Self-Publishing News: 2.24.2021

Hello February.

news from the world of
self-publishing

“There is a shift in the artistic landscape taking place, and with it different ways of publishing and distributing literature,” writes Sinead Overbye for Stuff, a New Zealand-based news website. She covers the work and writings of a group of Maori authors. Says Overbye,

Self-publication is a re-emerging trend, particularly within Māori writing communities across the motu. It is no coincidence, and it is not new. Māori have always been innovative and self-determining, against all odds. Self-publication continues an historical trend of Māori resisting reliance upon the Crown and other entities to support what they believe will benefit them. It is a way of refusing to compromise, and of determining to speak in exactly the way we want to. It doesn’t ask, ‘Let us speak’, rather it says, ‘We have voices, and will speak regardless of who listens’.

In this way, Overbye’s words echo the sentiments we’ve expressed often here on SPA––that self-publishing is a democratizing influence on literature, and an influence that allows for authors without massive blockbuster intentions (as far as their envisioned audiences go) to still reach the readers they need to reach. Overbye goes on to write that in a “system where money determines the perceived value of everything, it is a radical (and to some, a confusing) act to produce work that doesn’t increase individual wealth, but whose chief purpose is to communicate.” That’s a line we’ll be chewing on for some time.

This one is such a heartbreaking story, in a good way! Abby Luschei, writing for Seattle Refined, covers the story of artist Jayashree Krishnan, who has been painting the faces of COVID-19 first responders and healthcare workers. In an interview with Luschei, Krishnan noted that the artworks’ positive reception online “was saying that the art is not just about the artwork, but it opened up the space for people who were not healthcare workers to step in and say something encouraging for them.” Writes Luschei,

In just about 10 months, Krishnan has painted more than 150 portraits of healthcare workers. Through this process, she’s heard their stories about what it has been like to fight COVID-19 first-hand. Krishnan is self-publishing a book, “Caring for Humanity,” that will feature those paintings and stories.

I don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see the final product. Says Krishnan, “This series is about so much more than just a piece of art, Krishnan said. It’s about sharing their experiences — what it was like to work in COVID units in the very beginning, how it changed and how some of them ended up contracting COVID themselves, for example.” If we only get one good thing out of this virus situation, we’re glad it’s a fabulous work of artistic self-publishing.

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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.

Self-Publishing News: 2.9.2021

Hello February.

news from the world of
self-publishing

Here’s an article from lifehacker‘s Explainer section that provoked a number of conversations among self-publishing authors this last week: Sam Blum’s take on the necessary underpinnings of published (and therefore public) authorship. It begins with a familiar hook, too. Write Blum, “No two writers’ journeys to publication are the same, but most follow the same general path.” To view publishing from the appropriate distance from which to see a general path, Blum begins his summary with a warning: “Don’t quit your day job.” (We are not going to spend too long thinking about how Blum’s imagination also leads to “you lovingly stroke its spine,” a favorite out-of-context comment about books that seems a little over the top.) He goes on to describe the various ways and means of going after a traditional publishing gig, but many of his suggestions are also applicable to self-publishing (which lifehacker‘s Nicole Dieker wrote about all the way back in 2017––we still highly recommend you read that article as well). He writes about building a network, self-education, and carrying out some intensive market research. The only point that doesn’t apply is the section on finding an agent, but one might argue that finding a self-publishing company and team that works for you would make a good substitute there. Not only is his recent article a good reminder of many points we’ve covered here on the blog on other days, but it is also a good reminder to check out Dieker’s older article.

This one is a more troubling bit of news. One of our favorite aspects of self-publishing that we like to celebrate here on this blog is the power of the indie world to democratize the entire publishing space. One might argue, as we have in the past, that a healthy self-publishing industry supports not just a healthy traditional publishing industry as well, but a healthy society. And we are extremely grateful to live in a part of the world where free speech is honored and enshrined in our founding charters––and where, although our systems remain imperfect, the average person can still find a way to say what needs to be said, write what needs to be written, and publish what needs to be published. This article from TechCrunch is a good reminder that this is not true of all corners of the world, and that the situation in China is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the quieting of badly needed voices across the globe.

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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.

Self-Publishing News: 1.26.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

The big industry news of the last week has been the acquisition of Wattpad by way of a 100% stake. Wattpad, a self-publishing platform known primarily for producing short-form serial stories as well as fanfiction, has been a key actor in raising mainstream awareness of self-publishing, while simultaneously lessening the stigmas attached to indie works and teen writers. It has also worked in partnership with Penguin Random House to traditionally publish The Kissing Booth, which we wrote about here on the blog several times back in 2018, and afterward the company created Wattpad Books, which partners with Macmillan to publish other stories in book form. Wattpad has yet to go public, having acquired all of its financing through private investors. And now, according to Korea JoongAng Daily (in association with The New York Times), the Korean-based IT firm Naver has purchased a 100% stake in the company. Kyoung-Son’s article summarizes this event, and makes note of Naver’s next steps in getting “administrative approvals” in multiple countries, including Korea and the United States. For more information on this major development in global self-publishing, please read Kyoung-Son’s article in full.

This fabulous article comes to us by way of The Bookseller, an industry news platform which has put out articles in support of self-publishing as well as traditional publishing over the course of its long history. (The website is part of a London-based company that claims to have been “the business magazine of the book industry since 1858.”) Angela McConnell-Hughes (AKA Angela Kay Austin) is a self-publishing author whose books have put her on USA TODAY‘s bestseller list, and whose voice has become a very welcome and much needed one within the industry as an advocate for diverse indie authors. We highly recommend reading the entirety of her article, but absolutely must amplify her hard-hitting conclusion:

I think recent events in America and across the globe highlight the need for indie publishing, but I also believe they support the rally for change within traditional publishing. The authors and poets of the Harlem Renaissance voiced the anguish of Black Americans during the early 1900s. Indie authors of today follow in this tradition, introducing readers to vivid worlds inhabited by people of color. As a self-published author, I don’t see an end to the growth of indie publishing because I don’t see an end to traditional publishing marginalising different voices.

– Angela McConnell-Hughes, “Taking Back Control” (2020)

McConnell-Hughes takes no prisoners in her article, and holds nothing back. By chronicling her own experience and honestly documenting some of the challenges facing indie authors, she comes across as an earnest and sincere advocate when she still thinks going indie is the best approach, at least for authors who find themselves unwelcome in traditionally published books, either by deliberate exclusion or the systemic advantages given to certain authors that we have talked about here on Self Publishing Advisor before. If you, like McConnell-Hughes, have grown used to reading books where characters “who looked like me weren’t represented,” you too might consider following in her footsteps and choose to self-publish. Whatever you choose, her article is worth a look!

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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.

Self-Publishing News: 1.11.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

The end of an era has arrived. The Kindle Lending Library has been one of Amazon’s longest-running services, having been launched in 2011 in part to help boost readership of the self-published works in its collection. The loss of access to this service will be a blow to those authors who have listed their titles in the Kindle Store, in that it will lower the circulation of their books, and will be deprived of the algorithmic benefits of proving popular in the lending library––once upon a time at least, if a book became popular in the Kindle Lending Library, it gained both word-of-mouth benefits in its offline sales and in exposure to new readers on Amazon by way of the “If you liked [x] you might also like [y]” algorithm. Writes Kozlowski, “This program was basically supplanted in 2016, when Amazon released Prime Reading. […] You can borrow up to 8 titles at a time, so it makes sense to use this over the Lending Library.  Prime Reading is also available in way more markets, such as Canada, US, most of Europe and even China.” His next paragraph is even more telling:

Amazon hardly ever announces the discontinuation of products or services, but they did it for this one.  With the Lending Library now officially over, in a couple of weeks, where do you get content now? Amazon is continuing to hype up Prime Reading for members, just like Prime Video is free for subscribers. Amazon also has Kindle Unlimited, which has way more titles than PR, but you have to pay a monthly fee.

Michael Kozlowski, Good eReader

If Kozlowski is correct, most readers who use Amazon as their point source for new reading material will already have crossed over from the lending library to the Prime Reading option, so the end of the service may have no further negative impact on self-publishing authors. That said, it marks both the end of an era and reflects Amazon’s overall shift away from its early days of author advocacy to a de-prioritization of those same authors’ best interests.

Evan Winter, a traditionally published fantasy author, originally published this think piece in the SFWA Bulletin, a publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and one of the premiere SF&F-related publications out there. Even though Winter himself has chosen to publish exclusively by way of the traditional route, he structures his article as a sort of exposé of the publishing industry overall and comparing both traditional and self-published “ecosystems.” Writes Winter, “Not long ago, I was asked where traditional publishing spaces are failing self-published writers, and I think I may have an answer: everywhere.” His decision, he writes, was informed by the democratizing influence of self-publishing and the power of traditional publishing to promote his books’ visibility––spliced with a healthy abundance of representat

This is because traditional publishing spaces aren’t structured in form or objectives to value the needs of self-published writers and their works. The ecosystem in which these spaces operate isn’t set up for self-published books and so the books have an extremely difficult time gaining the attention and acceptance of enough traditional publishing spaces to maintain a virtuous cycle of visibility, which is a primary benefit that these spaces offer. 

Evan Winter, SFWA Bulletin

While he goes on to define the benefits to self-publishing for diverse authors who have not had a chance to see characters like them on the page––”Today, self-published writers can be read, make a living, and put out stories that might have an ardent audience even if those same stories wouldn’t attract an advocate in traditional publishing”––Winter admits that he chose to publish traditionally for commercial reasons. Even though this article is a testimony to that choice, it also, we believe, poses an important question to authors wavering in their own decision-making: How much do you value the preservation of your original perfect vision for your book’s content? That’s the trade-off: visibility for creative control. It’s a tough choice for many, we know.



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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.

Self-Publishing News: 12.22.2020

And now for the news.

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

In this commentary piece for the LA Times, Chad Post creates something of a nightmarish interpretation of the future in which Penguin Random House, the largest of all current traditional publishing houses, subsumes not just Simon & Schuster (the third-largest publishing house) but lays the groundwork for the decline of indie and small press publishing. PRH, whose holding company recently purchased S&S, will now be the largest traditional publishing company in history, and its only competition––Amazon––is not exactly a problem-free alternative for readers looking to support their independent publishers, bookstores, and authors as well. Writes Post,

Here’s my darkest vision of this merger: The first post-COVID-19 gathering of the Winter Institute, the only formal convention bringing together publishers and booksellers (now that BookExpo might be permanently retired), will be dominated by PRHS&S. They will have special dinners, busing booksellers to fancy venues every night to explain why it has the most important (meaning sellable) books over shrimp scampi. Meanwhile, the true laborers of the book industry — those who hustle and work the angles, who take the greatest risks and reap the paltriest rewards — will barely get any bookseller facetime at all.

There are many reasons why this could pose an issue to all of us invested in self-publishing, but it is also, as Post puts it, a rallying cry: “These two giants, PRHS&S and Amazon — helped along by COVID-19 — could put any number of presses out of business, further reducing the diversity of voices available to readers like you. And that’s exactly what we should stand against in 2021.” We couldn’t agree more.

Is the Publishing Industry Dead? by Alexis Davis 

In this article from Web Writers Spotlight, Alexis Davis asks a question oft-asked by those outside of the self-publishing industry: Has self-publishing (along with the Internet) killed the radio star––er, publishing industry? Or as she puts it more eloquently, “When ebooks exploded on the scene, experts predicted that the end of print publishing was nigh. […] Many rushed out and bought e-readers. How we consumed books forever changed. But did the advent of electronic publishing deliver a fatal blow to print publishing, and how has self-publishing affected the industry?” The answer, according to Davis, may in fact be surprising––again, to those who aren’t already in the know. Writes Davis, “In the U.S., print remains the most popular book format, with 65% of adults having read a print book in the last 12 months.” Just because digital options exist, she hints, doesn’t mean readers will abandon their favorite reading options. Digital means more options, not fewer preferences. “Just as digital music didn’t kill radio, digital publishing didn’t kill print. Radio adapted by offering live streaming. The publishing industry adapted by embracing ebooks and audiobooks,” writes Davis. “With the rise of self- and indie-publishing, we now have a more robust industry with more options available to writers, and that’s a good thing.” For the rest of Davis’ article, click the link above––it’s well worth the read.


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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.