Self-Publishing News: 4.23.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

In a powerful interview with Verne Harnish—author, entrepreneur, and founder of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) as well as founder of global education and coaching firm Scaling Up—Thrive Global‘s Sara Connell gets to the bottom of why the long arc of self-publishing’s ongoing evolution has become so connected, in recent years, to movers and shakers in the world of business and financial investments. A part of it, Harnish hints, comes down to control: With self-publishing, the rapid changes constantly happening in the world of business pose no challenge to the applicability and usefulness of his books on the subject. In the world of traditional publishing, by contrast, books on business and entrepreneurship and finances are often outdated even before they hit the shelves—these are socioeconomic areas where life comes at you fast—and where publishers hesitate to even pick up titles as a result. The byproduct of this lopsided relationship has been a couple of fields where experts lean heavily on blogs, which are easy to confuse with similar blogs by inexpert folk and people with no authority, and a lot of misinformation. With self-publishing, on the other hand, the wisdom of experts like Harnish can be distilled down into distributable, authoritative forms that can then be updated as the fields themselves evolve. Says Harnish: “We update Scaling Up every six months. I have control of it. No one else is controlling my destiny. I get to keep control of my IP completely. And I can use the book as a real strategic tool to both grow its readership and support my business.” That’s a strength if ever we heard one!

Ever wondered why the e-book ownership situation is so complicated? Michael Kozlowski of The Good E-Reader is here with some thoughts on the matter, and the relationship between self-publishing and e-books. The long and the short of it, Kozlowski indicates, is that “Retailers welcome self-published works because they have better [return on investment] and make more money whenever an indie book is sold.” In reality, we never truly purchase e-books … we license them. But why aren’t we transparent about that fact? Writes Kozlowski: “companies could probably educate consumers about this reality. But they don’t. Probably because no one wants to click a button that says ‘license now’ or ‘rent until rights transfer to a new publisher.’ Instead, they bury this information in Terms of Service agreement, which, it is well documented, not very many people read. But is this information unsavory? Need it be obscured?” Now that is indeed an important question to ask.

Recently, one of our blog staff had the opportunity to sit in on a lovely panel hosted by the Multnomah County Library system as well as Ooligan Press, their local university press, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (#AWP19) conference in Portland, Oregon. Their Library Writers Program is pushing the edge of the envelope in new and interesting ways when it comes to developing partnerships between indie and self-publishing authors and their local purveyors of story. The long and the short of it is, MCL figured out how to host local authors’ self-published works on their website and for access through standard library reading apps (think the library equivalents to the Kindle app); after these e-books had been evaluated and distributed, the MCL staff were able to gauge popularity and readership data, and approached Ooligan Press to see if they would be interested in turning some of those e-books into print form. And Ooligan said yes! As a teaching press affiliated with Portland State University, an Ooligan representative noted at the conference, they were able to be more nimble and take risks on indie authors for reasons of scale. The result of this partnership has been the pickup of author Katie Grindeland’s The Gifts We Keep, which is now for sale in print form as a result of the partnership. The story, as told both in the article we’ve linked here and at the panel in Portland, is just one more delightful proof of evidence that libraries, indie presses, and self-publishing authors may just be the making of each other, rather than competitors. We can’t wait to see what comes next in MCL’s Library Writers Project!


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.

icon logo self publishing advisor

Self-Publishing News: 7.18.2016

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

In some cases, an article’s title can mislead, and in other cases, an article’s subtitle can reveal a whole lot more than expected.  This is certainly true of a July 11 article by Aaron Pressman in Fortune, which at first glance might seem to be a bad-news memo but in actual fact is rather packed with hopeful news for the indie author.  The subtitle?  “But growing sales of self-published e-books may offset the drop.”  So in other words, readers continue to read, books continue to sell, and the only change that matters is that self-publishing authors get both a larger slice of the total market and a larger slice of their own royalties (as well as all of those other benefits to going solo).  According to Pressman, 11% drop in e-book sales reported by traditional publishers is in large part the result of the Big Five publishing houses attempting to curb online retailer Amazon’s influence over the market by controlling (read: boosting) their own e-book prices.  Not only is this ploy failing, but it’s failing rather quickly–leaving a real demand amongst avid readers for affordably-priced e-books to fill the gap.  And self-publishing authors, as Pressman documents, continue to step up.  For more of Pressman’s fascinating article, follow the link!

Pretty insane, right?  Not according to Jennifer Blanchard in her July 12 article for the Huffington Post.  According to Blanchard, death is set to come for us all–and just dreaming about being the author she’d always wanted to become wasn’t cutting it.  (“[Y]ou probably thought I was going to say I’m doing it because I’m dying and want to rush and get my books out there before I kick the bucket. And well, you wouldn’t be totally wrong.  I am dying.  But so are you.”)  At the time she made the decision to publish 9 new books, she already had 5 self-published through Amazon and was making $30-$40 a month.  She articulates her dream–and the dreams of many unpublished authors out there–for success as wanting “the big time”:

 I want a huge catalog of self-published books, nonfiction and novels. I want a massive, raving fanbase full of ideal readers who buy all my books. I want a traditional publisher to come to me with a million-dollar book deal. I want Hollywood knocking down my door for the movie rights.

But, she says, she and her dreams were not “aligned.”  She was “playing small.”  And so Jennifer Blanchard decided to change things–and within months of making a public commitment, she was raking in the dividends.  “I became an Amazon Best-Selling author,” she says, and “In June, I sold 1,007 books. In a 30-day period.”  All without changing a thing about how she writes and what she writes.  The only change, Blanchard reports, is that she chose to write and publish more books.  “I created this kind of success because I decided to. Plain and simple,” she writes.  For the entire story, click here.

“A self-published book took the top slot on the most recent iBooks bestseller list,” reports John Maher in this July 14 update for Publisher’s Weekly.  The book in question is Kendall Ryan’s Hitched, Volume 1.  Hitched, the first title in Ryan’s “Imperfect Love” series, took the #1 spot on this week’s list for all ebooks sold through the iBooks Apple store–a truly impressive feat, when you think about it.  It’s not the only  self-published title to make the top 20, with the second volume of Hitched making #15, but it’s the only one to break the top 10.  Billie Taylor’s self-published novel Just Friends sits comfortably at #13, Brenda Rothert’s His at #16, and Find Me by Laurelin Paige holds its own at #18.  Whether or not this wonderful showing for indie authors can be attributed to the trends in ebook sales documented by Aaron Pressman, above, remains unclear–but you can bet this list will continue to demonstrate a strong showing for indie authors of all brands over the coming months.  You can find the original list here.


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 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: 6.27.2016

This week in the world of self-publishing:

“Against all expectations, the traditional book is making a comeback,” writes Chris Mitchell in a June 27 article for The Australian Business Review.  No small publishing market backwater, Australia has long stood as a laboratory for new trends and technologies–and as a healthy chunk of the global market, with access to east European and Asian markets as well as serving as a gateway to the Southern Hemisphere.  As with many other facets of life–such as the environment–Australia often sees changes coming long in advance of others (disasters included) … and the disruptive effects persist there long after they recede elsewhere around the world.  But there’s good news as far as publishing is concerned: the global panic over the digital takeover is beginning to abate Down Under, as the nation’s paper and hardback copies make a comeback.  Says Mitchell:

Last year, for the first time in nearly a decade, book sales rose in Australia — by 2.4 per cent to $979 million. Add $410m in education sales and leading Australian publishers are starting to see a way through the digital disruption of the past ­decade.

They also see a stabilising of digital book sales globally. ­E-books appear to have plateaued at 20 per cent of the market in the English-speaking world.

What does this mean to the self-publishing author, Down Under and abroad?  In keeping with the other coverage we’ve given this issue, it seems as though good news for traditional publishing is almost always good news for self-publishing, too.  (Despite traditional publishing’s tendency to cast it as an “us vs. them” debate.)  A stable market, in which every niche has found stability, is a wonderful thing for self-publishing authors!  And while “Australian book retailers are generally seen to have a long way to go to become as good at selling their stock online as retailers in the US and Britain,” writes Mitchell,
“The rise of Booktopia, the country’s largest independent online bookstore, has shown how this can be done well.”  Australians are canny about balancing the niches!  For more of Mitchell’s original article, click here.

We’ve written about SELF-e before on Self Publishing Advisor, but Ben Muir of The Chronicle has a brand-new (June 24) update!  After summarizing the publishing experience (which seems, more often than not, to be a choice between the traditional route and some variant of the self-publishing route) Muir goes on to introduce SELF-e as some kind of “middle ground.”  SELF-e, which can be found at self-e.libraryjournal.com, is “a website that lets libraries distribute the work of independent authors, and offer an array of genres and content for subscribing patrons.”  Sponsored by the online version of Library JournalSELF-e is one of several–and one of the most successful, to date–options available for self-publishing authors attempting to get their books onto the shelves–physical or digital–of their local library.  The mechanics of the SELF-e process are simple: Authors upload their books in what Muir calls a “painless” process, and once libraries purchase subscriptions to SELF-e, their readers access SELF-e through Biblioboard, a  companion site to Library Journal that operates much like other digital libraries.  Muir writes specifically to announce Timberland Public Library’s decision to invest in SELF-e, a good sign that libraries and their users are still finding this sort of platform useful.  For more information, follow the linkfollow the link!

There’s some very good news for self-publishing authors who choose to pursue audio editions of their books, writes Ryan Joe for Publisher’s Weekly on June 24: “For the second consecutive year, sales of audiobooks grew around 20% in 2015, totaling about $1.77 billion, according to the Audio Publishers Association (APA).”  And this “boom,” writes Joe, “is due to the explosion of digital audio, which has made audiobooks more accessible.”  Muir names three platforms offering digital audio options for the discerning author: Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), the Deyan Institute, and Author’s Republic, owned by Audiobooks.com, and there are various hybrid publishing companies that offer audio packages.  And a lot of authors are headed in this direction, reports Audible’s EVP and publisher, Beth Anderson: already, some 58,000 authors and narrators have booked gigs through her website alone–and while Audible and Amazon are both hefty household names, smaller audiobook publishers are also seeing remarkable success.  There are many benefits to choosing to publish an audiobook, as Joe goes on to describe, including targeting new reader bases and demographics.  For his entire article, check it out on Publisher’s Weekly online!


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 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.

Demystifying the Digital Census : Digital Sales Growing, But Slowing

Last week, I began a series in which I’m applying a microscope to the results of FutureBook‘s Digital Census of 2015 and breaking down to its component parts just what the fallout will be for you and me as indie and self-published authors.  FutureBook, an annual project of industry titan The Bookseller, has been hitting the books for five years now and has become the standard-bearer for those elements of the publishing (and specifically, digital publishing) revolution that range from mainstream (like Amazon) to cutting-edge, innovative, or brand new (like Goop and Medium!).

ebooks

The fifth annual FutureBook conference was held, in part, to evaluate and respond to the Digital Census of 2015, in which record numbers of readers and writers and bloggers and publishers (of traditional or indie ilk alike) and other industry experts reflected upon the ways that has changed or the ways in which they foresee the industry changing, all while indexing their hopes and concerns for where the Book as an object and industry and personal revelation is headed.  The data was condensed down to five talking points which in turn guided and shaped the course of the rest of the conference, and which indicate our ever-evolving relationship to publishing.  These points are:

  1. Mobile overtakes tablets and dedicated e-readers as the device of choice […]
  2. Digital sales are still growing, but they are also slowing […]
  3. Self-love levels recede as many indie authors report lower satisfaction levels […]
  4. Publishing remains very much divided on matters digital […]
  5. … And the majority believe publishers remain unprepared for what is coming [….]

Today I’m going to examine the second of these points, having addressed #1 (the rise of mobile) in last week’s post.  Here’s what the final FutureBook publication says about digital sales, which continue to demonstrate significant growth––although perhaps also showing signs of plateauing :

digital sales

The data meshes nicely with a series I just finished two weeks ago (“The Current State of E-Readers | An Author’s Guide“), in which I lay out the reasons why slowed growth in both ebook and e-reader sales is both a cause for concern (less overhead profit coming in) and for optimism (a diversified, stabilizing market with more competition and more options for authors).  Much of the research I gathered there applies here, so I don’t want to sound like a broken record and repeat myself––but I do want to emphasize the last line in the FutureBook article:

“Publishers have found that digital technology makes producing and delivering audio much more straightforward, but many are concluding that apps are not worth the candle.”

I think this is an important sentence because nowhere else in the article do audiobooks earn a lot of love, and even in the data mentioned above, the statistics for digital audiobooks is combined with that for digital e-books (that is, the text-based variety that doesn’t involve voice actors and snappy narration). And if there’s one segment of the digital publishing industry that’s neglected here and deserves a second look, it’s the digital audiobook!  Readers love them, and so therefore authors are beginning to pay attention.

We all have probably heard about Amazon’s merger with Audible and their ACX offerings for digital audiobooks by now, but what we don’t know (necessarily) is that there’s a whole niche market out there for authors looking to self-published audio books outside of the ACX/Audible/Amazon umbrella.  This Publisher’s Weekly article, for example, takes a look not just at ACX but at smaller companies without big corporate backing, like Open Book Audio and Spoken Word––and other media are starting to take note, including MediaShift and Author Marketing Institute.

As with all aspects of self-publishing, producing an audiobook (either with or without ACX/Audible/Amazon involvement) is a time- and energy-intensive process that deserves both careful and cautious consideration before you decide to commit … or not to commit.  But if there’s anything I’ve learned from my years in the publishing industry, it’s that readers are inherently voracious and will devour good words wherever they find them and in as many formats as they can discover them … and that there’s no such thing as “standing still” when it comes to the evolution of book distribution technology.  We have, as authors, a responsibility to remain at the forefront of the digital evolution––not hanging back and attempting to deny the inevitable progress from one mode of consumption to another, but leading the way and cutting new paths for those who follow.  Only if we innovate can we stay relevant and useful to our readers.  And I fully believe it when I say your book deserves to be heard.*

 

* and yes, I know that’s a terrible pun!

 


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

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.

Achieve Your Summer Reading Goals While on Vacation

Reading is one of the best things writers can do to improve their own work. Reading offers inspiration, teaches the craft, and provides insight into what is (or isn’t) successful right now. I frequently encourage writers to set reading goals — read a certain number of books per month. Your summer vacation is the perfect time to achieve those summer reading goals.

Years ago, when you went on vacation you’d pack a small stack of books to enjoy on the plane or as you laid by the pool. Once those books were finished, your reading was done. Obviously for space reasons (and wonderful suitcase weight limits), it just wasn’t possible to pack all the books you wanted to read. Luckily, times have changed.

E-readers make reading while traveling easy. You can download books to reader before leaving or wait and download books as you need them. This offers countless reading possibilities.

While you probably already have a reading wish list, I encourage you to read something you wouldn’t normally read. This is a great way to step outside your comfort zone and discover a new writing style that might just inspire your own work. For book suggestions, check out bestselling lists such as Outskirts Press Top 10 Kindle Books.

I’d love to know, what are you reading on your summer vacation?

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: 2/19/13

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 Tuesday to find out the hottest news in self publishing this week.

Military Serviceman Turns to Self Publishing to Make his Mark

S. Cameron Roach has been in the military for 24 years. He has been to three wars, speaks Arabic and is an expert on Middle East matters. However, there is one more aspect to his resume that he recently revealed to the world: he writes novels, the first of which is available now as an e-Book and online in print format from major retailers.

Why eBook Retailers Are Embracing Self-Published Authors

Self publishing is changing the publishing industry. This is especially apparent if you look at e-book retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, which is now showcasing books by self published authors. This article talks about the many reasons why readers and retailers love self published e-books.

Five Slightly Unexpected Tips For Self-Published Authors to Find Success

This article has some great tips for self publishing authors — from traditional tips such as copyright considerations to more modern tips such as maintaining relationships with your audience through social media.

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.

BookExpo America 2012 – Recap

BookExpo America (BEA) 2012 took place June 5-7 at the Javits Center in New York City. BEA is the largest annual book trade fair in the United States. The event features major publishers from the US and abroad. Attendees are typically authors, librarians, and book purchasers. This year’s event featured several new events, including Digital Networking Cocktail Hours, streaming of favorite BEA events, and a refreshed BEA Education Program. A few highlights from the event this year included the following:

If you missed BEA 2012 (or just really loved the event), you can stream live events by clicking this link or visiting http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/. Next year’s event will be held June 4-6, 2013 at the Javitz Center in NYC. For more information, please visit http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/.

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.