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.


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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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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