This week in the world of self-publishing:
As the editors of Publisher’s Weekly explain in the introduction to this December 11th compendium, they set out to celebrate “the best of the best: the self-published books that received starred reviews in 2015. And [they] check in with some of the authors of these titles, asking them for writing advice and self-publishing tips for aspiring writers.” Those they touch base with include science fiction authors Mary Fan (Artificial Absolutes) and D.L. Orton (Crossing in Time), fantasy authors Terry Irving (Day of the Dragonking) and Mike Duran (The Ghost Box), fiction authors Barbara Valantin (False Start) and Elizabeth Buhman (Lay Death at Her Door), and the graphic novelist duo Damian Wassel and Nathan Gooden (The Gifted)––to name just a few. It’s never a bad idea to check in on what’s new and what’s recommended in the world of self-publishing, so if you’re looking for a good place to start you might consider checking out the full list of PW recommendations at the link!
Speaking of what’s new and recommended, a December 10th article by Wilson Ring of the Associated Press made it to the WTOP (Washington’s Top News) website detailing the advent of a magical addition to the self-publishing canon––and luckily for us, it’s a book we introduced you to just four weeks ago, John and Jennifer Churchman’s The Sheepover. And now for an update! It would be lovely to think something along the lines of we spotted it first! but let’s face it, when your self-published book starts a bidding war between the Big Five and leads to a three-book deal, a little attention from us here at Self Publishing Advisor isn’t quite prescient but rather very thoroughly earned! Store owner Elizabeth Bluemle, who first took note of the Churchman’s book and is at least partially responsible for the book’s success after publishing an article to a Publishers Weekly blog, says: “This is the unicorn of self-published books because you never find the trifecta of beautiful production, a lovely story and authors who understand what it takes to create a wonderful book that kids love.” We beg to differ on one crucial word: “never.” (You, dear readers, are proof that Bluemle’s “trifecta” may be less uncommon than she thinks.) There may not be any unicorns on the Churchman farm, but one will certainly find quite a lot of talent and, according to Wilson Ring, some sequels in the works.
What Should Authors Expect to Earn?
Brooke Warner, in this December 9th article for HuffPost Books, is out to readjust our definition of “good sales.” Says Warner, who started She Writes Press, “I used to ask the authors what kinds of sales they expected from their first book–generally a debut novel or memoir. I heard one number come up pretty often: 10,000 copies. That seemed to be a benchmark authors deemed to be possible, perhaps attainable.” And while it’s attainable for some, Warner goes on to say, it’s not common and it’s not a healthy indicator for success––especially for the self-publishing author. She digs into the statistics put out by websites like Author Earnings (a Hugh Howie venture), and points out that it’s “self-evident” (emphasis mine) “that self-published authors would make more money (hand-over-fist more, actually) than traditionally published authors on ebooks because they take home 70% of their earnings whereas traditionally published authors take home 25%, minus their agent’s commission.” But Warner’s article takes a turn away from statistics in its second half and delves instead into a discussion of what success might look like if untethered from unrealistic expectations. It’s well worth reading in its own right, not least for Warner’s reiteration of the foundational marketing precept: the best way to sell books is “to publish often and well.” She explains her reasoning in depth, but don’t take my word for it––check out the full article here!
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.
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.