Self-Publishing News: 7.2.2018 – The Company Files!

july

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically news from or regarding self-publishing companies!

Like it or not, there’s a widespread cultural assumption right now that because bookstore chains are struggling, therefore so too must authors be. Mercy Pilkington of The Good e-Reader is here to complicate that picture with an article that opens with the above provocative question, and sets out to disentangle common misconceptions about the lives of self-published authors as well as their traditionally-published counterparts. So, what, exactly, “does the industry hold for the traditionally published authors, the ones who’ve managed to snag the Holy Grail of writing and find both an agent and a publisher?” Pilkington goes on to answer: “Here’s a hint: the clearance bin at your local dollar store is filled with books that had a traditional publishing deal.” Being traditionally published is no insulation against common market pressures, she infers. Being an author has always, except for the ultra-rare zero-point-one-percent-likelihood blockbuster breakout success, been more about the art than the money for obvious reasons. And Pilkington’s closing thoughts are just as hard hitting. She writes:

But is this a chicken-egg scenario? Are publishing contracts paying authors literally minimum wage because all deals are getting smaller, or are the deals getting smaller because authors are shunning publishers and they aren’t earning as much as they once did? Either way, this situation sheds light on the increased professionalism and credibility that now surrounds the indie author space, indicating that this is (still) a great time to self-publish.

What do you think?

If you haven’t heard about “book-stuffing” … well, don’t worry. Neither had we, until this latest Amazon controversy blew up. Apparently, the self-publishing wing of the website (Kindle Direct Publishing) quietly rolled out some new rules to prevent authors from bundling their books together to get around the page limits of its subscription reading service, Kindle Unlimited. But that’s not where the controversy stops. (This is Amazon after all.) In a turn which surprises no one, Amazon has failed to enforce any of these rules, according to a number of leaders from within the self-publishing community who are pushing for the industry giant to put some weight behind its regulations. The simple fact is that there’s little incentive for the company to do so; its sheer size and its often-accused-as-exploitative author contracts insulate it from many of the ill side effects that the authors themselves will face. The way that Kindle Unlimited is set up, everyone who elect to offer their books through the service is paid out of one shared pot, which is allocated proportionally to its most-read texts. Book-stuffing makes it possible for some authors to exploit loopholes at other authors’ expense, and is therefore not a neutral or mildly problematic activity; it actually threatens livelihoods. Here’s hoping Amazon listens to its detractors and does some enforcement on this issue.

Self-publishing is an emergent opportunity for game design companies these days, with Frontier (above), Bungie, and NieR Studio all making noise in the last few weeks over their intentions to start self-publishing games. Frontier, a British game design company, recently launched an entire self-publishing division after closing down its less successful work-for-hire division. Writes Christopher Dring of GamesIndustry.biz, “It completed its contract with Microsoft (which included the 2015 game Screamride and incubation work on HoloLens), built its own publishing team and now answers only to itself and its shareholders.” The company is now in the process of deciding on how to go about offering third-party publishing to game designers who want to break from the traditional games publishing process. “‘It has to speak to our values,’ [Frontier CCO] Watts says. ‘The games that we make, we want them to be remembered.'” The CEO and CCO of Frontier discuss the elements which make for successful video games, which sound an awful lot like the ingredients for a successful self-published book: authenticity, ambition, attempting something new, and attention to detail. The article serves as a deep dive into the history of one game design company which is “going indie,” but it might just serve as a template to follow for other such companies in the near future.


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.

icon logo self publishing advisor

Self-Publishing News: 12.25.2017 – Merry Christmas!!

And now for the news!

Yes, yes, it’s Christmas! And we know you have some yuletide carols to sing, some gifts to open, and some people to see. We’ll keep it short, but we wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas first! Here are some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

First off, the really really good news: Outskirts Press (with whom many of our writers over the years have worked) are offering a really spectacular deal this holiday season, with $800 off the package price of any of their One-Click Publishing suites. These suites already offer really spectacular discounts by combining services in order to drop prices, so this discount means that for a couple of days over this Christmas season, you’ll be getting everything at rock-bottom price. And if you’re not ready to commit to one of their One-Click Publishing suites, they’re also offering $300 off the package price for their Ultimate and Full-Color publishing services, which are excellent as well. Check out the press release (at the link) or visit their website at www.OutskirtsPress.com for a Christmas present all your very own!

Have you been thinking about self-publishing this holiday season, maybe taking advantage of that sweet deal (above)? Shirley McMarlin of the Tribune-Review has some words of wisdom for you as you move forward. Some of them are warnings, some are encouragements, but they are all of them very wise indeed. Take a peek as she explores some of the ups and downs of both traditional and self-publishing platforms, and digs into those specifics which sell books (it’s not always what you might expect!). Nobody ever said it would be easy … but with experts like McMarlin around, it’s certainly easier to make the right decision to fit your needs.

Oh, who are we kidding? We love a good and positive story during the holiday season, and Jeff Polman’s piece for HuffPost earlier in December truly fits the bill. Herein Polman shares how, as a previously self-published author, he made his first foray into traditional publishing … and then turned right around and returned to self-publishing. Why? He’d written a book he loved, in a voice he felt at home in, and afterward discovered that agents and publishers were looking for some specifics which would require him to rewrite the entire thing to suit. Rather than do that–and sacrifice his original vision for this newest book–Polman went his own way, again, proving the (maybe not-so-) old adage that self-publishing is a refuge for those creators who want to maintain creative control over their work. Read the full article for more!

Yes! Self-publishing is about more than books! We’ve written before on how the self-publishing industry has its roots in everything from printed literature like books and comics and magazines to digital materials like ezines and so forth … but this might just be one of the first times we’ve seen games brought into the conversation. And we love it! the Xbox (and its archcompany, Microsoft) might just be opening its doors to independent games publishers and creators, who formerly were barred from seeing their games used on the platform. This would be, if it truly comes to pass, a massive move in reshaping the gaming industry, with repercussions which will be felt for years to come. Indie game designers have been making inroads into the industry for a while, but the Xbox remains one of the primary hardware components to gaming, and this decision places a thumb very heavily on the scales in favor of the diversification and democratization of game-space. Read the full article, courtesy of Matt Liebl and GameZone, 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.

selfpubicon1

Self-Publishing News: 9.4.2017 – The Company Files!

september

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically news from or regarding self-publishing companies!

You might have guessed the answer to this most provocative of questions, posed by Cath Everett of Personnel Today: there will be some who say yes, and some who say no, with a slow and steady progression toward embracing our tech-savvy future whether we like it or not. According to Everett, one company has already made the switch and might provide some important guidance for others looking to make the leap: Reedsy, a self-publishing company based out of the United Kingdom–but with staff in at least 15 countries. Reedsy has, says Everett, “taken this [trend] to the extreme,” with co-founder Emmanuel Nataf going on record to say “having people in the same room means there are more issues to manage and deal with,” a problem which is easily resolved by moving toward a fully remote model. There are additional benefits, Everett records Nataf as saying: “There’s less directed management with a remote team because everyone has objectives and know what they are [….] So results are the only thing we look at, not how much time people spend in the office.” That’s all well and good, but are there any downsides? “[Employees] need to be enthusiastic and know how to manage their time,” Nataf acknowledged: “If they’re only 50% into the idea, it simply won’t happen.” A word of caution in an otherwise enthusiastically pro-remote article, and if our own experience is any guide, this is a subject which will cycle back into relevance over the coming years.

Literature has no monopoly on the self-publishing method; games and art collaboratives have made inroads into today’s market using the exact same model, and in the case of KO_OP, they’re seeing phenomenal success. In this article for Cartoon Brew, correspondent David Calvo delves into the sort-of-cooperative, sort-of-corporation’s latest game came into being, and how KO_OP’s recent successes fall into place with the gaming world’s longstanding (but often tortuous) relationship with self-publishing. The game in question, GNOG, “ends up being a weird psychedelic journey in expressivity, a warped cosmogony holding more questions than answers,” writes Calvo: “Such a carefully crafted game could only emerge from a quiet, hopeful place. Montreal game studio KO_OP’s survival as a perpetual start-up is somewhat baffling, in a professional world of self-interests and coteries.” Perhaps the most profound connection between KO-OP’s GNOG and self-publishing is their shared philosophies. Says Calvo, “The refusal to engage in the trap of games as art (an already stale debate), the willingness to avoid the traditional pitfalls of gamemaking, like burnout or overthinking processes, are powerful tools.” Indeed they are–for everyone in the art-making business, whether visual or written or something else entirely. We can’t wait to play GNOG, and can’t recommend this article enough!

I know, I know, isn’t this just another gimmick from a member or the traditional enclave of media-production companies to boost diminishing sales? Maybe. But it’s kind of cool how Lonely Planet is going about it, especially if you look to Hassan Butt’s fascinating article on Transform (which touts itself as “The only global magazine for rebranding and brand development”). According to Butt, Lonely Planet’s “Trips” is, in fact, a “self-publishing content platform that aims to reimagine photo-sharing.” That’s quite a thought. What have we been doing with our Facebook photo albums, our Picasa accounts, our Twitter feeds, if not “self-publishing content” of a visual nature? It may just be a matter of semantics, but it looks as if Lonely Planet will be publishing quite a few of its well-regarded travel guides online for ease of use during travel. Butt’s article hits on all the right buzzwords: “storytelling,” “interactive user engagement,” “original, authentic outlook,” and “trustworthy reputation” all make a strong case for new users to give the app a chance. If you’re looking to travel abroad, let us know your thoughts!


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.