Self-Publishing News: 5.18.2021

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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.

Don’t Miss These Opportunities to Promote Your Book

Book fairs are an excellent way to promote your self-published book, learn about the publishing industry, and network with other professionals. Even though the year is more than half way over, it’s not too late to promote your book at some of this year’s book fairs. Here are a few you might want to add to your calendar.

2014 Beijing International Book Fair

Show Date: Aug 27, 2014 – Aug 31, 2014
Location: Beijing, China
Deadline: Aug 05, 2014

2014 LIBER (Spain)

Show Date: Oct 01, 2014 – Oct 03, 2014
Location: Barcelona
Deadline: Sep 10, 2014

2014 Frankfurt International Book Fair

Show Date: Oct 08, 2014 – Oct 12, 2014
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Deadline: Sep 12, 2014

2014 Pennsylvania Library Association

Show Date: Sep 29, 2014 – Sep 30, 2014
Location: Lancaster, PA
Deadline: Sep 12, 2014

2014 Illinois Library Association

Show Date: Oct 15, 2014 – Oct 16, 2014
Location: Springfield, IL
Deadline: Sep 26, 2014

2014 New England Library Association

Show Date: Oct 19, 2014 – Oct 21, 2014
Location: Boxborough, MA
Deadline: Oct 03, 2014

2014 California Library Association

Show Date: Nov 07, 2014 – Nov 09, 2014
Location: Oakland, CA
Deadline: Oct 06, 2014

2014 New York Library Association

Show Date: Nov 06, 2014 – Nov 07, 2014
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Deadline: Oct 17, 2014
Many of these book fairs have deadlines that are fast approaching, so be sure to sign up soon.
In addition to these popular book fairs, look for local events where you can promote your book. County and state fairs are often a good choice as are hometown fall festivals.
I’d love to know, where do you plan to promote your book this year?
ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, 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