Self-Publishing News: 5.18.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

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.

Self-Publishing News: 12.8.2020

And now for the news.

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

This article showed up shortly after our last News post, but we held onto it because it’s not the sort of thing that shows up all that often: a well-researched, impeccably presented report on the state of book clubs. The report, which is free for download from BookBrowse.com, is described in detail by BookBrowse publisher Davina Morgan-Witts in a recent Publishers Weekly post. Of particular interest in this particular iteration of the report is the effects of the ongoing pandemic on book clubs, including impacts on where they find their books, whether they purchase or borrow them, whether more book clubs are investing in ebooks or print books, and how the book clubs are adapting to pandemic social distancing guidelines. If you yourself are the author of a self-published book, you might be interested specifically in what this report has to say about the intersection of book clubs and authors under the pandemic; writes Morgan-Witts, “some groups have discovered how easy it is to invite authors to join them on Zoom.” The whole report is absolutely worth exploring, and if you’re an author, maybe this is the impetus you needed to put out a call on social media or through your local library network that you are available for meeting with book clubs by way of Zoom or other videoconferencing options!

This last week, Forbes contributor Stephanie Burns went to bat for self-publishing. Burns, whose primary area of focus is female entrepreneurship, writes that “If you want to gain credibility and exposure online, you can’t afford to pass up the opportunity to self-publish a book, especially when you’ve most likely already created enough content to fill one.” While she mentions KDP several times, it’s the concept of self-publishing that she is specifically behind: “Authors can also list their books for sale on Apple iBooks and Barnes & Noble,” she writes, and “Regardless of the platform, the digital book market is booming. Every day you remain unpublished is a day you’re losing revenue and customers to a less knowledgeable competitor.” Burns cites the case of Jen Ruiz, a lawyer-turned-bestselling-author whose entrepreneurial work has helped connect residents of Puerto Rico with the resources the need to build “online income streams.” Ruiz herself argues that with the pandemic changing the world as we know it, going digital is a way to make use of both the current moment and the entrepreneur’s existing marketing skills. She also actively rejects the idea that the only “real” authors are the ones who publish via the traditional route. Self-publishing can also provide what Burns and Ruiz call “warm leads,” or “the ability to access a free preview of eBooks with hyperlinks.” With this preview properly linked to and from your website, Ruiz argues, it “acts as your personal lead magnet to grow your audience.” Please do read Burns’ entire article on Forbes––it is very much worth your time.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is spa-news.jpg
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: 1.28.2020

january

And now for the news.

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

This week on the Tech Times website, Eric Hamilton gave an important recommendation for the website’s readership to take a longer look at self-publishing than many of them will have given before. This is important because the typical Tech Times reader will already have the sorts of aptitudes and interests to make self-publishing a book and promoting it on social media and through other digital outlets a success–but many of them will not have considered doing so for a variety of reasons. Hamilton appeals to the tech industry’s built-in activist leanings when he writes that “going the route of self-publishing will help someone level the playing field against traditional publishers. With self-publishing tools, authors will have access to the same industry best practices and standards that are used by traditional publishers.” Appealing to a sense of democratic justice can only resonate with generations of Tech Times readers who have come into their voices during the last few decades of increasing online engagement.

Adam Rowe, who has written about self-publishing before for Forbes, brings us another stellar piece this week in the form of an email exchange with self-publishing expert David Gaughran, who serves up his top five reasons for authors of all kinds to spend some quality time developing a robust email methodology as a part of their promotion. His reasons run the gamut from email’s particular suitability for “deepening engagement and retaining readers” to the fact that you own the content, not some social media platform that mines your material for commercial uses, to its unique ability to convert readers into book buyers. While many tout the advantages of social media promotion (including us, of course!), Gaughran writes that the motivational weight of a social media post differs from that of an email. “Through a repost,” he notes, followers “can align themselves with your brand without paying anything for the privilege. But on email, no one’s watching, which encourages genuine, monetary support.” In an age of social media supersaturation, it might just be that slowing down a moment and taking the time to develop an email list retains a certain unmitigated power.


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: 7.23.2019

July

And now for the news!

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

Our first item of news is a fascinating one, coming this week from the GoodEReader’s Michael Kozlowski, who sets out to answer the question of “why are there so few places to buy ebooks?” The answer, he explains, is not quite as complex as you might think: the big distributors—all of which are familiar household names, from Amazon to Apple, Barnes and Noble to Kobo, and Google—already have created a collective monopoly, and they’re able to exert pressure on small startups by virtue of their existing partnerships with the Big 5 publishers (who would be distributing traditionally published ebooks) and major self-publishing companies (who would be distributing many self-published ebooks). Writes Kozlowski, “Starting an ebook store is challenging. Major publishers refuse to do business with anyone that wants to get involved in selling digital content, they have their small list of preferred vendors and that’s it.” It’s a difficult market to break into, and there are few structures in place to make it happen. And since competition is an engine of affordability, the availability of diverse options is something readers would definitely benefit from. Worth keeping in mind.

Adam Rowe of Forbes shows up for self-publishers everywhere yet again in this week’s article on book cover design, a subject we’ve discussed numerous times here on the blog ourselves. But first, what is the “7-second test”? Rowe explains:

You might not have heard of book cover design’s “7 second” test, but if you’ve ever wondered through a bookstore, you’ve undoubtedly tried it yourself. Pick up a book, glance at the front and back covers, and you’ll likely make the decision to either nestle it back on the shelf or seriously consider buying it. That tiny window of time is all an author has to sell their story, and it all comes down to a great book cover design.

With that in mind, authors have to pump up the visual appeal of their book covers in order to have a chance of out-competing fellow authors and seeing their books fly all the way from physical or digital bookstore shelves to the checkout aisle (or virtual checkout, as the case may be). Rowe has some suggestions, all of them good, from reflecting genre expectations to expressing emotion, crafting an attractive thumbnail image, keeping it simple, and ensuring it’s unique. Even in a digital age, when authors aren’t always holding physical books in their hands, Rowe implies, it’s important to consider all of the elements that go into making a beautiful and attractive book cover. A must-read article!

Last but not least, a sweet little article from Laura Hamm of The Bookseller, a privately-owned industry magazine and news engine. Writes Hamm,

I didn’t think I’d ever call myself part of the publishing industry, I’m still not sure I can. I started approaching stories with digital eyes, and have come full circle to print. So I’m now a double self-publisher – I started a self-publishing platform for kids, Fabled, and now I’m creating a book of kid-authored stories, The Future Is Make Believe (live on Kickstarter now). A strange sort of industry beast to be sure, but I think how I’ve grown may be of some interest to the traditional animals out there too.

Hamm’s goal is to render self-publishing accessible and useful to children, a population that by and large has been left untargeted by self-publishers. (There are reasons for that, including the prohibitive costs associated with producing beautiful hardbound books in all the various unusual sizes typical of picture books.) After describing her process and background in creating not just a platform but a book full of stories written by real kids, Hamm closes out with a moving endorsement for all self-publishing authors looking to reach kids:

I think the strange fluidity I’m in as I build my brand mirrors the way children interact with stories. Children are story first and format second – they don’t come with our snobbery about form. They play at Spiderman mashed up with Harry Potter, they read Winnie-the-Pooh, collect the Shopkins and watch Paw Patrol, and it is all fodder for their imagination. It all gets whirled and re-spun in daydreams and their stories. If we give them space to do it that is, if we listen. And I intend to.

We love that.


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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.

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Self-Publishing News: 11.26.2018

november

And now for the news!

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

Look, it’s always cool when self-publishing gets a good word in a high-powered magazine like Forbes, and this week our industry got not just one but two references. First we wanted to mention Kimberly Whitler’s excellent November 24th article, which delves into a number of practical ways in which authors of all stripes and origins and publication modes can capitalize on their skills in order to, as the title of the article indicates, boost reader awareness and engagement with their books. She interviews founder and CEO of Smith Publicity, Dan Smith, about his recommendations. According to Smith, his company deals with roughly 60% traditionally published authors and 40% self-published authors, giving him a range of experience and wisdom on both methods, much of which bleeds into this interview.

The second Forbes article we mentioned? It comes to us by way of Rachel Kramer Bussel, who corresponded with a number of different authors from different publishing backgrounds whose worlds were upended with their publishing house closed down. Many of these authors, Bussel emphasizes, are award-winners and high performers in sales, which is another way of saying “they didn’t deserve to be dropped!” Even the best and most accomplished authors, her article indicates, can find themselves in this situation–and when they do, they need to develop a new plan of action. The publishing house at the heart of this article, Midnight Ink, is of course playing down the impact of their closure (or their decision not to take on new projects after September 2019, as they put it), but authors are justifiably spooked. Where can they go, Bussel asks? Many are choosing to self-publish.

You can find out more about both Forbes articles by clicking the links, above.

Self-publishing is, of course, a global phenomenon–and it’s not one that’s slowing down. Writes Eduardo Simantob of SwissInfo.ch, “Switzerland has a long tradition in independent publishing”–and it’s a history that can be traced all the way back through the country’s long and storied social and religious and technological evolution. Says Simantob, “Today’s independent publishing market has very little to do with politics or religion. Rather, it is a niche increasingly explored by visual artists, with or without renown, as well as for designers who work this medium as an art form in its own right.” These artists are now reaching back across the ocean to show their skills at international publishing venues such as the LA Book Fair, and they’re proud to be leaders in the art of self-publishing beautifully designed books. They’re also building lasting connections and relationships with indie publishers and artists across the European continent. This article, beautifully written and fittingly accompanied by beautifully shot videos by Carlo Pisani that showcase many of Volumes’ beautifully made books, is well worth a visit for the history and the eye candy both.


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.

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