News From the Self-Publishing World: 10/12/15

This week in the world of self-publishing:

We’ve mentioned the self-publishing and English-language translation phenomenon by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, before.  Yes, it’s now a solid success in the traditional industry as well, since its purchase and republication by one of the Big Five publishing houses–but once a self-published book, always a self-published book.  Right?  Right.  (We will always toast our fellow indie writers’ successes, even when those successes move them into a new mode.)  Well, it probably comes as no surprise that the press surrounding Forssen Ehrlin’s book has only continued to grow rowdier and rowdier as critics celebrate the book’s careful craft and grounding in scientific research and the field of child psychology. This week, Leanne Italie of the HeraldNet writes that the author was “as surprised as anybody that the book snowballed so quickly soon after climbing the Amazon rankings in the UK in August, where the site made it one of its weekly deals and helped hook Ehrlin up with a publicist who helped him arrange interviews there.”  All this goes to show that the debate of whether Amazon is an author’s best friend or enemy still has quite a lot of ground to cover!

Sharon Short over at My Dayton Daily News had a chance to sit down with self-publishing sensation Chris Woodyard for an interview published on October 8th.  (You already know how wonderful a good interview is for a discouraged indie author or someone seeking entry into the world of self-publishing!)  Woodyard, who is widely known for her spirit-haunted works of hybrid fiction, speaks directly to the evolution of the self-publishing industry since she first began in 1991–when the internet itself remained a somewhat “new” thing for the average middle-class (and non-military) citizen.  Says Woodyard, “There definitely wasn’t as much available as there is today. I met a representative from a printing company who helped me find a local typesetter and I found a printer in Cincinnati who’d produce the books. I did everything a traditional print publisher would do — hiring the typesetter, visiting the print company to review proofs, setting up a basic business model.”  Today, she’s quick to point out, authors have a whole host of options to choose from.  “Now, writers who want to self-publish can have ‘print on demand’ copies created through various services — if five people want the book, five can be printed; 20 buyers, 20 copies, and so on. Or they can opt to skip printing all together and create ebooks,” Woodyard tells us.  “That wasn’t the case in 1991. After my first “Haunted Ohio” was printed, the minimum print run of books was delivered to my garage.”  And a minimum print run amounted to 10,000 copies!  Luckily, Woodyard has sold her books, and with a little help from the internet has even managed to find an audience for her Ohio-based ghost stories outside of her home state.  That’s an encouraging thought indeed!  Check out Short and Woodyard’s full conversation at the link.

Last Thursday, Business Insider contributor Rob Price published an article about the newly updated interface of the blog platform Medium, whose founder and CEO Ev Williams also happens to be one of the cofounders of Twitter.  According to Price, Williams announced last Wednesday “that the company is introducing ‘a slew of updates to bring Medium to the next level and in the process make it more powerful, more fun, and more democratic.'”  As with other blogging platforms, like Tumblr and LinkedIn Pulse, it may not immediately seem like a big deal for indie and self-publishing authors, but … it is:

As Williams points out, everyone from Bono to Melinda Gates to author John Green has posted to the site in the last few weeks. The company says more than 20,000 people publish on Medium each week.

Medium’s clean interface also makes it a favourite for brands and promotional blogs looking to get their message out: “Medium has become a dumping ground for a different generation’s press releases,” my colleague Biz Carson wrote last month. In addition to its self-publishing tools, it has a number of in-house publications — including tech vertical Backchannel.

For more information, check out Price’s full article–and if you give Medium a chance, check in with us here at Self Publishing Advisor from time to time.  We’re definitely intrigued!

It’s not just J.K. Rowling keeping our spirits up these days (although she certainly remains wonderful).  Cultured Vultures columnist Andrez Bergen writes that while publishing is “still something Ben-Hur might shy from” for a variety of reasons, “it’s too easy to be put off by the wall that seems to stand between an amateur scribe and his debut publication. If I have any advice at all worth its salt, it would be this: persevere, be downright stubborn, believe in your craft, and be prepared to kick on doors (nicely) rather than knock sheepishly.  And in a worse-case-scenario, set up a shell-company to (self) publish and keep the secret under wraps.”  Bergen’s only half joking, here.  There are so many existing options these days, with dozens or possibly even hundreds of indie and hybrid and self-publishing companies to choose from–but there’s always room for innovation.  So if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, don’t forget that you will always have a cheer squad in me and in us here at Self Publishing Advisor if you choose to invent something from scratch.  Such as a self-publishing company of your own!  You can count on us to follow your adventure from start to finish with great interest, because we care.  We care that you are represented the way you want to be, by people and a brand that puts you first and profits second.


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.

KellyABOUT 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.

News From the Self-Publishing World: 10/05/15

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Often, the highlight of my day is spent reading the stories of others who have come to be involved in the world of self-publishing, and the best interviews often feature someone who has worked in both traditional and self-publishing platforms, or has transitioned from the one to the other.  Why?  Because motives are important.  And that’s one of the reasons why I love this article by author Jordan Dane in an October 4th article for The Oklahomian.  When it comes to experience and expertise, Dane has got you covered; she can speak as an authority when it comes to the differences in creative control, price control, and cash flow between the two modes of publishing.  And that’s just the first page of her article!  She also goes on to address time management, book releases, subsidiary and foreign rights, and the real cost of production––along with many other enlightening comparisons.  Well worth a read!

The big news this week is that we have a new debutante on the self-publishing market: Pronoun.  In an October 4th article for TechCrunch, John Biggs writes that co-founder Josh Brody set out to create a platform that gathers together and combines all of the best features found separately in the self-publishing industry.  Biggs interviewed Brody, who made his name running the publishing statistics engine Booklr, and the result is a combination of press release and rallying cry.  Here’s just a small snippet:

“Pronoun is different because it’s the only platform that gives authors everything they need to create and publish their book, track its performance, and improve its online visibility over time,” said Brody. “Second, we’re the only platform that performs data analysis on the entire book market to help every author position their book for maximum visibility. Third, we bring together a network of professional service providers – editors, cover designers, and publicists – all of whom have been endorsed by authors and vetted by Pronoun. Finally, it’s all free.”

We like free.  But we also really like an exceptional platform, so we’ll be watching closely as Pronoun’s user base grows and the reviews come in.

Have you ever heard of San Diego Comic Con?  If you have, you already know it’s a temporary superhub for all sorts of magical things happening in the worlds of media and entertainment.  If you haven’t, just imagine throwing over a hundred thousand people together who love creating, consuming, and participating in these things––and the conversations that are sparked when industry professionals land in the midst of their most ardent fans, and the networking that follows.  Bleeding Cool contributor Shawn Perry chronicles, in an October 2nd article, an encounter he had with Mark Frankel of Wayward Raven Media, an indie publishing company that specializes in comics.  (I mentioned earlier that I like interviews, right?)  Perry’s piece is perhaps a good representation of how the magic of SDCC isn’t just reserved for supermassive industry giants like Marvel Comics and DC––it can be a happy home for those of us who like to think small, and remain in creative control.  That’s the best kind of news, I think!


BONUS ADDENDUM (as of 10/5/15 at 1:30 PM): In other Comic Con news, the New York Comic Con starts in 3 days, and one of the panels (on Saturday the 10th) is geared specifically toward indie and self-publishing authors and artists!  Here’s the blurb from the Hollywood Reporter website:

ComiXology Submit: The Future of Self-Publishing

Creators who’ve found success through self-publishing on the leading digital comic platform in North America talk about their experiences, and offer tips for newcomers on how to avoid mistakes they made.Room 1A18, 4pm-5pm

If you live in the New York area and have a chance to go, let us know what you think!


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.

KellyABOUT 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.

News From the Self-Publishing World: 9/21/15

This week in the world of self-publishing:

In a broadcast that ran on NPR on September 19th, journalist Lynn Neary talks with a variety of self-published authors and experts about where, exactly, the indie community stands in relation to the community of traditionally-published authors in respects to book sales.  And the figures she uncovers are, indeed, somewhat surprising––and yes, mostly in good ways.  Neary poses the question, “what happens to writers who never get anywhere near an awards ceremony?”  The answer: not much, but that doesn’t mean that authors who aren’t making it onto the Man Booker shortlist are worse off than those who are.  All authors struggle to break even and sell books, Neary reports, citing the Authors Guild survey we looked at last week.  And while the article may seem to strike a mostly sour note, Neary ends with the hope that while many authors must write for little to no profit at present, “maybe — just maybe — next time they’ll get paid.”  Here’s hoping, NPR!

You might know her as the author of the New York Times bestselling author of The Selection (and its sequels), but now you have the chance to know her as a spokesperson for self-publishing.  In a September 19th interview with Chryssa Celestino for Preen, Cass describes how she got her start in the sometimes murky waters of self-publishing, and how her roots in the community of readers she found there set her up for success today.  She walks readers through the process of self-publishing, and what it felt like both to publish and retain creative control over her work, a quality which is often cited by authors as a reason to pursue platforms apart from the traditional mode of publishing.  “It was a whole little community,” she says, “and at the same time, they sort of helped get the word out.”  And from someone who knows what it’s like to work in both the indie and traditional modes, those words ring with inhabited experience.

In her September 17th article for the Kentucky-based Lexington Herald news site LexGo, Candace Chaney introduces us to a development that might benefit everyone in the indie, hybrid, and self-publishing community––a festival for those who read and write and publish and otherwise love zines (or self-published digital magazines & fanzines).  A festival that is entirely given over to celebrating us.  Us!  And it’s about time; festivals and parties and awards ceremonies have long been lauding the accomplishments and successes (and failures, too, we must admit) of traditionally-published writers and the traditional publishing process as a whole.  It’s our time!  According to Chaney’s research, “Festival organizers say that in addition to nostalgia for the analog age, zines offer more personal connection and creative freedom than you can ever get on the Internet; they also continue to serve as a vehicle for alternative, radical, or marginalized communities to safely tell their stories without fear of censorship or retribution.”  In a word: awesome.  The festival took place on Saturday the 19th, but if you missed it, never fear: this was a third anniversary of the event, which will happen around the same time next year.  Take a look at Chaney’s article for more information!

The innovations just keep on coming!  On the 16th of September, Scott Green’s article for Crunchyroll (which self-advertises as “the leading global video service for Japanese Anime and Asian media”) chronicles some of the latest adventures of––and declarations of intent by––Stu Levy, founder of Tokyopop, a corporate superweight in the world of manga publication.  According to Green, Levy is “working on new digital comics initiative, POP Comics. This is a mobile app for iOS and Android that allows creators to upload and promote their original comics.”  This is good news for illustrators and digital artists especially, who are expected to retain “70-75% of the ad revenue, with 30% going to Tokyopop.”  Other, similar platforms are seeing a usership in the millions, so this percentage is not a meaningless one.  Check it out by hopping on by the beta launch at popcomics.com!


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.

KellyABOUT 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.

News From the Self-Publishing World: 9/14/15

This week in the world of self-publishing:

The Kindle Scout, one of Amazon’s publishing platforms, has long proven to be a handy option for United States-based indie or self-publishing authors looking to connect with new readers, and it has been shown to be just as handy for readers who use it as a discovery tool. As announced in an official September 9 press release, Kindle Scout is now available to readers and authors alike––around the world.  While the Scout will remain available to American authors, it will now be offered to authors in Europe, Canada, Australia, India, Brazil, and elsewhere as well.  These authors may submit their (novel-length, English-language, previously unpublished) manuscripts to be considered. The process is simple: readers read, then nominate which submissions should be published!

According to the press release, “Publishing contracts include 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, a 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.”  It remains unknown whether Amazon plans to widen its permissions to allow the submission of manuscripts written in languages other than English––but it would make sense as a future step, as Gina Hill (the Scout’s general manager) says that “Expanding [the Scout] platform to authors and readers outside the U.S. has been one of the most frequent requests we’ve received since we launched.”  In the meantime, we’re looking forward to seeing what English-speakers around the globe come up with!

The Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) will soon be holding their annual conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The event, which takes place on the 25th and 26th of this month, will cost about $170 for members and $195 for non-members to attend (though this second amount includes a year-long membership).  The IPNE’s conference planners have arranged for keynote presentations geared towards indie and self-publishing authors, featuring representatives from Publishers Weekly, the Independent Book Publisher’s Association (IBPA), Shelf Awareness, and Ingram Content Group.  For more information, check out this online notice.  And on that note, don’t forget that the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) will be hosting its annual conference in July of 2016.  It’s never too early to block out your schedule!

Well, there is always bound to be some bad news mixed up with the good.  In this Publishers Weekly article, Rachel Deahl reports on the Authors Guild’s latest findings, which essentially boil down to one potentially bitter conclusion: “the majority of authors would be living below the Federal Poverty Level if they relied solely on income from their writing.”  (Emphasis mine!)  Contributing factors include the exponential rise of piracy when it comes to digital books, shrinking or frozen royalties in the face of a mounting cost of living, and pressure to keep e-book prices low.  Mary Rasenberger, the Guild’s executive director, does point out a silver lining for indie and self-published authors, however: according to the report, 33% of respondents “reported having self-published at least one book.” Rasenberger says that authors “are starting to see self-publishing as an outlet for projects that haven’t been supported by traditional publishing houses”––which of course happens to make perfect sense to the self-publishing community, but it’s nice to see more mainstream news outlets and institutions catching on!

Good things are happening in Maine!  The Sun Journal put out a press release on behalf of the Auburn and Lewiston libraries, which are now taking a bold plunge into the world of indie and self-publishing: they have joined many other libraries around the United States (and elsewhere) in subscribing to SELF-e, a self-publishing option that doubles as a “discovery platform for local authors.”  The way SELF-e works is simple: authors upload a digital copy of their book to the SELF-e website, then are presented with the option to submit it to their local libraries for access via their digital services.  They may also submit to Library Journal for an additional level of review, during which LJ staff decide whether or not a book may be of greater national interest (and distribution).  Suzanne Sullivan, head of collection development at Auburn Public Library, writes that “This is a great opportunity for writers to build an audience and for readers to discover authors who may be just starting out.”  SELF-e does not pay writers, but submission is free, and it can prove useful in getting the word out that a new indie book has been published!  For a complete list of which states are accepting submissions, visit the SELF-e “Where” page, 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.

KellyABOUT 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.

News From the Self-Publishing World: 9/7/15

Happy Labor Day to our readers in the United States!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

What is that line from Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”?  The market being what it is for indie and self-published authors, the whole enterprise can often seem overwhelming.  But indie and self-published authors have always faced one seemingly insurmountable hurdle––one hurdle that is “more equal” than all the others––in the quest to sell their books: publicity.  Well, this year there’s good news at last!  In a September 4th article for LibraryJournal, James LaRue documents the ground-breaking efforts of librarian Jim Blanton to reshape libraries into a mutually-beneficial platform for self-published authors.

LaRue notes that libraries have often “turned a cold shoulder to local authors” in that “librarians didn’t return [authors’] phone calls, shied away from booking them in meeting rooms, and turned down their books for the ­collection.”  But Blanton knew that librarians––many of whom are self-published or are advocates for self-publishing themselves––could provide vital support to new or struggling authors.  And so, as the director of Daviess County Public Library (DCPL) in Owensboro, KY, Blanton partnered up with a neighboring library in Henderson to create ePublish or Bust.  This website allows indie and self-published authors to “book” appearances at local libraries (there are 24 in Kansas that participate, at present) and to access a variety of other resources.  While the website is currently in a beta stage as Blanton and others iron out the wrinkles with their system, it provides a glimpse of new possibilities as libraries and authors collectively look to prepare for a digitally-driven future.

In anticipation of the FutureBook conference in December 2015 (“the largest digital publishing conference in Europe,” according to its website), journalist and speaker Porter Anderson put out a call for “the FutureBook audience to reflect on five years of digital [publishing] … and to challenge the customs we have begun to adopt.”  The response, Anderson writes, has been “robust,” and the final deadline is today, September 7th.  Several manifestos are already published online at FutureBook, but we’re here to sing the praises of one specific contribution: that which has been put on the table by the founding director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), Orna Ross.  In “A Manifesto for Self-Publishing Authors,” Ross strikes both a defiant and compassionate note, all at once.  Not sure how this is possible?  Read the full manifesto.  It’s short and sweet and beautiful.

We tip our hats this week to self-published children’s book author and Swedish behavioral scientist, Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, whose phenomentally successful The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep was just acquired in a joint deal between Random House U.S. and Penguin Random House U.K.  In this article in Publisher’s Weekly, Rachel Deahl describes how Ehrlin went from selling 24 copies of his book one week in August to selling over 29,000 copies the following week.  And while it’s probably a sure thing that Random House will find new audiences for this delightful little book, there’s no shaking the fact that this book wouldn’t have gotten the attention of the traditional publishing houses if it hadn’t already been such a magnificent self-publishing success story.

Our last stop on the news train this week is this article on PRWeb.com, with the news that the Colorado-based hybrid self-publishing company Outskirts Press is hosting a noteworthy promotion for their “Diamond” and “Pearl” publishing packages.  The promotion, dubbed “Mad Money” by the company, allows customers to apply a promotional code at check-out and recoup some $300 in credit on their Outskirts Press accounts.  These packages cost about $999 and $1,199, so the $300 promotion represents an additional value of roughly one-third and one-quarter, respectively.  Nothing to sneeze at!

The company, described in the PRWeb release as the “fastest-growing full-service self-publishing and book marketing company” in the United States, typifies the possibilities offered by “hybrid” platforms––where authors pay to publish their book, instead of receiving an advance as they would from a traditional publisher, and receive the full benefit of professional editing, design, promotional, and marketing services while retaining full rights and creative control.


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.

KellyABOUT 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.