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.


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: 12.11.2018

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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Self-Publishing News: 12.4.2018

December banner with fir branches.

And now for the news!

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

One of our favorite sources for international news regarding digital publications, The Bookseller has come through for self-publishing authors again this week. Contributor Emmanuel Nataf digs into the nitty-gritty of how to reconcile publishing with the nascent entrepreneurial start-up model popularized in recent years, and this article breaks down his findings into three critical tips. At the risk of spoiling what they are, we recommend you check out his full article at the link!

One of the great and ongoing overarching stories of self-publishing has been its emergence from the dawn of the Internet age and its evolution into a market force worth respecting–and yes, admiring–and yes, perhaps even pursuing if you’re an author. The word “stigma” is bandied around a lot, but the good news is that today’s self-publishing author has so much less of it to contend with than authors who chose to go indie in the 1990s. This article, courtesy of the Press-Enterprise contributor Marj Charlier, chronicles this emergence as well as the implications for current authors of its absence–or abolition, as the case may be. Authors today can build upon the shoulders of greats, of those who have gone before to pave the way and who worked tirelessly to improve the playing field and services offered. Charlier’s article is well worth a second reading, especially if you’re looking for suggestions in getting started searching for the right self-publishing home for your next book.

On that note, Entrepreneur‘s Chandan Sen Gupta has arrived on our radar this week with this fabulous list of tips and tricks for authors looking to set out on their self-publishing journeys. Writes Gupta, “There is no doubt that self-publishing has arrived and is here to stay, but setting one’s book up for sale is only half the job done. Marketing, to reach out to the readers, is equally important and with its success, an author’s battle is won.” To that end, he dives into ways in which you can take advantage of self-publishing tools as well as your skills in marketing your book to build a successful sales strategy.

Looking for a little bit more of the history behind self-publishing and its evolution? We return to one of our longstanding favorite pairings: Adam Rowe’s commentary and Forbes magazine. In this week’s valued addition to this delightful tech team-up, Rowe writes–like Charlier–on the legacy of self-publishing, its origins, and current trends within the digital self-publishing industry. Rowe investigates several case studies, including that of maven David Gaughran, whose work has long been respected as an exemplar of the form, and whose self-publishing guide Let’s Get Digital has now officially reached its third edition. Rowe investigates just what it is that Amazon has done to and for the industry, and the ever-evolving ways in which it treats its authors. Always a byline to watch, Rowe’s article provides useful insights into just where we might be headed as we prepare to exit 2018.


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: 11.26.2018

november

And now for the news!

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

Look, it’s always cool when self-publishing gets a good word in a high-powered magazine like Forbes, and this week our industry got not just one but two references. First we wanted to mention Kimberly Whitler’s excellent November 24th article, which delves into a number of practical ways in which authors of all stripes and origins and publication modes can capitalize on their skills in order to, as the title of the article indicates, boost reader awareness and engagement with their books. She interviews founder and CEO of Smith Publicity, Dan Smith, about his recommendations. According to Smith, his company deals with roughly 60% traditionally published authors and 40% self-published authors, giving him a range of experience and wisdom on both methods, much of which bleeds into this interview.

The second Forbes article we mentioned? It comes to us by way of Rachel Kramer Bussel, who corresponded with a number of different authors from different publishing backgrounds whose worlds were upended with their publishing house closed down. Many of these authors, Bussel emphasizes, are award-winners and high performers in sales, which is another way of saying “they didn’t deserve to be dropped!” Even the best and most accomplished authors, her article indicates, can find themselves in this situation–and when they do, they need to develop a new plan of action. The publishing house at the heart of this article, Midnight Ink, is of course playing down the impact of their closure (or their decision not to take on new projects after September 2019, as they put it), but authors are justifiably spooked. Where can they go, Bussel asks? Many are choosing to self-publish.

You can find out more about both Forbes articles by clicking the links, above.

Self-publishing is, of course, a global phenomenon–and it’s not one that’s slowing down. Writes Eduardo Simantob of SwissInfo.ch, “Switzerland has a long tradition in independent publishing”–and it’s a history that can be traced all the way back through the country’s long and storied social and religious and technological evolution. Says Simantob, “Today’s independent publishing market has very little to do with politics or religion. Rather, it is a niche increasingly explored by visual artists, with or without renown, as well as for designers who work this medium as an art form in its own right.” These artists are now reaching back across the ocean to show their skills at international publishing venues such as the LA Book Fair, and they’re proud to be leaders in the art of self-publishing beautifully designed books. They’re also building lasting connections and relationships with indie publishers and artists across the European continent. This article, beautifully written and fittingly accompanied by beautifully shot videos by Carlo Pisani that showcase many of Volumes’ beautifully made books, is well worth a visit for the history and the eye candy both.


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: 11.20.2018

november

And now for the news!

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

Don’t you just love finding nuanced conversations about self-publishing in the most unexpected of places? This week, we stumbled across this article by Heather Hansman of High Country News, and we just *had* to share! Hansman chronicles the lead-up to the third-annual Seattle Urban Book Expo, a grassroots event that has come to be a launchpad for authors of all walks and paths, including founder and self-published author Jeff Cheatham. As a Seattle-based author initially hoping to boost diversity and representation in children’s books (Seattle was, Hansman notes, “recently ranked as one of the 10 least racially diverse cities in America”), Cheatham saw a need … and set out to fill it, both with his own books and with the founding of the SUBE. Says Cheatham, “‘I’m all about creating a family reunion vibe […] When I first started, I felt like there was no one I could talk to, so I never want to deny anyone knowledge.'” For more on the expo and what to expect next from Cheatham, check out Hansman’s excellent article in full!

This article comes to us by way of Oon Yeoh of the New Straits Times, in which she tackles the evergreen subject of marketing after publication. Says Yeoh, a former editor at a local publishing company, “I had to deal with authors of all stripes. Each of them had their own quirks and personalities, as to be expected, but the one thing almost all of them had in common was their aversion to marketing their books. ‘Isn’t that the job of the publisher?’ would be the common refrain.” After laying out how even traditionally published authors have to dedicate time and energy to marketing if they want to succeed, Yeoh addresses self-publishing:

Self-publishing is a very realistic option. But once you go down that route, you’re becoming an entrepreneur whether you realise it or not. When you self-publish, you have to do everything yourself. You’ll have to arrange for the editing, design and layout to be professionally done; you’ll have to arrange for the printing and distribution to be done as well. Lastly, you have to market and promote your book to the general public. And, you have to fund all of these activities out of your own pocket. If your book sells well, you’ll reap the profits but if it sells poorly, you’ll be the one who suffers the losses. Just like in any other business.

This is realism, Yeoh writes, not a negative–it’s just the way things are, and as self-publishing authors themselves remind us regularly, it can be enjoyable when you feel empowered and engaged with your readers. Yeoh goes on to describe the “hard” and “soft” skills as well as the business skills writers of all publishing paths will need to refine in order to achieve success in marketing. A very worthy article!

  • How Self-Publishing Can Serve Your Mental Health

**Note: The article proper, in keeping with the brand of AnOther Magazine, contains some NSFW art photography. We are moving the link to the bottom of this article so that you don’t click it by mistake at work. Do not open at work!**

Here’s some good news we didn’t expect this week: according to Georgina Johnson on AnOther, World Mental Health Day 2018 provides the perfect starting point for conversations about agency, self-fulfillment, and self-publishing. Johnson, described as “a London-based multidisciplinary artist and designer, and the founder of art collective The Laundry,” first dabbled in self-publishing in the form of a 2017 zine project embracing and amplifying stories of black womanhood and diverse lives. The zine spoke with a voice that resonated, containing such powerful lines as “Freedom is a direct derivative of creativity; you could almost call them two peas in a pod. But how do you become free to create without the validity of louder or weightier voices? The answer for me laid upon the pages I braved producing.” The zine set out to show what mental health actually is or can look like–a nuanced take not often found in popular media. The article closes with this rousing endorsement for self-publishing, which made the zine and its conversation about mental health possible:

In a culture in which you can be made to feel small, as a woman, as a Black person, or someone on the fringes of society, self-publishing gives you power on your terms. It’s in no way easy, but when you create something honest, funny, critical, or something that just embodies you and the way you see, you open up yourself to others and allow folks to experience the world the way you do. In our climate of increasing intolerance, this is needed more than ever.

As mentioned above, the article and zine contain some NSFW art photography. You can read it [here].


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: 11.13.2018

november

And now for the news!

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

“Kevin Guest does not recall the date his family’s lumber mill in Columbia Falls burned to the ground. A trusted employee had sparked the blaze while welding,” opens this recent article from the Daily Inter-Lake‘s Duncan Adams. The article follows the self-publication of Kevin Guest’s new book, All the Right Reasons, and his subsequent appearance in October on The Dr. Oz show to promote the book. The book, which purports on its cover to teach the “12 Timeless Tips for Living a Life in Harmony,” chronicles the rest of that one particular story–among others–as an illustration of these principles. Says Guest, “My parents were devastated, but because kindness and forgiveness were two of my dad’s core values, I don’t remember ever hearing him say anything derogatory about that employee.” Afterward, writes Adams, “Francis Guest and a partner rebuilt the lumber mill and carried on. The employee who inadvertently started the fire still had a job.” Throughout the book, Guest draws upon a deep well of family experiences and principles. Although his roots are in Montana, he now lives in Utah, where he works for USANA–and is not hurting for money. Why did he choose to self-publish, Adams asks? “Not to make money,” he answers. “He said he is donating all proceeds from the book to help feed starving children.” For Guest, self-publishing is about crafting a legacy which will live on through the generations. Read more of Adams’ excellent article at the link!

Big news from the science fiction and fantasy community! Locus recently posted the news that Bowker, the industry number-cruncher, “has updated their self-publishing statistics with numbers from 2017 – the first year with more than one million self-published books carrying ISBNs. Bowker counted 1,009,188 ISBNs issued to self-published authors, a 28% increase over 2016.” The article goes on to note that while this number looks pretty high already, it may not even remotely touch the real figure, “as many ebook authors don’t bother with ISBNs at all since Amazon, the dominant ebook retailer, doesn’t require them.” Such enormous growth is not especially new to self-publishing; the indie corner of the market has seen steady (and sometimes exponential) growth since its origins in the early 1990s. (Although if you read this article from Jamie Fitzgerald of Poets & Writers from 2913, it’s pretty clear we’ve been self-publishing–sort of–since clay tablets and cuneiform were a thing.) There’s no sign that things are slowing down, either, or that reader demand for new material is lessening. It’s always a good time to get in on the ground floor of self-publishing!

There’s no one-size-fits-all path to follow when it comes to breaking into the self-publishing market, as military romance author Cristin Harber discovered. In a recent article for Zebra, contributor Kris Gilbertson tracks her progress from early days retreating from busy days working in grassroots politics to a crucial stage of exploring her options and pursuing workshops on craft and publication. Writes Gilbertson, Harber’s introduction to self-publishing came as an unexpected–but welcome–surprise: “In July 2013, at an Atlanta writing conference, Harber set up a meeting about a traditional contract situation, but she had time to fill. She went to a workshop where three prominent names in romance writing – Barbara Freethy, Bella Andre, and Lilliana Hart – were presenting about self-publishing. It was a new and not fully accepted concept then. Harber stepped in out of curiosity, with no intention of following up, but found herself enthralled.” And she did follow up on that workshop, mastering the skills necessary to format and publish her work, then building a fanbase through careful planning. Now a New York Times and USA Today Best Selling author, Harber “realized early on that more than an entrepreneur or small business owner, she was a whole publishing house: the researcher, the CEO, CMO, CIO. When her website was hacked last year, a Go Daddy tech asked to speak with her webmaster. She said hold on a moment, paused, then said ‘Hello!'” Packed with wisdom and riveting in its own right, Gilberton’s profile of this titan in the self-publishing field is well worth a read.


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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