Self-Publishing News: 9.24.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

While the whole notion of a “side”  hustle is up for debate when it comes to self-publishing (we’ve spent quite a lot of page-space talking about the work that’s necessary to make a real success out of it here on the blog), we find ourselves smiling while reading Abdullahi Muhammed’s suggestions on Forbes this last week. Muhammed himself writes that “you may need to experiment with different eBook niches, pricing and promotion strategies before you’ll start seeing tangible profits,” after all. It may be a bit of a surprise to find self-publishing ranked equal with housesitting, renting “stuff” out (such as your parking spot or car), and crafting an online course to showcase your specific skills, but as Muhammed reminds us, we live in a gig economy now. And that means … it’s a tough world out there, and diversifying your income sources is always a good plan.

“Libraries are changing,” writes NPR affiliate Mountain West News Bureau’s Rae Ellen Bichell, and one of the ways they’re changing is in the services they’re offering to their users. They’re also helping offset the problems sparked by what Bichell calls “news deserts”:

More than 170 counties across the country have no local newspaper, and half of all counties only have one — according to a recent report from the University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism. Other studies suggest these growing “news deserts” contribute to low voter turnout, increasing partisanship and even makes local government more expensive to taxpayers.

How do libraries play into this? At least in one town, the local library has helped support a group of local residents in starting their own news publication, one that has faced the usual challenges of a community-run endeavor: funding problems and volunteer scheduling. They hit on a solution that looks an awful lot like how many libraries secure steady funding: a special district. “And what are libraries […] if not nonpartisan, nonprofit sources of trusted information chock full of some of the nation’s best information ninjas?” One of Bichell’s interviewees “dreams of the library housing not just a staff of local journalists, but also tools for citizen journalists to cover their community, like a makerspace for news.”

How does self-publishing fit in? Bichell writes that:

In the most literal sense of content creation, a growing number of libraries host equipment for physically producing new material, like 3-D printers and machinery for self-publishing actual books. In a broader sense, Kerr adds, they’re already starting to share more characteristics with news organizations — like the libraries that have podcasting equipment and green screens available, or even the ones with plans to house a public TV channel in the same building.

The future is wild, but we can’t imagine a better future than one where libraries are looked to by all as centers for boosting information access and countering misinformation—whether we’re talking about traditionally published books, self-published books, sort-of-self-published news resources, or any number of other possibilities. We’re here for it.


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: 9.17.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

Justin O’Connell of Forbes brings us this fun article about the publication of viral sensation B is for Bitcoin, a picture book about cryptocurrency that’s as much for the adults who actually buy the books on behalf of their children as it is for the children themselves. This notion, that adults hold the purse-strings, was one that author Graeme Moore came to early on in the book’s formation:

“I was thinking, what would I want to read to [my niece]? I don’t want to talk about apples and boats and all of that kind of stuff. I want to talk about Bitcoin to my 2-year-old niece who is about to learn how to talk. And that’s how she’s going to learn the alphabet: A is for Altcoin, B is for Bitcoin, C is for Consensus, and D is for Decentralize.”

According to O’Connell, Moore is also an advocate for self-publishing. Writes O’Connell, “This new realm of self-publishing has made it so easy for anybody to create a book, Moore told me. So easy he says, ‘you don’t really realize how easy it is until you actually do it.'” Moore describes and O’Connell relates the process through which the book came into being, including the illustrations and upload for distribution. Moore also notes that “‘Having that excitement, realizing I could be a part of something very special, and then figuring out in what way I could contribute—this was the best way that I knew how.'” That speaks well of both him and the process, don’t you think?

This article, from Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, serves as a timely reminder of where self-publishing came from and where it is now, with columnist Susan Miles Gulbransen guiding Noozhawk readers through the facts. She also asks an important question: “Three experienced local authors have recently written good books but skipped finding traditional publishers. Why?” She then covers her interviews with self-publishing authors Barbara Greenleaf, Hendrika DeVries and Jeanine Kitchel, each of whom was drawn to self-publishing for different reasons and through unique pathways. Together, the three authors represent a rich range of genres, styles, and approaches, with Gulbransen’s article providing a coherent and useful entry point for those looking for anecdotal evidence that they’re doing the right thing or working in a field that will welcome them.


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: 9.10.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

This article from Keith Pearson of MinuteHack is exactly what we needed this morning: a useful list of reminders of how best to market our self-published book during the busiest season in publishing (September to December), when sales and therefore the competition is at its peak. Pearson’s recommendations, which include lots of bits and bobs related to editing, refining one’s attempts to reach a specific audience, and advertising on various digital platforms (BookBub, Amazon, and Facebook). One particularly useful insight is that these advertisements are themselves most effective once an author has released multiple books. Writes Pearson,

Experiences will differ for every author, but I didn’t generate enough income to consider writing full-time until I released my fourth novel. If you want to make a career out of writing, it’s highly unlikely you’ll do that with just one book to your name. Therefore, the most effective way to sell more books is to write more books.

As a bestselling self-published author himself, Pearson has both the experience and the platform to know exactly what he’s talking about.

Now here’s a fascinating piece on the rise of LJ Ross, the indie author whose self-published books recently surpassed JK Rowling as the most widely read author on Amazon. Put out by Deborah Arthurs of Metro.co.uk, the article covers both Ross’s backstory as well as her recommendations for aspiring authors, which include thoughts on finding inspiration as well as one’s story in a world full of noise and distractions, as well as recommendations to keep reading, take breaks, and trust one’s instincts. On self-publishing, Ross notes that:

I chose to self-publish my first book, rejecting a traditional publishing deal because I wanted to be in control and protect the originality of my work – while a traditional publisher would have the right to change almost anything about it. […] Now that traditional barriers have come down, you can give yourself permission to be creative and put your work out there, letting readers be the judge.

As with Pearson, Ross knows what she’s talking about. And not only is Arthurs’ article interesting to read, it’s also packed full of useful points for authors to make use of as they pursue publication.


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: 9.4.2019

Blue september paper banner with colorful brush strokes.

And now for the news!

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

Despite this being a slow news day (in the book world, not the larger world—our thoughts are with those currently facing down Hurricane Dorian) this beautiful gem from Black Girl Nerds caught our eye. Written by self-publishing author Erika Latanya, the piece chronicles Latanya’s journey from self-publishing to traditional publishing and back again, a fascinating little insider’s glimpse into the reasoning behind these decisions. Writes Latanya,

So, I’ve been self-publishing books for a little over two years now. In between, I signed with two different publishers because I wanted more exposure for my work. Not only did I want more exposure but I also wanted to become a bestselling author. Aye, it’s every author’s or aspiring author’s dream. Being able to claim “bestselling author” is the equivalent of earning a verified badge on social media.

But things didn’t quite go according to plan. Latanya goes on:

I wrote my first book and I just knew I’d sell a ton of copies. Ummm — that did not happen. When I signed with two different publishing companies, I assumed they could get me that badge. Ummm — I still didn’t get a badge.

Despite Latanya’s unflagging optimism, elbow grease, and even the leg up that traditional publishing is supposedly supposed to provide those authors who pursue it, selling her books remained an uphill battle. And finally? She broke out of the rut by returning to self-publishing, this time putting her own name down for the publisher and mixing up the kinds of books she was writing. But the main difference, Latanya notes, between her first (not bestseller) book and her second (bestseller) book was something else entirely:

I asked myself, “What did I do differently this time around that I hadn’t done before?” The answer is: Promote. Promote, promote, and then promote. I ran ads, held a giveaway, and even gave some books away for free. Word of mouth helped a lot, too.

While many things about publishing and self-publishing are universal experiences, much also differs from person to person. We love to raise the profile of authors who have something to say for those who are looking to get into self-publishing themselves, and Latanya is certainly fully in control of her own narrative. It’s empowering—and enlightening—to read her story. Many thanks to Black Girl Nerds for hosting her story!

Our second article for the day comes from NewsUSA by way of The Brownsville Herald, and it touches on one of the reasons why more people than ever before are moving from reading to writing self-published books. As the article puts it, “some parents are seeing gaps in the available options of topics they want to share with their children. To combat this, there is a growing trend of parents who have taken matters into their own hands and turned to self-publishing to fill these holes themselves.” Because self-publishing is a safe and welcoming space for books targeting niche audiences or covering material that isn’t quite one-size-fits-all (the way that the United States public school system must necessarily attempt to be), these parents are looking to self-publishing as a place not just to find educational and entertaining books that do what no Big Five publishing house can do, they’re ready and willing to dive into the creation process themselves! While the article is very specifically pro-KDP, its principles apply to all self-publishing companies. The article closes, “These parents have been able to create the books they couldn’t find for kids and found financial success – and sometimes a whole new career – in the process.” And that’s an idea we can get behind.


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: 8.27.2019

august month

And now for the news!

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

While much of the title of this article is self-explanatory, we’re excited to see it out there in the world! Brooke Warner writes this week for Publishers Weekly that there is value in self-publishing, just as there is value in traditional publishing—and that value is dependent on the author’s individual needs. She continues:

Of course I understand any author’s desire to get published traditionally. After all, the seduction of going that route is strong. To be chosen, to have one’s work paid for, to have someone else shoulder the risk—these remain goals and dreams and ambitions that most authors continue to carry, even after they’ve independently published one or countless books.

But value and its cousin worth are sneaky little beasts. I have my ears well-tuned for the ways in which these words show up in conversation with women writers in particular. Value and worth are tricky because they’re words that connote money and finances, yet they encompass so much more than that. After all, it’s rarely the material things in life that top the list of things we most value or that make us feel most worthy.

And many authors aren’t willing or able to take the time or invest the energy necessary to make a success out of a self-published work; others simply overlook the possibility that self-publishing would offer equal or superior value for them in their specific circumstances. Notes Warner:

I champion every author who wants to pursue any kind of publishing opportunity, and I always wish them the best. What triggered me during our conversation was the notion that discovering whether or not the author’s book had value would be inherent in that experience. Authors must determine for themselves whether or not this is so before they shop their book to agents, editors, and publishers. […]

For debut authors, I advise them to be in it for the long haul and to celebrate the small victories, such as moments of connection with readers, a glowing review from a stranger, and the potential that these victories will have to propel the next book. When shopping to publishers, or deciding whether and how to publish at all, consider the qualities inherent in worthiness: the quality of being good enough and the quality of deserving attention or respect. The biggest win for authors, even bigger than an advance from a big house, is to be able to access those qualities and believe them to be true, regardless of the publishing outcome for their work.

We just … we have so much love for this article.

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This article from Arthi Nachiappan of the UK’s The Times comes at a timely moment for those of us who need a moment of encouragement in the midst of a heavy-headline month; Nachiappan opens with the success story of Nicola May, bestselling author of self-published romance works, and whose books have brought her considerable financial as well as statistic success in sales. While much of the article lives behind The Times’ paywall, enough is visible to know that Nachiappan’s article is an important tonic and redress for some recent public statements attacking or at least insinuating negative things about those authors who choose to self-publish instead of pursue a traditional publishing path.

In other good news out of the UK, The Sun‘s Jack Peat brings us this article about self-publishing phenom David Leadbeater, whose self-published work of archaeological fiction, The Relic Hungers, took home some pretty impressive accolades … as well as some seriously amazing sales figures. The article touches upon other nominees and winners for the Kindle Literary Awards, one of a number of high-profile and worthy book awards each year for which self-publishing authors can submit their work for consideration. Speaking of Publishers Weekly, the PW team has previously published a great starter list of awards for authors to look into, which you can find here at the link (see the bottom of the article for the full list). We’ll be keeping track of this year’s awards and keeping you informed of what to watch for!


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: 8.20.2019

august month

And now for the news!

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

Once upon a time, way back when, we mentioned on this blog that Beatrix Potter self-published her most famous work, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (see our post here). This week the story is coming back around again thanks to this lovely piece on Mental Floss by contributor Garin Pirnia. Writes Pirnia, Potter wasn’t willing to compromise on her personal vision for her books, and:

On December 16, 1901, a 35-year-old Potter used her personal savings to privately print 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book turned out to be a hit—so much so that, within a year, Frederick Warne and Co. (one of the publishers that had originally rejected the book) signed on to get into the Peter Rabbit business. In October 1902, they published their own version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, complete with Potter’s illustrations, and by Christmastime it had sold 20,000 copies. It has since been translated into nearly 40 different languages and sold more than 45 million copies.

We’re so glad that Potter went ahead and stuck up for what she knew was the right format for her book, and of course we’re grateful that the success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit allowed her to pursue more publications in that series. Pirnia also points out that Potter’s doggedness in seeing her vision through transformed the way that picture books are written, illustrated, and sold—a win for everyone, ultimately, in the end. Three cheers for more stories about one of the self-publishing greats!

The Missassauga is bringing us some interesting news this week with this article from contributor Carola Vyhnak, covering the self-publishing story of author Jenn Bruer, who looked to Beatrix Potter (how fitting for this week’s run-down of news!) for inspiration when she was getting started. Writes Vyhnak, “As a stay-at-home spouse and foster parent, the Mississauga resident was afraid traditional publishers wouldn’t take her seriously.” Relateable, right? But she had plenty to add to the conversation, Vyhnak continues, “So she wrote a book to help others and, using post-Peter Rabbit, digital-age technology and $6,670 of her own money, self-published it last December.” After moderate success in selling the book, Bruer reflects that the best part of the process had nothing to do with making a profit—it was seeing her book’s positive impact on the larger conversation around mental health and wellness. “‘I just thought it was the right thing to do,’ she says of the 224-pager, written ‘from my heart. […] Burnout is rampant in our society,’ especially among those in the helping professions, explains Bruer, who found her own way to physical, mental and spiritual wellness.” This is an important lesson for all of us, but usefully, the article doesn’t stop there—it provides hard numbers, additional anecdotes from others involved in the self-publishing process, and in general helps pull back the veil of one of the lesser-known aspects of self-publishing: the speaking of one’s truth out into the world. We can all do with more positivity and truth!


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: 8.6.2019

august month

And now for the news!

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

It’s always exciting when self-published works are associated with, well, anything “high-brow,” and this week Highbrow Magazine’s syndication of NewsUSA covered the story of Jess Michaels, a successful author who just happens to have made her break through self-publishing after previously publishing a number of titles via traditional means. Says Michaels, “I’d begun developing an audience for my books and wanted to try something different. Authors I respected had success and greater control over their work with self-publishing, so I was eager to try it for myself.” Going self-published after completing her pre-existing book deals allowed Michaels to target the audience she knew she most wanted to reach, and to do so with full command over the hows and the whens and the whats. The article, in addition to covering Michaels’ story, advocates for those still considering their options to think about self-publishing’s benefits in respect to three things: creative control, speed to market, and proportional rights and royalties. “Who knows? Maybe the best-seller list is closer than you think,” write the article authors: the perfect happy ending to our romance with self-publishing!

In another success story made good, WHO TV out of Des Moines, Iowa, recently published an article by Megan Reuthers about Iowa author Nicholas Sansbury Smith. Smith, whose works mostly live on the postapocalyptic fiction shelf, has quite the writing work ethic: he sits down for ten hours a day and turns out four to five completed books a year by doing so. (We’re not jealous! We promise! OK, we’re jealous of that work ethic.) His works appeal to readers, among other reasons, for their groundedness and realism. Writes Reuthers:

He gets inspiration from his previous profession as a disaster mitigation specialist with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He said, “It not only inspired me but scared me, and I was able to use that experience on different disasters or threats that we face to implement those in stories and then I used a sci-fi twist.’

He was, writes Reuthers, eventually picked up by a traditional publishing house, and is now producing multiple series simultaneously. But the real trick, Reuthers records, is “treating [writing] like a business. ‘Now is the best time in history to be a writer because you can self-publish a book, and if you know, even generally what you’re doing, in terms of marketing, you can have success,’ he said.” We are always excited to celebrate these both/and self- & traditionally published authors, who consistently demonstrate the fact that everyone’s publishing journey looks different, and there’s a path for everyone!


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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