Self-Publishing News: 8.5.2020

On-trend 2020 calendar page for the month of August modern flat lay.

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

That’s more like it! Last week might have been a slow news week for self-publishing, but this week has more than made up for it. We’ll start with Rob Price’s opinion piece on Cleveland.com earlier this week, a piece which sets out to explain why it is that self-publishing is where it is right now, poised to take huge chunks of the publishing market share with the advent of COVID-19 and a big turn towards reliance on e-books. And Price should know what he’s talking about, since he’s the president of Gatekeeper Press as well as a former chairman of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). He himself has sold 200,000 copies of his self-published books, so he’s writing as both an industry professional and an author who has achieved incredible success. Price, who founded Gatekeeper Press in 2015, writes that “When the coronavirus pandemic hit five months ago, something big happened: Author consultations and publishing services skyrocketed.” (This confirms what we’ve suspected for a while, and we’re very much looking forward to retrospectives once the full year’s book data comes in.) But why? Price points to authors having more free time as a result of the pandemic, as well as the society-wide emphasis on storytelling during both the pandemic and the  BLM protest movement. This is also a time of fast-moving news headlines and struggle, so the timeliness and turnaround speed of self-publishing is a major asset, getting books into peoples’ hands before public attention moves on. He’s also certain that in a time of great disconnect and distancing, the personal assistance a small press or self-publishing can provide is critical to the forward momentum of new and inexperienced authors. We recommend taking a look at all of his points in more detail!

This week on Entrepreneur, contributor Ken Dunn brings us an interview with bestselling author Jack Canfield, who co-created the “Chicken Soup” series that has become one of the world’s top-selling nonfiction series of all time. (His founding partner was Mark Victor Hansen.) Writes Dunn, “Jack’s books have sold over 500 million copies around the world. Although there is no way to confirm this definitively, Jack Canfield is likely one of the top non-fiction authors of all time.” That’s quite a resume. What Canfield goes on to tell Dunn amounts to a rousing top five suggestions for authors looking to break into self-publishing, and they include knowing who you’re writing for, and how you want to help them; finding a competent editor before publication; embracing persistence in an industry that requires both lots of attempts and lots of legwork; taking advantage of free media opportunities like podcast interviews to boost public awareness of your book; and lastly, following the “rule of five.” Says Canfield, this “rule” requires self-published authors to “Do five things a day toward the achievement of your breakthrough goal. Our breakthrough goal was to get this book to be a bestseller.” And eventually he and Hansen achieved that goal––but it wasn’t by way of immediate breakout success. After fourteen months of work, they hit their first bestseller list, and after a slow ascent it stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for three years. This success depended on the authors’ dedication to that rule, Dunn implies. You absolutely must check out the full article.

Our final must-read news item for the week comes from Forbes, which has over the last couple of years made a point of regularly publishing articles on self-publishing by various contributors. This week’s contributor is Serenity Gibbons, whose work centers on entrepreneurs and how they achieve success. Despite the quick uptick in e-book sales as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown, Gibbons answers the question “Has digital content demolished print books?” with the answer: “No more than elevators replaced stairs, points out British comedian Stephen Fry.” She goes on to make note of the fact that over the last few years, print sales have been slowly increasing their market share, not decreasing in the way that many expected after the first advent of e-books and their sharp rise in sales. She also notes that many wealthy readers consider print books “because they view this material as more meaningful than what they read online.”  Gibbons draws upon conversations with a number of authors to lay out her ten recommendations, which run the gamut from purpose to planning to researching the competition to cultivating feedback and partnership and creating a “circle” of personal influencers. We highly recommend reading up on all ten of her tips!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

Self-Publishing News: 7.21.2020

21 July on wooden blocks with a white daisy on a red background

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

In their recent press release, the industry data analyst Technavio has published some insights on the trends that they observed in the global publishing industry throughout the first half of 2020 and some they expect to continue to develop through the end of the year–and then onward through 2024. The release opens with the statement that “Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the growth of various industries, the immediate impact of the outbreak is varied. While a few industries will register a drop in demand, numerous others will continue to remain unscathed and show promising growth opportunities.” That tantalizing statement is a preface for (paid) access to their full report, although the do offer a free sample report that is definitely worth seeing. (Infographics really are our friends!) From what we can gather, print sales are lagging across many genres and ebooks are again rising in popularity to offset that, likely as a result of bookstores struggling to put print books into peoples’ hands by way of bookshop browsing. Consider this your annual reminder to seek out new ways to partner with your local bookstores–and to diversify the ways and means that readers can lay their hands on your books!

In an article for Entrepreneur that was picked up later by The Hour and other online platforms, Lucas Miller of Echelon Copy LLC shared six common errors that self-publishing authors frequently make when breaking into the business. We won’t spoil the whole article for you, as it is truly worth a read on its own merits, but we were particularly struck by how no. 5 (“Forgetting print and digital formatting”) reinforces what we just noted above in our review of Technavio’s report: if you want your self-published book to thrive during the era of social distancing, making sure you have multiple avenues–Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org and indie bookstores, and so forth––to purchase your books is important, and so too is making sure that you have a range of formats–ebook, print, print-on-demand, audiobook, and so forth–available to suit the needs of your readers. 

Our last news that we’re going to feature this week is specifically relevant to those indie authors based out of the US who use the program Substack for their newsletters, and since Substack continues to grow in popularity, we thought it worth a mention here. Brian Heater of TechCrunch covers Substack’s latest move, launching Defender to assist in (lacking a more specific term) defending the legal rights of indie authors. As Heater puts it,

In the worlds of journalism and publishing, it’s fairly common for the wealthy to attempt to shut down reporting with legal threats. For those publishing on large platforms with plenty of resources, such challenges can be a massive headache. For independent writers and publishers, on the other hand, the consequences can be far more dire.

If you use Substack, take a look at Heater’s full article. Hopefully other newsletter platforms will follow suit!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

In Your Corner: Put Your COVID-19 “Vacation” to Work!

laptop flowers

Oh, I know–turning what’s possibly the most abnormal “vacation” (or slowdown, or full-speed nightmare, depending on whether you work and in what essential or nonessential industry you work in) into a working vacation isn’t necessarily what you had in mind for your summer, but the fact remains: books aren’t going to sell themselves, and when it comes to being an indie author, there’s not a moment to be wasted. Even if it feels like COVID-19 has completely derailed everything else, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed:

Marketing takes a lot of time.

Luckily for everyone, there are some easy ways to boost your sales and make your summer weirdness work for you rather than against your book sales!

Vacations and the reunions that go with them can be the absolutely most ideal time to market your book and gather some new readers. Or maybe old readers. Age doesn’t matter. Everybody reads, especially when they have a personal connection to the author–you! Reunions are a fantastic place to tell family members, friends, and other personal connections about your book and where they can buy it. Obviously we now live in a time of #SocialDistancing, which means most of these reunions (and birthday parties, graduation parties, memorials, holiday get-togethers, and family check-ins) are taking place over Zoom or FaceTime UnHangOut or one of the many other digital video call platforms available. And by golly, everyone’s probably ready at this point to have something to talk about other than the virus and all of its inconveniences. (I know I sure am.) Even though you may not be in the same room, your book may just be the kind of news your family and friends need to distract themselves with, and then share with their friends … and their friends ….

Don’t underestimate the power of your personal network.

Then there’s the most magical of all summer vacation destinations: the gift shop, the ultimate place to display and present your book for shoppers and readers on their various road trips. And while you travel, too–any stranger you meet on a trip is only a stranger until you break the ice by sharing your book. Buuuuut … the virus is here, right? So unless you live in one of those few states where reopening is moving into Phase II right now, what we thought we were going to go and do this summer is turning out to be very different from what we can go out and do. That said, you’re leaving a digital footprint every bit as large as you would have left a physical one during a normal summer. Don’t hesitate to use every platform to launch your book. You just want to make sure you don’t violate that platform’s version of digital etiquette.

Of course, if you’re going to make the most of your, ahem, vacation (whatever this season looks like for you), there are some things to keep in mind. You’ll need to:

Keep up with your social media.

Before you take off for the beach or the mountains or the hazy land of Netflix binges, schedule. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Facebook has a lovely, easy tool built-in to make this possible–simply put your posts together, and click the drop-down arrow next to the ‘post’ button and input the date and time of your intended schedule.

But what about the others? There are quite a few tools out there to manage all of your media at once. Hootsuite is one, Later.com another, Buffer yet a third. Do your due diligence and pick a service that fits your needs, and be aware that there are free options, so you should theoretically be able to take care of your scheduling needs affordably. Once you have an account, all you have to do is preload your tweets, your posts to Google+ and Instagram and so on.

And of course, be safe! If you’re actually traveling, play up your travels as much as you like as a kind of promotion, but don’t make a point of mentioning how long you’ll be away from home, or other personal details that the disingenuous might exploit. Take pictures and make plenty of memories to share later! Those of us who can’t go anywhere are living vicariously through you. Congratulations. Give me all your photos!!

Network!

Take full advantage of your summer to plan for the future. Is there a writing conference taking place in one of your destination cities that’s still on, or going digital? Get on the list. Are there book readings? Could you plan a book reading through one of the libraries near your beach or mountain idyll or thoroughly fortified house? Local writing groups are another great option. Plenty of people might be interested in having you speak about the process of self-publishing, and libraries, writing groups, and other businesses and organizations are in desperate need of new partners willing to learn how to use Zoom (or whichever digital space) and keep their programming alive.

And of course, come prepared. Keep a bundle of digital promo pictures or a pack of business cards, bookmarks, postcards, posters, and a couple of promotional copies of your book on hand, and practice your elevator pitch thoroughly beforehand. If you haven’t yet invested in some merch or beautifully designed graphics, go ahead and start down that glorious road. Think outside the box, too: is there a way to promote your book while traveling, even if it’s only traveling the many varied landscapes of the Internet?

Make it a GRAND tour!

Some of the items on your agenda are a given, no matter what kind of summer we’re talking about. Marketing your self-published book shouldn’t take up all of your precious vacation time, but spending even just a handful of minutes each day checking Twitter or arranging a couple of book readings will help support the marketing and sales momentum you’ve worked so hard to build–not to mention pay for an even better (and hopefully actual) vacation next year!

You are not alone. ♣︎

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

Elizabeth
ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Self-Publishing News: 5.26.2020

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

As a part of their series, ‘Publishing and the Pandemic,’ Scroll.in hosted a piece by Siddhartha Gigoo, whose recently published Love in the Time of Quarantine is as winsome as it is earnest. Gigoo began the book as many writers have–as a record of his own experience, given new form and voice and presence by the page. Unlike most authors, however, he set himself what seems an impossible challenge in authorship. As he puts it,

That night I opened a blank Word document and saved it as “Isolation Diary”. I stared at the unmarked page for a long time, wondering what to do with it. After some time, I closed it and went back to reading Homer’s The Odyssey.

I couldn’t go beyond the first stanza:

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns, driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.”

I kept humming it constantly in my head. Such was the spell cast by its imagery.

21 days

The next day I opened the blank word document again and typed a sentence. I posted a story on Instagram that evening – “Friends, I have decided to write a novel in 21 days.”

Even while he was writing nearly nonstop, Gigoo found time to think through his publishing philosophy and process. He writes, “During my stargazing breaks in the balcony, I wondered what to do with the manuscript after I was done. ‘Should I send it to my agent or pitch it directly to publishers?'” His decision was influenced by the immediacy of self-publishing. His goal? Write a book in 21 days. Publish on the 22nd day.

That’s just not something you can hope to do with a traditional publishing house and process! A fast-tracked manuscript can sometimes scrape by some of the usual delays, but the traditional publishing mechanism usually equates to a wait of eighteen months to two years between submission and publication. That wasn’t going to work for Gigoo. “The nausea of it all!” he exclaims. So he recruited his daughter to design the book cover and his wife to serve as editor and copyeditor, and he sat down to cram eight days a week of work into the usual seven day schedule we all live through. (Even though time now seems liminal and transient.) He made it work, despite last-minute hiccups and obstacles, despite his near-impossible timeline, and even now he celebrates the flexibility and functionality of the self-publishing way. Pondering the weighty reality of mortality, prompted by current events, Gigoo writes that “If at all I am able to finish my next novel, digital publishing will be my first choice. Less baggage is preferable in the current times.”

The perfect end note to our own piece, we find. Please read Gigoo’s entire article at the link, above! It is well worth the time to enjoy his original words in full.


spa-news
As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

Self-Publishing News: 5.5.2020

Well, due to the way the dates have shaken out with our weekly schedule, we have officially missed the two best May-themed memes that there are:

it's gonna be may Justin Timberlake

… and …

Art Deco May the 4th be with you (May 4) Star Wars celebration Day text.

Be that as it … ahem … may, we have some news for you this week!

On-trend 2020 calendar page for the month of May modern flat lay

We apologize for the interruption to our normal routine! This has certainly been a disrupting time for everyone, not just us, and we hope that now we are settling into all of our respective new routines that this post finds you well and thriving despite the difficulties.

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

We’ve written often on the virtues and happenings in the world of zines for self-publishing authors, both as a first platform for experimentation and as a sort of written publication that is so fast in its turnaround time that it provides the perfect way to respond to current events. This is certainly the case with the zines featured in Ysabelle Cheung’s article for HyperAllergic.com last week, which includes the telling subtitle: “There may never have been a better time for the zine, since as COVID-19 rages on, many artists are turning to self-publishing as an alternative way to connect while in isolation.” Cheung, citing the input of zine expert Beatrix Pang, notes that there has been an uptick in zine publications (including zines specifically relating to COVID-19) during the global slowdown associated with the virus. Writes Cheung, some of the best “includ[e] Pop & Zebra’s The New Coronavirus Abecedary, a mini-zine of COVID-19 terminology, and artist Eunice Tsang’s forthcoming No Play Today, featuring photos of cordoned-off playgrounds. In this time of anxiety, Pang says, ‘A zine can narrate ephemeral and mundane daily life experiences, and also deliver important messages and advocate for individual or collective freedom.'” If you have been thinking about self-publishing a zine, or self-publishing in general, but haven’t quite known what to do to get started, we highly recommend taking a look at Cheung’s article and paging through some of the examples if you can. Maybe one day soon we can look forward to getting a glimpse into your quarantine life … by way of a quaranzine!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.