Self-Publishing News: 5.07.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

In keeping with its power to assist in democratizing literature, self-publishing has always provided a home for authors traditionally locked out of the traditional publishing process, including authors who are women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and people without access to great resources. This week, at least one of those groups is seeing themselves and their works reflected on the awards circuit: women took home all of awards for all six of the categories of the second annual ‘Pen to Publish’ contest, sponsored by Amazon India, that recognizes “and celebrates self-published digital literary works across several Indian languages,” according to this article in India’s Business Standard. Barriers to women in publishing exist internationally, and so it’s really quite nice (to put it mildly) to see six Indian women recognized for their skill and craft. Totally worth a look!

Did you know the American Booksellers Association runs online marketing meetups? Neither did we! Now that we do, we’re super excited to hear from BookWeb a little bit about their most recent meetup, the first in a series of tree focused on IngramSpark, Ingram’s print-on-demand and e-book distribution platform. Ingram is one of the major companies to keep in mind when attempting to sell your self-published books through retail locations, including both the biggies (like Barnes and Noble) and indie bookstores. Barnes and Noble, of course, has its own thing going on with the Nook platform, but indie booksellers—and libraries!—rely heavily on Ingram for their purchases, and some will only stock books if they’re available through that platform. Emily Behnke of BookWeb points out a number of the meetup’s highlights, and provides a summary of the IngramSpark offerings. Definitely worth checking out!

In further exciting news for gamers, as the headline from GBATemp makes clear, Platinum Games is breaking into the self-publishing market. As GBATemp‘s Krista Noren says, Platinum’s CEO “Inaba hopes to spend 2019 preparing Platinum Games for a future where all its games will be self-published.” That’s pretty cool! We’ll be watching as the self-publishing phenomenon continues to make inroads into the gaming sector.


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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The Importance of Distribution in Self Publishing

If a publisher focuses on discounts to an author who buys their own book in bulk, that often communicates two things. 1) That publisher is more concerned with selling to you than to other readers. 2)  The publisher is charging you too much for lower quantities. Do you really want to be forced to buy 100 books at a time just to get a fair price? “Bulk” discounts simply trick the author into buying more books than they need, which defeats the whole advantage of on-demand printing.

I’ve seen many authors go down that road, and then end up with lots of books sitting in their garage or basement that no one knows about, because the distribution piece is missing.  The power of the on-demand printing and EDI distribution offered in custom self-publishing take advantage of wholesale availability via multiple sales channels including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Baker and Taylor, and Ingram—North America’s largest distributor.  Look also to see that your book is available through I-Page, the book ordering system available at over 25,000 bookstores and retail chains world-wide.

Do look also for a publisher that will sell your book to you at a special author discounted price as well.  It’s never a bad idea to have access to an inventory to compliment your virtually endless on-demand inventory.

The power of distribution when paired with flexible pricing creates an advantageous sales combination for the self-publishing author.

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Tips on Annotation for the Self-Publishing Author

Last week we discussed the book marketing value of professional cover scribing. Annotation provides an avenue to use that externally to enhance that marketing online.

ANNOTATION is used by Ingram during the distribution process. When the book is listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website, it’s the annotation that fills the PRODUCT DESCRIPTION/OVERVIEW section.   The ANNOTATION is also restricted in length, although very often can be substantially longer than the Back Cover Copy.  Ideally, the ANNOTATION should be as long and as detailed as possible, perhaps requiring multiple headings to separate elements of the ANNOTATION.  The total character count, including spaces, should be as close to 4000 as possible without exceeding it.   It’s okay to include the author biography again in the ANNOTATION, provided a separate heading (Like “About the Author”) separates the content. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the capability of understanding basic HTML formatting tags, so judicious use of several tags can help an ANNOTATION really stand out.  Two specific tags that should be used are the <b>BOLD</b> tags and the <em>italics</em> tags, both of which can help draw a reader’s attention to specific words and phrases within the ANNOTATION. Bullet point and numbered lists are good here, too.

Whew. Have fun. Keep writing.

– Karl Schroeder