lack of confidence, and that lack of confidence can paralyze authors who are entirely deserving of being widely read. But there’s never been a better time to become an author, Bolt argues, in part because of the proliferation of possibilities and options and opportunities and services, including a number of self-publishing platforms that are easily available at the click of a button.


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.