Self-Publishing News: 5.18.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

There has been a lot of news lately regarding self-publishing and politics, specifically how it is providing a publishing haven for those individuals that have been rejected by the Big Four traditional publishing houses (Penguin Random House/S&S, Hachette, Macmillan, and HarperCollins as of May 2021; PRH has already begun the process of absorbing Simon & Schuster). At first glance, this news isn’t a surprise, as self-publishing has always been the place where authors previously seeking traditional book deals turn after finding them too constricting or flat-out unavailable. What’s different this time is how the choice, repeated regularly and often by high-profile politicians or those affiliated with politicians, has set up self-publishing to be cast as partisan: right now, those affiliated with the conservative right are self-publishing, while those affiliated with the conservative left are championing traditional publishing. Or at least, that’s how news outlets are covering the various happenings. This article from Fischer and Rummler of Axios outlines the sequence of events that has led up to this situation, and holds back from drawing too many conclusions. It is to be hoped that these same news outlets will also cover the critical role that self-publishing has played in providing a platform for diverse and marginalized voices of all kinds for decades, and steer clear of judging the many thousands of such writers who continue to self-publish today.

Time for a palate-cleanser! This article from Forbes contributor J.J. Hebert is not quite what it looks like, as it’s most definitely an argument for self-publishing. (Many articles that start with “Don’t X before X” end up being arguments against X.) Hebert, CEO of a self-publishing company and a self-publishing author himself, covers five critical aspects of the process that lay the groundwork for a solid start for those authors who have not yet taken the leap. His questions cover everything from quality control and editing to format options to identifying target readers to selecting a self-publishing platform that fits an author’s needs. It’s a fantastic and fairly concise introduction to much of the architecture required for a solid self-published success.

It has been a rough year for those who love (or whose success depends on) book fairs. Thankfully, many companies have been working hard to adapt to the post-pandemic world, and Publishers’ Weekly is hosting its inaugural PW US Book Show from May 25-27. They’ve updated their website with a list of participating virtual “booths,” and you can find out plenty more about pricing information and how to participate [ here ] and [ here ]. This virtual book show is intended to fill part of the vacuum left behind after the cancellation of so many in-person bookish events, and to provide librarians and booksellers (and those affiliated) with access to information to assist in connecting readers with their books. As with many other book fairs, though, the general public is invited to attend. It will prove to be an interesting experiment!

This much-needed article from Book Riot provides a straightforward and comprehensive explanation of what both traditionally and self-published authors make, on average, from their books each year. It also provides a nice breakdown of what all the complicated terminology means, which is just as important. And finally, it also profiles fifteen authors from all kinds of backgrounds and from both spheres of publishing who were willing to share data on what they make. Article author Sarah Nicolas refrains from sharing most of their identities (Jim C. Hines is an exception), and notes that none of the big “blockbuster” authors (think Grisham, Rowling, Quinn, etc) shared theirs. But even beyond the fascinating data we find the stories of how the finances fit into individual authors’ lives most revealing of all. Given the range of authors who participated, there should hopefully be at least one that can provide insight and context for new authors looking to break in to the publishing world. Would you need to pay for medical insurance out of your book earnings if you wrote full-time? Do you plan to write as a side-job? How much, after taxes, do you need to achieve your financial goals? What does your schedule look like? Each author Nicolas interviewed has something different to share.

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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.

ORIGINAL BOOK REVIEW: “A New Lease on Life” by James Ocansey

A New Lease on Life by James Ocansey

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION*:

We all have only one life to live. It is safe to assume that we all want to live a long and healthy life free from pain, disease and untimely death. A New Lease on Life helps us to do that based on research by various authorities mostly in holistic medicine. It shows you how the body works and what you can do to help it do its work of self-repair or healing. We learn that the body balances its alkalinity and acidity at 80/20% ratio. The foods we eat need to follow that ratio of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acid-forming foods. Because we are unable to follow this 4:1 ratio, the body has to break down healthy structures and tissues in a process called catabolism. This is needed to keep us within 7.4pH (slightly alkaline range), especially in our inner cavity to keep our vital organs from dying. Every fat mostly cellulose is pushed out and stored elsewhere in the body to keep us from dying prematurely.

Since health is dependent on detoxification and nourishment, we need to find the best means to detox and nourish our system. Detoxification is best achieved by ionized, alkaline, micro-structured hexagonal water, which is able to easily penetrate our cells to deliver oxygen and nutrients while cleansing our cells on its way out. Without good water, not just any water, the cells are unable to easily receive nutrients and keep them clean. This results in excess tissue acid waste which is the root cause of pain and numerous diseases. It also deprives our cells of needed nutrients that cause nutritional deficiency diseases leading to untimely death. Your longevity depends on how well you take care of your cells since the cells are not supposed to die and you could live to over 100 years, as is known in Japan and in many other cultures.

REVIEW:

Oh, boy, am I not drinking the right water.

This, my friends, is exactly what went through my head when I first picked up James Ocansey’s A New Lease on Life, which is blurbed entirely accurately in the description from Bookshop.org that I’ve included above, which is where I first found this book.

But first, to back up a minute: Those of you who have read my last review will remember that my response to that book was largely the product of my recent experiences in and out of area health facilities as my family battled its way through a long, strenuous, and even to some extents ongoing medical emergency of the most dramatic kind. As with many people, it took something of such medical gravity to force me to re-evaluate my own life choices, particularly in what I eat and drink. And while there are plenty of books out there on the former, the latter doesn’t seem to be talked about or researched to the same extent, outside of studies pertaining to known toxins and “please drink in moderation” sorts of drinks, such as those containing alcohol or caffeine. But if a person were to wonder, as I certainly have found myself wondering, whether there might be something more basic and elementary going on when it comes to “drinking well” in the same way that nutrition is basic and elemental to “eating well,” that person might find a compelling answer in James Ocansey’s A New Lease on Life.

This is a research-based take on water, the most basic of all molecules necessary to life barring only the Carbon atom, which enables complex life. Water is where we all started, the science seems to say, whether we’re talking literally or in a profound metaphorical sense. Our bodies are largely made up of water, after all, and I could drill down into the protean images of the womb and of creation narratives featuring a separation of land and sky from water–but I’ve only budgeted one on-the-nose metaphor for this review, and I don’t want to try your patience before even getting to the real, er, elemental components of this review.

I know, I’m the absolute worst when it comes to puns, irony, and dad jokes. If our bodies are made of 90% (or some large percentage) of water, my soul is made of 90% dad jokes. Terrible, awful, unbearable dad jokes.

Luckily, Ocansey is made of sterner, more academically reliable stuff than dad jokes, and I mean what I say. This book draws upon the results of a 12+ year study of pollution’s effects on the cellular level, a study involving scientists and researchers across multiple fields and disciplines. Dr. Joel Wallach, for example, conducted over 17,500 animal and 3,000 human autopsies (making for a total of 455 species, I think) in order to collate information on pathologies, and concluded that “every animal and every human who dies of natural causes dies of a nutritional deficiency disease”–and the culprit is not the food these creatures consumed but rather the water the

In an over 12 years Interdisciplinary study on Pollution in which Dr. Joel Wallach was the Chief Pathologist, he conducted autopsies on 17,500 animals of 454 species and 3.000 humans for comparison. His conclusion was that “it was apparent that every animal and every human who dies of natural causes dies of a nutritional deficiency disease,” and that this malnutrition is the result not of poor food quality or quantity but rather the water these unfortunate creatures consumed.

I mean, as we millennials like to say, this is mind-blowing stuff!

Water, as Ocansey puts it, is the “missing link” to good health, and the fundamental component missing in world devoid of strong water knowledge (much less good water quality and infrastructure). I am, of course, no water expert (or true scientist, much as I love to participate in citizen science research and to promote STEM learning for all), but the science in A New Lease on Life is well presented and easy enough to understand, particularly if a reader is already familiar with the scientific method.

“You’re not only thirsty but starving,” declares Ocansey in the subtitle to A New Lease on Life, and this is the basis of the book’s argument: Water detoxifies, and water also nourishes. It not only washes the body clean of toxins, but it also can contribute significantly to good nutrition if consumed in the right way and if made up of the right kind of water. I’m still parsing some of the finer points of Ocansey’s argument, but the research does seem clear on what it is indicating. There is such a thing as “hexagonal water,” a specific molecular arrangement of ordinary H2O which can make a potential difference in not only longevity but general quality of life.

A New Lease on Life also contains arguments for several other potential health-boosting supplements and aids, but it is largely concerned with the aforementioned H2O. It contains everything from doctor to patient to scientific testimony about the efficacy of all of the above, and is well worth a read if you are looking to delve into a brave new world of nutrition that is dramatically different from those diets, regimens, and other fads that come and go with the years. You may or not find yourself convinced–that is always a risk when it comes to an argument-based book–but you will most definitely find yourself asking important questions that need to be asked about the ways we have been doing things and where we want to go from here, health-wise.

WHERE TO BUY?

You can find A New Lease on Life by James Ocansey wherever good books are sold, including Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. You can also find out more about it on the book’s Outskirts Press listing.

WHAT NEXT?

Next week I will be posting my review for Cooper C Woodring’s book, Expert Design Witness 101. I have no idea what to expect!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

* Courtesy of Bookshop.org book listing.

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ABOUT KENDRA M.: With nine years in library service, six years of working within the self-publishing world, as well as extensive experience in creative writing, freelance online content creation, and podcast editing, Kendra seeks to amplify the voices of those who need and deserve most to be heard.

In Your Corner: Closing out National Poetry Month–strong!

April of 2021 is National Poetry Month, and we are almost to its very end! This poses an interesting challenge for those among us who are poets: while the rest of the world has been celebrating the works of poets they admire, writers of poetry have been girding themselves rise to the challenge of becoming the wordsmiths they wish to be. This challenge is not perhaps specific to April––but it is pushed to the front burner, so to speak. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is just that little bit more difficult.

So what is a poet to do in a month set aside for celebrating poets and what they do?

3 suggestions:

– Set yourself a writing challenge.

The first thing to do, as a person dedicated to a specific craft and art form, is to continue working to improve your skill set. And as one of my past creative writing instructors used to say, “You will never be so good at this that you can afford to stop practicing.” (Which might explain why she gave me her copy of Baking Illustrated, now that I come to think of it.) Regardless, I’m grateful to her for never letting up, never allowing me to relax into the assumption that I’d learned all I was going to learn and raised the bar as high as it would go. That said, the old adage “Practice Makes Perfect” is … sometimes … wrong. To strive for perfection is to set ourselves up for failure every time, but to strive for improvement–to challenge ourselves to get better–will bear endless fruit. So set yourself a writing challenge, one that fits your routine and schedule and needs, and use it as an opportunity to hone your form.

– Go digital.

Many of my friends who went on to be poets–and there are many–have an aversion to social media. I’m not entirely sure why there’s more of this tendency among my poet friends than among my friends who went on to write prose and nonfiction, and I know that the authors I know are not a representative statistical sample of all writers everywhere, but the tendency seems common. It might have something to do with the intimate nature of poetry. After all, writing poetry is, like much personal writing, a deeply private act that aims to generate a public–or semi-public–product. So this April, I’d like to challenge you to go digital. Not just as a person, but as a writer. Experiment with a variety of social media options–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more … and do so as a poet.

Find your readers where they live, and meet them there.

– Create a following.

But you know, don’t find them where they live in a creepy way like in crime fiction television shows. Dig into it like a pro: Once you’re on social media, take advantage of the opportunity to post snippets of your work, updates from behind the scenes as you write, and generally work to create the cult of personality that surrounds books with that oh-so-important “buzz” factor. This will help generate interest in your book, once you’re ready to publish … and will form a rock-solid foundation for your marketing strategy.

If you’re not comfortable projecting yourself as a poet into the digital sphere, that’s okay. There are reasons for those feelings, for reticence in engaging in deliberate self-exposure at a time when it already seems like everyone is already up in everyone else’s business. I simply hope, in my own small way, to encourage you with this reassurance: your work deserves to be read, and admired. You are a poet, even if you haven’t yet published your book of poetry. You will find a way to be heard, because that’s just the nature of being a poet, after all. You’ll get there, in your own time, and when you’re ready. Most of all, I want you to know that you have a community here who supports you all the way, whether it’s National Poetry Month … or not!

Thinking of you always. ♣︎

Elizabeth
Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, below.
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: 4.28.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

“Thanks to markets like Amazon that have made it easier than ever to access books, authors no longer have to wait to be given a green light,” writes Beth Jordan in this recent article for StudyBreaks.com. Jordan briefly covers the history of the longstanding family feud between traditional and self-publishing forms, with the rise of the digital and Internet age as well as the market forces creating additional challenges for the more established institutions even while going indie seems easier and more reliable than ever–with all of this making the page. Jordan also covers some of the other finer points of the debate, including why authors might or might not choose to go indie, and how different pros and cons can influence an author’s relationships to their community of readers … as well as other authors. Says Jordan,

[L]amenting one’s inability to sell books or to be traditionally published can become a dangerous, unproductive spiral because there are many reasons an author’s book might not be selling — most of the reasons likely coming down to marketing, visibility or the book’s quality. While the frustration is understandable, publishing a book through traditional means is unlikely to fix the situation as Amazon and other companies continue to out-compete the traditional publishers.

Jordan covers shifting market shares, the powerful role competition plays in decision making, and some suggested steps towards boosting visibility. All in all, this article makes for a great, ahem, all-rounder when it comes to entering or revisiting the key points of why we do what we do, and how. We can’t think of a better way to kick off this week’s news!

Five is a solid, memorable number, and it’s neither too long nor too short a quantity of listed items to ensure peak performance. So when Josh Steimle writes for Entrepreneur online that “A successful first book could even become a quality revenue stream of its own, paving the way for future writing endeavors” and that this process “can be accomplished in five easy steps,” you can be sure we’re going to sit up and pay attention. Steimle’s points, which include straightforward suggestions to research, plan, and begin executing a marketing strategy well before your book’s publication date, have the force of “common sense” behind them–only, as we know, that isn’t entirely common in the way it probably should be, all things being equal and communication being free of the current status quo. The nice thing about Steimle’s article, too, is that he also touches on some suggestions, including those for advance copies and incentives by way of free content, that often aren’t talked about as often as they could be, or should be. This is the kind of specialized information that indie authors might not instinctually know going into self-publishing for the first time, and which can really make a difference.

Another totally unintended “five” that converses comfortably with our last news item: Last time we covered the news in self-publishing, we included a previous article by Forbes contributor JJ Hebert, “5 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for Your Self-Published Book.” This time around, Hebert is writing to authors (or potential authors) of “business books” in order to encourage them to use a self-published book as a kind of brand launch or relaunch–a way of sending your thoughts and your way of doing things out there into the world, and to establish yourself as a person of authority on matters pertaining to your field. As Hebert puts it, “writing and publishing a book is the ultimate credibility booster and business growth tool because the book will position you as an expert in your field, and you will become the go-to person for your particular topic.” But making sure your book sticks its landing and isn’t a wasted investment of your precious time and money (and since time is money, on to the nth degree) has to be a top priority, and Hebert has a nice list of straightforward suggestions in order to make that landing the stickiest possible stuck thing it can possibly be. Hebert does have a toe firmly in the waters of self-promotion here himself, given that he is CEO and founder of a self-publishing platform himself, but that doesn’t mean his tips aren’t worth taking a good, long look at. We happen to think he practices exactly what he preaches, and what he preaches seems to be effective enough to make us stop and look–and when it comes to marketing, that’s half of the battle won right there.

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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.

ORIGINAL BOOK REVIEW: “Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie,” by Kevin Fodor

Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie by Kevin Fodor

OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY*:

Kevin Fodor is an almost 50 year veteran of the radio broadcasting industry working in small, medium and large cities across the midwestern U.S. He has spent almost 20 years back in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio on air at Cox Media Group’s WHIO-AM/FM, WHKO-FM and WZLR-FM. He also substitutes as a radio instructor at the International College of Broadcasting in Dayton.

REVIEW:

Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie came to me with the kind of pedigree I can’t ignore: blurb upon blurb by those who have worked in the radio industry for decades, and whose careers are themselves a stellar lineup of heavy-hitters. Rob Ellis, Bob Moody, and Nick Roberts all lend their voices to the mix, just to name three of those of whom I speak, and for a child of the silicon age it’s not necessarily an easy thing for me to recognize the big names in radio, but I certainly have heard of a fair few on Kevin Fodor’s list of blurbers.

As for the book itself, my expectations were high going in. With such high praise from the author’s radio compatriots, I felt justified in expecting the kind of content that only an “insider’s insider” can provide–the kind of content with real pith and texture (and let’s face it, the dirty laundry we all read industry-specific memoirs for) that such a person with such longevity within a field can provide.

And boy, does Fodor deliver. Not so much on the dirty laundry, to be fair; Fodor treats both his subject and those with whom he worked for so long with good humor and a real sensitivity which allows them all to shine. But when it comes to the meat and potatoes of radio, and all the spice and drama that has made it the enduring information (and entertainment) delivery format that it is, Fodor unleashes all of his many years of experience on the page.

When it comes to the radio bug, writes Fodor, “It’s been over 47 years since I was bitten. But it’s been one hell of a ride.” And that, my friends and dear readers, is the sum total of the preparation you need before diving into this memoir of a life spent on, and with, and behind the radio so many of us (yes, including me, a late night classical music radio fan) depend on for both delight and our daily operational information. Weather, news, pop culture commentary, new and old music, and daily traffic reports constitute the grease that keeps the machinery of our civilization humming, and radio is about the only portable source for all of the above.

… And Kevin? He was the voice behind that source. For fifty years.

My entire career is still but a fraction of fifty years. Ideally, by the end of it I’ll be able to claim such a legacy (and have such a long list of flattering blurbs for my memoirs), but no matter how long I end up writing about writing (or writing about publishing, or writing about my life’s great companion, the cat Sputnik), it’s doubtful I’ll come close to accruing the amazing compilation of stories that Kevin Fodor has in his fantastic memoirs–memoirs that pack a punch without wrecking the wrists while doing so. (I’m only throwing shade at the majority of modern memoirists and nonfiction writers here, all of whom seem to think it criminal to publish anything under 600 pages, not including appendices and references.) Turn it Up! clocks in at just over 240 pages, including everything but the cover.

The judicious use of discretion carries a lot of weight with me when it comes to reading memoirs. I love them, but I love them best when they know what they’re on about, and they know when and where they’re headed from the outset. A memoirist without a solid architecture to their recollections is a memoirist with a length problem, and is a memoirist who needs a lot of editing. To put it simply, I appreciate that Kevin Fodor can tell his stories and tell them in well under 250 pages. That’s an evening or two of good reading, and still enough time to put gas in the car, pick up dinner, and bring the pets in before dark.

Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie serves up exactly the kind of delicacies that both radio wonks and those who simply love a good memoir crave: epic insider stories of the rise (and fall? I add with a question mark or two) of a mammoth industry, anecdotes from a man at the center of a spinning wheel of opportunities and constant happenings, wisecracks and humor tempered with the richness of a life well lived, and a whole lot of life-affirming storytelling.

WHERE TO BUY?

You can find Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie by Kevin Fodor wherever good books are sold, including Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. You can also find out more about it on the book’s Outskirts Press listing.

WHAT NEXT?

My endless lineup of delightful books on my TBR pile includes James Ocansey’s health book, A New Lease on Life. I should probably confess that as I write this I’m finishing off a “sharing size” bag of peanut M&Ms, so we shall see just what kind of sins I have committed (or health opportunities I “have yet to seize”) in the days to come.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

* Courtesy of the author’s Outskirts Press biography.


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ABOUT KENDRA M.: With nine years in library service, seven years of working within the self-publishing world, as well as extensive experience in creative writing, freelance online content creation, and podcast editing, Kendra seeks to amplify the voices of those who need and deserve most to be heard.