Self-Publishing News: 1.29.2017 – January Round-Up

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, wrapping up what’s new for you and yours in January 2018.

We’ll start off today with the announcement of a new kid on the block; every month it seems as though the self-publishing industry adds another heavyweight to the list of available options, and January was no different as America’s last big brick-and-mortar bookstore chain launched a self-publishing platform. This move, announced in a sweep of press releases, is seen by many in the industry as an attempt for the chain, which has suffered slow attrition in sales and the rapid exit of its e-reader (the Nook) in recent years, to rival the incredible popularity of Amazon’s Createspace and KDP services. What many may forget is that B&N already had a self-publishing platform, only it was tied to the Nook. The “new” Barnes & Noble Press™ is an update of that existing platform, untethered from its Nook associations. For more details, check out the press release.

Speaking of Amazon, more big news this month as Forbes took on the controversy surrounding the distribution giant’s ongoing treatment of self-publishing authors, which hasn’t always been easy to parse. This article by contributor Adam Rowe tackles what exactly happened during a brief interlude when many self-publishing authors found a 50% royalty option displayed on their author dashboard, an option which was both unselectable and surprising (the company typically provides 35% and 70% options, contingent upon book price). Writes Rowe, authors “and other industry  watchdogs are now speculating that an upcoming change may offer the 70% only to KDP-exclusive authors while giving authors who chose to also sell their ebooks in other markets the 50% rate for non-exclusive ebooks.” Not everyone has adopted that angle, but many, it would seem, are braced for bad news. Rowe concludes his article with a brief but interesting paragraph framing the current debate within equally current statistics; you can read the full article on the Forbes website.

Here’s an interesting piece from Jeff vonKaenel of the Sacramento News Review, on the nature of journalistic freedom by way of a review of the new Spielberg film, The Post. Sound a bit out of our wheelhouse? We thought so too, until we stumbled across the later paragraphs, all of which unspool why traditional print journalism has struggled to find a funding model that will continue to work in the age of Google Adwords and … you guessed it! … self-publishing. Yes, this editorial is somewhat of a rallying cry for well-vetted information in news media. Yes, it was written by someone with a fairly large stake in the newspaper’s success. And yes, it gives an unsubtle push for more people to invest in print journalism (specifically the News Review). It’s not, for lack of a better term, a self-disinterested piece. But it is thought provoking. Self-publishing has contributed to change not just within the world of books, but also the world of news. The world of magazines. The world of music. The world of comics. The world of gaming. The old models simply don’t work anymore. So what’s next, vonKaenel encourages us to ask? I think that’s up to us, the ones who have figured out another viable way.


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 every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 7.4.2016

happy 4th of july independence day

Happy Independence Day, Everyone!

Here in the United States, we’re busy celebrating the hard work done by many people all over the world to ensure our freedoms, and planning how best to continue that work in the years to come. Now, we know it’s not Independence Day for everyone–and that many still live in poverty and even in modern forms of slavery–but we hope that what we do here on this blog every day throughout the year contributes, in some small way, to building hope and cultivating the conviction that independent thought and action is something to be admired, and supported.

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

This June 30th article by Catherine Dunn for Digital Book World continues a series being published to that website regarding the ins and outs of the self-publishing experience.  The whole series, as we mentioned last week, is worth checking out and exploring–it’s packed with insight and thoroughly researched–but this week’s is perhaps more pertinent than ever, given that the topic is marketing.  (And we really like talking about Marketing here on Self-Publishing Advisor, if you haven’t noticed!)  This week, Dunn taps into some of the fundamentals of the marketing process: getting reviews, getting creative, leveraging social media and giveaways to meet your needs, how to watch your budget while marketing, how to keep the momentum going, and what to do next once you launch your book into the “real world”.  All in all, it’s a tightly packed little essay on the process of marketing for indie and self-publishing authors, with a good dollop of common sense and a large serving of innovative thought.  But what else would we expect from Digital Book World?  We love those guys.  They’re awesome.  You can read the original article here.

This piece by Caitlin Rosberg went live on The A.V. Club on June 30th as well, and from its title you might have guessed that it has a little something to do with the world of self-published comics–a growing market niche we’ve commented on here and there at Self-Publishing Advisor in months past.  According to Rosberg, our attention has been well-allocated, since changing the way comics are published (or at the very least, providing a viable “other way” for them to be published) benefits everyone involved in the self-publishing industry, from authors to illustrators to readers.  Spurred by her dissatisfaction with this year’s Eisner list of award nominees–none of which were self-published, for reasons we’ve discussed elsewhere (*coughcoughSTIGMAcoughREPUTATIONcough*)–Rosberg unveils a few of her favorite self-published comics as well as the ways in which they’re changing the comic landscape.  She drops a lot of names (Smut Peddler, anyone?) and her points hit home.  To read the full article, drop on by The A.V. Club article here.

What we have here may be something less than an article and something more along the lines of a press release, but it’s big news nonetheless: on June 28th, Barnes & Noble declared several groundbreaking (and ground-shaking) changes to its lineup of products and services.  The main event is the unveiling of NOOK Press, which B&N is launching in order “to provide NOOK Press authors with an easy-to-use, self-service program that enables them to create hardcover and paperback books for customer purchase.” The new platform will allow eligible NOOK Press authors (conditions apply) to “have the opportunity to sell their print books at Barnes & Noble stores across the country on a local, regional or national level, and online at BN.com. Authors can also qualify for the opportunity to participate at in-store events including book signings and discussions, where they will be able to sell their print books and meet fans.”  There’s a lot to chew on here, but the moral of the story seems to be: if Amazon does something for half a decade and finds success, maybe it’s time to take note and jump on a similar train.  To read the full press release, follow the link!
happy 4th of july independence day


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 every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

The Current State of E-Readers | An Author’s Guide : Summary Edition

Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned about e-readers over the last few weeks as I compiled information for this series, it’s that we as self-publishing authors have cause for both great hope and for concern.  I don’t think I’m an unbalanced optimist when I say that I think the scales tip towards hope rather than despair, either, even though in all things I advocate both caution and meticulous research.

tablet computer

So, how does someone go about shaping the self-publishing process to suit the current e-reader market and distribution network?  Simply put, there is no easy answer.  As with any technological gadget, niche (or even mainstream) market, and expensive purchase, you have to consider all of the angles––and as an author and producer of digital content, not just as a reader!  Readers have only to consider those aspects of a purchase that lead to user satisfaction; they don’t have to worry about balancing the needs of others when they think about what device to pick up in a store, and which ebook to download from the internet.  Authors, particularly self-published authors, do.  You as an indie or self-publishing author are probably laying out significant packets of money to make sure your book is as beautiful and well-presented and as effectively marketed as it can be, so you want to make sure you’re actually getting your money’s worth.

tablet computer

The key to a successful relationship with e-readers is, I think, one of establishing healthy boundaries––and knowing when to cut your losses.  And while it’s true that the best of all possible situations as an author is to present your readers with as many options as possible, it’s worth keeping in mind that the Kindle, the NOOK, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the iPad were not all created equal––and they have not all sold in equal numbers.  I set out to give you a fair assessment of the current state of e-readers, and by golly, I really hope that’s what I’ve done.  It’s useful to you to know, for example, that the iPad has outperformed all of its other rivals as a physical product, but that the Kindle store sees the highest rates of ebook distribution.  It’s equally useful to know that readers are turning in droves to their smartphones as reading tools––over and above their dedicated e-readers and even over their tablet computers.  The future of the e-reader, ebook, and in some small part, the self-published author rests with digital clearinghouses like the Kindle and iBook store, the Google Play store, and direct downloads.  (And someday, I’ll take a good long look at how digital book piracy plays into this equation, too.)   tablet computer

If anything I’ve said sticks with you, I hope it’s not something I’ve said you should not do; I really hope you remember how positively excited I am about the new opportunities that are beginning to emerge.  Certain markets and products, like the Barnes and Noble NOOK, might be declining in popularity––but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make your book available to those who choose to stick with it to the end.  First and foremost, you have to decide what your priorities are as an author.  Ease of accessibility?  Or maximum profits?  Or most effective use of time and seed money?  (Just remember that the best way to sell your books is to keep writing and publishing new ones!)  Ultimately, the state of e-readers has reached a stability and maturity that inspires me to think that, yes, we might have been feeling our way in the dark a bit, but we’ve stumbled across something truly wonderful.  We live in a global network rich with innovators, and I truly think we can trust to see ever greater diversification and more specialized opportunities in the digital book market.


Next week, I’m going to start with an in-depth examination of The Bookseller’s key findings in their 2015 Digital Census.  Things are changing rapidly––and perhaps not so much for authors and readers as for the ever-evolving relationship between self-publishing and traditional publishing companies.  More on that in weeks to come!


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

The Current State of E-Readers | An Author’s Guide (Part III )

Did you know that Barnes & Noble sells an e-reader?  If you haven’t stopped by one of their brick and mortar stores in the last few years, you might never have known.  This is because the tablet in question never quite got the sales momentum that its primary rivals, the Kindle and the iPad, had automatically built in.  (More on that in a moment.)  And the NOOK, as Barnes & Noble has dubbed their creation, already seems to be on the way out.  I stopped by a Barnes & Noble while driving through central Montana, and … gone are the enormous beautiful displays, the wide sweeps of banners and posters emblazened with larger-than-life-size images of the tablet, its logo, and cheery recommendations on what ebook to read next.  It looks as though we’re back to basics when it comes to our favorite (by default, since it’s our only) big brick and mortar bookstore!

But what about the NOOK?  Should you as an author care about the rise and fall of this non-gargantuan piece of technology?  The short answer is yes.  The reasons why can never quite be summarized as a “short answer,” but I’ll do my best to stick to the important bits.

William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, holds up the new Nook Tablet at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York

The first NOOK was launched in October 2009, almost exactly six years ago.  By 2011, the NOOK had captured approximately 13.4% of the total global market share for e-reading devices.  But as 

The NOOK store still does brisk business.  This is in part because readers still love a good physical book in hand, and B&N is now the only large remaining bookseller, and therefore it has both a solid built-in captive audience for its internal promotions.  It may also be attributable in part to the parent company’s deft hand at package deals and perqs.  (If you bring your NOOK into a B&N store, you have free access to their entire ebook collection while there!  Who knew?  Not me, until I started researching for this blog post!)  Here are the numbers according to number-crunching website Statista.com:

NOOK sales according to Statista

As you can see, NOOK sales are certainly, shall we say, “plunging.”  But Statista still reports approximately $263.8 million dollars in sales for 2015 to date, and that’s not an insignificant percentage of the total ebook market.  The real concern, for you as an indie or self-published author, is whether any of those sales translate into profits for authors outside of the traditional Big Five publishing houses.  And that data simply isn’t available, though anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that the NOOK store is not the most profitable place to publish your ebook.  Which is not to say that it’s not a worthwhile place … however, it’s far more likely you’ll connect with a greater number of new readers through the Amazon Kindle store or through Apple’s iTunes/iBooks interface.  This is because most search engines and indexing algorithms will promote results in these two digital stores over that of Barnes & Noble, for whatever reason (and there may be several reasons, some shady and some legitimate, and some mere rumors).  And although Kindle sales have fallen and tablet sales seem to have plateaued across the entire global market, Amazon and Apple have both proven innovative and flexible enough to roll with the punches, and their devices have held up better to changing market demands.

Half of your job as a self-published author is to tackle matters of self-promotion and marketing with the business acumen of an entire PR department and the ruthlessness of a CEO.  Is a strategy proving ineffective?  On the chopping block it goes.  Is one particular edition of your book not selling?  Out the window, sayonara.  Is a social media platform or blogging interface sucking up more of your time than seems worthwhile when balanced against outreach to new readers?  It may be time to refocus.  This is why it’s so vital that you know what’s going on with the NOOK before you decide whether or not you want to pay a hybrid publishing company to publish or spend hours of your own time agonizing over the creation of an ebook edition to sell on the NOOK Store.  If your book is already moderately successful, you may find that it helps round out your total bundle of offerings.  But if you’re just starting out and you don’t have much of a budget, you may want to stick with options that are guaranteed failsafes.

Don’t despair for the NOOK.  Just don’t be sucked into thinking that, just because Barnes & Noble has been around a long time (and now enjoys a certain kind of monopoly over the physical bookstore market), readers will pay back your investment in the NOOK store with any kind of enthusiasm.  As the ebook and ereader markets mature, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: more iterations of the same device will not equate to more ebooks sold and read.  In fact, readers are turning back in droves to the physical book … and that’s not such a bad thing, in the long run.

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

The Current State of E-Readers | An Author’s Guide (Part I)

We’ve crossed the Rubicon, dear readers.  There’s no going back, when it comes to the print vs. digital divide, at least if we’re speaking on the commercial level.  There are quite substantial numbers of readers who are introduced to books via their smartphones and computer screens and then move into the musty world of mahogany bookshelves and neighborhood used-book stores … but these numbers represent not so much a desertion of one form for another, but rather the natural progression of addicts who will simply, and always, want more–more good words strung together, more stories in their hands, more eyes to peer through and lives to live in the way that only literature makes possible.

I’m here to speak about e-books and e-readers this week and in the weeks to come.  We’ve just finished a tour-de-force marathon of social media platforms spanning several months, so it’s time for a bit of a change of pace … but without sacrificing our desire to examine trends and patterns and possibilities with the fine eye of a book connoisseur.

ereaders

The data is in, and readers have spoken.  As this infographic (courtesy of Publishing Technology and Nielson BookScan) shows, e-book sales dropped slightly from an all-time high in early 2014, but they’re not going anywhere fast.  (I should also note that the initial speculations for this year seem to indicate continued stability.)  The digital market has matured, and readers are simply spreading their pocket change around, and being more selective as they do so.  Essentially, it’s not just “still” useful to publish your books in digital form, but it’s actually more useful than ever–readers now know how to find what they like, as the information infrastructure–including indexing search engines like Google and Bing, and social media platforms with a literary bent like Goodreads–has matured alongside the market itself.

ebooks vs print

But how does an author, especially an indie, hybrid, or self-published author, go about figuring out how to navigate both the debate and the process?  Well, first, you have to know a little bit about e-books and e-readers themselves.

And so we dive off into the deep end of a new series.  This time I’m going to walk you through the process by examining each big player in the e-reading market (past and present and future, at least so far as I can see it), from Kindles to Nooks to iPads to chips implanted into your brain.  Okay, okay, I’m kidding about that last one … for now.  In all seriousness, I hope that this series will be of use to you as you take next steps into the oft-hazy world of digital publication!

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 3/25/14

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 every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

Nook Press self-publishing platform is now available to authors in the UK and parts of Europe

Barnes and Noble, the bookseller behind the Nook e-reader devices and e-reader store, has announced that the Nook Press self-publishing platform is now available to authors and publishers in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. As part of the move, Nook Press now supports multiple languages including French, Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch. This is great news for ebook authors because they know have access to even more readers.

Steven Berkoff makes self-publishing debut

After rejection by conventional imprints (despite having previously published), actor and director Steven Berkoff has decided to self-publish two books. This is an interesting read for authors considering self-publishing.

Next Time, I’ll Self-publish

This is an honest look at traditional publishing from a professional writer. It explains why next time, she’ll self-publish. This is a must read for all writers.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

The Barnes and Noble Experience for Self Publishing Authors

Many self-publishing authors dream of seeing their books sold by Barnes and Noble, one of the most powerful book sellers in the country, and readers often expect to find your book through Barnes and Noble. This is even more true as many people continue to purchase the store’s Nook, an electronic reader comparable to a Kindle. As a self-publishing author, you want to take advantage of two options available to Barnes and Noble authors: Nook format and Look Inside.

Nook Format

As the holidays approach, e-readers are going to become even more popular. You can expect many people to receive an e-reader as a holiday gift, which means they will be purchasing e-books. (This is in addition to all the readers who already buy and read e-books.) To take advantage of this trend, make sure you offer your book in Nook format. Many self-publishing companies offer this option.

Look Inside

This feature allows readers to get a sneak peek at the pages inside your book. It is the modern-day equivalent of a reader browsing through a bookstore, picking your book off the shelf, and flipping through the pages. It has been suggested that authors who take advantage of this feature have higher sales rates than those who do not. Check with your self-publishing company to find out more details.

I’d love to know, do you prefer books that take advantage of the Look Inside feature?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in   sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services   for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department   is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants;   together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the   book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your   career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist   seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you   on the right path.