Self-Publishing News: 1.29.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

We’ve been following the evolution of Wattpad for some time now, and the latest news is BIG: Wattpad, known far and wide as a host and home for free self-published digital stories, is now opening their very own publishing imprint for print books. This update, from Kidscreen contributor Alexandra Whyte, covers the basics. Writes Whyte:

The new division plans to leverage the company’s human editorial resources and its Story DNA machine learning technology to identify and publish stories that stand out from the  565 million-plus titles that are uploaded on its platform. Wattpad Books will also use audience data, along with global reading trends, to find international hits on the platform and some hidden gems to publish.

Its first YA six offerings will span fantasy, romance, mystery and more. Titles include: The QB Bad Boy & Me by Tay Marley (26.3 million reads), available on August 20; Trapeze by Leigh Ansell (2.5 million reads), on September 10; What Happened That Night by Deanna Cameron (one million reads), on September 17; Cupid’s Match by Lauren Palphreyman (46.4 million reads), on October 1; Saving Everest by Sky Chase (17.2 million reads), on October 8; and I’m a Gay Wizard by V.S. Santoni (400,000 reads), on October 29.

Much of our coverage on Wattpad here in the blog has been tied to Wattpad’s many successes, but it’s worth noting that many (if not most) of the stories uploaded to the site do not see blockbuster breakout success the way that the above have. Many of the most successful Wattpad stories seem to benefit from the same systems that underpin successes in other indie environments: authors who are engaged, social media savvy, and inventive marketers. We look forward to seeing how Wattpad’s latest venture goes! Also worth noting: The Verge also covered Wattpad’s big news, and you can read that article [here].

We can’t think of anything more quintessentially British than the boy who lived than, perhaps, the name Adam Croft. Croft, whose books are published exclusively online and distributed digitally, was “at one point […] earning an incredible £2,000 a day in royalties from his books, making him one of the world’s most successful independently published authors.” This comes to us by way of Express contributor Alice Pulham, who writes to argue that Croft’s example provides “an inspiring story for anyone who wants to be a writer but fears that the world of traditional publishing isn’t for them.” Pulham’s article covers Croft’s rise from obscurity over the last decade to become a force to be reckoned with in the wordsmithing community; he has now published upwards of 16 books, one of which (Her Last Tomorrow) sold “an amazing 150,000 copies in just five months.” Says Pulham, “Adam’s success shows just what can be achieved by authors with the drive and business sense to self publish, and is refreshingly direct about the book market. ‘Ultimately, the market will decide what books they want to buy, rather than publisher A or B.'” We couldn’t agree more, and we look forward to hearing more from this iconic British self-publishing author in the future.


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-Published Book Review: “My Nana Was a Free-Range Kid”

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:

My Nana Was a Free-Range Kid by NAncy Peek Youngdahl

My Nana Was a Free-Range Kid

by Nancy Peek Youngdahl

ISBN: 9781478704928

mom's choice award silver

Synopsis*:

My Nana was an Outrageously Mischievous kid. In the 1940s and ’50s, children were allowed to run free, play outside, and use their imaginations-without parents constantly hovering over them and fearing for their safety. In her own small town in North Carolina-with very little traffic, and neighbors who actually knew each other-Nana was no exception to the free-range kid phenomenon. But as an outrageously mischievous child that was left to her own devices, she sure got into some amazing and hilarious adventures. It was a glorious time to be a child! Both of Nana’s parents worked, so she and her brother were often unsupervised. They wreaked havoc most of the time, thus living an exciting childhood. Nana’s stories-told to her great-grandchildren-are all true. She relates how her family and neighbors survived in spite of her and is quick to let her great-grandchildren know what not to do. As she says, if she had lived as a child today, she’d probably be locked up in a juvenile home!

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Her Nana was a lot like me when I was young.  I climbed trees, hung out by the creek, rode my bicycle, played in the barn and did anything I could to keep from being bored.  No one worried about me.  Life was different then.

The author shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Nana climbed trees and hung from them mimicking the trapeze artists in the circus.  When she falls and knocks all the breath out of her, her brother helps her recover.

They also pretended her brother was a lion tamer and she was a lion, but the platform collapsed.

The worst thing they did was make a small fire and cook marshmallows. They thought they put the fire out, but it restarted and burnt the woods.  Never play with fire!

Nana has even more adventures you can read about.  Do you have a free range kid in your household?

– Reviewed by Jo Ann Hakola on The Book Faerie

Other Reviews

Non-Fiction recounts of the author’s free-range childhood in the 1940s & 50s, and the amazing and hilarious adventures initiated with my younger brother. The author lived an active childhood and wreaked havoc all around her neighborhood. The beautiful illustrations in my book could tell the stories without a printed word. This book is narrated by the author’s great-granddaughter who declares over and over her love for her grandparents and how important they are in her life. Her Nana’s yarns tie in many different lessons in what “not to do” and the themes throughout the book will surely hold imaginations long beyond the last page. Today’s child needs to know that family history is a very valuable commodity and should never be forgotten.

– reviewed on bookreviewbuzz

The events shared by “Nana” in this book will open opportunities for grandparents to relate stories about their own childhood.

– reviewed by Linda Ratcliff on Amazon

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

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Self-Publishing News: 1.22.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

Not to start us off on a negative note or anything, but this article from the Wall Street Journal last week by contributor Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg hits hard and doesn’t let up. As we’re all probably pretty well aware by now, Amazon has made bookselling (print and digital) as well as distribution at large a cornerstone of its commercial success, and their farsighted planning a decade ago are paying major dividends now, in the late 2010s. Fascinatingly, Trachtenberg uses the story of Mark Sullivan (author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky, a huge hit from 2017–and published by Amazon rather than one of the Big Five traditional publishing houses) to navigate the company’s long story of evolution from small tech start-up to a major force to be reckoned with, in book sales as well as everything else–including customer data points, which the company harvests in bulk. A complex and nuanced take on publishing in the age of Amazon, we highly recommend taking a look at this article–which also appeared in the WSJ’s January 17 print edition under the title ‘Amazon Rewrites Publishing By Pushing Its Own Books.”

One of the keen advantages that self-publishing has over the traditional model is its speed of turnaround and the general rapidity of the process. David Sharp of the AP, syndicated in this week’s Idaho Statesman, covers the posthumous publication of Dead Poets Society of America founder Walter Skold’s poetry collection, The Mirror is Not Cracked. Skold, who passed away in January of 2018, took his children on some of his many road trips to visit the grave sites of more than 300 great poets, and amassed a body of his own poems as well–the basis for the book. His children then elected to publish those poems in print to honor his memory, and elected to self-publish so as to release the book on the anniversary of Skold’s passing. Writes Sharp, “He launched the Dead Poets Society in 2008 in Freeport, Maine, drawing inspiration for the name from the 1989 Robin Williams movie. […] While alive, Walter Skold hatched the idea of creating a new holiday, National Poets Remembrance Day, on the Sunday closest to Oct. 7, the date Edgar Allan Poe died. He viewed it as a day to celebrate all poets, including those who have died.” Now that he’s passed on, his children and those who also lived to celebrate the poets are able to commemorate his life and love of words through the self-published tome–and those who are hearing about him for the first time can take part in the society he helped to found.

If you’ve spent much time in the world of comics lately, you’ll know that there’s a new force to be reckoned with in the land of superheroes (and more): Kickstarter. This article, courtesy of Forbes contributor Rob Salkowitz, dives into the decline of direct comic distribution (think of Diamond) and the rise of Kickstarter-funded projects as an alternative to the big publishing houses, including Marvel and DC. “Comic projects got funded at a nearly 70% success rate,” writes Salkowitz, “indicating that creators are doing a better job than ever finding their audience and mobilizing fans to support crowdfunded work.” But it’s not all clear skies and easy sailing, Salkowitz notes: Kickstarter projects are underrepresented by traditional comic promotional avenues such as the touted Previews catalog so familiar to comic lovers. Writes Salkowitz, the publishing system “has always rested on the weakest points: hard-pressed creators who struggle to make ends meet during the long lead times to write, draw, package and distribute their work, and the uncoordinated network of small, local businesses that connect comics to customers. Both are resilient beyond all reasonable expectation, able to survive through market conditions that would kill most other kinds of businesses. But that resilience is not without limits, and if the trends of 2018 continue, those limits will surely be tested this year.” Keep that in mind as you pick out your next selection at the comic book store!


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: 1.15.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

The biggest news here at the start of 2019 would have to be the fact that authors are, overall, earning less money. Niall McCarthy of Forbes has put together a nice and succinct report-on-a-report for those looking to understand what this news means for authors–including self-publishing authors. “The drop,” writes McCarthy, “appears to be impacting nearly all categories of authorship and writers of literary fiction have been hardest hit, suffering a 43% fall in earnings since 2013. There was one exception and that was self-published authors who saw their book-related income almost double since 2013, though it remains 58% lower than for traditionally published authors.” So it’s not all bad news for self-publishing authors, for many of whom self-publishing is ancillary to their other income streams–but it does seem to be bad news for the traditional publishing industry, when all the implications are weighed. So what’s causing this drop in income over time? McCarthy (and those he interviewed for this article) place the blame firmly in Amazon’s corner. Writes McCarthy, “While Amazon can prove positive for some authors, particularly those seeking to self-publish, it forces publishers to accept narrower margins and those losses get passed onto authors through lower advances and royalties.”  McCarthy’s article is accompanied by the following infographic, and we highly recommend you read the full Forbes article–here.

publishing income author earnings

Interestingly, the Forbes article is confirmed and supported by today’s second article of note–one which comes from Publishers Weekly, and which provides more of the background information covered in Forbes. They tackle the Authors Guild survey (which purports to be the “largest survey of U.S. professional writers ever conducted,” for context). PW contributor Calvin Reid writes that it’s not all bad news, however, and he tackles the big question of “what next?” that so many authors will be asking after reading the Authors Guild report:

The report includes a number of proposals to counter the slide of authors earnings. Among them the report calls on Congress to allow authors to join together to bargain collectively with giant self-publishing platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook for better terms; calls on online resellers to pay royalties on the sales of new books; asks for better library funding to allow them to deliver a royalty to authors for lending books to the public; urges publishers to pay higher royalties on e-books and on deeply discounted books; and urges publishers to destroy all book returns to prevent these titles from reaching the secondary market.

So what can you do, as an author or reader of self-published and traditionally published works, do? You can voice your concerns directly to those who shape policy and procedure–the companies dominating the publishing and distribution fields, as well as the politicians who govern commerce overall–and push for the further democratization and empowerment of authors. It’s not all bad news for self-publishing authors, of course–our income levels have more than doubled in the last decade–but we’re still, as the report notes, falling some 58% short on average of traditionally published authors. So there’s still work to be done in raising the profile of self-publishing authors around the world, in addition to everything else. If you’re interested in championing the cause, we highly recommend you check out the full PW article at the link.




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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2019: Time for a Fresh Start on Marketing

Oh, no, it’s time to review that dreaded list of New Year’s resolutions!  It’s not uncommon for these lists to be either too long or too ambitious for their makers to actually accomplish within twelve months, but that doesn’t seem to stop any of us from feeling the compulsive tug toward writing them–or from feeling miserable when we find ourselves running into a brick wall of complications.

writing goals

For those of us who are authors, many of us will end up making at least one of our resolutions that of writing and publishing a book in 2019.  But how might an author go from creating the goal of writing a book to actually getting it on paper and, finally, to publishing it?  If you’ve resolved upon a similar goal, here area couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Join a writer’s group.  

While there are certainly plenty of online options available to you, through internet forums and listservs and Facebook groups and the like, the best kind of feedback a writer can receive is the kind that is delivered in face-to-face conversation with people who have held your manuscript in their hands and feel some sort of personal stake in delivering detailed high-quality responses to the questions that you pose.  This is why, above all other things, I recommend you look to join a writer’s group in 2019.

But where to look?  I recommend stealing a page of or Lorena Knapp’s playbook over at the Write Life blog.  She recommends researching a variety of options before committing to any one writer’s group; you might start with local writing centers and then move on to conferences, bulletin boards, writing associations, your personal network, online networking sites like Meetup.com, and then as a last resort turn to social media and so on.  In my personal experience, conferences can be overwhelming (a case study in over-stimulation), bulletin boards are rarely up-to-date, and online networking sites lead to as many “misses” as “hits.”  I found out about my local writing association after attending an event at my local library, which often plays host to local authors–many of whom are self-published.  You can’t go wrong by asking a librarian!

  • Join a book club.

The library also happens to be a great place to begin your hunt for a local book club, since most libraries directly or indirectly sponsor these sorts of events, and can point you to the right people or resources to set up your own book club if there isn’t one already geared toward your interests.  You can also check online at the Reader’s Circle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting readers with each other, to see if there are otherwise off-the-grid book clubs meeting in your area.

But why should a writer join a book club?  The answer isn’t as simple or the dots as easy to connect as with writing circles and writer’s groups, where writing is the common theme.  But as Evan Maloney wrote for The Guardian back in 2010, reading and reading well is actually the most fundamental of skills for a writer to practice:

As well as a large vocabulary, novels give writers a sense of how it is done. They offer templates that can be borrowed and adapted; they teach a writer how to create narrative structures and characters, how to develop tension, write dialogue, and maintain a consistent tone and pitch. Novels also trigger memories from a reader’s personal experience, and these give writers ideas for their own stories.

Best of all, writes Maloney, “whenever writing gets too painful, when each word and idea seems to be dragged from the mind like the limb of an aborted camel, reading offers a writer a lovely escape into a fantasy world where stories are revealed with simple ease and order on the page.”  Sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.

  • Work with a ghostwriter, or if that’s not quite your speed, with an editor.

With a book club feeding you inspiration and a writer’s group providing you support and feedback as you write, the next best step is to find your voice.  If you’re struggling to find the time or cultivate the skills you think necessary to capturing your story, it may be time to look for a ghostwriter–someone who can sit down with you, hash out all of the relevant details, and then serve as architect and project manager for your book–all rolled into one.  We often associate ghostwriters with the traditional publishing model, since most of the ghostwritten books we see hit shelves are celebrity autobiographies–but you can be a self-publishing author and develop a healthy rapport with a ghostwriter, too!  Hybrid self-publishing companies like mine–Outskirts Press–often offer ghostwriting and editorial services as several of many tools to put in your toolbox.  The differences between ghostwriting and editing is significant–the former will take on a large part of the “generative” process, while the latter will help shape or reshape material you have already created–but the general impulse is the same: these services exist to help you get stuff done.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good edit!

  • Cultivate new and sustainable writing habits.

Here’s where things get a bit hazy.  Every author has individual writing habits developed over years of hard work and necessity, so what a “good writing day” looks like to you will most likely differ from everyone else you meet.  We can look to our heroes for inspiration, sure, but ultimately I find comparison a toxic, toxic beast.  The best way to succeed at adopting new and useful writing habits is to do so slowly and sustainably–by making incremental changes and sticking with them over the long term.

There’s a reason NaNoWriMo proves so difficult for authors to just “pick up” and do: it’s such an intense process that it requires writers to make enormous changes to their daily schedules just to fit it in.  A much better course might be to adopt more manageable alterations–boosting the time you spend writing every morning by five minutes a day for a week, perhaps, or by restricting your self-editing to only five minutes a day–and to evaluate their efficacy regularly, discarding the useless ones and keeping the useful ones.  As my grandmother used to say, “trim the fat!”  Keep the things that help you, and shed the weight of those which don’t.

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: 1.8.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

Another gem from Adam Rowe of Forbes, this article covers some of last year’s top news when it comes to publishing–both traditional and self-publishing trends. Rowe begins by writing that “Popular predictions include the continued rise of audiobooks, political non-fiction, books clubs and the niche subscription service model. But the past still has a lot to say.” What is it that the past has to share, specifically, here? Crime fiction is still on the ascendant, writes Rowe, and it looks as though nothing will be unseating the blockbuster greats of that genre anytime soon–and Rowe mentions that certain other genres, including science fiction, fantasy, and romance, are more popular in digital than print at present. Other revelations include the strength of children’s books as a market force, as well as food writing and popular science, particularly in the UK. This article as a whole is well worth a look, just to keep up with the latest in what’s happening in the publishing industry as a whole.

Every author has probably asked this question of the universe at some point, and here comes New York Times contributor Concepción de León to answer it. Writes de León, “Writing has never been a lucrative career choice, but a recent study by the Authors Guild, a professional organization for book writers, shows that it may not even be a livable one anymore.” But before you start slipping into despair, check out the full article, which covers the history of authorship and how income levels have shifted over the years. de León and the New York Times in general comes from a place of traditional print media, and they’re well aware of that fact. But they don’t completely neglect the self-publishing authors among us; the article relies on findings that “are the result of an expansive 2018 study of more than 5,000 published book authors, across genres and including both traditional and self-published writers,” writes de León. The real problem, de León writes, is a well-known name: Amazon. Amazon “charges commission and marketing fees to publishers that Ms. Rasenberger said essentially prevent their books from being buried on the site. Small and independent publishers, which have fewer resources and bargaining power, have been particularly hard hit.” So … does it pay to be a writer? It depends on your market, and your royalties, and your access to high-quality marketing strategies, de León intimates. Check out the full article for more!


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: “Caledonia Switch”

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:

Caledonia Switch steven lane smith

Caledonia Switch

by Steven Lane Smith

ISBN: 9781478700821

reader views reviwers choice award 2014

Synopsis*:

A precocious teenager named John Wesley Hardin illegally day trades options to save his father’s hardware store in idyllic Caledonia, New Hampshire.  Clinging to vestiges of infantile omnipotence, John sets up a sham trust to hide his fraudulent schemes.  Early successes entice him to make increasingly risky bets that threaten to ruin three families – the Hardins, the Lavals, and the Harringtons.  When his fundamental identity is exposed as a fiction, his confidence is shattered.  He must choose humility over pride to rebound from disaster to be capable of loving and worthy of being loved.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

A Christmas Story for All Seasons

– Reviewed by Jennifer Hass for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Caledonia Switch is a book you will truly enjoy reading

– reviewed by T.W. Price on Amazon

Great Read

– reviewed by Boston Book Girl on Amazon

 

 


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

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