Self-Publishing News: 8.6.2018 – The Company Files!

august month

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically news from or regarding self-publishing companies!

This month has been a quiet one on the self-publishing front, at least in terms of news from the top. (Next week we’ll be giving over more page space to the many fantastic authors who, as always, inspire and encourage us.) But here comes an interesting article by Shana Lebowitz of Business Insider on eleven CEOs and business founders who somehow managed to save their companies from complete failure; true to form, one of these CEOs has a self-publishing connection. Twitter founder Evan Williams was also the founder of Blogger, now a subsidiary of Google. But early on, Blogger ran into trouble–enough trouble that Williams was forced to lay off all of his employees. How did Williams–and Blogger–pull through? A whole lot of elbow grease, as it turns out: Williams worked on his start-up alone for three years before Google started paying attention … and making noise about buying the start-up.  The other founders in this list have fascinating stories, too, but it’s refreshing to know that at least at Business Insider, self-publishing platforms are one of many platforms giving voice to the average person that is getting serious treatment.

The short answer is … yes. Yes, the hashtag #Bookstagram, most popularly used on Instagram and Facebook (which owns Instagram), is indeed changing the way that we read. According to this article by Veronica Walsingham for Inverse, over two million posts have been tagged with this hashtag, which for many Instagram users is as much about aesthetic as it is about the books themselves. But make no mistake–it’s also definitely about the books! For those who haven’t used hashtags before, the humble pound sign (#) has become an engine of discovery on social media platforms as diverse as Twitter and Tumblr and YouTube and Instagram. It serves as a collector, a kind of vehicle for ideas, in that anyone who tags their post with that hashtag will be gathered together into a separate feed when users click on it. Walsingham’s article is interesting, of course, not just for its exploration of the kinds of content which makes it into the #Bookstagram hashtag, but for its identification of who, exactly is using it. And guess what? Self-publishing authors and the companies which get them onto the shelf are among the many! Read the full article for more.


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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.

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In Your Corner: Partnering With Bloggers

Or, How to Find Others Who Care As Much As You Do

And therein lies the rub.  There will never be another person out there to whom your book will mean the same thing that it means to you, the self-publishing author–but as our current president is wont to say on tour in Australia, “we have faced our share of sticky wickets!” (Don’t worry if you haven’t watched a game of cricket in your life … this is where I end my allusions to that game.)  There will be other people out there–readers and other authors and self-publishing aficionados alike–to whom your book means a great deal.  Just, you know, in different ways.

And some of them will run blogs.

No, wait, that’s a very important detail!  Blogs sell books.  More specifically, blogs have collectively served as the underground advertising board (and yes, market) for self-published books since the dawn of the internet.  It has proven to be a mutually beneficial relationship, borne out of the early years of both blogging as a digital platform; think how LiveJournal and MySpace and, yes, WordPress were all coming into being around the same time as the modern incarnation of the self-published book–and the ebook.  Blogging was a celebration of the freedom of expression of the highest order, and self-publishing was a reaction against excessive control and gatekeeping by the traditional publishing institution.  Many bloggers became self-publishing authors, and vise versa.  They were made for each other.

blogging

The mutually beneficial relationship continues today, as lists like “52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers” by Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer illustrate.  “Book bloggers love to read books and to recommend them to their own followers,” writes Alan Rinzler, a consulting editor with former entanglements at Harvard and The New York Times.  He takes an in-depth look at the story of self-publishing megastar Amanda Hocking, whose books sold in the millions, reminding his followers–in, yes, a blog post–that they “collectively build markets that can reach millions of potential readers and can turn books into bestsellers. As serious and discerning critics and social networkers, these book lovers have formed regional and national organizations and established huge databases, including this searchable list of more than 1,400 bloggers.”  It’s not ironic that Rinzler uses his own blog to discuss this; really, it’s incredibly easy to find bloggers who care about self-publishing enough to use their personal blogs to discuss it.

What’s hard is finding the right blog to help you sell your books.  And by “sell,” I mean the word in both a transactive and a persuasive sense.  You want someone who believes in your book–not just a passing mention or two.  To find your blogsoulmate, I recommend following a few simple steps.

  1. Dig a little.  If you’ve found us here at Self-Publishing Advisor, I’m going to go out on a limb and venture a guess that you’ve done your research.  At the very least, you’re handy with Google and WordPress.  That’s all you need to get started.  Dig around a bit and increase your exposure to the types of blogs out there.  We feature reviews of self-published books once a week, but we do a lot of other things, too, and many of our bloggers have close ties to one specific self-publishing company.  Other blogs might feature only one blogger with no ties to the industry itself, but who maybe posts multiple reviews a week.  Write yourself up a list of blog names that catch your interest, either in tone or reach.
  2. Take part in the conversation.  Every blog has a comments section, unless someone ran wild and posted something offensive in the past and thereby forced the blogrunner to disable this feature.  Whether the blog is on WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, or somewhere else, the whole point of its existance is to engender conversation.  Sign yourself up for a profile if you need to, or use the handy “Google Sign-In” or “Facebook Sign-In” options to comment.  As a blogger, I can tell you that replies are always awesome, and they are indicators of where real interest lies.  I guarantee a blogger will take note if you interact with their posts on a regular basis, unless they have something on the order of a trillion commenters already.  But that, too, is useful information.  You want to engage withy communities where you’ll be noticed–so if you feel overwhelmed or lost, that might be a sign to pick a different blog with a slightly more manageable following.
  3. Ask for things.  You know, once you’ve established a toe-hold in the community, don’t be afraid to ask for those things you really want–book reviews, interviews, the blog equivalent of a public service announcement.  Everything helps.  Don’t be afraid of rejection; the worst that can happen is the blogger says “no,” and there are plenty of bloggers out there, so it’s not the end of the road.  In fact, since you’re looking for a believer and not just any blogger, nos are simply the most efficient way to whittle down your options to the best ones.  Once you’ve got a couple of blogs interested in your work, step it up and ask for a blog tour.
  4. Don’t be afraid of the money question.  Sometimes, you might really need the boost that a paid service provides.  It’s a question of weighing the benefits against the expenditure, and determining whether A) you can afford it, and B) it fills a need.  In my personal experience, most indie authors don’t like to consider this option until they’ve run out of other options–and understandably.  I get it, I really do.  Self-publishing is one high-wire act after another, and money is always tight.  But I’ve seen a lot of authors who really could or even would have benefited from a promotional campaign like the one my company and many other companies offer–all of which come with promotion on the company’s official blog, with an extensive reach indeed–but who waited until they’d exhausted all other options.  Like a lot of other components to your marketing campaign, paid promotion should be on the table early and woven organically into the rest of your strategies.

That’s it!  Four steps!  Each of them relies on you to take initiative, which may or may not prove exhausting, but I hope you know one simple thing:

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 Week in Review: 12/18/12

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, I’m starting a new weekly post that will give you summary of the recent hot topics. Simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news in self publishing this week.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Self-Publishing Costs

This post offers great tips on how to save money while self-publishing. It is great because it doesn’t save you money by sacrificing quality. Instead, it offers simple solutions to avoid costly mistakes.

Guy Kawasaki on the Top Ten Reasons to Self-Publish

This bestselling author discusses his top ten reasons to self publish. He shows that there are more benefits to self publishing than just avoiding the traditional publishing politics.

Authors Exercise Their “Write” to Self Publish

CBS news recently covered the self publishing trend and authors who have chosen to self publish their books. One of the key points is that traditional publishers are looking at self publishing best sellers list to find new talent. Self publishing is changing the way authors get discovered.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self Publishing Week in Review: 12/11/12

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, I’m starting a new weekly post that will give you summary of the recent hot topics. Simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news in self publishing this week.

Self-Publishing Case Studies

This video blog includes interesting statistics and case studies about self-publishing authors. The five case studies cover successful self-publishing authors who have topped the Self-Published Bestselling List. Their stories will inspire you.

Chicken Little and Self Publishing

This blogger talks about the recent news surrounding Amazon’s changing algorithms and deleting of book reviews. He also provides insight into the changing publishing industry and shares some of his personal experiences as a self-published author.

Self Publishing and Web Presence

This post offers great advice on creating a strong web presence, which is essential for self-publishing authors. The post covers everything from blogs to social media pages to Goodreads to Amazon.

Self-Publishing Authors Could Win $1,500

The deadline for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award is fast approaching. You only  have until December 14, 2012 to register. Check out this post for more information.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

4 Ways Self Published Authors Can Improve Their Blogs

One of the best ways to market yourself and your book is blogging. In fact, authors are now expected to have an online presence. Both readers and industry experts, such as agents and publishers, want to see that authors are building a platform online.

For some people, the idea of creating and maintaining a blog seems time-consuming and confusing. Afterall, a blog is only useful if it actually attracts readers and develops relationships. Here are four ways to improve your own blog.

1.) It is a two-way street. Links on other blogs and comments on your posts are two great ways to increase traffic, but you can’t just expect people to share your posts and comment on your page. One of the best ways to encourage interaction is to link to and comment on other bloggers’ posts. This will encourage the blog owner and their readers to check out your page, and they may decide to return the favor. However, make sure you aren’t spamming other bloggers. Only comment if you have something useful and honest to say. Never leave a comment just to include a link to your personal page.

2.) Be efficient. One of the keys to improving traffic is regularly updating content. However, most people don’t have time to update their blogs daily. You can save time and work more efficiently if you schedule your blogs. This way, you can write several posts at one time, but they will each publish on a separate day. Most blogging websites have this feature.

3.) Be professional. Always, always, always proofread your posts. If you aren’t good at grammar, pay someone else to proofread your posts. Readers want to read blogs by professionals not amateurs.

4.) Be patient. Great blogs don’t happen over night. It takes time to attract followers, build relationships, and figure out your personal style and voice. As long as you keep trying, you will continue to see your blog grow.

I’d love to know, what is your secret to creating a great blog?

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order 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, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

Five Ways Self Published Authors Can Improve Blog Traffic

By now you know that self-published authors must have an online presence. One of the best ways to build your online platform and promote yourself and your book is blogging. However, a blog is only useful if you are regularly attracting your target readers. Your goal is not to simply post a certain number of blogs per week but to also build an audience and increase the traffic to your blog. Here are a few ways to improve your blog traffic.

1. Study the numbers.

Most blogging programs monitor how many people visit your blog and what content they view. Often it also tells you how the readers found your blog. For instance, if someone discovered your blog by searching the key words “self published” and “children’s book author,” that is important information. You want to pay attention to what keywords are bringing in readers and what content readers are viewing. This will help you further target your audience and will tell you if you are attracting the right readers.

2. The key is new, useful content.

If you want to improve your blog traffic, you MUST regularly post new, useful content. People expect blogs to updated almost daily, and they want to read information that helps or interests them in some way. When choosing blog topics, ask yourself, “Why would my audience read this?” If your audience won’t find it helpful or interesting, don’t post it.

3. Tone down the keywords.

Yes, keywords are important because you want your blog to appear in search engine results. However, you also want your blog to sound genuine. Readers hate when blogs are crammed with keywords. They can tell when you tried to stuff as many keywords as possible into your posts. Keep the writing natural, and the keywords will happen on their own. It is also useful to use synonyms for keywords. Remember how your English teachers told you to expand your vocabulary and never use the same word multiple times in a paragraph or sentence? The same is true for blogging. Readers still expect good writing.

4. Edit! Edit! Edit!

Everything you put online represents you as an author. If you want to be taking seriously and be viewed as a professional, all of your online work must  be professional. Never post a blog without proofreading it. Remember all of the grammar and writing tips your English teachers have taught you. While there is more flexibility in online writing, readers still expect the work to be professional. If grammar and spelling are not your strengths, hire a professional to proofread your posts.

5. Share links.

The power of social media is unbelievable. Bloggers get more traffic from social media than search engine results. Always share links to your posts on your social media pages. Also encourage your followers to share your links. (Retweeting a fellow blogger’s links is a great way to earn brownie points.) However, don’t use social media solely to promote your blog. Followers like to build genuine relationships with the companies and people they follow, and they don’t use social media to constantly be sold to.

Building a great blog requires time and skills. If you aren’t able to commit to maintaining a great blog, you can hire someone to help. There are plenty of professionals who can write, edit, and manage your posts. Just because you are the author of the blog doesn’t mean you have to do all the work alone.

I’d love to know, what have you done to improve your blog traffic?

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order 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, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

5 Reasons Some Self-Publishing Authors have no Online “Street Cred”

You’re following the advice you’ve been given on self-publishing blogs such at this one. You’ve started a blog and are updating it regularly. You’ve got a small following on Twitter, Facebook, etc., but are you still feeling like no one’s really listening to you? Well, first off, it can take a while to get to the point where you have a “true following” because people are still feeling you out. They haven’t really gotten to know you, and they don’t know if you’ll be around for a day, week, month, year, etc. So, know that time can be your biggest enemy when you first get started. Once you’ve overcome the time barrier (usually after about 3 months or so), there may be another reason you aren’t getting noticed online.

Here are some of the top reasons that no one is listening to you online:

  1. Everything (or mostly everything) you post online is a request for people to buy stuff. People don’t like being sold, and that’s the quickest way to shut down interaction between you and your audience. Let them buy from you because they like you, not because that’s all you ever talk about online.
  2. You don’t provide anything of value. Have you ever heard of the acronym WIIFM? If not, it means “What’s in it for me?” By nature, humans are selfish, and if you aren’t giving them what they need/want, you’re useless and not worthy of their time — online or otherwise.
  3. You don’t play well with others. Could people feel put off by what you saying online? Are you being derogatory or insulting in any way? Make sure you are being sensitive to the issues of your audience and worse yet, don’t get into online arguments with others.
  4. You’re off when they’re on and vice versa. Are you posting at a time when your audience is actively online? Are you sleeping while they’re browsing? Unless you are scheduling your updates (which is highly recommended), you are missing your audience. You want to be most active when they are.
  5. You’re not connected with the right people. Are you missing the boat altogether? Make sure your audience knows that you’re out there. It’s fine to connect with others who may be outside of that demographic. However, you want to make sure you are reaching the people who could buy your book.

All of the above can be summed up into one simple sentence: Be where they are when they are, be nice, and give them what they’re looking for.

DISCUSSION: Have you ever missed the mark on connecting with your audience?

 

Weekly Recap:

Quick Question – What is Self-Publishing?

5 Things to Look For in a Self-Publishing Company

Bookstores Are In Trouble and What this Means to Your Self-Publishing Marketing Plan

Self-Publishing Book Review of the Week