Self-Publishing News: 10.15.2019

hello October word abstrtact in wood type

And now for the news!

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

Bring tissues for this one! David Holmberg over at Forbes brings us this powerful story of Susan Padilla, daughter of an Alzheimer’s patient whose self-published book “Losing Everything: A Family’s Journey With Alzheimer’s” (published under the pseudonym S.P. Murray) hasn’t yet hit the stratosphere in sales–but has had an enormously positive impact on Padilla’s family. Writes Holmberg, “Padilla, a middle-aged human resources manager who works in New York, said the book has sold under 500 copies (mostly through Amazon) with no royalties yet, but her family is ‘very happy I put my feelings on paper.’ She paid her publisher $2500, plus $350 for advertising. For her, though, the benefit was personal, and therapeutic. ‘I kept myself from going crazy by writing this book,’ she said.” Holmberg, who covers retirement-related issues for Forbes, argues that profit shouldn’t be the only factor in consideration when thinking about whether to self-publish or not. “Padilla’s made a valuable contribution to Alzheimer’s literature,” he writes, and she wouldn’t have been able to do so given the traditional publishing industry’s reliance on blockbuster sales to break even. Going indie and self-publishing makes it possible for important books like Padilla’s to get out there and find their readers, even if they’re not selling as many copies as a, say, James Patterson novel. Books with niche audiences, like Padilla’s, are hungry for good books, too. Holmberg’s response to Padilla’s story is both touching and telling: “She’s the reason I say: if you have an instinct toward self-publishing, if it’s something you feel like trying in your retirement years, go ahead and do it. Study the stats, cast a cold eye on conflicting sales figures, but go ahead and do it.” You heard the man!

We never get tired here on Self Publishing Advisor of hearing all of the cool places where self-publishing is making inroads and bringing more exciting stories to light. Self-publishing has been shining a light on important stories all over the world recently, from India and China to Australia and Britain to Nigeria and now, Kenya! At this year’s Nairobi Book Fair, which celebrated its 22nd year in 2019. Mercy Muthoni, the director of CCL-K, which was behind one of the fair’s popular self-publishing programs, says that “[h]er advice to those with the ambition of becoming writers is that self-publishing and e-book world are not short-cuts to quick riches and fame. Excellence must be cultivated, and some of the programmes CLC-Kenya is pursuing can be both instructive and inspirational in the pursuit of excellence and cultivation of a healthy reading and writing culture in Kenya.” Other events at the Kenya Publishers’ Association-sponsored book fair included further discussions of the value and role of self-publishing in providing quality content that can do great work in representing Kenyan stories and culture to the world. We look forward to seeing what else is in store for self-publishing in Kenya!


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: 10.9.2019

hello October word abstrtact in wood type

And now for the news!

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

We don’t often see self-publishing referenced on Book Riot, one of the foremost book recommendation services out there on the Internet, but this week Enobong Essien really stepped up in this article on the pros, cons, and functions of a book coach. We’ve written about book coaches here on the blog before, but Essien brings a unique approach and voice to the subject. Writes Essien, “If you’re pursuing the self-publishing route, then a book coach could be the difference between a book that never makes it off the shelves to a breakaway Amazon bestseller.” ‘Book Coach’ is in itself an umbrella term of a title for a number of support positions to both traditional and self-published books, including our favorite, the publishing consultant. Essian goes on to answer the all-important question: Do *I* need a book coach? when she writes:

Self-publishing sounds like a great idea. You have full control over your vision, you don’t have to face piles of rejection letters (or more likely emails) and you can get your book out there in a matter of hours if you so wish but more likely months instead of the minimum year and a half of traditional publishing. But it can also be a very lonely road and at the end of it you’re going to want some sales to back up all your efforts, right?

A book coach is a shepherd that will guide you through the ins and outs of the whole process, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of your writing and keeping you on track. A good book coach will have some industry experience, even if it’s not necessarily in book coaching, and will therefore have the contacts to refer you to for book cover design, Kindle formatting, and marketing strategies. But, most importantly, they will ensure that what you put out there is a well thought out, well-written, quality book.

Concluding her article with some expert advice on how to become a book coach if being the helper rather than the helped seems more your speed, Essian’s article is an absolute must-read.

One group of authors who might make good use of a book coach or two is the academic community—or so we might assume from reading Rose Ernst’s article for The Good Men Project. While money, writes Ernst, “isn’t the reason academics should consider self-publishing, […] it’s a fantastic side benefit.” But there are more important reasons to consider going indie, Ernst notes, including the fact that academic presses really fail to reach the general audiences that a self-published work can. Self-publishing is also timely, with a much more rapid turnover from manuscript submission to distribution of the finished product, an important facet of the publishing experience for those writing in fast-moving fields where getting ahead of the curve is important to guiding the conversation. Ernst gives academics a template for getting started in publishing, with suggestions for those well-established in the academic sphere but looking to extend and widen their audience.


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: 10.1.2019

hello October word abstrtact in wood type

And now for the news!

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

Adam Rowe of Forbes is back with yet more excellent coverage of self-publishing-adjacent news, this time with an article on the evolution of ghostwriting. For those who aren’t already read in on what ghostwriting is, the Lexico definition of a ghost writer is:

ghostwriting definition

That’s it. And loads of recognizable names in the publishing world employ ghostwriters, if only because the demand for books under their name is so high (and ghostwriters are a common occurrence in other industries, including music). Robert Ludlum, James Patterson, and even Alexandre Dumas all used ghostwriters. Many authors don’t actually exist or have never existed, and publishers will hire rotating casts of ghostwriters to assume the one continuous name; examples of this second kind of ghostwriting include Carolyn Keene (of the Nancy Drew series), Franklin Dixon (of the Hardy Boys series), and a number of other famous junior fiction “authors.” There are ethical guidelines to ghostwriting, of course (we don’t want to open the door to identity theft or libel), but ghostwriting has also become a common occurrence in self-publishing. Rowe’s article touches on this relationship. Rowe quotes Dan Gerstein:

Second, the explosion of self-publishing options and the rise of disruptive platforms like Wattpad has largely decimated the barriers to entry for a class of authors who could never get published before. These folks look at the amazing success stories of Fifty Grey Shades of Grey and The Martian — both of them self-published — and they understandably say, ‘why not me?’

Why not, indeed? Check out Rowe’s full article for more on ghostwriting.

While less flashy in title than Rowe’s article, it’s worth reminding readers near and far that Publishers Weekly is in the habit of posting monthly lists of recommended self-published books that hit shelves in the month prior. Each article also includes instructions on how self-published authors can submit their own publications for inclusion. The list of September publications includes some 97 titles, ranging from children’s books to adult nonfiction and beyond. Well worth a glance if you’re looking for reading material, and well worth a glance if you’re looking to get your own name out there, too!


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: 9.24.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

While the whole notion of a “side”  hustle is up for debate when it comes to self-publishing (we’ve spent quite a lot of page-space talking about the work that’s necessary to make a real success out of it here on the blog), we find ourselves smiling while reading Abdullahi Muhammed’s suggestions on Forbes this last week. Muhammed himself writes that “you may need to experiment with different eBook niches, pricing and promotion strategies before you’ll start seeing tangible profits,” after all. It may be a bit of a surprise to find self-publishing ranked equal with housesitting, renting “stuff” out (such as your parking spot or car), and crafting an online course to showcase your specific skills, but as Muhammed reminds us, we live in a gig economy now. And that means … it’s a tough world out there, and diversifying your income sources is always a good plan.

“Libraries are changing,” writes NPR affiliate Mountain West News Bureau’s Rae Ellen Bichell, and one of the ways they’re changing is in the services they’re offering to their users. They’re also helping offset the problems sparked by what Bichell calls “news deserts”:

More than 170 counties across the country have no local newspaper, and half of all counties only have one — according to a recent report from the University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism. Other studies suggest these growing “news deserts” contribute to low voter turnout, increasing partisanship and even makes local government more expensive to taxpayers.

How do libraries play into this? At least in one town, the local library has helped support a group of local residents in starting their own news publication, one that has faced the usual challenges of a community-run endeavor: funding problems and volunteer scheduling. They hit on a solution that looks an awful lot like how many libraries secure steady funding: a special district. “And what are libraries […] if not nonpartisan, nonprofit sources of trusted information chock full of some of the nation’s best information ninjas?” One of Bichell’s interviewees “dreams of the library housing not just a staff of local journalists, but also tools for citizen journalists to cover their community, like a makerspace for news.”

How does self-publishing fit in? Bichell writes that:

In the most literal sense of content creation, a growing number of libraries host equipment for physically producing new material, like 3-D printers and machinery for self-publishing actual books. In a broader sense, Kerr adds, they’re already starting to share more characteristics with news organizations — like the libraries that have podcasting equipment and green screens available, or even the ones with plans to house a public TV channel in the same building.

The future is wild, but we can’t imagine a better future than one where libraries are looked to by all as centers for boosting information access and countering misinformation—whether we’re talking about traditionally published books, self-published books, sort-of-self-published news resources, or any number of other possibilities. We’re here for it.


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: 9.17.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

Justin O’Connell of Forbes brings us this fun article about the publication of viral sensation B is for Bitcoin, a picture book about cryptocurrency that’s as much for the adults who actually buy the books on behalf of their children as it is for the children themselves. This notion, that adults hold the purse-strings, was one that author Graeme Moore came to early on in the book’s formation:

“I was thinking, what would I want to read to [my niece]? I don’t want to talk about apples and boats and all of that kind of stuff. I want to talk about Bitcoin to my 2-year-old niece who is about to learn how to talk. And that’s how she’s going to learn the alphabet: A is for Altcoin, B is for Bitcoin, C is for Consensus, and D is for Decentralize.”

According to O’Connell, Moore is also an advocate for self-publishing. Writes O’Connell, “This new realm of self-publishing has made it so easy for anybody to create a book, Moore told me. So easy he says, ‘you don’t really realize how easy it is until you actually do it.'” Moore describes and O’Connell relates the process through which the book came into being, including the illustrations and upload for distribution. Moore also notes that “‘Having that excitement, realizing I could be a part of something very special, and then figuring out in what way I could contribute—this was the best way that I knew how.'” That speaks well of both him and the process, don’t you think?

This article, from Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, serves as a timely reminder of where self-publishing came from and where it is now, with columnist Susan Miles Gulbransen guiding Noozhawk readers through the facts. She also asks an important question: “Three experienced local authors have recently written good books but skipped finding traditional publishers. Why?” She then covers her interviews with self-publishing authors Barbara Greenleaf, Hendrika DeVries and Jeanine Kitchel, each of whom was drawn to self-publishing for different reasons and through unique pathways. Together, the three authors represent a rich range of genres, styles, and approaches, with Gulbransen’s article providing a coherent and useful entry point for those looking for anecdotal evidence that they’re doing the right thing or working in a field that will welcome them.


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: 9.10.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

This article from Keith Pearson of MinuteHack is exactly what we needed this morning: a useful list of reminders of how best to market our self-published book during the busiest season in publishing (September to December), when sales and therefore the competition is at its peak. Pearson’s recommendations, which include lots of bits and bobs related to editing, refining one’s attempts to reach a specific audience, and advertising on various digital platforms (BookBub, Amazon, and Facebook). One particularly useful insight is that these advertisements are themselves most effective once an author has released multiple books. Writes Pearson,

Experiences will differ for every author, but I didn’t generate enough income to consider writing full-time until I released my fourth novel. If you want to make a career out of writing, it’s highly unlikely you’ll do that with just one book to your name. Therefore, the most effective way to sell more books is to write more books.

As a bestselling self-published author himself, Pearson has both the experience and the platform to know exactly what he’s talking about.

Now here’s a fascinating piece on the rise of LJ Ross, the indie author whose self-published books recently surpassed JK Rowling as the most widely read author on Amazon. Put out by Deborah Arthurs of Metro.co.uk, the article covers both Ross’s backstory as well as her recommendations for aspiring authors, which include thoughts on finding inspiration as well as one’s story in a world full of noise and distractions, as well as recommendations to keep reading, take breaks, and trust one’s instincts. On self-publishing, Ross notes that:

I chose to self-publish my first book, rejecting a traditional publishing deal because I wanted to be in control and protect the originality of my work – while a traditional publisher would have the right to change almost anything about it. […] Now that traditional barriers have come down, you can give yourself permission to be creative and put your work out there, letting readers be the judge.

As with Pearson, Ross knows what she’s talking about. And not only is Arthurs’ article interesting to read, it’s also packed full of useful points for authors to make use of as they pursue publication.


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: 9.4.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

Despite this being a slow news day (in the book world, not the larger world—our thoughts are with those currently facing down Hurricane Dorian) this beautiful gem from Black Girl Nerds caught our eye. Written by self-publishing author Erika Latanya, the piece chronicles Latanya’s journey from self-publishing to traditional publishing and back again, a fascinating little insider’s glimpse into the reasoning behind these decisions. Writes Latanya,

So, I’ve been self-publishing books for a little over two years now. In between, I signed with two different publishers because I wanted more exposure for my work. Not only did I want more exposure but I also wanted to become a bestselling author. Aye, it’s every author’s or aspiring author’s dream. Being able to claim “bestselling author” is the equivalent of earning a verified badge on social media.

But things didn’t quite go according to plan. Latanya goes on:

I wrote my first book and I just knew I’d sell a ton of copies. Ummm — that did not happen. When I signed with two different publishing companies, I assumed they could get me that badge. Ummm — I still didn’t get a badge.

Despite Latanya’s unflagging optimism, elbow grease, and even the leg up that traditional publishing is supposedly supposed to provide those authors who pursue it, selling her books remained an uphill battle. And finally? She broke out of the rut by returning to self-publishing, this time putting her own name down for the publisher and mixing up the kinds of books she was writing. But the main difference, Latanya notes, between her first (not bestseller) book and her second (bestseller) book was something else entirely:

I asked myself, “What did I do differently this time around that I hadn’t done before?” The answer is: Promote. Promote, promote, and then promote. I ran ads, held a giveaway, and even gave some books away for free. Word of mouth helped a lot, too.

While many things about publishing and self-publishing are universal experiences, much also differs from person to person. We love to raise the profile of authors who have something to say for those who are looking to get into self-publishing themselves, and Latanya is certainly fully in control of her own narrative. It’s empowering—and enlightening—to read her story. Many thanks to Black Girl Nerds for hosting her story!

Our second article for the day comes from NewsUSA by way of The Brownsville Herald, and it touches on one of the reasons why more people than ever before are moving from reading to writing self-published books. As the article puts it, “some parents are seeing gaps in the available options of topics they want to share with their children. To combat this, there is a growing trend of parents who have taken matters into their own hands and turned to self-publishing to fill these holes themselves.” Because self-publishing is a safe and welcoming space for books targeting niche audiences or covering material that isn’t quite one-size-fits-all (the way that the United States public school system must necessarily attempt to be), these parents are looking to self-publishing as a place not just to find educational and entertaining books that do what no Big Five publishing house can do, they’re ready and willing to dive into the creation process themselves! While the article is very specifically pro-KDP, its principles apply to all self-publishing companies. The article closes, “These parents have been able to create the books they couldn’t find for kids and found financial success – and sometimes a whole new career – in the process.” And that’s an idea we can get behind.


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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