Self-Publishing News: 4.30.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

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

Remember how we recently mentioned the Library Writers Project from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon? It looks as though the entire state of Minnesota is now on board and doing something similar as they launch their Indie Author Project. The IAP. One significant difference from the collaborations we’ve highlighted earlier is that the IAP is competitive, with winners receiving both financial and promotional rewards for their involvement. (Multnomah County Library, for comparison, partnered with Ooligan Press to help move certain leading lights of their Library Writers Project into print.) They do share some core DNA, however, in that the IAP’s “Winning authors will reach hundreds, if not thousands, of new readers via Minnesota’s libraries, and can also leverage being an award-winning author for additional marketing opportunities.” The barriers to entry are low, with the only requirements being that submitted works be:

• Indie-published
• Written by a Minnesota resident
• In an adult fiction or young adult fiction genre
• Available in either PDF or ePUB format

If you are a Minnesota author and are interested, there is more information on submissions in the original article, which you can access by clicking the link, above, and following the instructions and links provided there.

If you’re a science fiction and fantasy fan, you’ve likely heard about some of the many award-related controversies taking place in the world of SFF literature. Recently, the Nebula Awards had their own controversy. The Nebula’s parent organization opened their awards to considering indie and self-published books for their awards in 2013 (which was actually rather ahead of the trend, we’d note; many literary and book awards still to this day do not allow indie and self-published works for consideration). The upside of this has been that their ballots have become ever more inclusive and diverse, a fact of which the Nebula organizers are proud of. They’ve gone on the record to encourage voters to vote according to each book’s individual merit, not outside agendas: “The work that stays with you, that moves you, that work that you love the most should earn your vote,” the article quotes. Unfortunately, the downside of opening up the eligibility is that new legions of participants and supporters are now being asked to learn what might be termed “award-season etiquette.” Unfair promotional campaigns, of which there are many kinds, can sway voters in ways that ignore the merit of individual works. A “slate vote” is one such campaign, and often entails someone putting together a list (or “slate”) of books for others to vote for without having read the works themselves. (And yes, often these slates are put together based on ideologies, not the works’ merits.) So what was this most recent controversy? A very well-intentioned influencer put together a recommended reading list of indie publications up for the 2018 Nebula Awards, and the Internet went a little nuts, with widely-varying opinions all being expressed very strongly. The influencer, one Jonathan Brazee, has since written an apologetic explanation for the reading list, which has made clear his good intentions—which were not to sway voters to vote on books they hadn’t read, but rather to boost awareness of the awards’ growing diversity in nominated works.

It’s good to know that even in this age of polarized online debate, people can still come to understand each other better. And we agree with both parties involved—with Brazee, that indie and self-published authors are totally worth celebrating as we exit awards season, and with the Nebula organizers, who are understandably concerned that new audiences may not be aware of some of the inherent pitfalls to award voting processes. Each award has its own rules and recommendations.


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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: 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.

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