Self-Publishing News: 5.15.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

Beginning in March, Amazon began a policy which allowed third-party sellers the right to purchase the “Buy Box” for new books being sold on Amazon. Why is this such a big deal? Traditionally, by default, the “Buy Box” has always been something that belonged to the original publisher of the book. That way, when you purchase a book, 45% of the profits go back to the publisher, and in turn, help pay authors. “This contributes to authors’ royalties,” says Brook Warner, “and also means that your purchase is supporting the entity that published the book, namely the publisher.” Warner suggests that this policy not only favors the largest third-seller parties, but it drastically affects publishers and authors.

Warner is affiliated with the publishing industry, so she has seen first hand the negative impacts of this change. One of the authors published under Warner’s press called her to inform her that her book was no longer being offered at all on Amazon from her publisher. If someone were to search for the title of her book, the only available purchase options were from third-party publishing companies. “Amazon’s policy states that ‘eligible sellers will be able to compete for the buy box,’” says Warner, “but in this case, we had been completely wiped off of Amazon as an eligible seller in any capacity, without being notified.” After more investigation, Warner found that some books published by a company she used to work at, Seal Press, were only offering copies from third-party sellers.

The problem with this new policy, according to Warner, is that it affects publishers’ backlist for books “(typically meaning any book that’s six months or older).” To someone buying the book, it appears as though the third-party seller is the only available purchase option, and if they did click the “more buying options” button, it would only alert them to cheaper versions of the book, not the one for sale by the publishing company which is listed as “sold by Amazon.com,” with no nod to the publishing company at all. Because small publishing companies are especially dependent on backlist sales, and because Amazon is the main source for backlist sales, Amazon is making it look as though a lot of these books are out of print with their publishing companies when in fact, they are not.

What are the biggest takeaways from this new policy by Amazon? For Warner, it is that they are trying to further drive down the value and cost of books, something they’ve already done with their ebooks by encouraging authors to sell their books for under $10 by giving the incentive of better royalties if they do so. Further, this makes it so that authors can’t earn royalties for the sale of their books. Amazon has suggested to people who are upset about the “buy box” competition that they should keep their books in stock which is problematic for self-published authors or backlist authors whose books are only available by print-on-demand, which are only printed to order, i.e. out of stock. “This new third-party seller policy is potentially terrorizing,” says Warner, “in that it can and will literally result in publishers selling fewer copies and ultimately being forced to declare backlist books out of print.”

In order to counter this effort by Amazon Warner suggests supporting indie bookstores, avoiding third-party sellers and always considering how your purchase will affect the authors, especially if you yourself are an author. Driving down the cost of books means driving down the value of your creative and intellectual property, which as authors we should all value very highly.


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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 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.

Self-Publishing News: 2.6.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Because I love the juxtaposition of these two articles on Amazon in relation to self-publishing, I’m going to present them both and let the readers formulate their own opinion on this corporate conglomerate. First, we’ll start with an article by Doris Booth that analyzes the ways in which Amazon “vigorously promotes its 70% royalty plan over its 35% plan to compensate authors on the sale of their e-books.”

But, 70% is DOUBLE 35% you say. Diving deeper, however, Booth unveils how the promotion of the higher royalty package is actually misleading.

“Believe it or not, the writer earns more money on the 35% plan than on the 70% plan. Why? Because the 70% plan is based on the publisher’s net income and the 35% plan is based on the gross sales price of the book. A book priced at $9.99 based on 70% of the publisher’s net income earns you $3.15. The same book based on 35% of the gross sales price yields $3.50.” – Booth

With that in mind, and also considering the fact that amazon puts a ceiling of $9.99 for the price of the ebooks using the 70% plan, while authors using the 35% plan can pick the price at which they’d like to sell their work.

More interestingly, the 70% plan grants Amazon exclusive rights to your piece, meaning you cannot sell it on ANY other platform, even if that platform was simply your own website. You grant them this exclusivity and you receive nothing up front. That’s right, “the author who signs the exclusive deal has just given away his or her entire content for free to Amazon, at least initially,” says Booth.

Further, when/if you do get paid by Amazon, it will not be based on the sale of the individual copies of your book, but rather, on the number of pages read by those who purchased it. So if your book sold for $9.99, but the reader only got 15 pages in, “your royalties will be calculated upon how many pages of your book are read, divided by the number of other books read that month.” Booth continues on with a more staggering statistic; “In hard-to-find data, Digital Book World reported not long ago that Amazon Kindle’s monthly individual author payout equaled $1.38.” One dollar and thirty-eight cents per month, you couldn’t buy a can of Coca-Cola with that.

I would definitely encourage authors to do their research, perhaps beginning with the piece above by Booth, before deciding where to self-publish their work. If choosing Amazon, carefully read the plans and what they offer you as a client, and don’t be too easily persuaded by larger numbers that are hiding larger inadequacies as far as returns go.

One lucky author is going to receive £20,000 as the Kindle Storyteller Prize winner in 2017. “The prize is open to any author who publishes their book through Kindle Direct Publishing between February 20 and May 19 this year,” says Tristan Fane Saunders, “Entries from any genre are eligible – including fiction, non-fiction and collections of short stories – so long as they are more than 5,000 words and previously unpublished.” So, if after reading the previous article and you do decide to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon, you could end up with a pretty big paycheck.

The incentive to offer a prize like this? Saunders seems to allude to dwindling Kindle sales and a general decline in ebook sale, “having shrunk 2.4% over the previous year.”

Whatever your opinion on Amazon might be, it has provided a streamlined way for authors to directly publish their work online. Be it for better or worse, being able to get your story published is often half the battle, and Amazon turned that battle into a breeze.


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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 every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

In Your Corner: Optimize your Amazon presence!

Amazon is, for all intents and purposes, the powerhouse when it comes to the book distribution process.  It doesn’t seem to be a temporary thing, either; authors and publishers alike simply must acclimate to the fact that to sell a lot of books, they first must tailor their Amazon presence to be an attractive one.  And Amazon seems to have good intentions insofar as providing resources goes: its architects have dedicated incredible resources to creating better ways to connect authors with their readers.

There are a lot of ways to promote your book on Amazon, and since sales through this website may very well account for a large percentage of your overall book sales, it’s worth making sure you’re aware of all of the options!

amazon warehouse

The first step, of course, is to figure out what you’re doing right.

To do this, locate your book listing on Amazon by searching the title or ISBN.  Once your book listing is fully loaded, make sure your cover is showing.  If it isn’t there yet, make sure to upload a quality image for your readers to view–preferably at a high resolution.  Double-check that all of the information on display is accurate, and check back every few weeks to make sure it stays up-to-date and glitch-free.  This all is predicated on the assumption, of course, that you already have your book for sale on Amazon … but what if you don’t?

Create an Author Central account.

This account differs from the normal customer account you may already have on Amazon as a result of buying something (or many things).  An Author Central account allows you to better manage your books, and the process is free, so there are zero reasons not to create one.  To begin, navigate to authorcentral.amazon.com and register your profile, following the on-screen prompts to add your books to your bibliography, create a blog, edit or revise your online descriptions, and use a number of other tools on offer.

Returning to your book listing page, it’s vital that you include only relevant and compelling sales information with a positive marketing slant that will increase both your exposure and the number of people who actually buy your book.  That’s money in the bank!  Streamline your page to avoid the clutter of white noise (information that distracts from what’s really important) and reassess regularly.

Go for those reviews.  Go for them.

Amazon rewards activity on your Author Central profile page and on your book page listings, to the more reviews you have–the more people who will be directed to your book via Amazon’s search algorithms, and the more people who will buy and review your book.  Interesting Factoid Alert: This is the definition of a positive feedback loop!  You want your book’s activity to outweigh the activity on all other books of comparable genre, content, and publication date–so in a sense, it is a bit of race to rack up the reviews.  To get these reviews, it’s a good plan to:

  1. Write online reviews for other books.  This gets your name out there, establishing you as an authority, and will occasionally be reciprocated by those authors you review.
  2. Entice people you know to review your book.  And if you don’t yet know a host of eager reviewers, consider hosting giveaways or offering discounts to potential reviewers.
  3. Mark positive reviews of your book as ‘helpful.’  There’s a link attached to each review on your book that allows other viewers to gauge the review’s usefulness (and accuracy).  You can ask your other friends and followers to do this, too.

Books without reviews are like books no one is buying–Amazon’s algorithms tend to leave them out of search engine results and “If you like this, you might also like this” recommendations.  It’s unethical (and fairly easy for others to spot) to give your own book a five-star review, but you shouldn’t shy from asking others to.  The worst they can say is ‘no,’ and there are plenty who will say ‘yes.’

Share your book using Amazon’s built-in features.

Picture this: sending an Amazon-branded email to all of your friends and acquaintances.  Imagine that the email contains a large image of your book cover along with its retail price, star rating, and an enormous inviting button saying “Learn More”!  Well, this option exists, is free, and is almost ridiculously easy to use.  All you have to do is locate your book on Amazon, look at your sales detail page, find the “Share” button (usually on the right-hand column).  Click “Share” and crack open your list of email contacts.  You can enter the email addresses for anyone you know who might like to know about your book, following the on-screen prompts to enter up to four hundred people at a time.

Amazon also makes it easy to share your book listing on social media.  You don’t have to copy the link manually; just click the Twitter, Facebook, and other social media icons on your book listing page–and again, just follow the prompts to log in and post the link to your followers.  Easy peasy!  And the best part is … every ‘hit’ on your book listing page boosts your online presence and optimizes your Amazon page within their complicated system.  Give yourself a leg up and explore all of your options!

amazon warehouse

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, 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: 7.25.2016

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

“Authors of thrillers and mysteries who have endured the woes of traditional publishing may find that the indie route is the best way to go,” declares Nicole Audrey Spector in this July 22 article for Publisher’s Weekly.  The phenomenon of genre fiction authors finding success within the liberations of self-publishing is nothing new: romance and fantasy/science fiction writers have a long and storied relationship with going rogue in order to escape both the stigmas and the constraints unfairly imposed by the gatekeepers of Western literary canon.  And while crime fiction may come as a surprise to some, but Spector writes that “crime fiction lends itself well to self-publishing, in part because authors can pump out a ton of books in a relatively short time while building and engaging with an active audience online.”  Of course, it’s not without its challenges, Spector notes: “It’s a lot of work, but well worth it for those crime authors whose careers have taken off as a result.”  And those ranks are expanding, as more indie crime writers navigate the muddy waters of self-marketing to become “authorpreneurs.”  For the full story, check out Spector’s article at the link!

Anything with “Maverick women writers” in the title is bound to catch my eye!  Self-publishing has long provided refuge for the marginalized and the oppressed, given voice to those who have no means of their own and no access to the traditional publishing model, so it should come as no surprise that indie publishing has come to attract its fair share of women cut from a different cloth.  Says Maria Corte for Quartz in this July 22 article, chronicling the successes of authors like H.M. Ward, whose nice-guy Damaged series was too “weird” to fit comfortably within the bounds of traditional publishing.  Forced into self-publishing by the nature of her books, Ward met almost immediate (and overwhelming) success–books in the NYT bestseller list, massive sales–all while turning down offers from traditional publishers who wanted to capitalize on her now-proven success.

“Romance novels, home of heavy lids, hot breaths, and grabbed wrists, have long been the embarrassing secret money-maker of the book industry,” writes Corte, “But today, a renegade generation of self-published authors like Ward are redefining the romance novel, adapting to digital in a way that has long-lasting lessons for the book industry.”  The average American reads just 12 books a year, notes Corte, but those who fall in love with the romance genre tend to read far more (including one reader who owns up to reading 5 romance novels a week).  However you look at it, good news for the mavericks turns out to be good news for everyone–the more books a reader consumes, the more they support the publishing industry as a whole, traditional  and indie.  For more of Corte’s article, follow the link.

This week’s last big piece of news comes from Publisher’s Weekly, in Mark Coker’s annual list of trends to watch published on July 22.  “The future of publishing is fraught with opportunity and peril,” Coker warns before launching into his list; making note of the fact that many authors (self-publishing and otherwise) lack a complete understanding of market trends (past and present) and that these trends play a large hand in shaping the success or failure of a book’s sales.

But there’s plenty of good news in store for self-publishing authors, too, says Coker.  One of his ten trends centers on the democratization of publishing and distribution as a direct result of self-publishing: “Ten years ago, agents and publishers were the bouncers at the pearly gates of authordom,” writes Coker.  “Publishers controlled the printing press and the access to retail distribution. Today, thanks to free e-book publishing platforms, writers enjoy democratized access to e-book retailers and readers.”  That’s a rather rousing endorsement if ever I saw one!  And indie authors keep raking in the good news; three more of the ten trends include “The rise of indie authorship,” “Indie authors are taking market share,” and (happily) “The stigma of self-publishing is disappearing.”  It’s also worth noting that Coker closes with one final bit of good news: “Indie authors are writing the next chapter of their industry’s story,” he says.  It’s not all fun and games, however, and Coker warns against the continued power Amazon plays in undermining the individual self-publishing authors’ potential.  For more information, check out the original article here.


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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 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.

From the Archives: “How Much Do Self-Publishing Authors Earn?”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: August 18th, 2014 ]

How much do self-publishing authors earn?

There is no one size fits all answer.

What an author earns varies greatly. Income is based on a variety of factors, including the author’s goals, intended market, and marketing strategy.

One of the main reasons author income varies so greatly is because many authors don’t self-publish to make money. They never intend to market and promote their book, so they earn very little. For these authors, success is not defined by the amount of money they make or the number of books they sell. Instead, it is simply based on whether or not they accomplished their goals.  Some common definitions of success among self-published authors include:

  • Sharing their story with family and friends
  • Reaching a niche market
  • Finishing and publishing their manuscript, regardless of how many books they sell
  • Gaining fame
  • Earning an income
  • Increasing their business
  • Building their following of readers
  • Adding to their resume
  • Getting picked up by a traditional publisher
  • And many, many more

I assume you ARE interested in earning money if you asked this question. For those of you who want to make a profit, here is what you need to know:

  • Depending on the trade discount set by you or your publisher, you can expect to earn royalties on average of $2-$7.
  • Some self-publishing companies offer more flexibility in setting pricing and royalties, so it is important to select a company that meets your needs.
  • Marketing is key to financial success! If you want to earn money from your book, be prepared to dedicate your time, money, and effort to marketing and promoting your self-published book.
  • Quality is also extremely important. You must offer readers a professional, well-written book.
  • A dynamic cover and professional editing are a must.

A great way to learn more about how much self-publishing authors earn and how they define success is studying other authors. Read interviews and books by successful authors. Network with writer’s in your area. Join professional writing groups. Talk to people who have self-published. Learn about the industry. All of this research will not only give you an idea of how much self-publishing authors earn, but will also offer excellent tips and advice for making your book successful.

– by Jodee Thayer

Jodee’s right, of course–it’s not necessarily useful to know the exact amounts that every self-publishing author makes, since so many aren’t in the game for the cash.  But there is a certain benefit, I think, to knowing:

A. Some self-publishing authors are going to hit it big. And by “big” I mean BIG, with Hugh Howey’s Wool saga pulling in roughly $150,000 a month from ebook sales back in 2014, for example–and other authors like Amanda Hocking and John Locke doing very well indeed.

B. Many self-publishing authors are going to find the middle ground, becoming what in the traditional publishing industry might be considered “midlist”–but without the crippling disadvantages of traditionally published midlist authors, who are promised marketing assistance for example but very rarely ever receive it.

and C. Some self-publishing authors aren’t going to make much money, either because they choose not to put the time and energy or money into marketing it (for whatever, possibly legitimate reason) or because they have no idea where to begin.  We at Self Publishing Advisor want to move as many authors from category C. to categories A. or B. as possible–assuming that the authors want this too!

I would also like to encourage you with some hard data. Hugh Howey (mentioned above) has done a lot of work to open up the self-publishing industry and render it transparent, and his industry watchdog company (AuthorEarnings.com) does some very necessary and useful work each year in publishing its Author Earnings Report. The latest one posted to the site is from May of this year (2016) and while the nature of the study itself has fundamentally changed (from a longitudinal study to a cross-sectional one), Howey is able to draw some inspiring conclusions.

By broadening the parameters of their search, he says, they appear “to have nearly doubled the count of authors currently earning in this $10K/year ‘tax bracket.'” And while “$10,000/year is hardly a living wage in the US,” he continues, “it’s a nontrivial supplementary income. Especially for doing something you love.” According to this May 2016 study, only 18% of authors make less than $10,000/year–and “almost half” of the remainder “also appear in the $25,000-or-better bracket above”–meaning that roughly 1 in 5 self-publishing authors on Amazon make very little money, 2 in 5 make “a nontrivial supplementary income,” and the remaining 2 in 5 are making a decent chunk of change (more than $25,000/year, at least).

This is good news. Aiming to eclipse the superstars like Hocking and Locke and Howey may not be an attainable goal, but earning good money from your books is.  Now get writing!

hugh howey wool

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


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.

In Your Corner : Why Pampering Yourself (& Your Book) Isn’t Such a Bad Thing

When I say “pamper,” I’m guessing one or two images immediately pops into your mind. Luxury in today’s world means manicures and pedicures, gourmet meals, superyachts, and never having to wait in line at the DMV.  Most importantly, perhaps, it is seen as something unattainable by all save a select few who hit the genetic lottery or who are otherwise incredibly lucky.  But most people don’t get to live this life.  Most people aren’t millionaires.  To most people, self-publishing authors included, life is a constant series of negotiations between risk and reward, where “success” equates to keeping one’s head above water a little while longer, and “failure” means losing the house.  Luxury and pampering is saved for special life events, like honeymoons and year-end vacations, only to illustrate even more clearly how impossible it is to attain these things easily and sustainably.

All this is true. But it shouldn’t stop you, a self-publishing author, from receiving the best services available in the design, formatting, and publication of your book.
manicure pedicuregourmet meal

I’m talking about premium options.  And while it’s easy to see why some of these options, like cover enhancement on your book’s Amazon listing, are desirable.  But it’s harder to see, I’d guess, why it’s worth pampering yourself with these options when they’re a kind of luxury.  You can publish your book without them.  So why pay for something you don’t strictly need?  It’s the same old risk vs reward balancing act I mention, above, isn’t it?

I happen to think that certain luxuries are not just attainable for the common author but are revolutionary to that author’s marketing and sales experience.  The problem with premium options on Amazon is that they truly are a kind of pampering–in that they’re not something the common author can do by him or herself.  They take special access to the Amazon publication system, special design skills, and a killer instinct for the constraints of the form.  Basically, the financial obstacles may be easily overcome and the social ones too, but there remains an expertise gap to cross.

Which is why I strongly recommend paying, just this once, for that little luxury–a payment that recoups enormous dividends in the self-publishing author’s sales figures.  If you’re wondering about the specifics, premium options on Amazon allow readers to see your book featured in a larger and more eye-catching setup in their keyword search results, to see inside your book and read some front-page material in a preview … and to see your book cover right away, rather than waiting the four weeks or so that it ordinarily takes the images to be processed.  These are not small advantages–they are the make-or-break features that often determine whether a new reader clicks their way into learning more about your book and, of course, buying it!

The tweaks may be small, but the effects are huge.  They’re at least worth researching, and given my background at Outskirts Press I of course recommend starting with reading up on the enhancement options they offer there.  But no matter who you choose, keep your eyes and ears open to new ideas and new opportunities to “pamper” yourself.  You’re worth it.  Your book is worth it.  You deserve the best!

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, 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: 5.16.2016

This week in the world of self-publishing:

This piece–written by Tonya Riley for “The Kernel” on The Daily Dot for the week of May 15–explores the rise and fall of one of self-publishing’s most recent features: the community-ranked and community-driven sort-of self-publishing competition website.  If you haven’t heard of InkPop, you  might have heard of Figment or Swoon Reads, both of which operate on a similar principle: would-be authors upload their manuscripts for other authors and readers to vote on and rank, and the top-ranked manuscript goes on to sign a contract with a publishing house.  In the case of InkPop, that was HarperCollins, a “Big Five” publishing house which went on to shutter InkPop in 2012 after publishing only two manuscripts through the platform.  Riley takes an up close and personal look at why InkPop ultimately failed, despite all of the things it did right.  She interviews author Wendy Higgins, one of InkPop’s two success stories, as well as other members of the InkPop forums.  To read her entire article, follow the link!

[CONTENT WARNING: LANGUAGE]

“Sometime last decade,” writes Katie Rife for The A.V. Club in this May 12 news piece, “Amazon introduced Kindle Direct Publishing, which allows aspiring authors to upload their work to Amazon directly, spending less time dealing with the dinosaurs in the publishing industry and more time writing stories about dinosaurs f***ing people.”  Rife, who eschews more politically correct language to make a point, is referencing an earlier article published by The A.V. Club about the careers of two authors of dino-erotica, one of the many subgenres (many of which are, one hopes, more innocently self-aware) that the self-publishing industry and Amazon in particular has made possible.  (No, I won’t provide that other link here.  Hop on Google if you must!)  But Rife has actual news to share, news which has rocked the self-publishing and video communities: “Amazon, being the pervert that it is, isn’t satisfied. It wants video.”  What she means is, Amazon has deliberately placed itself as a competitor to YouTube and therefore YouTube’s parent company, Google.  Amazon’s new platform probably sounds very familiar: users upload videos to Amazon’s “Video Direct” service that they have made or at least own the right to, decide if they want the video to be free, rentable or purchasable, or free on Amazon Prime (which earns income dependent on performance).  As Rife points out, the content of these videos will probably be determined by equal parts self-interest and the whim of the watching public, which could lead to some … er, interesting material.

“As a former gatekeeper, I’m fascinated by the gatekeeper divide in book publishing, where the role gets falsely propped up by supporters of traditional publishing and completely dismissed by those who favor the indie space,” states Brooke Warner of She Writes Press fame in this May 12 HuffPost Books piece.  She pits former Random House editor Daniel Menaker against self-publishing success story Hugh Howey, each of which paints their chosen platform with the language of perfection–particularly as regards “gatekeeping,” or the tendency of people in positions of authority and power to filter the tastes and interests of those under their influence.  “I take issue with both extremes,” writes Warner, whose own website falls somewhere in the middle between traditional and self-publishing models.  She rejects the sexism and predestinate careers of both parties and instead opts to argue that “there’s another gatekeeper arising in our midst that no one is talking about—and that’s the distributor.  And while she goes on to make the contestable argument that self-publishing churns out inferior books, she follows this up by positing it may in fact be a problem of recognition: there is no system in place to ensure that high-quality self-published materials rise to the top and received the acclaim they deserve, raising the tenor of self-publishing overall.  For more of Warner’s fascinating argument, check out the original article at HuffPost Books.


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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.