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.

icon logo self publishing advisor

In Your Corner: Fall Abundance (Part I)

Here in North America, it’s now well and truly Fall. Depending on how far north of the equator you live, your weather may or may not have turned yet––it has a bit, here, just enough that you can smell it in the rain––but the reality is incontestable.

fall book reading autumn

This being Fall, and this being a self-publishing blog, you might justifiably wonder if we’re going to talk about why you should publish your next book this season. And yes, there are plenty of good reasons to do so; book sales are at their annual highest between September and December. I recently read that indie booksellers move 50% of their books over this period, in part because of holiday sales boosts and in part because of the book awards season timetable, which makes this a fruitful time of year to release a book and generate buzz. I could also point to those holiday sales as a reason unto themselves––self-publishing authors can really benefit from having a “hook” like a significant holiday or an anniversary to hang their book release on.

But that’s not all that I want to talk about today. In the weeks to come, yes, I’ll be writing frequently to highlight the various things one might do to boost sales around each upcoming holiday. But today? Today I want to talk about the Fall abundance, and focus on the writing of a book for a moment, not just the sales.

Fall is quite literally the season of abundance. Or not, depending on how your garden did this year. It’s the time of year when we feel most reflective, looking back at the long arc of a year of hard work. If you’re like me, that means you end up with a grab-bag of mixed feelings: pride (I did that!), anxiety (what will happen next?), grief (that didn’t go well), and hope (maybe I can do better in the years to come). In a way, then, Fall is the most abundant of seasons in respect to what it makes us feel, not just what it brings forth from the earth or unearths in our lives.

Author and speaker Wayne Dyer had a lot to say about abundance, but one of my favorite things he ever said was this:

wayne dyer abundance quote

As I begin shifting gears in blog posts to come and address ways to tackle the holidays, I’d like to start with this notion of “tuning in” to abundance. There’s certainly plenty of hard work and elbow grease required to make a success of self-publishing, but an abundant experience in self-publishing comes from the same place as abundance in all other things: your heart, your life, and your relationship to the world. All the lists of tips and tricks in the world can’t substitute for the simple truth that the best way to succeed is to understand what it is you want and need out of the experience, and to celebrate your unique relationship to the publishing process––and yes, by way of publishing, the world.

Watch this space in the weeks to come for those lists and tips and tricks, but tonight? Spend a minute with your abundant feelings. Think a little bit about what you want. The harvest is due any minute, and this is the moment to catch your breath.

3d rendering of cup of coffee on wooden windowsill with leaves in front of colorful forest

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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.

icon logo self publishing advisor

Self-Published Book Review: Sally and the Singing Whale

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

sally and the singing whale berinna hansen

BHBAfinalist72

Sally and the Singing Whale

by Betinna Hansen

ISBN: 9781478786412

 

Synopsis*:

“Whales are monsters,” Papa warns Sally. “They will eat you up!” This is the beginning of the story, a beautiful adventure that is sure to charm both children and parents. Sally is always in a good mood and sure to come out on top, but when she sneaks onto her father’s ship, something unexpected happens –Sally is thrown overboard and swallowed by a whale! This heartwarming book is as exciting as it is layered. It is about a little girl’s love for her father, her growing independence, and the beauty of the natural world. But it also touches on the fear of the unknown –a fear that, Sally learns, has nothing to do with reality. PRAISE: Author Betinna Hansen was accepted to the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature, where Sally and the Singing Whale was described as “Magical” and likened to the classic children’s story Pinocchio and the biblical story of Jonah. “Sally and the Singing Whale is a book that you will want to read and re-read for its depth and timelessness.” –Denise Dowling Mortensen; Children’s book author of Bug Patrol and Good Night Engines/Wake Up Engines.

“Betinna Hansen is a gifted storyteller whose words create beautiful pictures in my head!” –Peter Catalanotto; Author/Illustrator of Emily’s Art and Monkey & Robot. To learn more go to www.singingwhale.online

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Reviews

Sally and the Singing Whale is a children’s picture book written by Betinna Hansen and illustrated by Tata Bobokhidze. Sally wants to go to sea with her dad, who’s a fisherman, but he’s just not willing to let her come along with him. When she asks why, he tells her that whales are monsters with sharp teeth. Sally has had many exciting adventures and loves seeing new things, but she’s both scared and skeptical of her father’s description of the whales. Her dad wants her to stay safely at home in her little treehouse that’s perched in a sunny clearing among hills and mountains. But Sally has other ideas, and while she looks sleepy as he sings her their lullaby, she’s ready to adventure once again as soon as he leaves. Sally gets dressed and follows him to the harbor where his ship is waiting. She stows away in what seems a perfectly safe place, but suddenly finds herself in the belly of a very large whale.

Betinna Hansen’s children’s picture book, Sally and the Singing Whale, is a lush and lovely fantasy about a girl’s interaction with a whale. I loved the feeling I got when reading this tale, that it was set when men like Sally’s father went whaling in ships often much smaller than their targets, and admired how Hansen is able to interject a sensibility into the fishermen’s mindsets after Sally and her father’s lullaby is sung by a pod of whales. Tata Bobokhidze’s illustrations are a masterful blend of rich colors, striking watercolor washes and marvelous little touches that bring each of these panels to life. Each and every page is suitable for framing and would make a grand themed wall in a child’s room. I found myself pausing and getting lost in each frame as I read of Sally’s adventures. The details are wonderful — check out the little eyelashes on the whale, follow Sally’s path as she enters the whale’s baleen-fringed mouth and take a moment to find where Sally is hiding on the ship. There’s so much to enjoy about this book, both for children and those fortunate adults who happen upon this book when it’s story time. Sally and the Singing Whale is most highly recommended.

 

Book Trailer

 

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Self-Publishing News: 8.27.2019

august month

And now for the news!

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

While much of the title of this article is self-explanatory, we’re excited to see it out there in the world! Brooke Warner writes this week for Publishers Weekly that there is value in self-publishing, just as there is value in traditional publishing—and that value is dependent on the author’s individual needs. She continues:

Of course I understand any author’s desire to get published traditionally. After all, the seduction of going that route is strong. To be chosen, to have one’s work paid for, to have someone else shoulder the risk—these remain goals and dreams and ambitions that most authors continue to carry, even after they’ve independently published one or countless books.

But value and its cousin worth are sneaky little beasts. I have my ears well-tuned for the ways in which these words show up in conversation with women writers in particular. Value and worth are tricky because they’re words that connote money and finances, yet they encompass so much more than that. After all, it’s rarely the material things in life that top the list of things we most value or that make us feel most worthy.

And many authors aren’t willing or able to take the time or invest the energy necessary to make a success out of a self-published work; others simply overlook the possibility that self-publishing would offer equal or superior value for them in their specific circumstances. Notes Warner:

I champion every author who wants to pursue any kind of publishing opportunity, and I always wish them the best. What triggered me during our conversation was the notion that discovering whether or not the author’s book had value would be inherent in that experience. Authors must determine for themselves whether or not this is so before they shop their book to agents, editors, and publishers. […]

For debut authors, I advise them to be in it for the long haul and to celebrate the small victories, such as moments of connection with readers, a glowing review from a stranger, and the potential that these victories will have to propel the next book. When shopping to publishers, or deciding whether and how to publish at all, consider the qualities inherent in worthiness: the quality of being good enough and the quality of deserving attention or respect. The biggest win for authors, even bigger than an advance from a big house, is to be able to access those qualities and believe them to be true, regardless of the publishing outcome for their work.

We just … we have so much love for this article.

giphy (2)

This article from Arthi Nachiappan of the UK’s The Times comes at a timely moment for those of us who need a moment of encouragement in the midst of a heavy-headline month; Nachiappan opens with the success story of Nicola May, bestselling author of self-published romance works, and whose books have brought her considerable financial as well as statistic success in sales. While much of the article lives behind The Times’ paywall, enough is visible to know that Nachiappan’s article is an important tonic and redress for some recent public statements attacking or at least insinuating negative things about those authors who choose to self-publish instead of pursue a traditional publishing path.

In other good news out of the UK, The Sun‘s Jack Peat brings us this article about self-publishing phenom David Leadbeater, whose self-published work of archaeological fiction, The Relic Hungers, took home some pretty impressive accolades … as well as some seriously amazing sales figures. The article touches upon other nominees and winners for the Kindle Literary Awards, one of a number of high-profile and worthy book awards each year for which self-publishing authors can submit their work for consideration. Speaking of Publishers Weekly, the PW team has previously published a great starter list of awards for authors to look into, which you can find here at the link (see the bottom of the article for the full list). We’ll be keeping track of this year’s awards and keeping you informed of what to watch for!


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.

icon logo self publishing advisor

In Your Corner: The Back to School Crunch

Sometimes, the seasons seem to matter more than at other times. When it comes to Fall, it often seems to matter more if A) you are an Autumn aesthete who loves the holiday season as well as pumpkin spice lattes, among other things, or B) you are a parent, teacher, or otherwise have children in your life, as the Fall brings a sudden rift in schedules. And never fear! For those of you who are either (or both) aesthetes or follow the school-year calendar, I will be walking you through specific marketing strategies relating to each holiday and Fall moment that can benefit your book. After all, that’s my specialty. (And I also love pumpkin spice, cozy nooks, roaring fires, quilts, cats, and all other aesthetically appealing things.)

For now, though, I want to take a moment just to recognize the turn in seasons, and to honor the fact that we’ve come this far. Well done, you. It’s no small thing, making it through summer, whether it’s busy or tediously boring; it never seems to be just … an average three months, does it? It’s always something else.

A lot of life happens in the summer.

back to school books student

Ahhh, that’s better. Now on to business!

Wouldn’t it have been oh-so-much easier to execute the perfect holiday book sales plan if you’d started just that little bit earlier in the year? Well, I’m here today with a reminder as you start to look down the barrel of yet another end-of-year holiday frenzy: it’s time now! If you want to put your holidays in order, you have to start thinking about your marketing plan today. Yes, in August. If not July!

So let’s make a plan!

First stop: Who’s your audience? You’ll be able to plan an effective strategy only if you know who your ideal readers are–or who their parents with the pocketbooks and credit cards are, in the case of children’s books–and where to reach them, either online and in terms of raising awareness about your book, or in person through events and a campaign that they can conveniently connect to.

Second stop: What’s your format? If your book is digital, then giveaways are a must. An absolute must! There are also some great freebies–free chapters, free peeks, etc–that you can do by integrating your material into your website, social media, and so on. Make sure you give your website a face-lift if you haven’t in a while–you want to be ready for the holidays, not just responding to them when they happen!

If your book is print, then yes–giveaways are still a must! But also book signings, book readings, and perhaps even workshops and teaching opportunities. The more ways–and the more creative ways–you can put your book into the hand of a potential buyer, the higher your chances of actually getting that buyer to pull out the pocketbook! Print books offer a great opportunity to distribute shiny merch like bookmarks, postcards, and so on to readers–even when your book may not be present or being sold! Think of the places people pick up their merch–banks, hotels, libraries, restaurant waiting areas–and partner with local businesses to see about featuring your book in these places.

Third stop: Get a move on! By the time those holidays roll around–whether Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas–it’s already too late to put together a comprehensive plan to reach new readers at that time. You really have to think ahead! Which is why we’re here. We’ve been there. If we’re honest with ourselves, we still are there. We know what it’s like–but here’s a guarantee: if you plan ahead, you will sell more books than if you don’t.

Sure, we can take it easy on ourselves, and feed ourselves the same line we did last year: “Oh, but there’s always next year.” And it’s true, for most of us. There will be more time to perfect our methods. But for this book, and this year, there isn’t a moment to waste–and it really would be a shame to push back our perfect holiday season another year simply because we let ourselves off of the hook today. Because for as many wonderful and eloquent “New Year’s Resolutions” posts we put up here on Self Publishing Advisor that we really do intend to keep, there’s always something that gets away from us. So we keep at it. Better todays mean better tomorrows mean a strategically stress-free Fall and Winter 2019!

But don’t worry, I’m not saying I’m anywhere near perfect. All we can ask is that we get a little bit better every go-around, right?

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Self-Publishing News: 8.20.2019

august month

And now for the news!

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

Once upon a time, way back when, we mentioned on this blog that Beatrix Potter self-published her most famous work, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (see our post here). This week the story is coming back around again thanks to this lovely piece on Mental Floss by contributor Garin Pirnia. Writes Pirnia, Potter wasn’t willing to compromise on her personal vision for her books, and:

On December 16, 1901, a 35-year-old Potter used her personal savings to privately print 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book turned out to be a hit—so much so that, within a year, Frederick Warne and Co. (one of the publishers that had originally rejected the book) signed on to get into the Peter Rabbit business. In October 1902, they published their own version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, complete with Potter’s illustrations, and by Christmastime it had sold 20,000 copies. It has since been translated into nearly 40 different languages and sold more than 45 million copies.

We’re so glad that Potter went ahead and stuck up for what she knew was the right format for her book, and of course we’re grateful that the success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit allowed her to pursue more publications in that series. Pirnia also points out that Potter’s doggedness in seeing her vision through transformed the way that picture books are written, illustrated, and sold—a win for everyone, ultimately, in the end. Three cheers for more stories about one of the self-publishing greats!

The Missassauga is bringing us some interesting news this week with this article from contributor Carola Vyhnak, covering the self-publishing story of author Jenn Bruer, who looked to Beatrix Potter (how fitting for this week’s run-down of news!) for inspiration when she was getting started. Writes Vyhnak, “As a stay-at-home spouse and foster parent, the Mississauga resident was afraid traditional publishers wouldn’t take her seriously.” Relateable, right? But she had plenty to add to the conversation, Vyhnak continues, “So she wrote a book to help others and, using post-Peter Rabbit, digital-age technology and $6,670 of her own money, self-published it last December.” After moderate success in selling the book, Bruer reflects that the best part of the process had nothing to do with making a profit—it was seeing her book’s positive impact on the larger conversation around mental health and wellness. “‘I just thought it was the right thing to do,’ she says of the 224-pager, written ‘from my heart. […] Burnout is rampant in our society,’ especially among those in the helping professions, explains Bruer, who found her own way to physical, mental and spiritual wellness.” This is an important lesson for all of us, but usefully, the article doesn’t stop there—it provides hard numbers, additional anecdotes from others involved in the self-publishing process, and in general helps pull back the veil of one of the lesser-known aspects of self-publishing: the speaking of one’s truth out into the world. We can all do with more positivity and truth!


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.

icon logo self publishing advisor