Self-Publishing News: 8.5.2020

On-trend 2020 calendar page for the month of August modern flat lay.

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

That’s more like it! Last week might have been a slow news week for self-publishing, but this week has more than made up for it. We’ll start with Rob Price’s opinion piece on Cleveland.com earlier this week, a piece which sets out to explain why it is that self-publishing is where it is right now, poised to take huge chunks of the publishing market share with the advent of COVID-19 and a big turn towards reliance on e-books. And Price should know what he’s talking about, since he’s the president of Gatekeeper Press as well as a former chairman of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). He himself has sold 200,000 copies of his self-published books, so he’s writing as both an industry professional and an author who has achieved incredible success. Price, who founded Gatekeeper Press in 2015, writes that “When the coronavirus pandemic hit five months ago, something big happened: Author consultations and publishing services skyrocketed.” (This confirms what we’ve suspected for a while, and we’re very much looking forward to retrospectives once the full year’s book data comes in.) But why? Price points to authors having more free time as a result of the pandemic, as well as the society-wide emphasis on storytelling during both the pandemic and the  BLM protest movement. This is also a time of fast-moving news headlines and struggle, so the timeliness and turnaround speed of self-publishing is a major asset, getting books into peoples’ hands before public attention moves on. He’s also certain that in a time of great disconnect and distancing, the personal assistance a small press or self-publishing can provide is critical to the forward momentum of new and inexperienced authors. We recommend taking a look at all of his points in more detail!

This week on Entrepreneur, contributor Ken Dunn brings us an interview with bestselling author Jack Canfield, who co-created the “Chicken Soup” series that has become one of the world’s top-selling nonfiction series of all time. (His founding partner was Mark Victor Hansen.) Writes Dunn, “Jack’s books have sold over 500 million copies around the world. Although there is no way to confirm this definitively, Jack Canfield is likely one of the top non-fiction authors of all time.” That’s quite a resume. What Canfield goes on to tell Dunn amounts to a rousing top five suggestions for authors looking to break into self-publishing, and they include knowing who you’re writing for, and how you want to help them; finding a competent editor before publication; embracing persistence in an industry that requires both lots of attempts and lots of legwork; taking advantage of free media opportunities like podcast interviews to boost public awareness of your book; and lastly, following the “rule of five.” Says Canfield, this “rule” requires self-published authors to “Do five things a day toward the achievement of your breakthrough goal. Our breakthrough goal was to get this book to be a bestseller.” And eventually he and Hansen achieved that goal––but it wasn’t by way of immediate breakout success. After fourteen months of work, they hit their first bestseller list, and after a slow ascent it stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for three years. This success depended on the authors’ dedication to that rule, Dunn implies. You absolutely must check out the full article.

Our final must-read news item for the week comes from Forbes, which has over the last couple of years made a point of regularly publishing articles on self-publishing by various contributors. This week’s contributor is Serenity Gibbons, whose work centers on entrepreneurs and how they achieve success. Despite the quick uptick in e-book sales as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown, Gibbons answers the question “Has digital content demolished print books?” with the answer: “No more than elevators replaced stairs, points out British comedian Stephen Fry.” She goes on to make note of the fact that over the last few years, print sales have been slowly increasing their market share, not decreasing in the way that many expected after the first advent of e-books and their sharp rise in sales. She also notes that many wealthy readers consider print books “because they view this material as more meaningful than what they read online.”  Gibbons draws upon conversations with a number of authors to lay out her ten recommendations, which run the gamut from purpose to planning to researching the competition to cultivating feedback and partnership and creating a “circle” of personal influencers. We highly recommend reading up on all ten of her tips!


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.

Self-Publishing News: 7.28.2020

Toy forklift hold block l to complete word 28 jul on wood background (Concept for calendar date in month July)

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

In what has been a relatively slow week for publishing overall, it’s really comforting to see that self-publishing hasn’t slowed down much, especially when compared to the traditional publishing market, which has seen publication dates pushed back up to six months and sometimes even more. It’s also fun to see a book that has been on our radar for a while, Sharon Traner’s A Striving After Wind, hit the new release lists. Doubtless you’ll be hearing more about her work both here on the blog and elsewhere, especially when Volume 2 is released.

Janice Gassam of Forbes brings us the week’s most interesting profile of an individual involved in the world of self-publishing: Jasmine Womack, a woman who “has made it her mission to ‘help leaders transform, communicate, and connect with others through storytelling.'” As she notes in her interview with Gassam, Womack’s specialty lies in identifying and encouraging leaders who have a story to tell establish a platform through which to share the lessons they’ve learned and widen the reach of their credibility by publishing books based on their expertise. Says Womack, “The laws that used to exist no longer exist. So, we have a responsibility to put meaningful content into the world because at one time, we weren’t even allowed to open up a book.” Her great, great, great grandmother was a slave, she points out, and her grandmother had to finish her schooling around the sixth grade in order to help provide for family. For Womack, the need to create is also a need to reclaim co-opted stories: “we have the power to create our own narrative and tell our own stories and not just rely or depend on the perspective of our stories about our people or about our lives to be told by other people who have no knowledge of us or no knowledge of what it means to be Black.” She points out that self-publishing allows Black authors a unique opportunity to skip the gatekeepers and maintain “control over your work,” a critical necessity when seeking to embrace authenticity and reclaim one’s story. 

Gassam’s interview with Womack is well worth reading in its entirety, and we hope you’ll do so! She explains in even more detail the role that self-publishing plays in her work with authors and entrepreneurs.


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.

Self-Publishing News: 7.21.2020

21 July on wooden blocks with a white daisy on a red background

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

In their recent press release, the industry data analyst Technavio has published some insights on the trends that they observed in the global publishing industry throughout the first half of 2020 and some they expect to continue to develop through the end of the year–and then onward through 2024. The release opens with the statement that “Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the growth of various industries, the immediate impact of the outbreak is varied. While a few industries will register a drop in demand, numerous others will continue to remain unscathed and show promising growth opportunities.” That tantalizing statement is a preface for (paid) access to their full report, although the do offer a free sample report that is definitely worth seeing. (Infographics really are our friends!) From what we can gather, print sales are lagging across many genres and ebooks are again rising in popularity to offset that, likely as a result of bookstores struggling to put print books into peoples’ hands by way of bookshop browsing. Consider this your annual reminder to seek out new ways to partner with your local bookstores–and to diversify the ways and means that readers can lay their hands on your books!

In an article for Entrepreneur that was picked up later by The Hour and other online platforms, Lucas Miller of Echelon Copy LLC shared six common errors that self-publishing authors frequently make when breaking into the business. We won’t spoil the whole article for you, as it is truly worth a read on its own merits, but we were particularly struck by how no. 5 (“Forgetting print and digital formatting”) reinforces what we just noted above in our review of Technavio’s report: if you want your self-published book to thrive during the era of social distancing, making sure you have multiple avenues–Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org and indie bookstores, and so forth––to purchase your books is important, and so too is making sure that you have a range of formats–ebook, print, print-on-demand, audiobook, and so forth–available to suit the needs of your readers. 

Our last news that we’re going to feature this week is specifically relevant to those indie authors based out of the US who use the program Substack for their newsletters, and since Substack continues to grow in popularity, we thought it worth a mention here. Brian Heater of TechCrunch covers Substack’s latest move, launching Defender to assist in (lacking a more specific term) defending the legal rights of indie authors. As Heater puts it,

In the worlds of journalism and publishing, it’s fairly common for the wealthy to attempt to shut down reporting with legal threats. For those publishing on large platforms with plenty of resources, such challenges can be a massive headache. For independent writers and publishers, on the other hand, the consequences can be far more dire.

If you use Substack, take a look at Heater’s full article. Hopefully other newsletter platforms will follow suit!


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.

Self-Publishing News: 7.14.2020

National Mac and Cheese Day - July 14

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

Now here is some news both adorable and useful! Mother of two Tara Travieso self-published a book explaining the need for social distancing as a response to COVID-19 after refining a metaphor she had already been using (and seeing some success in communicating) with her own children: bubbles! (We all can appreciate bubbles.) Katie Kindelan of ABC News covers the mother’s story, writing that

When she saw how quickly her own daughters took to the idea, and got positive feedback from other parents with whom she shared the idea, Travieso got to work writing a children’s book.

Just six weeks later, Travieso self-published her first book, Billie and the Brilliant Bubble: Social Distancing for Children.

Kindelan goes on to summarize the many challenges Travieso faced while finishing her first children’s book, from acquiring an ISBN to locating an illustrator to finding the time to write while also working full time and splitting household responsibilities with her husband. The book “tells the story of a young girl named Billie who has an imaginary bubble to keep her safe, according to Travieso. It follows Billie as she goes to a park and meets new friends, who learn about her imaginary bubble and then want one themselves.” And while popping another person’s bubble is not at present a thing Billie wants to do, out of care and respect for others, the book does end on a hopeful note––with Billie expressing excitement over the future day when it will be a thing of joy to pop one’s own bubble and emerge into a safer, bubble-reduced world.

It’s such a marvel to be living in the day and age we are––a day and age with plenty of difficulties, it’s true, but one which is also full of opportunities we wouldn’t have dreamed of even two or three generations ago. Enter stage left 92-year-old Mary Alice Baluck, who currently resides in a senior living community. As Raymond Smith of the Tribune Today notes, the seed that would flower into Baluck’s first self-published novel, Heaven’s Doorway, were planted around forty years ago––proving that there’s no putting a time limit on the creative work of a writer’s imagination. (As more than one writing professor has stated, “Nothing is ever wasted.”) Baluck is already working on finishing her second novel, and has plans for a children’s book as well. Smith quotes Baluck:

“My husband passed away in 1999, and although I had always written short stories and poetry as a pastime, I had never seriously thought of writing and publishing anything until he died,” she said.

And we’re so very glad she did, because her novel sounds fascinating! An intergenerational saga set near Lake Eerie, Heaven’s Gate was self-published only months before Baluck’s 93rd birthday. 

Remember this: It’s never too late to get started!


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.

Self-Publishing News: 7.7.2020

National Strawberry Sundae Day vector

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

Some good news for parents out of the Big Sky State! Many parents have found themselves in the unique position of having to be educators as well as bread-winners, and with case numbers all over the map (literally as well as figuratively), it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. Whether you’re electing to be cautious in states like Montana that have begun to reopen or following state and federal recommendations elsewhere, a much-needed resource has arrived to fill the gap. Writing for Helena’s Independent Record, Tyler Manning writes about how “Two Helena teachers recently self-published a kindergarten readiness guide for parents.” The project had been in the works for six years or more, but this proved just the right moment for teachers (to observe proper classroom etiquette) Ms. Hankins and Ms. Buresh to self-publish. As Manning puts it:

According to Hankins, they had many tips but verbally explaining them lots of individual parents wasn’t wholly effective. The pair then had the idea to start writing down tips, idea and exercises. Before they knew it, they had enough to write a book.

The book takes the form of activity pages for each letter of the alphabet. It teaches concepts like numbers, shapes, colors, vocabulary and more. Hankins said the book also aims to answer many of the social questions that parents have as their children start school for the first time.

“It’s two-fold,” said Hankins. “It’s to get the kids ready and to put parents minds at ease.”

While the material might have been embraced by a traditional publishing house, the lag time would have prevented many parents from getting their hands on the book when they most need it––which is now. According to another article from the Independent Record, Helena’s schools are still aiming to reopen for the Fall semester, despite a recent rise in recorded statewide COVID-19 cases that will still seem small to those states with city-concentrated populations. In any case, this local Montana effort will hopefully signal the start of a new wave of high-quality self-published resources for parents of young children that are both timely and teacher-tested as this one seems to be. 

Tyler Manning’s coverage includes much more and is worth reading in its own right. You can find out more about Hankins, Buresh, and their book at www.summerbeforekindergarten.com. More news soon!


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.